NEC Powermate C9500-2401

Neat and simple, yet armed with a quad-core CPU and 1TB of hard drive space, the NEC Powermate C9500-2401 is aimed at small office and home office users who want a small, inconspicuous PC on which to store plenty of data.

The NEC Powermate C9500-2401 is not a flashy system, but it does have decent components supporting the quad-core CPU and 1TB hard drive array. It has 2GB of RAM, a GeForce 8500GT-based graphics card, a DVD burner, but it ships with Windows XP instead of Windows Vista. However, Vista is an ordered if you so desire. Because of this, we couldn't run WorldBench 6, and instead used the older WorldBench 5 benchmark suite. It performed admirably in this benchmark, scoring 99, and it also produced solid times in our MP3 encoding tests.

The 1TB of storage is made up of two 500GB Seagate hard drives, which are united in a RAID 0 array. Unfortunately, this array produced a relatively slow transfer rate of 35MBps during our tests when we were hoping for a result somewhere in the forties. Furthermore, this array doesn't provide redundancy for the data that will be stored on it, which is risky for a PC that's aimed at office workers. We'd rather see NEC adopt a RAID 1 (mirrored) array, to give business users peace of mind

Its graphics score was low, but not bad for a machine aimed at business users. In 3DMark06, the machine scored 2302. However, it should be able to run a few older game titles without any major problems. For example, running F.E.A.R. at a resolution of 1024x768 and without any anti-aliasing, returned a rate of around 40 frames per second, which is smooth enough for enjoyable game play. Because it's a DirectX 10-based card, it's also a good match for Windows Vista.

Physically, the Powermate stands less than 40cm tall, sits less than 40cm deep and it houses a microATX-sized motherboard. This board has one PCI Express graphics slot, in which the aforementioned GeForce 8500 GT sits, yet it also has two PCI slots and one PCI Express x1 slot free for expansion. So there's room to install a FireWire card or an internal wireless adapter, for example. NEC has installed a large shroud over the CPU fan, which directs a steady supply of cool air from a vent in the side panel onto the CPU.

The hard drives are installed at the front of the case, vertically, but unfortunately, they aren't cooled as there isn't room for a front-mounted case fan. Because they are in a RAID 0 array, it's worth getting a large external hard drive for data backups; or, another internal hard drive can be installed in one of the case's two free 3.5in internal drive bays. There are six SATA II ports on the motherboard, and there's one free SATA power cable on the power supply.

On the front panel, NEC has included two USB ports, as well as microphone and headphone jacks, but a media card reader has been overlooked. On the rear panel, there are five more USB ports, as well as a gigabit Ethernet port, a parallel port, and DVI and VGA ports. It's a fairly bare panel actually, and it doesn't even have PS/2 ports. It also lacks FireWire, so digital camcorder users will have to add a FireWire card if they want to transfer video taken at conferences or other events.

For its $2100 price tag, the PC is supplied with a relatively comfortable keyboard and mouse, but not with a monitor. As such, it's a fairly expensive system when compared to others we've looked at, but it's worth considering primarily because of its small stature. It also ran quietly during our tests. NEC has pre-loaded all the software that's required to run DVDs, burn discs and back up data to disc.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Elias Plastiras
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?