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Source: http://www.engineering.com/DesignSoftware/DesignSoftwareArticles/ArticleID/12007/Xi-Sets-High-Benchmark-for-Mobile-Computing.aspx

Review: Xi Sets High Benchmark for Mobile Computing
By Alexander Murray | ENGINEERING.COM | May 04, 2016

As mobile computing continues its pervasive adoption at home, the office and faraway places, both system versatility and affordability stand at the forefront of necessities that a user craves when choosing a new workstation. However, high-cost add-on components, coupled with inferior technology configurations, are the potential characteristics inherited from unreliable brands. Thankfully, Xi Computer Corporation delivers an intense portable computing experience with its PowerGo XT notebook, a high-quality mobile workstation built for performance, but at an affordable cost.

The Xi PowerGo XT conforms to what would typically be found in a premium desktop workstation, yet it comes bundled as a mobile notebook with dependable internal features and capabilities that satisfy the productivity needs of any CAD designer, gamer or 3D animator.

 
The XiPowerGo XT. (Image courtesy of Xi Computer.)

The XiPowerGo XT. (Image courtesy of Xi Computer.)

 

Inside the Xi PowerGo XT Notebook

A few months ago, I had the privilege of reviewing an advanced PowerGo XT model with all the bells and whistles and a Quadro M3000M GPU that was definitely tailored for extreme professional computing. The experience was eye opening and the system’s performance soared well beyond what I was expecting from a mobile workstation. Now I will be reviewing another PowerGo XT notebook model that is more scaled back than the previous one, but still highend in configuration with a Quadro M1000M GPU. The stability and speed of this PowerGo XT mobile configuration is fit for professional design and performance tasks. While the system’s hardware configuration is not as extreme as the previously reviewed model, it still packs a punch and earns a place among the power hitters in professional notebooks.

Most of the hardware components in this PowerGo XT are included with the base model, with the exception of the quad Intel Core i7-6700 desktop processor with Turbo Boost and a 250-GB Samsung solid-state drive, which requires a minimal add-on cost. Nonetheless, I found that the base configuration had everything a user would need and was reliable and powerful enough to manage demanding design tasks, as well as other rigorous computing operations. Microsoft Windows 10 comes preinstalled in the PowerGo XT, along with 8 GB of RAM and an NVIDIA QuadroM1000M 2-GB GDDR5 VRAM GPU. The notebook also features a sufficient 15.6-in screen. Since it is a full HD LED display, it pairs fairly well with the graphics card and processing capabilities.

The viewing quality was great when creating 3D part models in SOLIDWORKS and the processing capacity provided a great user experience when toggling back and forth between design part modeling and assembly windows. Also, accessing large design files and rendering, which sometimes take forever in an unstable computing environment, were effortlessly handled on this configuration. I must also add that, since I am a fan of streaming music videos via the web while working, testing the systems limits of running online media during memory-intensive design operations was high on my list. Needless to say, multitasking work and Internet streaming occurred without a hitch. I also noticed that the notebook turned on very quickly. There is nothing worse than having to wait several minutes while your workstation comes on. This was not a problem with this power player.

Moreover, one of the coolest features of this Xi PowerGo XT is the full-size, illuminated keyboard with numeric keypad. The colorful backlight eases the visibility of the keys, especially when working in low-light settings. Additionally, a large built-in, multi-touch trackpad comes standard for enhanced navigation when a mouse isn’t connected.

Now, some may be opposed to the sleek yet robust external body and weight of Xi’s PowerGo XT. Yes, I understand—we don’t like carrying anything heavier than our wallet these days. But come on, when your notebook is configured for speed and packed with high-end hardware, the 7.6-lb weight of this model is understandable.

As an added bonus, a full high-definition video camera is onboard and can be used for multiple tasks, such as video calls and recording. This is a great feature to have for video conferencing, as I was able to use it successfully when connecting to a friend who was traveling. The video quality and stability of the technology proved to be useful. Also, since I enjoy listening to music while I work, the internal audio provided a premium sound as the background to my creative time. Finally, there are also multiple ports to choose from, including:

  • Three USB 3.0 connectors
  • Headphone and microphone inputs
  • Multi-memory SD card reader slot
  • HDMI input
  • Two rear Display Ports (for optional dual monitors)

Pricing

The as-reviewed configuration of the PowerGo XT is packed with everything one would need to be both creative and productive while in the office or on the go. It is also competitively priced at $1,699 for the base configuration, rising to $1,877 with the updated Intel Core i7-6700 processor and Samsung solid-state drive that is included. A three-year labor warranty is also included. See the detailed options below.

PART#

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

00031

Xi PowerGo XT (Base Configuration)

$1,699.00

01043

Intel Core i7-6700 3.4/4.0GHz-1C Turbo Boost 8MB Shared L3 Cache DMI 2.0 Quad-Core 6th gen. 14nm w/Artic Silver 5 Thermal Compound

$99.00

02337

8GB DDR4 @2133MHz SO-DIMM

Incl. w/base

04577

NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 2GB GDDR5 VRAM Maxwell architecture GPU

Incl. w/base

05203

15.6-in 1920x1080 Full-HD LED backlit matte type display

Incl. w/base

03183

250GB Samsung solid-state drive 850 EVO SATA 6GB/s 540/520MB/s Seq.R/W <0.3ms seek shock resistant 1500G.

$79.00

06067

No internal optical drive bay available for this model

Incl. w/base

41031

No optical drive selected

Incl. w/base

10001

No external speakers option

Incl. w/base

12100

Built-in gigabit ethernet LAN and Intel dual-band wireless-AC 3165 WiFi + Bluetooth module Ver. M.2

Incl. w/base

13029

Built-in backlit full-size keyboard with numeric keypad

Incl. w/base

14019

Built-in multi-touch trackpadpointing device (for CAD use a cordless mouse is highly recommended)

Incl. w/base

16117

Genuine Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit fully installed, configured and updated, includes original DVD media and COA (subject to drivers support availability on some devices/features)

Incl. w/base

35025

Mouse pad andbalsa glider with Xi logo (assorted, design may vary)

Incl. w/base

35027

McAfee Antivirus Plus for Windows—one-year subscription—McAfee registration code provided for download andinstallation

Incl. w/base

18001

Standard Xi warranty with express advance parts replacement, lifetime tech support, three-year labor FOB Xi, one-year on system parts. Manufacturer warranty on software, monitors and external accessories.(Freight paid both ways for parts only inside U.S. and CA.)

Incl. w/base

47002

NEMA 5-15P to C13 wall plug, 125 volt, 16AWG, 5 feet. Standard computer AC U.S.power cord or other major countries’ standard power cord (AU/CH/DE/FR/IT/NZ/UK)

Incl. w/base

47008

Integrated 2.0M FHD video camera—perfect for video calls, instant messaging and more

Incl. w/base

47009

Integrated fingerprint reader—biometric reader and multiple features with the touch of your finger

Incl. w/base

47010

Full-range 230W AC adapter AC-in 100~240V, 50~60Hz, DC output 19.5V, 11.8A for Xi PowerGo XT

Incl. w/base

47011

Removable 8-cell smart lithium-ion battery pack 82WH for Xi PowerGo XT

Incl. w/base

47020

Intel Inside brand processor label affixed to the new PC

Incl. w/base

47021

Certificate of authenticity (COA) label for the preinstalled Microsoft Windows OS purchased with your new laptop. The Windows Product key sticker is affixed to the bottom of the laptop or in the battery compartment if applicable.

Incl. w/base

47026

Integrated I/O ports included on the Xi PowerGo XT: 1xDC-in jack, 1xRJ-45 LAN, 1xHDMI 1.4a, 2xDP 1.2, 3xUSB 3.0, 1xUSB 3.1/Thunderbolt-3 combo, 1xeSATA USB powered, headphone, microphone and S/PDIF jacks, K-Lock and 6-in-1 SD card reader slot

Incl. w/base

Exceptional Graphics

The graphical capacity of the reviewed PowerGo XT features an NVIDIA QuadroM1000M GPU, which performed significantly well. As a mid-range graphics card, the M1000M, pairs well with the 15.6-in notebook display and is enhanced with 3D Vision Pro technology. During my last review, I test drove the NVIDIA Quadro M3000M 4GB graphics card that was onboard the PowerGo XT notebook. The graphical performance was amazing, but it came at premium cost. However, the Quadro M1000M coupled with the processing speed and power of the Intel Core i7-6700 is stable and did not slow down my production. This is often a concern of mine, when running 3D applications such as SOLIDWORKS or Autodesk Inventor, but in this instance, I was satisfied.
SOLIDWORKS part created on the XiPowerGo XT. (Image courtesy of the author.)

SOLIDWORKS part created on the Xi PowerGo XT. (Image courtesy of the author.)

 

Benchmarking the PowerGo XT Notebook

In order to test the computational functionalityo"hmarks, including Cinebench, SPECviewperf and PassMark.

The Cinebench benchmark tests the efficiency of the CPU processing power, as well as graphics card performance. For the CPU, Cinebench measures the system’s multi-threaded processing power by rendering a complex 3D scene, and it also uses other scenes overlaid with multiple lighting, transparency and bump map effects to test the graphical performance in OpenGL mode.

As illustrated below, the OpenGL returned a score of 105.09 frames per second (fps) and 808 points for the CPU when leveraging the Quadro M1000M graphics card, along with an Intel Corei7-6700 processor. For this benchmark, higher results indicate greater performance, but it must also be noted that variations within the test environment, such as room and/or processor temperature, could slightly influence the overall score.

I performed this test after a few hours of design operations and rendering routines, which can definitely push the limits of any system. Nonetheless, the stability of this PowerGo XT was never compromised and, after operating for many hours, did not negatively affect any of my attempted tasks.

A score of this magnitude could have never been achieved on my personal multi-purpose HP Pavilion, which I often travel with and work on. When comparing my laptop with the reviewed Xi PowerGo XT notebook, the results of my HP are nothing less than embarrassing. It also shows the power of a true CAD workstation in comparison to an everyday laptop. I would say that it’s definitely time for me to trade up.


Xi PowerGo XTnotebook

HP Pavilion laptop

Figure 2. Cinebench benchmarking.

The SPECviewperf benchmark was created to test the graphical performance of the workstation for a variety of professional applications. The higher composite scores within each category reveal how each of the listed applications will perform in various conditions. Scores from a comparable notebook, the Dell Precision M3800, available on the SPECviewperf 12 site are shown for reference. These figures, along with others, can be found on the SPECviewperf site. See the charts below.

SPECviewperf Benchmark
XiPowerGo XT
 
SPECviewperf Benchmark
Dell Precision M3800

SPECviewperf benchmarking.

The PassMark is another benchmark that was conducted to analyze your system’s speed with the processing speed of similar configurations. The test returned an overall metric of 4368.1 for the PowerGo XT, and the CPU within this system stands steady against the competition.
The PassMark is another benchmark that was conducted to analyze your system’s speed with the processing speed of similar configurations. The test returned an overall metric of 4368.1 for the PowerGo XT, and the CPU within this system stands steady against the competition.

 

PassMark benchmarking.

Conclusion

Once again, Xi steps up and sets another high benchmark for power, quality and performance. By showing that a workstation can demonstrate high performance and be reliable at an affordable price, Xiis smashing the competition. Even if some users prefer a more advanced graphics card for gaming purposes and are less than astonished with the Quadro M1000M card, it still doesn't negate the proven computing capabilities. The PowerGo XT notebook is not only a solid CAD workstation built for productivity, but it’s a proven high-end computing companion for any professional that demands stability and functionality while on the go.

For more information on the PowerGo XT notebook and to browse the full array of high-end workstations and other product offerings from Xi, please visit the products section of Xi Computer’s website.

I would also be interested in hearing about your mobile workstation experiences and preferences for hardware configuration when performing design and other computing tasks. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Xi Computer Corporation has sponsored this post. They have no editorial input. All opinions are mine. —Alexander Murray
 


 

 


 

 

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