capsule review

Systemax Vitality DH463

At a Glance
  • Systemax Vitality DH463

    PCWorld Rating

    The Vitality is a strong performer and offers lots of room for upgrades.

The Vitality DH463's case--basic black with brushed aluminum trim--doesn't jump out at you, but this $1200 (as of October 6, 2006) Media Center PC delivers respectable performance, great upgrade options, and some nice hardware for the price.

Foremost among the system's components is Intel's cutting-edge 1.86-GHz Core 2 Duo E6300 CPU. Combined with 1GB of RAM, this processor pushed the Vitality DH463 to a WorldBench 5 score of 108 ranking it third among currently tested value systems. Other hardware pluses include a nice wireless mouse and keyboard combination from Logitech, and a TV tuner and remote. The keyboard has good heft and lots of well-placed function buttons.

With a Radeon X1600 graphics card and 256MB of graphics RAM, the Vitality DH463 should be able to handle older, less-demanding games easily, but don't expect fast-moving, high-resolution graphics action on the latest first-person shooter. The Vitality's frame rate score of 118 frames per second on our Unreal Tournament gaming test at 1280 by 1024 resolution lagged behind the average score of 245 fps for the seven Top 10 value systems that have a dedicated graphics cards. Gamers on a budget should consider the Velocity Micro Vector GX Campus Edition, which offers better graphics at a cheaper price than this system.

Hands-on play of Return to Castle Wolfenstein proceeded smoothly, but appeared unacceptably dark on the $200, 19-inch Hanns G flat-panel display that came bundled with our system. Small (6.8-point) text looked a bit fuzzy but was readable.

For upgradability, this system rivals pricey, high-end gaming systems. After removing two thumbscrews, you can open the case, where you'll find one free PCI slot, two free PCI Express slots, and more unoccupied hard drive and external drive bays than you'll ever need. You may have to wrestle a bit with the cables that spill throughout the case, but access to slots and bays is generally unhindered. The simple user manual covers basic use and will be of value primarily to less experienced users.

The Vitality DH463 could be a good fit for someone who expects to upgrade hardware in the future but doesn't need powerful graphics.

Kirk Steers

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The Vitality is a strong performer and offers lots of room for upgrades.

    Pros

    • Offers excellent upgradability

    Cons

    • Disappointing Core 2 Duo performance
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