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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  • unclebud - Friday, September 1, 2006 - link

    having to push the optical drives closed instead of being able to press the eject button to do it? terrible design
    hopefully it won't require a couple hundred customers rmaing their drives to change it someday
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, September 2, 2006 - link

    I've never had a problem pushing the tray to close a CD-ROM. The trick is that you push it gently rather than trying to slam it shut. I could see children having a bit of an issue doing this, but I would wager heavily that most children pushed the tray in regardless of whether or not you can access the eject button.
  • Iceboie - Thursday, August 31, 2006 - link

    Will we see an article in the future for us who wants a Conroe system but on a low budget scale?
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, September 2, 2006 - link

    Just drop from the E6600 (tested) to an E6300, dropped the graphics card down to a lower-cost version, maybe get a smaller hard drive, and you can quickly get the cost down to under $1000 (not including monitor). The system as a whole is fine, so basically just get whatever CPU and other settings you can afford.
  • giantpandaman2 - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    Nice Review. Only things that'd be nice to add is how long it takes to get a system shipped to you and how difficult is it to RMA something. Can you take it to the store? Do they give you a run around? Is it painless? I figure you guys could use a girlfriend/buddy to bring in the computer so you can remain anonymous. :) Sounds like getting things fixed should be pretty easy since they have stores, but it'd be nice to know for sure.
  • giantpandaman2 - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    oops, I know you can take it to the store.
  • Capt Jook - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    Hi all,

    James here, manager of the Tigard, Oregon PC Club. Just wanted to say thanks for a great review and maybe answer a few questions.

    RMA through the web can be a bit of a the moment we do not offer a cross-shipping option for defective parts, so it can take a week or two to get back a good part after you send in the faulty one. In store, if we(PC Club) build the system and it is in warranty, we swap a new part right off of the shelf, 1 year warranty or 3. On 3 year warranty systems, we also cover End of Life(EOL), so if a CPU is 2 years old and EOL...we give you the logical replacement or an upgrade. We usually hire enthusiasts at our stores, so many people feel welcome when they want to discuss multipliers or voltages, etc.

    We do use all standard, off the shelf components...nothing proprietary. Our "restore" CD is actually just an XP CD. We are sure to give the customer physical copies of all of the software installed on the system, in case of a catastrophic drive failure. We have a">Customer support Forum that has help available 24/7. Mostly other PCC customers, but I know of at least 10 store level employees that frequent the forum on a daily basis(myself included).

    The Allied 350W PSU has seen at least 10,000 hours of(combined) testing in the configuration listed. All of our system configurations must pass at least 5,000 hours of testing by our Engineering Department before they are released for sale to the stores and the web.

    Each store is required to have a tech on duty 7 days a week, 362 days a year(we are closed xmas, Thanksgiving and 4th of July), so service is available if you are local to a store.

    Thanks for your time!
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, August 30, 2006 - link

    Thanks for the additional information, James. (I'm up north of you in Olympia Washington, so the closest store to me is in Tacoma.) I actually do know a couple enthusiasts that work at PC Club stores, so I agree that the local support should be good. I wish I had some place like PC Club close by my house, as other than ordering online my only options are an overpriced brick-and-mortar store down the street, or I can try my luck at Best Buy. Needless to say, nearly all of my purchases come from web sites.
  • giantpandaman2 - Wednesday, August 30, 2006 - link

    Thankfully I'm in Bellevue. I can go anywhere. :P
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    I own a Vewsonic VA1912wb 19" widscreen monitor, and its a great monitor, however, its also rated @ 8ms, not 5ms listed in your review (I know what Viewsonics webpage says, but according to my box, manual, and newegg, this is incorrect) -"> Perhaps Viewsonic has since reworked this part, but In my opinion, that would call for a new part # ?

    As for the Pre-built system, interresting choice of motherboards, they frown on OC'n, yet they offer the best OCable motherboard for the C2D ? You would think, they would have picked something a bit more stable like the ABIT AB9 Pro or something . . .

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