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WinBook PowerSpec 9262
WinBook is known more for its laptops, but with the PowerSpec 9262, the company shows that it also knows how to put together a serviceable desktop. For $1,839, WinBook gives you a potent system for day-to-day computing, but there's nothing overly compelling about this machine. We recommend it if you're looking for a ready-made basic desktop and don't mind a bland appearance. It could be worse--at least the case isn't beige.
The PowerSpec 9262 packs Intel's 3.4GHz Pentium 550 and pairs it with a full 1GB of 400MHz DDR SDRAM memory. Thanks to the Intel 915P chipset and its PCI Express slot, the PowerSpec 9262 also comes with a standalone 128MB GeForce PCX 5300 graphics card--Nvidia's budget card for the next-generation PCI Express interface. With a powerful Intel processor, ample memory, and a new yet affordable graphics card, the fixed-configuration PowerSpec 9262 is fast enough for common business and household tasks, and it can even handle some low-to-medium-intensity 3D gaming.
The PowerSpec 9262 delivers better value than thewe recently reviewed, even when you factor in that the ClientPro's price includes a 19-inch LCD to the PowerSpec's CRT. Still, if you are looking for a task-oriented, high-end desktop--that is, a speedy PC without ranging into the luxurious gaming end of the market--we still think the is the pick for its overall value and BTX motherboard.
The PowerSpec 9262's unobtrusive 16.5-by-8.0-by-18.5-inch (HWD) black case fits into almost any environment. It won't win any design awards, but it won't offend, either. A pair of USB 2.0 ports mounted on the lower-front edge of the right-side panel comprise the only major external nod to modern PC conveniences. The usual legacy connections adorn the back as well, where youÂ’ll find four extra USB 2.0 ports but no FireWire input, a sad omission.
You remove the side panel by way of two Phillips screws and two side latches, although itÂ’s easier to take off than it is to put back on because it requires irritatingly precise alignment. Inside, there's ample room for expansion, with a spare 3.5-inch hard drive bay, a free front-accessible 3.5-inch bay, and an extra 5.25-inch bay, although because the power cable is bizarrely tethered to the drive cage, youÂ’ll have to cut the plastic cable binding loose to get to the latter bay. Card expansion includes three vacant PCI slots and two empty 1x PCI Express slots. You also have room to add two more memory sticks to the two already present.
Although the PowerSpec 9262 came to us bundled with a 17-inch Samsung SyncMaster 172W LCD monitor and a set of Altec Lansing Select 4100 4.1 speakers, you canÂ’t add those parts through the WinBook Web site. WinBookÂ’s strategy was to provide them to us from their sister company Micro Center Online, an online retailer. ThereÂ’s no reason, of course, why you canÂ’t add your own or shop at another vendor. The system itself costs $1,299 before adding a monitor or speakers.
The PowerSpec 9262Â’s single 250GB Serial ATA 7,200rpm hard drive will take a long time to fill up, and what you donÂ’t store on the drive you can offload to the double-layer, multiformat 16X DVD burner, which is complemented by a straight-up 16X DVD-ROM drive. And as stated above, the PowerSpec 9262 gives you enough power for worry-free basic computing. When we take a closer look at performance, we see that it stands up well when compared to similar systems.
A SysMark 2004 score of 200 places the WinBook PowerSpec 9262 dead in the middle of our comparison set, underlining, as we expected, the WinBookÂ’s satisfactory capabilities as a general performer. Gaming performance was less impressive, attributable to the low-end graphics card, PCI Express though it may be. Its Unreal Tournament 2003 result was at the bottom of the pack, although it turned in roughly 60 frames per second on the mainstream 1,024x768-resolution test, meaning that you can play some older 3D games if youÂ’re realistic about detail settings. As illustrated by the PowerSpec 9262Â’s inability to complete the Far Cry test, however, we donÂ’t recommend it for high-end gaming. Fortunately, the PCI Express slot gives you a gateway to better 3D performance, should you decide to upgrade the graphics card later.
In addition to running Microsoft Windows XP Professional, bundled software includes InterVideoÂ’s WinDVD package with Creator 2.0 for movie editing, Copy for disc duplication, and Recorder 5.0 for DVD movie watching and DVR software tasks. You also get the Nero 6.3 OEM Suite for CD-burning chores and trial copies of EarthLink and . Sorely missing is a productivity suite.
The PowerSpec 9262 is covered by a one-year parts-and-labor warranty that includes onsite service. Calls for hardware support are toll-free but limited to weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. The WinBook user Forum and the Microsoft Knowledge Base are the only support features available online from WinBookÂ’s Web site.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|BAPCo SysMark 2004 rating||SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation rating||SysMark 2004 office-productivity rating|
To measure application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark 2004, an industry-standard benchmark. Using off-the-shelf applications, SysMark measures a desktop's performance using office-productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and McAfee VirusScan) and Internet-content-creation applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver).