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MPC Millennia 940i review: MPC Millennia 940i

The humble case makes MPC's Millennia 940i Dream Machine an understated performance desktop, but it's a little noisy.

John R. Delaney

See full bio
5 min read

In addition to its 3D gaming prowess, the Millennia 940i Dream Machine targets multimedia aficionados seeking maximum performance for handling those power-hungry video-editing applications. Powered by a 3.8GHz Intel Pentium 4 570, 1GB via two sticks of Crucial_Ballistix DDR2 533MHz memory, and Intel's 925XCV motherboard, the Millennia 940i Dream Machine is clearly built for speed. In fact, it sounds like a jet engine when you first start it up, a flaw we also noted in a recent review of MPCÂ’s ClientPro 565 system.

7.5

MPC Millennia 940i

The Good

Lots of storage space; top-of-the-line components; strong 3D performance.

The Bad

Expensive; noisy.

The Bottom Line

On the outside, MPC's Millennia 940i Dream Machine looks like a typical tower system, but under the hood, it's all about performance.
MPC Millennia 940i Dream Machine
You won't mistake MPC's Millennia 940i Dream Machine for a boutique gaming box. The plain-looking blue-and-gray tower lacks the flashy lights, the see-through side panel, and the custom paint job that have become standard equipment on many high-end systems. However, the $3,699 Millennia 940i is loaded on the inside and includes nearly everything you'll need for creating and editing multimedia projects, running business applications, and playing graphics-intensive 3D games. If you'd rather let your frag count speak for itself, the MPC's Millennia 940i Dream Machine is the inconspicuous powerhouse you've been looking for.

A 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra occupies the PCI Express (PCIe) x16 slot, while a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS and a FireWire card use up two standard PCI slots, leaving a single PCI and two x1 PCIe slots for future expansion; one additional PCI slot is blocked by the video cardÂ’s fan/heat-sink assembly. File storage is plentiful, thanks to dual 400GB SATA Hitachi Deskstar drives in a RAID 0 configuration and an additional SATA 250GB Deskstar set up as a primary drive. Optical drives include a very noisy 52X CD-RW drive and a multilayer/format DVD, giving you plenty of flexibility for media burning.

Two USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire port adorn the lower-front bezel, with four USB 2.0 and two FireWire ports around back. The lack of a multiformat memory-card reader is our only feature-related gripe with this otherwise robust configuration, but with its two free front-accessible 3.5-inch drive bays, the system could easily accept one. Our Millennia 940i Dream Machine shipped with an MPC 1925 19-inch LCD monitor, whose bright, crisp picture did justice to both DVD movies and Far Cry. While the included Creative Labs Inspire P7800 speaker system provides adequate 7.1-channel sound, these speakers are the weak link in a system loaded with top-shelf parts, as they tend to distort at higher volumes, and they lack the chops needed to fill a large area with a rich wall of sound. A Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop, which includes a wireless multimedia keyboard and a wireless optical scroll mouse, is a welcome addition, as is a bundled version of Pinnacle Studio 9.3 video-editing software. The Millennia 940i Dream Machine ships with Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 and also InterVideo's WinDVD 5.0 for watching DVDs, Nero's OEM Suite for CD burning, and a 90-day trial version of Norton AntiVirus 2005.

When it comes to performance, the Millennia 940i Dream Machine really shines. In our business-application tests, it kept pace with a similarly configured Falcon Northwest FragBox 2, trailing it by only a slim margin in our SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation and office-productivity benchmark tests. More impressive were the results from MillenniaÂ’s 3D gaming tests: it outscored the FragBox 2 on our Unreal Tournament 2003 tests at both 1,024x678 and 1,600x1,200 resolution settings, but it couldnÂ’t quite match the scores put up by a Velocity Micro ProMagix PCX system on our Far Cry tests.

MPC provides a three-year parts-and-labor warranty with the Millennia 940i Dream Machine, which includes onsite service and telephone support; for an additional $199, you can extend the warranty out to five years. Telephone support is available 24/7 via a toll-free number for the life of the warranty.

Application performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo SysMark 2004 rating  
SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation rating  
SysMark 2004 office-productivity rating  
Note: * Velocity Micro ProMagix PCX CPU and graphics card are overclocked

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).

3D gaming performance (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Unreal Tournament 2003 Flyby-Antalus 1,600x1,200 4xAA 8xAF  
Unreal Tournament 2003 Flyby-Antalus 1,024x768  
Note: * Velocity Micro ProMagix PCX CPU and graphics card are overclocked

To measure 3D gaming performance, CNET Labs uses Epic Games' Unreal Tournament 2003, widely used as an industry-standard benchmark. We use Unreal to measure a desktop's performance with the DirectX 8.0 (DX8) interface at a 32-bit color depth and at a resolution of 1,024x768 and 1,600x1,200. Antialiasing and anisotropic filtering are disabled during our 1,024x768 tests and are set to 4X and 8X, respectively, during our 1,600x1,200 tests. At this color depth and these resolutions, Unreal provides an excellent means of comparing the performance of low-end to high-end graphics subsystems. We report the results of Unreal's Flyby-Antalus test in frames per second (fps).

Far Cry Custom Demo Rebellion (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Far Cry 1,600x1,200 4xAA 8xAF  
Far Cry 1,024x768 4xAA 8xAF  
Note: * Velocity Micro ProMagix PCX CPU and graphics card are overclocked

For high-end gaming PCs, we've added UbiSoft Entertainment's Far Cry to our benchmark arsenal. Far Cry is a DirectX 9.0-based game that uses a number of advanced rendering techniques, all of which combine to produce some of the most realistic scenery and physics we've seen in a game title to date. As such, it is very demanding on a graphics subsystem and, therefore, an excellent tool for evaluating high-end PCs. In our tests, we run a custom demo on the Rebellion level and run it two times each at a 32-bit color depth and at resolutions of 1,024x768 and 1,600x1,200. Antialiasing and anisotropic filtering are set to 4X and 8X for both resolutions during our 1,600x1,200 tests. After installing the retail game, we patch it to version 1.1.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations

Falcon Northwest FragBox 2
Windows XP Professional SP2; 3.8GHz Intel P4 570; Intel 925X chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (PCIe); two Maxtor 6B300S0 300GB 7,200rpm, Serial ATA; integrated Intel 82801FR SATA RAID controller

Gateway 7200XL
Windows XP Home SP2; 3.6GHz Intel P4 560; Intel 915GSE chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB ATI Radeon X800XT (PCIe); WDC WD2500JD-22HBB0 250GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA

MPC Millennia 940i
Windows XP Professional SP2; 3.8GHz Intel P4 570; Intel 925X chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (PCIe); Hitachi HDS722525VLSA80 250GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA; two Hitachi HDS724040KLSA80 400GB Serial ATA 7,200rpm; integrated Intel 82801FR SATA RAID controller

Polywell Poly 939VF-FX53
Windows XP Professional; 2.4GHz AMD Athlon 64 FX-53; VIA K8T800 Pro chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce FX 5900XT (AGP); two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; integrated WinXP Promise FastTrak 579 controller

Velocity Micro ProMagix PCX
Windows XP Professional; 3.6GHz Intel P4 560; Intel 925X chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (PCIe) ; two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; Hitachi HDS724040KLSA80 400GB Serial ATA 7,200rpm; integrated Intel 82801FR SATA RAID controller

7.5

MPC Millennia 940i

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 8Performance 8Support 7