capsule review

Polywell Poly 939VF-FX53

At a Glance
  • Polywell Poly 939VF-FX53

Polywell Poly 939VF-FX53
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

The Polywell Poly 939VF-FX53 is an extremely strong system overall, with great graphics and gaming performance. And its exceptional audio components make it an all-around powerhouse for home, office, or gaming use.

Though the price is a little steep at $2999, the unit we tested justified the price with its fast speeds, earning one of the highest scores we've seen in our WorldBench 5 tests so far. Outfitted with a 2.4-GHz Athlon 64 FX-53 processor, a 256MB EVGA E-GeForce 6800 Ultra graphics card, and a gigabyte of RAM, the system earned a WorldBench 5 score of 105. It was a little light on overall disk space, however, with two 74GB striped RAID drives; by contrast, the $2564 HP Pavilion A650e comes with a 250GB hard drive.

The brushed aluminum case and the blue light coming from the cutouts on the side panel give this Poly a handsome, industrial look. There are two optical drives on the front of the chassis: a DVD+/-RW and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive. These come in handy if you want to copy a DVD directly to another disc without copying the data to your hard drive, or if you want to test the DVDs you burn at your PC instead of going to the DVD player in the living room. The combo drive also does double duty as a media-card reader and has a USB port. Two additional USB ports and a FireWire port, as well as a 3.5-inch floppy drive and basic audio outputs, are located on the front panel. The rear of the chassis has an S/PDIF output, four USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, and a gigabit ethernet connection. There's even 802.11g support for wireless networking.

The inside of the case, while spacious, is almost a rat's nest. One of the 3.5-inch drive bays is obscured by cables, though five other bays are available. Three slots are open, but one of them is obscured by the AGP graphics card. A nice touch is that both the case and slot covers are removable via thumbscrews.

The RF wireless keyboard and mouse were excellent; the keyboard has over a dozen macro keys and provided excellent tactile feedback during touch typing. One slight problem: On a few occasions the mouse didn't respond during testing.

In our multimedia tests, we were impressed by this system's rendering of both text and photos. The test photo, however, looked ever so slightly dark on the 19-inch AOC 9KLR monitor. DVD movies looked very crisp, but the real stunner was the full sound during movie playback and in our audio tests. The combination of the integrated, eight-channel Via VT8237 sound processor and the Creative Inspire T7700 7.1 speaker system made for a great audio experience. Both CDs and DVDs sounded very good; bass response from the subwoofer was impressive.

Documentation was above average; the system came with Windows XP Professional, as well as CD and DVD software, including PowerDVD, and Roxio Easy CD and DVD Creator.

A sleek design, speedy performance, and great-sounding audio make this performance system a solid choice.

Victor R. Garza

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • Polywell Poly 939VF-FX53

Shop Tech Products at Amazon