ZT Affinity 7221Xa review: ZT Affinity 7221Xa

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.8
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 7.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Triple-core processor; 4GB memory; plenty of room for expansion; low price.

The Bad 32-bit Windows doesn't take advantage of all 4GB of RAM.

The Bottom Line The ZT Affinity 7221Xa is an inexpensive, relatively powerful computer. You definitely won't be gaming with the integrated graphics chip, but if you just need an inexpensive, no frills desktop for light photo editing and to run simple applications, the 7221Xa won't disappoint.

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The $600 ZT Affinity 7221Xa is the cheaper sibling of the recently reviewed ZT Affinity 7225Xi-35. Its fixed configuration includes most of what we expect to find in a system in this price range. Like the 7225Xi-35, the 7221Xa is geared toward those who need a simple desktop with basic functionality, and we recommend this setup for light to moderate users that need a desktop in the home.

The exterior of the 7221Xa is identical to the ZT Affinity 7225Xi-35. The top drive slot contains the dual-layer burner for copying DVDs and the bottom slot is ready to accept another optical drive, should you choose to expand in the future. Below the two drive slots, you'll find a media bay with ports for Memory Stick, CompactFlash/Microdrive, SmartMedia, and SD/MMC cards.

The inside of the tower is very minimalist, with a few extra hard drive bays, a video card slot, and an extra PCI expansion card slot. You get a total of four slots for RAM, two of which are taken by two 2GB dual in-line memory modules. We were surprised to see four memory slots inside the 7221Xa, since the 7225Xi-35, a more expensive and supposedly more robust system, only has two, but we're happy that this desktop gives you more expansion flexibility.

  ZT Affinity 7221Xa Gateway GT5674
Price $599 $649
CPU 2.1GHz AMD Phenom X3 8450 2.2GHz AMD Phenom 9500
Memory 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM 3GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics ATI Radeon HD 3200 128MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 6150SE
Hard Drive 500GB, 7,200rpm 500GB, 7,200rpm
Optical Drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit) Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit)

Compared with the Gateway GT5674, the 7221Xa is a fair deal. The extra gigabyte of memory in the ZT is offset by the Gateway's higher-end processor, but the difference in speed is negligible, so the $50 price difference makes the ZT a better overall deal. Gateway has

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
ZT Affinity 7221Xa
190 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
ZT Affinity 7221Xa
189 

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
ZT Affinity 7221Xa
762 

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Where to Buy

ZT Affinity 7221Xa

Part Number: 7221Xa

This product is available directly from the manufacturer's Web site.

About The Author

Justin Yu covers headphones and peripherals for CNET. When he's not wading through Web gulch or challenging colleagues to typing tests, you can find him making fun of technology with Jeff Bakalar every afternoon on The 404 show.