Sys Technology Performance 3200+

WHAT'S HOT: Powered by Advanced Micro Devices 's 2.2-GHz Athlon XP 3200+ processor and a gigabyte of DDR400 memory, the Sys Technology Performance 3200+ achieved an impressive PC WorldBench 4 score of 136--a scant four points behind the current speed champion, the ABS Ultimate M5, which uses the same CPU and the same amount of memory.

This system also has top-notch sound for games, movies, and music. The combination of the Creative Labs Inspire 6.1 6600 speakers and the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 card produced robust bass notes, crisp, clear trebles, and excellent surround sound in games. Gamers will like the capability to play loud surround sound--we only had to adjust the volume setting to a midway point to hear it.

Sys packed other nice touches into this high-end workhorse too, including a 180GB hard drive and a memory card reader--located under the floppy drive--for SmartMedia and CompactFlash cards. The Gigabyte GV-R98P128D graphics card (based on an ATI Technologies Radeon 9800 graphics chip) pumped out heady frame rates in Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and its performance ranked near the top of the heap in Unreal Tournament 2003. Nevertheless, we noticed occasional glitches when playing games, such as unintentional light flashes on guns in Unreal Tournament 2003.

WHAT'S NOT: Sys doesn't bother much with consistency in its design theme: The beige system case, black glossy keyboard, and silvery-blue LCD look fine separately, but placed next to one another they lack the well-matched look of systems from Dell or Gateway

Although the system produced very high frames rates in games, the bundled Sys 17-C-MT 17-inch LCD monitor was rather disappointing. Colors were too dark in both a DVD movie and on our test photos. Text was much more impressive, looking crisp and easy to read at all font sizes. Sys does offer several other monitors.

WHAT ELSE: The Performance 3200+'s midsize tower case offers modest room for future upgrades, with one externally accessible and two internal drive bays available, along with three PCI slots. also The 3200+ has one USB 2.0 and one FireWire port conveniently located on the front of the case, plus four USB 2.0 and one FireWire port on the back.

The Logitech wireless keyboard, its top model, sports 20 hot-keys for tasks such as launching Web sites or quickly cutting, pasting and printing. It also has a good selection of audio controls, including volume control dials and buttons for skipping tracks and pausing music. Two unusual buttons not typically found on keyboards: separate keys for launching a Web cam and an instant messaging application. Typing felt smooth and comfortable.

Documentation for the Performance 3200+ consists of a spiral-bound manual with sections labeled with handy tabs. The information is mostly basic, but it includes sections for upgrading components and troubleshooting problems. The software bundle includes Corel WordPerfect Office 2002 Productivity Suite, Nero Burning ROM (for burning CDs in the 52X/24X/52X CD-RW drive), and several games.

UPSHOT: Built for speed, this new Sys offers power users terrific performance.

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