Xi Computer Corp.
850MHz Dream Machines
rival again beats the chip giant to the punch with an 850MHz chip.
By Ken Feinstein
850MHz Athlon Workstation
Xi MTower (AMD Athlon 850 MHz)
Not a month goes by without a new leader in CPU speed, and AMD's 850-MHz
Athlon is the current king of the hill. In its MTower Athlon SP, Xi
Computer deftly combines this powerhouse CPU with high-end graphics and
sound, resulting in a machine that's sure to satisfy the technolust dreams
of even the most hard-core gamer.
The MTower's $2,799 price proves that power doesn't come cheap, but at
least the Xi gives you a lot for your money. In addition to its 850-MHz
Athlon CPU, the system features 128MB of SDRAM and a 20.5GB, 7,200-rpm
hard drive. On CNET Labs' tests,
these components worked together to deliver the most outstanding business
performance we've seen in a Windows-based computer.
Though its business-application speed was incredible, this system's
game performance blew us away. The Hercules 3D Prophet graphics card,
featuring Nvidia's GeForce 256 chip and 32MB of high-end DDR memory,
helped the Xi deliver an absolutely amazing 70.5 frames per second (fps)
in Quake III at 1,024 by 768 pixels with 32-bit color. That's almost 10
fps faster than Xi's Editors' Choice-winning 800-MHz
Games looked excellent on the Optiquest Q95 19-inch monitor (18-inch
viewable), which displayed rich and vibrant colors. We were also impressed
by its sharp display of text; even at 1,600 by 1,200 resolution,
characters were crisp and readable. An 8X DVD-ROM drive provided clear,
artifact-free software playback of movies. Gamers will also appreciate the
Sound Blaster Live Value PCI sound card, which offers exceptional 3D audio
support, as well as a bevy of useful audio utilities.
In addition to its top-notch speed and multimedia features, the Xi
includes plenty of expansion and peripheral perks. Even the most
tech-savvy users are unlikely to want to upgrade the full-featured MTower,
but in case they do, the system's tool-free case opens very easily. The
bright-blue, molded plastic on the front provides a distinctive look for
those seeking a departure from boring beige. The solid Logitech Internet
Keyboard includes a slew of Internet-specific keys that we found slightly
difficult to press, but the Mouseman Wheel's hand-conforming shape offers
a smooth ride for work or play.
It's hard to find fault with Xi Computer's 850-MHz MTower. It promises
blazing performance, and it delivers. The only questions are whether
you're dedicated enough to pay the price for the absolute latest and
greatest--and whether you can wait the few weeks it will take for this
system to arrive. Although you can order the MTower 850 today, Xi won't be
able to ship it to you until the end of the month.
The Xi MTower
850 absolutely blew away all previous scores on CNET Labs'
business applications and games tests.
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For A In-Depth And Full Review - Absolute
Intel's arch rival
again beats the chip giant to the punch with an 850-MHz chip.
By Ken Feinstein
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