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1 Nov, 2005 By: Ron LaFon

Original URL: http://www.cadalyst.com/hardware/cadalyst-labs-review-need-speed-8835

Xi MTower 2P64

@Xi Computer
Cadalyst Labs Grade: A
Price: $5,589

Housed in a matte-black version of @Xi Computer's standard MTower case, the MTower 2P64 workstation is built around an ASUS K8N-DL motherboard that arrived with two AMD Opteron 254 2.8GHz microprocessors installed. The motherboard uses the NVIDIA NForce Pro chipset. Also included was 2GB of DDR 400 REG ECC RAM, out of a possible 24GB that can be installed in the system. The MTower case features a removable side panel with a large, transparent Plexiglas window. A drop-down panel below the drive bays provides access to USB and FireWire connectors. The drive bay is protected by a lockable swing-away cover. The workstation offers ten USB 2.0x connectors, split between the front and back.

@Xi's MTower 2P64 workstation came away with the best scores of all the systems tested here.
@Xi's MTower 2P64 workstation came away with the best scores of all the systems tested here.


The system noise level is relatively low. As with the other systems that incorporate the NVIDIA FX 4500 graphics card, that card's cooling fan generates much of the distinguishable noise. The system also came with a Western Digital 160GB SATA II 7200rpm hard disk, a Sony DVD-R/W DW-28A double-media 4.7/8.5GB optical drive, a Logitech Optical Mouse and a Logitech keyboard.

The @Xi Computer MTower 2P64 posted the highest scores on all of our benchmark tests. It generated a total index score of 182.67 on the Cadalyst Labs C2001 benchmark test. The averaged high/low score was 69.36 for MAXBench4 with 3ds max 7 with the default NVIDIA v7.7.7.7 driver set for 3ds max. Using NVIDIA's MAXtreme accelerated driver boosted the score to an even 160. On the SPECviewperf 8.1 proe-03 benchmark, the MTower 2P64 scored 74.94. These consistently high scores earned the Xi Computer MTower 2P64 system an A+ for performance.

The @Xi Computer MTower 2P64 is built with system expansion in mind, with four 5.25" and two 3.5" externally accessible drive bays, and another five 3.5" internal drive bays. A 550W Enermax power supply ensures plenty of room for growth.

The warranty covers 36 months for parts and labor, with 12 months of onsite coverage. Additional coverage options are available. The @Xi Computer return policy is a 30-day money-back guarantee, with no restocking fee.

Pricing for the MTower 2P64 workstation as equipped for this review is $5,589, placing it near the midpoint for systems in this roundup. Extensive configuration options are available, so how you choose to equip the system affects your price.

With its zippy performance, extensive expandability options, high-quality components and good warranty coverage, the Xi MTower 2P64 workstation is a real workhorse that earned the Cadalyst Labs Highly Recommended rating. The consistent high performance and quality of systems from @Xi Computer bespeaks a lot of experience and expertise in building workstations for the CAD and engineering market. Highly Recommended.

Editors' Choice Awards - CNET