CNET First Look
Psystar Open(Q)If you've heard of Psystar, chances are you know the risks involved with buying its systems. You might also have guessed, correctly, that in this OS X Snow Leopard-based Open(Q) system, Psystar once again shows up Apple in the price-performance department....
[ Background music ] >> Rich Brown: Hi, I'm Rich Brown Senior Editor for CNET.com. Today we're gonna take a look at the Systar Open Q. So if you've heard of Systar you maybe know the deal with their business. Essentially what they do is they have their own sort of proprietary strategy for getting Apples OSX operating system onto non-official Apple computers. They've been doing this for a little while now and this is the third Systar system we've reviewed. This one has Apples most recent of OSX called Snow Leopard. It works like any other Apple PC for the most part. Systar's kind of added benefit here is that because it doesn't go down the road of very high end industrial design like Apple does its able to keep the prices low and generally have better price performance than you might see from an iMac. For example this system is about $800 and it comes with a quad core CPU, a nice big hard drive, 4 gigs of RAM and a discreet graphics card and we found that it actually out performs for the most part a 24 inch iMac at the baseline spec from Apple goes for about 1500 bucks right now. The simple fact is that Systar has cut a whole lot of corners to get there. This is one of the most outdated PC cases we've seen in quite a little while. You'll see there's a DVD drive here, a pair of USB ports, some analog audio jacks but no media card reader. So around the back this probably drives the point home just how old this case and motherboard are. This is probably the first parallel port we've seen in a PC in at least a year or 2. Same with the serial port I mean there's just no modern connectivity on this PC at all. You get USB ports, DVI for video and 5.1 analog audio and that's about it. There's no HDMI, no fire wire, no esata [assumed spelling]. So inside the case it looks just about as corny as the outside kind of you can see nice bright neon green plugs here for the drive base, they are tool free so there is that but it's definitely not a design element you'd expect from Apple for example. Pull up a giant fin shroud here which is just kind of silly and you can see there's very limited room for expandability. There's 2 PCI slots so you can add a few extra parts but in general your upgrade options are very limited. There's 1 hard drive here and you can see the drive mounting system is very elementary, there's no extra bay. Now if you follow the news you know that Apple has taken Systar to court over these systems and the fact that Systar may potentially go out of business it already has filed bankruptcy and pulled back out of it once kind of impacts the customer service outlook. Now we're not lawyers so we can't really give an informative opinion about Systar's long term health but the question of Systar's longevity is certainly out there maybe a little bit more than for some other vendors. That said we did find the system a pretty good price performance deal if all you want is OSX and a fast package Systar can help you out. [ Background music ] >> Rich Brown: So I'm Rich Brown this is the Systar Open Q [ Music ]