capsule review

Polywell Poly P3503

At a Glance
  • Polywell Poly P3503

    PCWorld Rating

At $3999 (as of September 12, 2007) bundled with a 22-inch LCD, the P3503 is a well-equipped system that includes a generous total of 650GB of hard-drive space and offers solid performance.

The model we looked at has a 2.93-GHz Core 2 Extreme QX6800 processor that Polywell has overclocked to 3.33 GHz (and covers under warranty), plus 2GB of DDR3 RAM. The company also offers the P3503 with Intel's 3-GHz QX6850 quad-core CPU for the same price as the QX6800.

Interestingly, however, even when competing with models using the QX6850, the P3503's overclocked QX6800 processor held up fairly well in our tests.

Running Windows Vista Ultimate in our WorldBench 6 Beta 2 test suite, the P3503 earned a score of 122, putting it a little behind the gaming-PC field's average of 126 but well behind the blazingly fast Xi MTower IGE-Stacker's WorldBench 6 Beta 2 result of 139.

Equipped with a single 768MB EVGA GeForce 8800 Ultra graphics board, the P3503 scored consistently well for all resolution settings in gaming performance. It ran at 180 frames per second in Doom 3 at 1280 by 1024 resolution, just beating competing models, including the Xi MTower IGE-Stacker.

The P3503's black, midsize-tower case has ventilation grilles on the front and side, both backlit with blue lights. The side panel comes off easily, and inside the case a water-cooling system and a copper heat sink help keep the system from overheating.

Our test machine came with a dual-layer DVD burner that supports LightScribe labeling (a silk-screen-like, high-contrast label on the top side of CD or DVD media), a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo player, and a multiformat card reader, leaving three of the six external drive bays open. A Seagate 500GB hard drive and two Western Digital Raptor 74GB, 10,000-rpm hard drives occupy three of the four internal drive bays, and five open slots (two PCIe x1, one PCIe x16, and two PCI) are available for further expansion.

The P3503's Asus P5K3 Deluxe motherboard supports CrossFire graphics (using two CrossFire-compatible cards, not the SLI-compatible GeForce 8800 card in our test system), and it includes on-board wireless networking and an adjustable antenna. The P3503 also provides an ample number of ports on the front and back, including nine USB ports and two eSATA connections, but it lacks ports for serial and parallel peripherals.

The bundled Samsung SyncMaster 225BW wide-screen LCD was easy to adjust, and it displayed strong image quality with clear, readable text and colorful graphics, including great-looking Vista Aero features. The Logitech Premium Desktop keyboard and wireless optical mouse were both responsive, solid performers, but gamers may want devices with more programmable features.

The Polywell P3505 provides plenty of power and is a worthy choice for any power user.

--Richard Jantz

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This overclocked water-cooled system is reasonably fast and nicely loaded.

    Pros

    • Fast for an inexpensive system
    • Large amount of hard-drive space

    Cons

    • No legacy ports
    • No SLI support
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