PCs have come a long way from the traditional beige tower. Many now include novelty add-ons such as LED fans, chrome-plated components, cathode lights and tempered glass designer cases for chic looks. There is also an increasing call for high-performance systems built for digital rendering and high-end graphics projects, and many of these systems are being powered by Advanced Micro Devices' 64-bit architecture.
The AMD Athlon64 is the engine most users and system builders are incorporating into their souped-up systems for raw computing power. The integrated memory controller and overall efficiency of the architecture result in a lightning fast processor capable of high performance, which removes I/O bottlenecks, increases bandwidth and reduces system latency.
|VINCENT A. RANDAZZESE
Assistant Technical Editor
CRN Test Center engineers recently evaluated Polywell Computer's AMD Athlon64 FX-53 PC with GeForce 6800 Graphics. If buyers can recover from the sticker shock of the PC's $2,950 price tag, this is the PC to buy for power.
The system comes equipped with AMD's new Athlon 64-FX53 2.4GHz processor, which combines an integrated 128-bit memory controller with a HyperTransport link. HyperTransport technology eases communication between chips and between the chips and the I/O chain. This process allows the memory controller to run at full processor speed. The CPU also offers 1 Mbyte of L2 cache and 128 Kbytes of L1 cache.
A processor with this architecture requires a motherboard that minimizes bottlenecks, and Polywell wisely chose an ASUS SK8N mainboard which has an 800MHz front-side bus. The mainboard is based on VIA's K8T800 chipset, which includes Hyper8 technology and enables full 16-bit/1.6GHz implementation of the HyperTransport bus for the AMD 64 platform. The mainboard also includes on-board RAID-0 or 1 ATA Controller, a 1394 Firewire Port and a 10/100-Mbit NIC connection.
The FX-53 includes Nvidia's GeForce 6800 Ultra 256M 8X AGP graphics card. The card is a huge step forward for graphics-card technology, offering twice the performance of the previous GeForce card. The GeForce 6800 graphics processing units (GPUs) deliver elegant graphics and superb effects for a rich visual experience.
The FX-53 runs Windows XP and offers a plethora of features: 1 Gbyte of 400MHz 512 MByte PC3200 ECC/Register DDRRAM, 2 Western Digital Serial ATA 74G 10K RPM hard-disk RAID-0 hard drives, wireless keyboard and mouse, 3-in-1 memory card reader drive, Sony 8x DVD+/-R/RW, 40x CD-R/RW and Creative's Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS sound card.
One side of the case is fitted with a sheet of tempered glass to showcase the system components. The interior is illuminated with blue neon lights.
The FX-53's graphics and sound capabilities, coupled with the system's speed and processing power, make it a perfect multimedia system.
Polywell has specialized in white-box reseller programs for over 15 years. The company provides co-op funding and marketing materials as well as sales leads. The vendor also provides one-on-one and group sales training. The average reseller margin is 20 percent.
Product: AMD Athlon64 FX-53 Gaming PC with GeForce 6800 Graphics
Authorization Requirements: None
Distributors: Able Computers, BMI, Colfax, Dynetics, Pertech, Quantum 3D, TIG, TRW
Warranty: 3 years parts, 5 years labor
Company: Polywell Computers
South San Francisco, Calif.
Note: Vendors can earn up to five stars for technical merit and five for their channel program. If the average of these two scores is four stars or greater, the product earns CRN Test Center Recommended status.