Sys Performance 2533 review:

Sys Performance 2533

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Blazing applications performance; huge hard drive; big flat-panel display; many extras.

The Bad Below-average 3D performance; no front-mounted ports; graphics card blocks one PCI slot.

The Bottom Line The Performance 2533 boasts a burgeoning list of features and fast performance, but design quirks and limited documentation keep this otherwise stellar computer earthbound.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.0 Overall

The Sys Performance 2533 is packed to the rafters and beyond with high-end components. When CNET tested it in July 2002, it turned in top-notch scores for application performance and made a strong showing in 3D gaming trials as well. Unforunately, some design problems and inadequate documentation keep this otherwise exemplary system from earning higher marks. The Sys Performance 2533 is packed to the rafters and beyond with high-end components. When CNET tested it in July 2002, it turned in top-notch scores for application performance and made a strong showing in 3D gaming trials as well. Unforunately, some design problems and inadequate documentation keep this otherwise exemplary system from earning higher marks.

Piling on the extras
The Sys Performance 2533 offers a a long, lovely list of features. At its heart, you'll find a 2.53GHz Pentium 4 with 512MB of 800MHz RDRAM, a 128MB GeForce4 Ti 4600 graphics card, and a 120GB hard disk. A Lite-On 40X CD-RW drive and a Pioneer DVD-116 16X DVD-ROM drive offer state-of-the-art optical storage. The Pioneer delivered crystal-clear DVD playback, with great flesh tones and rich, deep color. Future PCs will include a same-speed DVD-500M model.

But the extras help kick this desktop's price into the stratosphere. The Sys-branded, 18-inch LCD monitor delivers a gorgeous, bright picture that's well worth the extra cost it adds to the bottom line. However, we dislike the display's onscreen menu, which behaves inconsistently. The five-piece Logitech Z-560 4.1 THX-certified speakers look good, weigh a ton, and feature a great remote volume/balance control unit. We've heard better sound out of more expensive Klipsch speaker systems, which are available as an upgrade on the easy-to-use Sys Web site if you have the dough.

Sys throws in some bells and whistles, as well. Dual slots on the front of the case accept SmartMedia and CompactFlash cards, so it's a cinch to exchange MP3s and digital photos with portable devices. A slick, cordless mouse and keyboard from Logitech provides all sorts of extra Internet buttons, audio controls, and scroll wheels, although the keyboard's lack of Caps Lock and NumLock LEDs is disconcerting; instead, the indicators appear in the Windows System Tray.

Big numbers
The Sys Performance 2533 tore through our tests in July 2002, and at the time, it ranked among the top 10 we've tested using CNET Labs' benchmarks. It posted the highest office-productivity score we've seen; its 198 came within the margin of error of breaking 200. The next-fastest system, the ABS Digital 8, lagged by more than 10 percent. However, Sys's gaming performance was not quite as strong. Because of the difference in memory bandwidth, we weren't surprised to see the 1.06GHz RDRAM-equipped Xi 4253 MTower Platinum outdistance the Performance 2533 on the 3DMark2001 Pro test. But on the same trial, the Performance 2533 posted below-average frame rates, even compared to similar systems. It's still plenty capable for gameplay, though not quite as fast as we expected.

Hulking system has a few quirks
The Sys Performance 2533's case--a beige monolith meant to live under your desk--is functional though boring. A tool-free side panel slips off to reveal a roomy, well-ordered interior with a feature-rich Intel 850EMV2 motherboard, four free drive bays, and two free memory slots. But even with all that space, there are some accessibility problems. Adding cards is dicey; the sole available PCI slot is blocked by the Leadtek WinFast A250 Ultra TD's heat sink. Company officials claim that newer models will use a different version of the motherboard that includes built-in Ethernet support, thereby freeing up one more slot. Also, the two USB and single FireWire ports are all in back, where they'll be much harder to reach, especially if the system is beneath your desk.

Good support, inadequate docs
Sys backs this behemoth with a hefty warranty that covers parts for three years, labor for five, and the CPU and system memory for six. Add to that a year of onsite service and lifetime, toll-free technical support (though 24/7 during only the first year), and you have a better-than-average policy. Both the printed and the electronic documentation could be improved, though, and the Web site offers little further assistance--just links to component vendor sites.

The Sys Performance 2533 may look pricey, but it's generally a good value for what you get. Similarly configured systems from ABS, Xi, and Dell all cost at least as much, if not more. And if your budget's tighter, you could still put together a comparably performing (if less glitzy) system for a more manageable $2,500 by judiciously scaling back on peripherals. Despite its wealth of features and strong numbers, the Sys Performance 2533 doesn't achieve higher honors due to some design flaws and limited documentation.

Performance test
100=performance of a test machine with a PIII-800 processor, an Intel 815EEA motherboard chipset, 128MB of 133MHz SDRAM, a GeForce2 with 32MB DDR, ATA/100 hard drive, Windows 2000 with Service Pack 1, and Windows' display properties set to 1,024x768 and 16-bit color at 75Hz
Longer bars indicate better performance

Overall rating   
Internet content creation   
Office productivity   
Sys Performance 2533
264 
351 
198 
ABS Digital 8
250 
344 
182 
Dell Dimension 8200
249 
341 
182 
CyberPower X-Treme Titanium
244 
345 
172 
Xi MTower Platinum PC
240 
334 
172 
 
Quake III Arena test
Longer bars indicate better performance
Xi MTower Platinum PC
251.4 
CyberPower X-Treme Titanium
239.2 
Sys Performance 2533
237.1 
Dell Dimension 8200
233.6 
ABS Digital 8
223.3 
 
3D test: MadOnion's 3DMark2001 Pro
Longer bars indicate better performance
16-bit color   
32-bit color   
CyberPower X-Treme Titanium
12,808 
12,267 
ABS Digital 8
11,955 
11,529 
Dell Dimension 8200
11,675 
11,225 
CyberPower X-Treme Titanium
11,655 
11,262 
Sys Performance 2533
11,529 
11,101 
 
ABS Digital 8
Windows XP Home; Pentium 4-2.53GHz; 512MB RDRAM 800MHz; 128MB Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4600; WDC WD1000JB-32CWE0 120GB 7,200rpm

CyberPower X-Treme Titanium
Windows XP Pro; Pentium 4-2.53GHz; 512MB RDRAM 800MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4600 128MB, Maxtor 6L080J4 80GB 7,200rpm

Dell Dimension 8200
Windows XP Home; Pentium 4-2.53GHz; 256MB RDRAM 800MHz; 128MB Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4600; WDC WD1200JB, 120GB 7,200rpm

Sys Performance 2533
Windows XP Pro; Pentium 4-2.53GHz; 512MB RDRAM 800MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4600 128MB; WDC WD1200JB 120GB 7,200rpm

Xi MTower Platinum PC
Windows XP Home; Pentium 4-2.53GHz; 256MB RDRAM 1.06GHz; 128MB Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4600; Maxtor 6L040J2 40GB 7,200rpm

The Sys Performance 2533's overall performance ranked it among the top 10 systems we've tested to date. It posted the highest office-productivity score we've seen; its 198 came within the margin of error of breaking 200. But its gaming performance was not quite as strong; it achieved below-average frame rates, even compared to similar systems. It's still plenty capable for gameplay, though not quite as fast as we expected.

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