capsule review

Polywell Poly 790GX3 Power Desktop PC

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At a Glance
  • Polywell Poly 790GX3

If vast hard-drive capacity is crucial to you, Polywell's Poly 790GX3 power PC ($1649 as of August 23, 2008) may have your number: It carries 2TB of storage split across a striped array of two 500GB drives and a separate Seagate terabyte drive--more capacity than any of its Power PC rivals offer.

The system uses a 2GHz AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition CPU, but that processor and the included 4GB of DDR2-1333 RAM fail to keep up with the Intel-based competition. The 790GX3's WorldBench 6 score of 120 is matched or beaten by the best of the current Power PCs, including the CyberPower Gamer Xtreme XT-K, which outran it by 21 points despite costing $150 less.

A similar situation arises with graphics performance. The 790GX3 delivered a frame rate of 74 frames per second in our Enemy Territory: Quake Wars game test, and a rate of 89 fps in Unreal Tournament 3 (both run at 2560 by 1600 resolution and high quality). But again, the CyberPower system beat the 790GX3--this time by between 20 and 30 fps on each benchmark. Likewise, the $1600 Micro Express Microflex 92B outran the Polywell, albeit by a slightly smaller margin.

On the other hand, the 790GX3 more than holds its own in connectivity options, with nine USB ports (three front and six rear), two eSATA ports (one and one), an HDMI port, a FireWire 400 port, a gigabit ethernet port, a sound jack for integrated 7.1 surround sound, an optical S/PDIF-out jack, and a media card reader.

The system's chassis is predominantly black with a few gray highlights, but a large hotswap bay in the center of the case disrupts the otherwise clean design. Our test machine came with a generic two-button mouse and a keyboard with no special functionality.

Inside, the internal wiring is slightly clumpy, but reasonably neat. For upgrading and general tinkering, you get three hard drive bays, two 5.25-inch bays, one free PCI Express x1 slot, one PCI Express x16 slot, and two PCI slots. A nice touch: The various add-ons and upgrades you can make to the system's drive bays and PCI slots don't require screws.

Though the Poly 790GX3 system is a solid system, it's priced higher than PCs that offer comparable features and faster performance. Unless the 790GX3's excellent storage offerings captivate you, you can find a better system for less.

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At a Glance
  • The storage on this PC rivals that of a NAS box, but the system's price is high.


    • Category-topping storage capacity
    • Great array of current and next-gen connections


    • Price is high for the system’s performance
    • Less-than-pleasing chassis design
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