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Polywell Poly X4800-Extreme
Polywell certainly named this power desktop computer correctly. Its 3.2-GHz Core 2 X9770 CPU is Intel's current state-of-the-art Extreme (overclockable) chip, which means that this is an extremely fast desktop. At $4799 (as of August 8, 2008), it's also extremely expensive. Then again, no one ever said state-of-the-art would be cheap; the X9770 CPU alone costs nearly $1500; the equally fresh-from-the-mint MSI nVidia GeForce GTX280 graphics card, about $500; and the 4GB of DDR3 1600 memory goes for nearly as much. But the steep cash outlay that's called for buys you a knock-your-socks-off WorldBench 6 score of 141, as well as a gaming experience of 207 to 266 frames per second. Extremely fast indeed.
Part of the X4800-Extreme's excellent performance is due to a hard-drive setup we're beginning to see often on the power chart--pairs of 10,000-rpm, 300GB Western Digital WD3000GLFS VelociRaptor hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration. Not only are these 2.5-inch models mounted on 3.5-inch adapter sleds (as Western Digital calls them), they're energy-efficient. The sleds function as giant heat sinks that work so well that the drives are nearly cool to the touch even when in heavy use.
The X4800-Extreme is built around an extremely capable Gigabyte X48T-DQ6 motherboard with the most comprehensive array of rear-panel connections that I've ever seen in a PC. Besides a whopping eight USB 2.0 ports, the machine has both normal and 4-pin (mini) FireWire ports, optical and coaxial S/PDIF audio-out, six analog audio (7.1), and two gigabit ethernet ports. It also has motherboard headers for a pair of 2-port eSATA rear-slot breakout panels.
The X4800-Extreme's midtower case is sturdy and roomy, with flip and slide levers that let you swap in expansion cards and drive bays easily. Even so, the case setup is not as impressive as recently reviewed desktops from Xi Computers and Cerise Computers; both of those models mount power supplies at the bottom of the case for better stability, while the Poly X4800-Extreme mounts its 1000-watt Sparkle Power Magna 1000 power supply at the top.
The bundled Logitech 650 wireless mouse and keyboard were both comfortable to use. The Polywell-labeled Acer 2416 24-inch wide-screen LCD's picture was also easy on the eyes, but I found the silverish bezel a little distracting. Personally, I wish they'd matched the case with a black bezel.
That said, the X4800-Extreme is about power, not style. For sheer performance, it has no equal on the chart.
--Jon L. Jacobi
Polywell Poly X4800-Extreme
Pricey desktop provides blow-your-socks-off performance and lots of rear port connectivity.
- Blazing performance
- Lots of rear panel ports
- Not all that stylish