capsule review

Polywell Mini-Box 900VX-3000

At a Glance
  • Polywell MiniBox

Polywell Mini-Box 900VX-3000
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

The Polywell Mini-Box 900VX-3000 is a small PC, but it gets the job done, offering enough performance for casual gaming, e-mail, and Web browsing.

The Shuttle-style case is less than 8 inches high. Its front houses a single 12X multiformat rewritable DVD drive; a media-card reader that can read CompactFlash, Secure Digital, and SmartMedia cards; one FireWire port; two USB 2.0 ports; and headphone and microphone audio connectors. Despite the system's diminutive size, the back of the case offers a standard selection of legacy ports plus one FireWire port, four USB ports, and 10/100 ethernet.

The Mini-Box 900VX-3000 has a 2-GHz Athlon 64 3000+ CPU and 512MB of DDR400 RAM.Its score of 93 on our new WorldBench 5 tests placed it among the top-performing value systems we've tested. Its 80GB hard drive is smaller than some we've seen in value systems, but large enough for general-purpose computing needs.

Predictably, the Mini-Box's expansion options are limited. Though there are two open PCI slots and one open drive bay, the included ChainTech SA5900X graphics card partially obstructs access to one of the two free PCI slots, and filling the free drive bay blocks them both. Working inside the case is cramped and difficult, though the ability to take off both sides of the case makes matters somewhat easier.

The AOpen MS-805B 2.1 speakers produced adequate sound, but we did hear some hissing during music playback at low volume. The 19-inch AOC 9KLR CRT monitor handled our DVD movie and text tests well, but photo screens looked a tad dark. Though the Labtec wireless keyboard was comfortable to type with, it and the wired mouse contributed to our sense that the system felt thrown together. Polywell included manuals for the components, but no overall system manual.

The Mini-Box 900VX-3000 assembles a lot of features in a package that would fit well in a small office space.

Victor R. Garza

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At a Glance
  • Polywell MiniBox

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