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GamePC's GPG X2 workstation

A pre-build with a DIY soul

Manufacturer GamePC
Model GPG X2
Price (as tested) US$3,137
Availability Now

SOME OF YOU may consider ordering a pre-built system one step short of sin, but when GamePC offered to send over its GPG X2 workstation for review, I couldn't resist. It's been a while since I used a computer that I didn't build myself, but it's hard to turn down a dual Athlon MP 2100+ system decked out with a gig of RAM, IDE RAID, and a Quadro4 graphics card.

GamePC's pre-built systems bear little resemblance to pre-built systems from Dell. They look nothing like what you'll find on the shelves in your local electronics shop, and they're a far cry from whatever white-box special the neighborhood computer shop is hawking.

Make no mistake: the GPG X2 isn't for everyone. It's a high-powered workstation targeted at power users like aerospace engineers and game developers. What makes a GamePC pre-built system better than a Dell? How does this professional workstation stack up against a system built with the kind of parts you might have in your own system? Read on to find out.

The specs
GamePC lets you customize any component in the GPG X2 system, but here's what our machine was specced with:

Processor(s) 2x AMD Athlon MP 2100+
Motherboard Asus A7M266-D
Memory 1GB Samsung PC2100 Registered ECC DDR SDRAM
Storage 2x Western Digital 100GB Special Edition ATA/133 (8MB cache)
Graphics PNY Quadro4 750 XGL 128MB
RAID 3Ware 7210 2-port IDE RAID
CDR/RW Plextor PlexWriter 40/12/40A
Audio Creative SoundBlaster Live! 5.1
Operating System Windows XP Professional

See what I mean about not being able to turn down a chance to play with it? Let's break things down and take a look at the system in a little more detail.

One more notch for the Athlon MP
This review is TR's first look at AMD's Athlon MP 2100+ processor, so it's worthwhile to take a moment to talk about the Athlon MP 2100+ and let you drool over a money shot.

Nothing radically different with the Athlon MP 2100+

Beyond a faster clock speed than previous models, there's nothing particularly new or exciting about AMD's Athlon MP 2100+ processor. Although they already have Athlon XP processors running at speeds up to 2600+ using 0.13-micron Thoroughbred core, AMD hasn't yet certified these processors for MP systems. AMD's Thoroughbred core is relatively new, and the extra validation steps that AMD takes with its MP processors may keep the 0.18-micron Palomino Athlon MPs around for a little while longer.