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Xi  AMD-Powered Workstation
December 2000, p. 52, by Ron LaFon and 
Art Liddle




Xi 1100K MTower SP
Star rating: 5 stars out of 5

Xi’s 1100K MTower SP is based on a 1.1GHz Athlon Thunderbird processor.

Xi 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 disk.

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 only $2,995—(check current price) that’s a lot of bang for the bucks. Highly Recommended. — R.L.

This review first appeared in the December 2000 CADALYST Magazine

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