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The Polywell Mini Qbox 845-3000 is proof positive that you don't need to sacrifice power or features for a small form factor. Contrary to its appearance, the Qbox--with its 3.06GHz Pentium 4 processor, 1GB of 333MHz DDR memory, 120GB hard drive, and 128MB ATI All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro graphics card--is no lightweight PC.
Weighing just more than 15 pounds and measuring 9.5 by 8.3 by 12 inches, the Qbox is the perfect LAN-party companion. Its Plexiglas case has a handle on top that makes it easy to tote, and its All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro card can accommodate any of today's games. The Qbox did well on our 3D-graphics benchmarks, too, scoring 14,962 on 3DMark2001 SE Pro and cranking out 262.5 frames per second on Quake III Arena. With a 307 SysMark2002 rating, its application scores were equally impressive.
Gamers aren't the only ones who will appreciate the Qbox's many talents. Couch potatoes can make use of its TV input and take advantage of TiVo-like functions, such as pausing and recording live television--all courtesy of the included ATI remote control. The CNET Editors' Choice-winning Sony DRU-500A recordable-DVD drive lets you play and record your own movies using DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, and DVD-RW media. The system also includes a wireless Microsoft keyboard and mouse, which go a long way toward heightening the Qbox's living-room appeal, as does the bundled Creative Labs Inspire 5.1 5200 speaker set.
With its small size, you find limited internal expansion space--a single PCI slot, to be exact--but there's certainly no shortage of ports. The front panel offers analog audio connectors, as well as a digital audio out (S/PDIF), two USB 2.0 ports, and a FireWire port. Polywell even found room for a front-mounted six-in-one media-card reader. On the back, there are dual USB 2.0 and FireWire ports, another digital audio connection, S-Video and video-out ports, and two serial ports. You can hook up the Qbox to your television or choose a PC monitor from Polywell, such as the 17-inch Hansol H750 flat panel that accompanied our test system.
The Qbox's software bundle contains many useful mulitmedia apps, including ArcSoft ShowBiz, Pinnacle Studio 8.0, Sonic MyDVD, and Veritas RecordNow. Less useful is Lotus SmartSuite Millennium Edition 9.7, a program so old that IBM no longer supports it.
Polywell pads the diminutive Qbox with a sizable warranty, covering parts for three years and labor for five. Onsite service doesn't come standard, but you do receive a year of 24/7 toll-free phone support.
|Application performance (Longer bars indicate better performance)|
|3D graphics performance (Longer bars indicate better performance)|
|3D gaming performance in fps (Longer bars indicate better performance)|