Xi MTower PCIe is housed in a compact, silver and black 17.2" x 8" x
19.2" (HxWxD) case with a clear side panel. It features oversized
ventilation fans to dissipate heat, though the system remains quiet.
On a small panel located near the top front of the case, you'll find
two USB 2.x connectors, a FireWire connector and plugs for both a
microphone and headphones. The system offers excellent expandability
with eleven drive bays: four 5.25" and two 3.5" externally
accessible bays and five more 3.5" bays located inside.
The Xi MTower PCIe features an Asus P5W DH Deluxe motherboard with a
single dual-core Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz microprocessor
installed, supported by the Intel P975X chipset. A total of 2GB of
DDR2 800MHz PC6200 RAM was installed, with total capacity of 8GB
when the motherboard is fully populated. As with all workstations
from @Xi Computer, the Xi MTower PCIe system can be configured with
a broad range of options to fit specific wants and needs.
The test system came with an NVIDIA Quadro FX 3500 graphics card
with 256MB of onboard memory. For the benchmark tests, I used the
preinstalled v.220.127.116.11 driver along with NVIDIA MAXtreme 8.00.03 for
the Autodesk 3ds Max component.
Xi MTower PCIe system sailed through the benchmark tests easily,
posting an excellent total index score of 242 on the Cadalyst Labs
C2006 benchmark running under AutoCAD 2005 with Service Pack 1
installed. Although this isn't the highest C2006 benchmark score in
this roundup, it's still exceptional. The MAXBench 4 tests with
Autodesk 3ds Max 8 using Service Pack 3 produced an averaged
high/low score of 97.24 using only the default graphics drivers and
207.64 when I switched to the MAXtreme 8.00.03 accelerated drivers.
The Xi MTower PCIe's good
performance, combined with its attractive price, earned top
honors in this group of dual-core processor workstations.
The final component of our benchmark series is the ProE-04 viewset
of SPEC ViewPerf 9, which generated a weighted geometric mean score
of 39.56. These performance numbers earned the Xi MTower PCIe system
an A for performance. Additional A grades were awarded for warranty,
expandability and return options.
Although the Xi MTower PCIe system
didn't register the highest benchmark scores in this review, the
performance was top notch—and the system price was slightly more
than half that of the speediest system. Combined with excellent
expandability, good warranty coverage and high-quality components,
this system was the only one in this roundup to earn the Cadalyst
Labs Highly Recommended rating.
As delivered, the Xi MTower PCIe system carries a price of $3,979,
which includes a three-year warranty for parts and labor and one
year of onsite service coverage. This price, the lowest of any
workstation in this roundup, earned the MTower PCIe an A+. The
MTower PCIe system is covered by a 30-day money back guarantee with
no restocking fee. Highly Recommended.