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Polywell Poly Server Station 890

ZDNet LogoThe Polywell Poly ServerStation 890T shows world-class potential as a highly customizable graphics workstation. You can configure it in a zillion different ways, which range from mere overkill to supercomputer. It can run any of a number of operating systems--including Linux, Solaris, SCO Unix, and OS/2--in either single or multiple boot environments.

Polywell tailored our evaluation unit to function as a graphics workstation running Windows 2000. The ServerStation's dual 1.2GHz Athlon CPUs, coupled with 512MB of DDR SDRAM and a Leadtek WinFast GeForce3 card, deliver performance on demand. Its Internet Content Creation scores zip it to the top of the heap--about 8 percent better than our previous best performer, the 1.7GHz Pentium 4-based ABS Performance Mega. The ServerStation also delivers the best Photoshop performance we've seen thus far, taking a mere 3.8 minutes to complete our tests. That's almost 32 percent faster than a 733MHz Apple Power Mac G4 takes to complete the same tasks.

For video encoding, however, two 1.2GHz Athlons still don't deliver the throughput of a single 1.5GHz or faster Pentium 4 processor. Furthermore, our 1.7GHz Dell Dimension reference system produced slightly better results on the SPECviewperf benchmarks, despite using a slower graphics card (GeForce2 Ultra) and having less RAM (256MB). Also keep in mind that more CPUs don't make a better gaming experience. The ServerStation can't keep up with some single-CPU systems that we've tested, including Polywell's own 1.4GHz Athlon-based 880K7-1400.

In addition to speed, graphics require tons of storage. Polywell has that problem wrapped up rather uniquely. Our system came equipped with a 3Ware Escalade 7410 Storage Switch that combined four 40GB Western Digital hard drives into a RAID array with three logical volumes, one as large as 137GB. The ServerStation includes both CD-R/RW and Zip250 drives for offloading files.