Very different to the other Athlon XP machines we’ve reviewed on this site, the Multivision Dual Athlon MP is, as its name suggests, a twin processor system that’s aimed squarely at CAD and video editing installations.
The Multivision PC uses two AMD Athlon XP 1800+ chips, both running at a core speed of 1533MHz, backed up by 1GB of DDR memory occupying all four of the Tyan Tiger MP motherboard’s DIMM slots. Each processor has its own cooling fan, while the case itself, a stylish and expensive Cooler Master unit that really looks the part, has an additional pair of fans to assist in the flow of air.
The reason for all this cooling power can be seen when the side of the case is removed. Inside there are numerous expansion cards and no fewer than three hard drives. Since all of these will generate significant quantities of heat, the cooling fans are a necessity, not a luxury.
Two of the hard drives are 18GB Fujitsu SCSI drives. These 10,000rpm Ultra160 units are attached in a RAID 0 array (giving a total of 36GB of fast, striped storage) to an Adaptec 2100S I2O PCI Ultra160 adapter. This card has an array of ‘Knight Rider’ like LEDs attached that report on the activity of the connected drives, although you’ll have to open the case in order to see them; they’re only for trouble-shooting use.
In addition to these drives, there’s an IBM Deskstar EIDE drive installed. This has a capacity of 61GB. The idea is that this larger drive is used for basic, volume storage while the RAID 0 drives are used to read and write data to and from applications.
Given the high processor power of this system, it has obvious potential to be used for CAD and video editing tasks. That impression is reinforced by the presence of a Pioneer DVR-103 DVD-R/RW drive that can be used to create DVD video media or to store large files such as CAD drawings. A DVD-ROM drive (model DVD-116), also from Pioneer, is also present. Both these drives are attached to the secondary IDE channel via space-saving and airflow-enhancing slimline cables.
The graphics card is an nVidia Quadro2 MXR/EX – a relatively basic card without even a heatsink or fan, because it’s designed for 2D output only, not 3D gaming. This card has a single D-Sub output that goes to a good quality 19-inch Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 920 CRT monitor.
Also in the system is a Microlink 56K PCI modem, a three-port FireWire card (which is a necessity for the connection of digital video devices) and a D-Link 10/100 PCI network adapter. A SoundBlaster AudioPCI card provides the sound output, connecting to a basic pair of speakers. The system has two serial ports and one parallel port plus two USB connectors at the rear and another two at front, behind a metal flap.
Windows 2000 Professional was installed on our review machine, along with various CD and DVD manipulation tools such as CyberLink PowerDVD, MGI VideoWave 4, VOB Instant CD+DVD and InterVideo WinDVD.
Contact: 0870 220 2822