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iBuyPower Video Pro
The low initial cost of this system makes the Video Pro's above-average performance look like a supercomputer. For a mere $1799 (as of December 3, 2008; $1988 if you bundle a 20.1-inch Sceptre display), you get an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 CPU coupled with 8GB of DDR2 (800 MHz) memory (fully addressed by the 64-bit version of Vista Home Premium). Two 500GB, 7200-rpm Hitachi Deskstar hard drives provide a terabyte of total storage.
There's something to be said for speedy computing out-of-the-box, but there's also a great benefit to being able to afford a legion of upgrades after the fact. This PC falls in the latter category.
A 512MB Palit HD 4850 video card is an acceptable default option, and the system's Asus P5N-D 750i motherboard gives you one additional PCI Express x16 slot for upgrading. The Video Pro's gaming benchmarks are comparable with other above-average power desktops we've tested: 161 and 193 frames-per-second scores on our Doom 3 and Far Cry benchmarks (both tested at 1280-by-1024 resolution with antialiasing). We just worry at the thought of running next-generation games, resolution-cranked, on a single, semiantiquated 4850 card.
The system's WorldBench 6 score of 120 nestles it firmly within the above-average grouping of Power PCs we've tested, which is exactly where the extra accoutrements (and $1000-plus price difference over competing desktops like Alienware's Area 51) come into play.
We've already touched on the extra PCI Express x16 slot and the hard drives; the latter is especially critical, as the Video Pro's Gigabyte Poseidon chassis comes with only three total hard drive bays. That makes upgrading your additional storage space a wee bit trickier if you want to add multiple drives to your system. Five 5.25-inch bays are yours to play with on the tool-less case. Two are already filled with an LG Electronics GGW-H20L Blu-ray writer/HD DVD reader and a Sony AD-7190A DVD Read/Write drive. The case itself is a pretty combination of elegant design and functionality. We'd welcome this blue-glowing addition to our home offices any day.
As far as connectivity goes, you get four USB ports and a single FireWire 400 port on the back, along with onboard 5.1 surround sound, a single ethernet port, and both optical and coaxial S/PDIF outputs. Pretty as the front of the chassis is, it's ugly in its offerings: two glowing USB ports rest above a single FireWire 400 port. An included media card reader sweetens the blow, but we'd simply prefer more connections. We also weren't too fond of the included peripherals: the generic Logitech mouse and keyboard look like they were pulled from an electronics store's bargain bin.
The parts of iBuyPower's Video Pro system (and their performance) are quite similar to other midrange PCs in the power desktop category. We don't mean it as a slam when we suggest that this system's greatest strength of could be its price; it's simply a terrific bargain.
iBuyPower Video Pro
The Video Pro offers midrange performance at an excellent price, though we would upgrade the peripherals.
- Competitively priced
- 1TB of storage
- Basic keyboard and mouse