Xi 1800+ MTower SP

By PC World.com Staff

WHAT’S HOT: Xi Computer Corp. chose everything inside its MTower SP for speed, and the synergy of the high-end components pays off in spades. These leading-edge parts include a 1533-MHz Athlon CPU (known as an Athlon XP 1800+ using AMD’s new comparative naming system) with 512MB of 266-MHz DDR and Windows XP Home, and they propelled the MTower to a score of 120 on our PC World WorldBench 4 tests. It also comes with a total of 82GB of storage space on two hard drives connected to an IDE RAID card, so they provide an extra edge of performance over a single larger drive while appearing to the operating system as a single logical drive.

The peripherals in this package are cutting-edge too: Our test system came with Logitech Inc.’s wireless keyboard and mouse, plus Panasonic’s LF-D210 DVD-RAM drive, which can handle 4.7GB media and will make a nice fit for users that need to back up and archive large amounts of data. But remember that although DVD-RAM discs are useful for storing large amounts of data, they can’t be read by DVD-ROM drives or home DVD players.

WHAT’S NOT: Of course, there’s a catch to all of these cutting-edge components: this system costs just under US$3000. And with numerous cables from the RAID drives and the two front-mounted USB ports inside the case, reaching the two open PCI slots or three open external bays inside the midsize tower can be a bit troublesome.

WHAT ELSE: The stylish gray, black-and-white MTower looks sharp. Pinching two tabs was all it took to remove the slightly flexible plastic side panel required only pinching two tabs, but replacing the panel took a bit of maneuvering to get it into the right position. There are four USB ports: two at the rear and two on the front of the case for easy access.

Our MTower shipped with ViewSonic’s 19-inch G90F display, which came in at number seven on our Top 10 19-Inch Monitors chart. It produced vibrant colors in our image tests and sharp 8-point Arial font text that only blurred at the maximum 1600 by 1200 resolution. The software bundle includes business applications, such as Microsoft’s Office XP Small Business Edition and Quicken 2001.

Xi makes sure to include all of the paperwork for individual components as well as its own thick system manual. The latter covers three of Xi’s business lines, so much of the information is generic, but both the upgrading and troubleshooting sections are detailed and well organized.

UPSHOT: This powerful and feature-packed system offers it all, from speedy storage on the hard drives or DVD-RAM discs, but at a price that will discourage most.

Buying Information:

    Xi 1800+ MTower SPPC WorldBench 4 score of 120