Iwill XP4G MiniPC

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The Iwill XP4G MiniPC - Page 3

The Iwill XP4-G Mini-PC
Iwill Enters the SFF Fray...

By, Marco Chiappetta
June 25, 2003

For our next test, we took some Quake 3 Arena v1.32 Time Demo (demo four) scores at a resolution of 640X480, using 16-bit color and textures.  Running Quake 3 with a high-end graphics card at this low resolution isolates motherboard and processor performance.  Frame rates are limited by the number of polygons the CPU is able to push through the bus, without being limited by the graphics subsystem.

Quake 3 Benchmarks with the Iwill XP4-G Mini-PC
OpenGL Gaming Tests

As you can see, only 4.7 frames per second separate the Iwill XP4-G and Abit IT7-Max2, a difference of only 1.9%.  Please keep in mind that performance deltas this small, at these performance levels, mean basically nothing.  Although physically the XP4-G and IT7-Max2 don't have very much in common, performance wise, they're essentially identical.

"Real World" Application Benchmarks
We All Have to Work Sometime!

Next up, we have some "Real World" application tests using ZD Labs' Business Winstone 2002 and Content Creation Winstone 2002 benchmarks.  We'll directly quote ZD's eTestingLabs website for an explanation as to how Business Winstone 2002 benchmark derives its score.  Content Creation Winstone 2002 uses the same process to generate its score, but different applications are used throughout the benchmark...

"Business Winstone is a system-level, application-based benchmark that measures a PC's overall performance when running today's top-selling Windows-based 32-bit applications on Windows 98, Windows 2000 (SP2 or later), Windows Me, or Windows XP. Business Winstone doesn't mimic what these packages do; it runs real applications through a series of scripted activities and uses the time a PC takes to complete those activities to produce its performance scores."

Business Winstone Applications:
  • Five Microsoft Office 2002 applications
    (Access, Excel, FrontPage, PowerPoint, and Word)

  • Microsoft Project 2000

  • Lotus Notes

  • WinZip 8.0

  • Norton Antivirus

  • Netscape Communicator

Content Creation Winstone Applications:
  • Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1

  • Adobe Premiere 6.0

  • Macromedia Director 8.5

  • Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4

  • Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7.01.00.3055

  • Netscape Navigator 6/6.01

  • Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 5.0c (build 184)

We had a similar situation In the Business and Content Creation Winstone tests, where the IT7-Max2 once again barely nudged ahead of the XP4-G.  In the Business Winstone test, the Abit board outperformed the XP4-G by roughly 2% and in the Content Creation Winstone test the IT7-Max2 pulled ahead by less a 1%.  When all was said and done, the IT7-Max2 beat the XP4-G in all of the benchmarks we ran, but none of the performance deltas were large enough to be considered meaningful.  As we mentioned earlier, the XP4-G was clocked conservatively at default settings.  The Abit board was clocked slightly higher when left at default settings, 2.41GHz vs. 2.39GHz on the XP4-G.  To some extent, this small clock speed difference accounts for the paltry performance deltas seen here.


COMPLETED XP4-G WITH DRIVE PAINTED TO MATCH

Overall, we think Iwill did a good job with the XP4-G.  The enclosure is very attractive and we feel Iwill struck a good balance between features and expandability.  With only an AGP slot, no external 3.5" drive bay and no Firewire, some of Shuttle's small form factor PCs are more feature rich than the XP4-G, but they are also more expensive.  As of this writing, you can find the XP4-G for approximately $200 US at some on-line retailers.  Shuttle's SS51G is similarly priced, but the SS51G uses a SiS chipset, and all things considered, we'd gladly trade some features for the stability and compatibility of an Intel chipset.  The Shuttle SB51G on the other hand, is powered by an Intel chipset, but it is priced about $75 more than the XP4-G.  If Firewire isn't important to you, and the on-board sound is adequate, you could save a nice chunk of change by going with Iwill's product.  Users looking for a solid mini-PC for LAN gaming or to use a secondary system would be well served by the Iwill XP4-G.  We're sure more higher-performing, Springdale based mini-PCs like Shuttle's SB61G2, are in the works as well, but they will be even more expensive, further distancing themselves from the XP4-G's price point.  Based on its "desktop class" performance, attractive enclosure and excellent price, we're giving the Iwill XP4-G a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of 8...

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Tags:  PC, 4G, XP, Mini, Will, P4, IP

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