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New Trends Polywell MiniBox X5800x-3D

High Technology Product Reviews |Trends and news | New Trends Polywell MiniBox X5800x-3D
The Polywell MiniBox X5800x-3D ($2,099 street, $2,499 with 23-inch monitor) is a jack-of-all-trades desktop PC: It can be used for gaming, multimedia tasks, movie watching, and it's tagged with the latest of buzzwords, 3D. It has Intel's quad-core i7-930 CPU, Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 graphics, Blu-ray, and a very spacious hard drive. While it's a little pricey for a game box, nomadic gamers should look at this system for use at home and at LAN parties. specialized Otherwise you should look at alternative systems to save money or consider something with more expandability.

Specifications
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Type
Gaming, Mainstream, Digital Entertainment System
Processor Family
Intel Core i7
RAM
6 GB
Storage Capacity (as Tested)
2000 GB
RAID
No
Graphics Card
nVidia GeForce GTX 480
Primary Optical Drive
Blu-Ray Disc
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
Design and Features
At 9.12 by 7.12 by 9.25-inch (HWD), the X5800x-3D is compact compared with a tower, but still big when compared with a true SFF (small form factor) desktop like the HP Z200 ($2,496 direct, 3 stars). That little extra girth gives the X5800x-3D the room for two graphics cards, along with the other high-powered accoutrements like cooling for the high-end Core i7 CPU, 2TB hard drive, Blu-ray player, and 600W internal power supply. The exterior is a subdued black and silver-grey. The side window gives you an opportunity to show off your latest graphics card, but it's not a flashy gaming rig by any means. The one thing it has over the mega towers is a modicum of portability: A front-mounted handle gives you a way to pull the system off your desk and into a large bag. Essentially, the design works, as it's a semi-portable gaming rig that you can bring to your friends' house or to gaming events.

Since internal expansion is at a premium, it's fitting that the MiniBox has a plethora of external connectors. Nine USB 2.0 ports, SPDIF, and an eSATA port are the highlights along with the usual Ethernet, DVI, and analog audio. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 card sports two DVI ports and a mini-HDMI port, though I would've been happier with a full-sized HDMI port in its place (the system comes with a mini-HDMI to HDMI adapter). Regardless, you can rock up to three external 1,920 by 1,080 monitors. Polywell included a 23-inch Acer monitor with 3D capability, and it worked well with the GTX 470's Nvidia 3D Vision capabilities. The included Blu-ray player and PowerDVD software lets you watch 3D movies. As with other 3D Vision PCs, you will need Nvidia's active shutter glasses and USB dongle to get the 3D effects (it was packed in for the system's $2,099 price point, along with a set of Creative labs 5.1 surround speakers).
High Technology Product Reviews |Trends and news | New Trends Polywell MiniBox X5800x-3D
The 2TB drive is mounted in a removable cartridge, which is great for physical security or if you're the type that likes to have different versions of your C: drive depending on which game you're playing. As some people have less trouble if they play certain games in Windows XP rather than Windows Vista or Windows 7. The system is well-equipped, though full towers like the Acer Aspire Predator AG7750-U2222 ($1,999.99 list, 4 stars) will afford you more features for the same amount of money.

Performance
The Polywell MiniBox X5800x-3D certainly can get you on the game grid: It was rock solid running our Crysis test at our medium setting (85 frames per second) and Lost Planet 2 test at the middle setting (82 fps). It was less steady at the higher settings on both tests, scoring 20 fps on Crysis and 29 fps on Lost Planet 2, but to play these tests smoothly you'd need a higher powered graphics card or a second GTX 470. The MiniBox was just behind the class-leading Acer Predator at the multimedia tests (2 minutes 5 seconds Handbrake, 4:07 Photoshop CS5), making the MiniBox a great semi-portable graphics workstation. It also was top at the PCMark Vantage test (9,624), which measures how fast a system can run day-to-day tasks. The X5800x-3D's top marks are muted a little, because the $1,099 Cyberpower Gamer Dragon is close to the X5800x-3D on most tests (Crysis at medium is an exception).

Compared to the Editors' Choice Acer Predator, the MiniBox comes across as a competent competitor on the game grid, but overpriced. The Predator has many more connectors, Triple-SLI capabilities, double the system memory, and easier upgradability. The MiniBox's strengths are its Blu-ray player, surround speakers, and 3D Vision package. So the Predator is a better expandable game rig, while the MiniBox is a better a multimedia package. All in all, the MiniBox isn't bad for the tech-hungry nomadic gamer, but more pedestrian users can do just as well on most games and multimedia tasks by buying another system for a lot less money.

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