Known for its budget offerings, we revisit California-based Polywell. There were some misses in our last evaluation with the company, so we thought we might check in to see if it has addressed some of the points we made.
As many of you might know by now, [H] Consumer doesn’t "review" systems; we evaluate the experiences they facilitate. We order the system the same as you would and evaluate every aspect of the end-user experience. Not only does this give us a better idea of what hardware an end user actually receives, it also allows us to obtain a more accurate picture of just how each company functions and treats its customers. As fast as PC hardware has become over the years, we think giving a personal computer "5 stars" based on a synthetic benchmark is simply irresponsible. We think service, support, and reliability are much more important factors in today's climate than speed. Fast is easily bought, but purchasing and ownership satisfaction can be elusive.
This process allows us to not only evaluate the system, but the OEM that builds it. Our goal is to give you the wide-angle lens view of the computer and the company so that you can make informed and educated decisions as to what you purchase or recommend to clients, friends, and family.
Our only previous experience with Polywell Computers was the small form factor (SFF) Mini-Box2 PC. Decently powered for its time, the Mini-Box2 performed well in our evaluation and received a solid score that reflected how well it handled both gaming and general computer use. But while the PC itself scored strongly in nearly every category, there were a few areas that Polywell needed some help. Although it was nearly impossible to obtain the status of our order, the Mini-Box2 managed to arrive on time. Regardless, if anything were to go wrong with the shipping process, we noted that dealing with Polywell could be a problem .
While the Mini-Box2 remains a valid machine, its Athlon 64 3500+ CPU and GeForce 6800 GS video card seem almost quaint compared to what is available as we begin 2007. We decided to sample a solid mid-range machine to see what, if anything, has changed in the Polywell ownership experience.
Polywell’s website claims that it manufactures “the highest quality computers…using quality components.” Since we’re the trusting sort, we expect that the PC will live up to this claim and provide the speed and stability that comes with using quality components. Though the new 8800 series is the current performance favorite, it wasn’t so long ago that NVIDIA’s 7900 GT was a premiere graphics solution. Coupled with a Core 2 Duo CPU, we are looking for this configuration to give us good, stable gameplay.
In the technical support area, we look for Polywell to remain strong in solving any problems that we may encounter (or concoct). We also look for the RMA process to remain as seamless as it was for the Mini-Box2. We’d like to see a better restore solution that doesn’t require manually running the restore program using the command line and to have a restore disc actually labeled as such.
Finally, given that our previous purchasing experience left a bit to be desired, we’re looking for Polywell to improve in that area and provide us with status and shipping information.
* This hard drive is no longer available with this system.