Best Price – Poweroid 7004 review

dual-Athlon monster
Photo of Best Price – Poweroid 7004
£2,129 + VAT

Most PCs come with one processor, one hard drive and one CD or DVD drive, but Best Price has decided to double up in all three places in this admittedly pricey PC. As a result, the machine could be used as a top-end graphics server, perhaps for video-editing work, or as a small network server. Whichever way it’s used, it’s an interesting system, showing what can now be done with a couple of Athlon processors.

It’s not long since AMD launched a multi-processor version of its best-selling chip and the Poweroid 7004 uses two 1.4GHz devices in a full-height tower case, leaving plenty of room for expansion and cooling. They’re equipped with 512MB of 266MHz DDR memory, which gives them a powerful kick, and Best Price uses a GeForce3 graphics adapter from Leadtek to run its 19-inch Trinitron-screened Iiyama monitor.

This is a very strong specification and when you add in twin 30GB hard drives, striped in a RAID 0 array for faster data throughput, you have a very fast PC. There’s a 16-speed DVD and a 16x10x40 BURN-proof CD-RW in the spec, too.

The Poweroid 7004 produced a SYSmark of 269, which is faster than anything else this reviewer has yet tested, though there wasn’t a lot of difference when the tests were repeated with one of the processors removed. Most of the applications in this real-world test suite won’t benefit from the twin processors, which have to run under the supplied Windows 2000 or Windows NT to show any benefit. Using Photoshop to give the twin chips a chance (it is supposed to be multi-processor aware) showed the single chip solution to be a whisker faster – could it be that Adobe has yet to optimise the code for AMD as well as Intel multi-chip designs?

One point to bear in mind about the five year warranty included with the system – all back to base and the final four years labour only – is that Best Price follows a sealed warranty policy. If you open the case, you lose your cover. This makes a bit of a mockery of the 12 drive bays in the case, since you’d have to return the system to Best Price in order to install any new devices.

Assuming you can live with this restriction, or are prepared to look after the machine yourself, this is a fast, well-made PC for somebody who really wants to ‘push the envelope’, as they say. Make sure, though, that the applications you want to run on it make full use of the twin processors, and twin Athlon processors in particular. Many don’t.

Company: Best Price

Contact: 0870 220 0444

Best Price specialises in building high-spec PCs and this must be one of the highest the company builds regularly. With its twin Athlons, dual hard drive RAID and paired DVD and CD-RW drives, it has all the elements necessary for a very fast desktop machine or as the core of a small network.