At a Glance
- Superior case with great features
- Nice keyboard and mouse
- Somewhat limited rear ports
- Bundled 19-inch LCD is on the small side
Cerise Computers has built of the nicest designed and largest capacity PCs we’ve tested.
Cerise’s Quad Core Workstation is one of the most impressive physical specimens to pass through the PC World Test Center in a long while. A long, tall Silverstone TJ10 tower, the Workstation’s case is done up handsomely in brushed metal, and it has more expansion and cooling features than you can shake a stick at. The only styling trick the company missed was finding a keyboard and mouse to match the brushed-metal color scheme (both input devices are black).
The most impressive temperature-reducing ploy in the Cerise’s arsenal is an intake tunnel in the middle of the chassis. Air is drawn from both sides of the box by a large interior fan to circulate over the Intel D975XBX2 motherboard, the 4GB of 800-MHz DDR2 memory, the Intel Q6700 Core 2 Quad CPU, and the graphics card. My only nitpick in this area is that I’d like a bit better airflow over the five 500GB Seagate ST3500320NS hard drives in the system’s 6-bay drive subassembly. They didn’t run particularly hot, but I’m extremely fussy about hard-drive heat.
These hard drives were configured for maximum speed in handling large data files, with four of the drives combined into a redundant, performance-enhancing, 1.4GB RAID 5 array using a discrete RocketRaid 3510 controller, and the fifth hosting the operating system and applications. Alas, WorldBench 6 tests only primary storage (the OS partition), so dropping one of the drives from the RAID 5 array to form a RAID 0 primary array would probably have improved the system’s unspectacular 113 Worldbench score considerably. This trick would not, however, have helped the Quad Core Workstation’s 40 to 60 frames per second gaming scores, which were the responsibility of the aging GeForce 8600GT graphics card. Then again, this isn’t a gaming system.
At this price ($3629, as of August 8, 2008), I’d have liked a monitor that’s a bit larger than the bundled 19-inch Samsung SyncMaster 953BW. The picture is wide, crisp, and vivid, but when I hear the word “workstation,” I automatically think large display; you can’t have enough screen real estate when it comes to computer-aided design or video and music editing work. I have no such complaints about the Microsoft Comfort keyboard and mouse. Both are, well, comfortable.
The Cerise Quad Core Workstation is, in short, an impressive system. If it seems pricey, consider that a similarly configured Dell workstation using a software RAID solution costs about the same. However, you might want to opt for a larger monitor.
–Jon L. Jacobi