Micro Express MicroFlex 92B Power Desktop
At a Glance
Micro Express MicroFlex 92B
The MicroFlex 92B's speed, price, and upgradability make it a winner.
Micro Express' MicroFlex 92B offers a tantalizing mixture of performance and price. The $1399 investment (as of February 1, 2010) provides plenty of room to transform this power desktop into a full-fledged gaming monster, should you so choose later in its life.
Don't get us wrong; the system's included 2.93-GHz Intel Core i7 940 processor isn't a slowpoke by any means. It sits alongside 3GB of DDR3 (1333 MHz) memory and a speedy (10,000 rpm) Western Digital Velociraptor drive with Vista Business installed. The PC's WorldBench 6 score of 138 places it among the top-performing power desktops we've tested, period. But you'll probably want to upgrade that hard disk: The Velociraptor's 300GB of primary storage isn't a lot to work with if you're the kind of power user this system is designed for.
The MicroFlex 92B sports an ATI Radeon HD 4870x2 graphics card for your gaming pursuits. That's one of the fastest cards on the market, and a great deal of graphical firepower for a machine this inexpensively configured. As a result, the MicroFlex 92B delivered impressive results on our gaming benchmarks, averaging 201 and 233 frames per second on our 1280-by-1024-resolution Doom 3 and Far Cry tests, respectively.
The inside of the MicroFlex 92B's Gigabyte Triton chassis has plenty of room for upgrading, even given the not-so-pretty internal wiring job. You can install two additional hard drives using the case's handy, screwless drive rails, plus an additional PCI Express x16 video card. The slot for the latter uses a strange screw/tab locking mixture to affix cards to the motherboard. We'd much prefer straight-up tabs, with no screws to fiddle with whatsoever. Four 5.25-inch bays are free for adding more devices if you wish, and the included 20X Sony AD-7201S DVD writer/reader is competent enough to handle your non-HD media.
We hope you have plenty of USB devices on hand, as the MicroFlex 92B supports up to eight USB connections on its rear panel. A single FireWire 400 port and two eSATA ports are also tossed into the mix, alongside one ethernet port, built-in 5.1 surround sound, and an optical S/PDIF connection. The case's front isn't quite as port-heavy, with three ports: two USB and one Firewire 400. But you also get a media card reader. Microsoft's bundled wireless media keyboard offers a number of useful features, including assignable function buttons, media controls, and application-launching buttons. This keyboard feels great to the touch, as does the generic (and equally wireless) mouse.
Micro Express has a winner on its hands. The MicroFlex 92B isn't the fastest all-around Power PC we've tested, but it's close enough (at a perfect price point)--oh, and it comes with a honkin' Big and Simple Windows Vista guidebook.
-- David Murphy