Computer has long produced a line of fast and economical computer systems
that are deservedly popular among CAD users. This latest iteration, the Xi
1100K MTower SP, is based on the Athlon 1.1GHz Thunderbird processor and is
sure to prove a popular addition to Xi’s line.
The 1100K MTower SP is housed in a compact, stylish, easy-to-open case
with a sliding side panel for easy access. The system we received had a
translucent orange insert on the front panel of the system, and other
colors are available. While this system is based on the Athlon 1.1GHz
Thunderbird processor and gains speed from its full-speed internal cache,
the most remarkable source of the speed it showed in our tests is the
inclusion of the FireGL 2 graphics card and the speedy IBM ATA-100 hard
Among the video drivers included with the FireGL 2 is MAX-imum
v1.2.2030, an accelerated driver for 3D Studio MAX. We ran the MAX
benchmarks with the standard MAX driver, then again with the MAXimum driver
installed. The accelerated driver for MAX produced significantly better
scores than the default video driver.
The 1100K MTower SP we tested included a Logitech Internet keyboard and
a Microsoft Intellimouse. Though we didn’t require them for this review,
the system price as given includes a set of Altec Lansing ACS21 speakers.
Audio is integrated into the motherboard, as is a NetGear FA 310TX 10/100
network card. As an interesting sign of the times, Xi notes that most
systems ship without modems—its customers generally want to access the
Internet via DSL or cable modems via the network interface card.
The Xi 1100K MTower SP offers lots of performance for a relatively
modest price, with many options available for those putting a system
together. All components are of very high quality, and the system offers
enough internal bays and slots for significant future expansion.
Considering this system’s combined weighted index score and that it costs
hundreds of dollars less than its closest competitor, the Xi 1100K MTower
SP has to rank as the best value in this review. Even including the
somewhat pricy FireGL 2 and the fast IBM ATA 100 hard disk, the Xi costs
current price) that’s a lot of bang for the bucks. Highly
Recommended. — R.L.