CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

WinBook PowerSpec 9262 review: WinBook PowerSpec 9262

It's nothing fancy, but WinBook's PowerSpec 9262 brings solid utilitarian PC performance.

Bill O'Brien
6 min read
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.


WinBook PowerSpec 9262

The Good

Lots of hard drive storage; fast processor; double-layer/multiformat DVD burner; PCI Express slot lets you upgrade the weak 3D card.

The Bad

Poor documentation; no FireWire ports; bland case design; no productivity software.

The Bottom Line

It won't light up the room, but the task-oriented WinBook PowerSpec 9262 is a fair bargain and a low-maintenance purchasing decision, thanks to its capable fixed configuration.

The PowerSpec 9262 delivers better value than the MPC ClientPro 565 we 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 Gateway 7200XL 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 Norton AntiVirus 2005. 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.

Application performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo SysMark 2004 rating  
SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation rating  
SysMark 2004 office-productivity rating  
Note: * OverDrive Torque 64 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 1,024x768  
Unreal Tournament 2003 Flyby-Antalus 1,600x1,200 4xAA 8xAF  
Note: * OverDrive Torque 64 CPU and graphics card are overclocked.

Far Cry Custom Demo Rebellion (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Far Cry 1,024x768 4xAA 8xAF  
Far Cry 1,600x1,200 4xAA 8xAF  
Note: * OverDrive Torque 64 CPU and graphics card are overclocked.
** WinBook PowerSpec 9262 was unable to run Far Cry.

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).

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

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 ClientPro 565
Windows XP Professional SP2; 3.6GHz Intel P4 560; Intel 925XCV chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 5750 Ultra (PCIe); two Seagate ST3200822AS 200GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA; integrated Intel 82801FR SATA RAID controller

OverDrive Torque 64
Windows XP Home SP2; 2.0GHz AMD Athlon 64 3000+; Nvidia Nforce-3 250 chipset; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800GT (AGP); Maxtor 6Y200M0 200GB, 7,200rpm Serial ATA

Velocity Micro Vector SX
Windows XP Home SP2; 3.4GHz Intel P4 550; Intel 915G chipset; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 128MB Nvidia GeForce 6600GT (PCIe); WDC WD2000JD-00HBB0 200GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA

WinBook PowerSpec 9262
Windows XP Professional SP2; 3.4GHz Intel P4 550; Intel 915G chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 128MB Nvidia GeForce PCX 5300 (PCIe); WDC WD2500JD-00HBB0 250GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA


WinBook PowerSpec 9262

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 8Performance 7Support 6