capsule review

MicroElectronics PowerSpec Extreme X300

At a Glance
  • Micro Electronics PowerSpec Extreme X300

    PCWorld Rating

    This system has a fair number of ports, but its hard-drive space is limited and it's slow for a power desktop.

Its name notwithstanding, there's nothing extreme about the specs on this PowerSpec. You get a 2.4-GHz Core 2 Duo E6600 processor, 2GB of DR2 RAM, 500MB of graphics RAM, and a total of 250GB of hard-drive space. Those specs would be generous for a value PC, but they're modest compared to other power desktops. Fortunately the price is modest, too, at $2280.

The PowerSpec Extreme X300's overall WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 99 was distinctly lower than the average score of 110 for the first eight Vista-based power PCs we tested. In particular, the system was slow to complete our 3DSMax rendering test, taking 11 minutes, 11 seconds versus the average of 7 minutes, 16 seconds.

The Extreme X300's case comes on four metal wheels, which turn easily enough for you to push it across a smooth floor without difficulty. The case's sides are constructed of a metal mesh that, while hardly photogenic, should help keep the insides cool.

As you'd expect in view of its large case, the PowerSpec offers plenty of drive space: five external bays and three internal ones. But since it also comes with two hard drives, two DVD drives, and a multiformat card reader, only two external bay, one internal bay, and two slots are free. Unfortunately, a big fan that is somewhat challenging to remove and even harder to put back blocks the two slots.

If you prefer to upgrade your PC from the outside, you'll find the PowerSpec's port selection exceptional, with seven USB ports (three on the front), two FireWire ports (one on the front), two PS/2 ports for older keyboards or mice (in case you don't like the cool-looking, comfortable Microsoft mouse that's included), and even an e-SATA port.

This isn't a PC for novices, since the only documentation is a small, nearly useless quick-start guide. But it's a good fit for budget-minded users who want an expandable system at a modest price, and don't need blisteringly fast gaming performance.

Lincoln Spector

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This system has a fair number of ports, but its hard-drive space is limited and it's slow for a power desktop.

    Pros

    • Low price

    Cons

    • Modest amount of hard-drive space
    • Somewhat slow for a power system
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