Introduction

We recently looked at the ABS Ultimate X9 computer system and found it to be a fast but expensive system, as well as having some niggling stability issues related to the GPU water cooling. Other than the stability concerns, there was one major problem with the system for most of our readers: it's too expensive. If $4000 or more is way out of your league for computer prices, today's review will hopefully return to the realm of the possible.

PC Club has been around for over 14 years, with a retail presence in both the online and brick and mortar markets. They are a system integrator that tends to build systems using off-the-shelf components, and they sell them at a reasonable price. PC Club sent us their Enpower Sabre Extreme EN-SE6 for review, a midrange to high-end (depending on options) system looking to offer all around good performance at a moderate price.


Rather than going all out on every component, PC Club has attempted to build a system that can do everything well without breaking the bank. Their target audience is the college and high school student that needs a system to do homework and research, but it can also function as a multimedia platform or a gaming setup. Families would also be pleased with the options provided, with the only potential drawback being competition for computer time. The tested system comes equipped with a good selection of midrange parts that focus on offering a good price to performance ratio. Including a 19" widescreen monitor, the system retails for about $1600, or you can get it sans monitor for just under $1400. (Note that prices - particularly at the online store - can fluctuate according to the market, and in the past few weeks the cost of the Sabre Extreme has increased over $100.) It definitely won't be the fastest system on the planet, but it should be more than fast enough for the vast majority of people.

As we mentioned in the ABS X9 review, the current market demands for Intel's Core 2 Duo/Extreme processors have led to limited availability and inflated prices for those looking to purchase just a CPU. Larger OEMs like Dell and HP are able to avoid part shortages for the most part, but smaller system vendors will often have to increase prices in response to supply factors as well. There are also plenty of people out there that don't have the time or inclination to build their own systems, and this is where companies like PC Club and larger OEMs are a good solution. Not only do you get a system that can be plugged in and running in a matter of minutes, but you get centralized support from one location, and if you live in an area where you can purchase from a local store it makes getting help that much easier. The PC Club Sabre Extreme does have some other advantages over competing OEM systems, which will get to in a moment.

What exactly do you get for $1400, how does the Enpower Sabre Extreme EN-SE6 perform, and is it something you should consider purchasing? Let's take a closer look.

Features and Price
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  • nah - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    Good work, as always. How about an update on the CPU?GPU guides ? Reply
  • modo - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    Just went over to ibuypower.com and configured a Core 2 duo E6600 with the MSI 965 mobo, 500W PSU, 1 gig ram, 250 gig HD, 7900Gt 256mb, dvd burner, with a mini-liquid cooler for the cpu for $1245 (without monitor). Enter 'ibuypower' code when you order and you get 5% off, taking the total down to less than $1200.

    Better system for $200 less?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    Add in the OS and monitor, and the total comes to $1522 with the discount. ($1361 without $229 LCD = $1293 with discount.) You need a 16MB cache HDD and a DVDRW with LightScribe if you want to make things "equal" on components. You can also add some extras that may or may not be available elsewhere. Anyway, it's still slightly cheaper; is it worth considering? Sure - it comes with a 3 year warranty. How's the support? I don't know. As stated in the conclusion, PC Club has some reasonable offers people might want to look at - especially if you live near a local store and would like that sort of support. There are a ton of competing system vendors out there. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    MSI . . . I can not speak for everyone else, but I've had less than good results using MSI products. They may work fine for a period of time, but can not really be comparred to someone like ABIT, or Gigabyte. Who makes the PSU ? Why do you need a 'mini-liquid cooler' ?

    I've personally configured (but not bought) a simular C2D budget system, but using a E6400, and a 7600GT, and overall cost was around $800usd. Of course, I had planned on migrating a PSU (Antec), and HDDs from an older system. This is why I almost always suggest quality parts, as quality parts often last for years, and can be reused (in the case of a PSU, and HDDs here). You can go even cheaper if you use something along the lines of the Asrock 775Dual-VSTA motherboard, and migrate memory, and video from current system. *shrug* My personal experience with Asrock however, is that usually they are very solid boards (for the price), but are often less than top tier stable, and more often then not, are fairly quirky, and missing Features such as offering a SATAII controller, but disabling (or not including) command queuing(which is part of the SATAII spec, unless I'm mistaken).
    Reply
  • QueBert - Wednesday, August 30, 2006 - link

    funny, while I don't really care for MSI, never had a problem with them. Now Gigabyte UGH, on my 3rd board right now for this 939. And my last Gigabyte board (Athlon XP) gave me problems from day one. It's crazy how one person can never have a problem with a brand, and the guy next to him has nothing but problems. I think MSI has gotten a lot better then they were in the past. I live 2 blocks from a PC Club, and i can tell you this, whatever prebuilt systems they sell, they've done A LOT of component testing. As I've never heard somebody complain about an Enpower system, besides those who screw things up themselves with viruses and such. I only shop at PC Club, unless it's something they don't carry. They cost a bit more then Newegg, but the service is great. I walk in, they know me by name. They sold me a MB + Memory, I was dumb and didn't check, the MB was DDR2 and the memory was DDR1, I wanted DDR1, so they took the open MB back, no hassle.
    Reply
  • bob4432 - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    Nice article and seems like a decent system for the $$$$. One question - where can we get the bf2 1.3 benchmark you are using?

    thanks,
    bob :)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    Sure, http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/benchmarks/bf2...">have at it. Standard "this is beta" disclaimers apply. If you don't know how to tweak a batch file, you're on your own. :)

    --Jarred Walton
    Reply
  • bob4432 - Wednesday, August 30, 2006 - link

    thanks, i had the 1.22 but lost it, then 1.3 came out. Reply
  • regnez - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    why is that in the feature list the graphics card is a 7900gt and in the benchmark setup it is a 7900gtx? is this a typo or was the graphics card switched out for the benchmark setup?

    also, it does not seem as if a 350 watt psu is enough to power that graphics card...

    and one more thing: this system is called a mid-range system in the review, and I quite disagree. a mid range system would be something in the price range of $700-$900. this is a high end system, and it would not take much ($400 ish more) to bring it up to enthusiast level.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    It was a typo; the system (as configured and tested) uses the 7900 GT. In terms of power, look at the power tests on page 9. Even with a 25% overclock and maximum load, the system draws 213W of power. That's not even accounting for PSU efficiency; remember that the PSU rating is what can be output, not the total wall power draw. Say it's 75% efficient; that means the system is using about 160W of power at maximum load. I've got a few generic 350W PSUs running similar configurations, and none of them have ever had issues.

    Finally, there is always debate about where market segments overlap price ranges. We consider budget to be $750 or less (maybe a bit more for budget gaming). Midrange is a huge segment that goes from around $1000 to $1500. At ~$1600, this is close enough, though it's definitely at the top of the midrange ladder. High-end starts at $2000 and can go way up from there. It's just a term anyway, and if you think $1500 is too high you're welcome to that opinion. The base configuration of the EN-SE5 comes with an E6300, 7300GS TurboCache, 160GB HDD, and costs $800 (including the OS). It's not longer really gaming worthy, but it will do everything else very well.
    Reply

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