Documentation includes a generic installation manual and several separate component manuals, but little else. The keyboard didn’t feel as sturdy as others we have evaluated, and it sported only a few shortcut keys.
In image quality tests of the bundled 19-inch shadow-mask Optiquest Q95 monitor, text was reasonably sharp on a newsletter and on a screen with multiple typefaces. Colors looked bold, but facial tones had a dark cast in our test photo. We also noticed geometric distortion (outward bowing) at the screen’s center and side edges that we could not completely correct using the onscreen controls.
The Logitech Z-540 sound system–four speakers and a subwoofer–delivers pleasing sound with clear, crisp notes. Bass levels were satisfying despite the subwoofer’s small size. One speaker contains headphone jacks as well as a dedicated control knob for delivering 4.1-channel surround sound, a nice plus for immersive game play. Though this surround sound wasn’t as distinctive as what we’ve heard on top-end units like the Klipsch ProMedia 5.1, it’s more than suitable for casual game play and listening to MP3 tracks. Music fans with more high-end tastes may appreciate an adapter on the back of the system that provides both optical and coaxial S/PDIF out ports for digital audio. The bracket, which takes up one of the openings for the free PCI slots, also provides the analog line-out jacks for the sound system that shipped with our review unit.
Another adapter provides two USB 2.0 ports, and a third slot is blocked by a cable that connects to the headphone and microphone jacks on the back of the system and then passes into the system via the back plate and through the interior to power front-mounted audio ports. That leaves just two unobstructed PCI slots for expansion.