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ZT Affinity 7225Xi-35 review: ZT Affinity 7225Xi-35

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The Good Unobtrusive design; appropriate performance for its category.

The Bad Only has 32-bit Windows; somewhat limited upgrading.

The Bottom Line ZT's Affinity 7225Xi-35 is a cleanly built midrange PC that will get you through all of your everyday tasks with ease. It's not a particularly flashy desktop, and you may be able to find more aggressively configured PCs for the same price, but if you need an affordable workhorse, this system will do the job.

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7.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Support 7

The $750 ZT Affinity 7225Xi-35 is a fairly ambitious lower-midrange PC. This fixed configuration includes a lower-end quad-core chip, 4GB of memory, and a discrete graphics card. The result is solid everyday performance, and if you need a basic, capable desktop, this system will serve. Its lack of 64-bit Windows Vista prevents us from getting too excited, but in general, the Affinity Xi-35 is a fair deal.

You'll find the Affinity 7225Xi-35 directly from the vendor's Web site. Like other staid desktops, this one is mostly geared toward basic productivity. The simple, nongarish matte black case will fit anywhere and likely disappear into the environment.

It's always been hard for sub-$1,000 midtower PCs to distinguish themselves as anything other than basic desktops, and the 7225Xi-35 is no exception. Even six months ago we might have a found a $750 PC with 4GB of RAM, a quad-core CPU, and a discrete 3D card unique, but thanks to falling memory prices and a recent influx of new processors, those features have become much more commonplace. Compared with the Velocity Micro Vector Campus Edition the ZT Affinity 7225Xi-35 at least shows itself to be a good deal, although competition in this price range will heat up soon by way of new Gateway desktops.

  ZT Affinity 7225Xi-35 Velocity Micro Vector Campus Edition
Price $749 $999
CPU 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E7200
Memory 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics 512MB ATI Radeon HD 3450 384MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GS
Hard drives 500GB, 7,200rpm 500GB, 7,200rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking Gigabit Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet, 802/11g
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit) Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (32-bit)
TV Tuner No Yes

The ZT Affinity 7225Xi-35 compares very well with the more expensive Velocity Micro system. The slower graphics card is the ZT's only major weakness, but a $200 after-market upgrade would easily bring it inline, plus you'd get the benefit of more RAM. As you'll see from our performance charts below, the ZT's quad-core CPU and extra system memory serve it very well.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Gateway FX7026
ZT Affinity 7225Xi-35

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Gateway FX7026
ZT Affinity 7225Xi-35

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Gateway FX7026
ZT Affinity 7225Xi-35

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
Gateway FX7026
ZT Affinity 7225Xi-35
Acer Aspire M5100
Gateway GT5674

Unreal Tournament 3 (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
ZT Affinity 7225Xi-35
Gateway FX7026

The only test on which the Affinity 7225Xi-35 is significantly slower than the Velocity Micro system is iTunes encoding, which is largely reliant on raw processor speed. But the ZT's 2.4GHz quad-core chip is awfully close to the Velocity's 2.53GHz dual-core CPU, and because the ZT system has twice the cores and twice the system memory, it's able to outpace the Velocity Micro PC on all of our other benchmarks that benefit from a more well rounded PC. Gaming is the other exception here, and while we'd much rather have the ZT's discrete 3D card than not, the Velocity Micro's higher-end Nvidia card is much more robust.

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