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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  • koomo - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    Hi Jared,

    Any expectations for when the next mid-range buyer's guide will be posted? (Last one was May 9th, just prior to AM2 and Core 2 Duo).

    It sure would be nice to see one juat after you all have tested the soon-to-be released ATI lineup. I'll be very interested to see how power requirements compare between the mid-range NVIDIA and ATI cards, as well as comparative noise levels (will the new ATI blowers help that much?) Thanks!

    Very nice review, BTW.
  • Turin39789 - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    Get in in under $1000 and We'll talk
  • KorruptioN - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    It appears that the three right side holes are not utilized in screwing the motherboard down to the tray? They instead run the optical drive IDE cable underneath.

    Also, the choice of using an ALLIED PSU is a bad one -- consider it bottom-end generic.
  • QueBert - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    I consider your statement to be generic. Allied does make a lot of entry level, very basic PSU's. But, they make some">great ones.. Infact. the one I just linked to, replaced a Enermax that died in my system. Was very quiet, had plenty of power, and overall is a PSU I'd recommend to anyone looking. Allied makes a ton of different PSU's, some of they might very well be crap, I won't dispute. But the one I own, ran a system with 4 HD's, 2 Opticals, an X800, 2 120MM and 80MM fan and more then enough power left over. Powmax makes "bottom end PSU's" there's a HUGE difference between "bottom end" and "generic"
    A good # of the barebone cases PC-Club sell come with Allied, I build pc's for people for a living, and I've had very few problems, with even their lower end psu's *shrug*
    Allied gets a bad rap, which I'm sure is for reasons that date back 5+ years? Based off that line of thinking, Maxtor makes the worst HD's ever...
  • yacoub - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    Good review, Jarred. Nice to see how a pre-built system can perform in a review that covers all the basics and even overclocking.
  • Harkonnen - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    On the internals and construction page, third paragraph. PSU is typed as SPU.

    "If you want to do more than that, you may find that you need to replace the default SPU with a beefier unit."

  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    I dunno - I kinda like the way SPU rolls off the tongue. :D
  • chunkychun - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    Is it really a great time to upgrade? It seems that directx 10 would require you to upgrade your graphics card realitively soon. Should people just wait?
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    DX10 may be important for games, but there's always something coming in the near future. I'm not aware of any games that are going to require DX10/WGF2 any time soon. I mean, we're only now getting a reasonable number of games that require SM3.0 (just in time for DX10, right?) At the ultra-high-end, it's probably worth waiting, but for mid-range a 7900 GT or X1900 XT level card is going to last quite a while at moderate detail settings.

    We need Vista before we'll get DX10, and I'm not holding my breath for an early 2007 Vista launch. I'm betting on closer to March. That's over six months away, so really I think now *is* a good time to upgrade... provided you haven't already done so in the past year or two. If you have a 6800/X800 GPU or better, you can probably wait. If you have an Athlon XP/Pentium 4 (prior to Prescott) or earlier CPU, upgrading to Core 2 wouldn't be a bad move. Maybe wait another month for prices to stabilize, but that's about it.
  • bamacre - Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - link

    Well said, JW.

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