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ZT Affinity 7334Ma (Phenom 2 X4 945 3GHz review: ZT Affinity 7334Ma (Phenom 2 X4 945 3GHz

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Apparently, ZT Systems didn't get our memo asking for a complete redesign of its Affinity series desktop computers. Earlier this year, we bemoaned the blase styling of the Affinity 7308Ma, and although this new $800 Affinity 7334Ma looks just as generic, it still offers a robust set of components including a Blu-ray drive and a quad-core AMD Phenom II X4 chip that boost it far above the competition. While midtowers are now forced to share the spotlight with Netbooks, Nettops, and all-in-one PCs, the ZT Systems Affinity 7334Ma will definitely make a worthy addition to your home or office.

OVR
7.4

ZT Affinity 7334Ma (Phenom 2 X4 945 3GHz

The Good

Quad-core performance trounces competitive systems; Blu-ray drive included; wide range of display outputs; performance-enhancing AMD CPU; a lot of room for internal expansion.

The Bad

Boring design remains unchanged from previous model.

The Bottom Line

The $799 ZT Affinity 7334Ma's stellar performance benchmarks, Blu-ray drive, and plenty of room for expansion give it a step up from the competition. ZT still needs help in the external design department, but this system certainly earns our recommendation as a workhorse do-it-all system.

As we said, the ZT Affinity 7334Ma probably won't win any design competitions; in fact, we're not sure if it would even make it through the qualifying round. The case is so generic that we're even getting tired of describing it. The front of the tower is covered in a semi-shiny black gloss paint with the exception of a small strip across the center that houses two USB ports and the standard set of audio jacks. You also get a media card reader above it as well as an empty media bay in addition to the combination Blu-ray/dual-layer DVD burner.

While we don't recommend using the midtower 7334Ma as a home theater PC, the back of the computer certainly has all the ports you need to watch Blu-ray movies on many modern displays. You get HDMI, DVI, and VGA ports, but ZT leaves out the DisplayPort video output that we saw on the 7308Ma; however, we suspect few of you will miss it. The back of the case also has a generous amount of ports for S/PDIF digital audio, Ethernet, FireWire 400, eSATA, PS/2, and six USB 2.0 ports. We can think of few inputs we'd add to this PC.

  ZT Affinity 7334Ma HP Pavilion Elite e9120y
Price $799 $830
CPU 3GHz AMD Phenom II X4 945 2.6GHz AMD Phenom II X4 910
Memory 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 8GB DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 384MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics chip 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4350
Hard drives 1TB, 7,200rpm Seagate 1TB 7,200rpm
Optical drive Blu-ray drive/dual-layer DVD burner Blu-ray drive; dual-layer DVD burner
Operating system 64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium SP1

The ZT Affinity 7334Ma shares many similarities with the Pavilion Elite e9120y, HP's "Swiss Army PC" that also includes a midrange AMD Phenom II quad-core CPU, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, a large 1TB hard drive, and even a Blu-ray drive. The HP costs roughly $30 more, likely for its discrete 3D card. However, as you can see from the charts, the ZT actually delivers a faster computer for less money.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
ZT Group Affinity 7334Ma
100 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
ZT Group Affinity 7334Ma
133 

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
ZT Group Affinity 7334Ma
461 

Unreal Tournament 3(in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,280x1,024  

Cinebench
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering mltiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
ZT Group Affinity 7334Ma
12,742 
3,502 
HP Pavilion Elite e9120y
11,010 
3,037 
Dell Inspiron 545
9,670 
2,749 
Gateway DX4300-03
9,367 
2,452 

The ZT Affinity 7334Ma decimates the competition in every single one of the benchmark tests, mostly because of its 3GHz clock speed. The Asus Essentio CG5270-BP003 drops into second place in all four tests, but its 2.5GHz Intel CPU is easily trounced by the Affinity. The ZT also gives you plenty of room inside the case for future upgrades. There's a PCI express slot for an aftermarket 3D video card, a PCIe x1 slot, and two standard PC expansion slots. All the memory slots are currently occupied by DIMM sticks, but with 8GB installed, you should be set for the foreseeable future. Should you require more storage room, ZT has you covered with five empty internal drive bays in addition to a couple IDE and Serial ATA ports.

Juice box
ZT Affinity 7334Ma Average watts per hour
Off 1.96
Sleep 2.69
Idle 78.21
Load 121.56
Raw (annual kWh) 303.65664
Energy Star compliant No
Annual energy cost $34.47

Annual energy consumption cost
ZT Affinity 7334Ma
$36.61 

There's a fairly noticeable difference between the energy cost of the ZT Affinity 7334Ma and the HP Pavilion Elite e920y, and we suspect that's because of the HP's discrete graphics card--the ZT has a video chip integrated into the motherboard that's more than capable for standard desktop applications. A newer AMD chip can't hurt, either, and the fact that the Affinity 733Ma is both faster and more power efficient than the HP is admirable. Compared with the other systems, the ZT falls right in the middle of the pack at $34.37 to operate per year, a reasonable energy cost for this price range.

ZT's support policies similarly meet our expectations. The standard one-year parts-and-labor warranty comes accompanied by 24-7 toll-free phone support, which is all we really ask for in a default support plan. Online you get the basic FAQ, driver, and user guide downloads, as well as ZT Systems' tech support e-mail address and phone number.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

ZT Group Affinity 7334Ma
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit (SP2); 3GHz AMD Phenom II X4 945 Quad Core ; 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 384MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics chip; 1TB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive.

Asus Essentio CG5270-BP003
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300; 8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 220; 750GB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive.

Dell Inspiron 545-006B
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.3GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200; 8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 3450 graphics card; 1TB Seagate 7,200rpm hard drive.

Gateway DX4300-03
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.4GHz AMD Phenom X4 9750; 8GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 1GB ATI Radeon HD 4650; 1TB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive.

HP Pavilion e9120y
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.6GHz AMD Phenom II X4 910; 8GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4350; 1TB, 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive.

OVR
7.4

ZT Affinity 7334Ma (Phenom 2 X4 945 3GHz

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 9Support 7