The austere, all-black case of Multivision’s new Ionix GL system is clean-cut and smart, while harbouring a couple of interesting innovations. Most impressive of these, particularly for those who like to work on their PCs to tweak performance, is the clever hinge which enables the entire system board and expansion cards to fold out for quick access. You don’t even have to undo the power or drive cables.
Then there’s the small, click-open flap at the side of the case’s front panel. This reveals two USB 2 sockets and a FireWire port, for quick connection of devices such as digital cameras, MP3 players or external drives.
So as not to disturb the look of the machine, the CD-RW and DVD drives have black fascias stuck to the ends of their trays, and there’s a 115GB hard drive for fast permanent storage. To make good use of this capacity, an AMD Athlon XP 2500+ processor with 512MB of main memory drives the system. This chip uses AMD’s new 130nm architecture, which runs cool and needs a clock speed of only 1.85GHz to achieve its performance rating.
Multivision’s Ionix GL uses a system board based on nVidia’s nForce2 chipset, which includes both graphics and sound circuitry. Multivision makes use of this six-channel sound output to run a set of Creative Inspire 5300 speakers, which give clear and well-defined sound for music, games and DVD movie soundtracks.
Sensibly, the company hasn’t relied on the nForce2 for graphics output, as it isn’t really up to the performance of the latest dedicated cards. Instead there’s an ATI Radeon 9500 adapter in the system, driving an impressive, 19-inch, flat-faced LG Flatron monitor, in silver and grey. This combination gives an excellent picture; sharp and precise with little noticeable distortion, even right into the corners of the tube.
The keyboard and mouse, both from Logitech, complete the system; the keyboard includes overprinting on some keys to help you remember Windows and Word keyboard shortcuts.
Under test, the Ionix GL performed well, with a SYSmark index of 220, showing its strength on both general office applications and more taxing creative graphics tasks. It also did well on the 3DMark benchmark, which tests its performance in 3D games and graphically-heavy leisure applications. The frame rates in the simulated games modules never dropped below 40 frames per second, so you should be able to run any game around today without trouble.
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