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Finally we come to the CPU, and yet again an AMD Phenom II Black Edition X2 550 processor overclocked to a mere 300MHz over stock speed (3.4GHz compared to its usual 3.1GHz) makes a mockery of the CoolIT CPU water cooler – though to be fair this does keep the Phenom below a relatively chilly 40 degrees under the heaviest loads. Even so, a dual core chip could easily be kept at a sensible temperature by a more modest cooling setup and besides, this ageing budget CPU is hardly ideal for a gaming system at the CBE1401 Centurion's price point.
After all this disappointment and corner-cutting surely the graphics card will be a worthy contender? Well, no, not really. Despite its attractive custom cooler, which runs almost silently, the Gigabyte-branded AMD/ATI Radeon 5750 simply isn't up to much. Undemanding games like Stalker: Call of Pripyat (in which it achieved a silky-smooth 52fps at 1,920 x 1,200) and Call of Duty 4 will run at maximum detail without a problem, but more intensive fare like Crysis left the CBE1401 Centurion gasping for breath. The 5750 is not a bad card and should play current DirectX 11 titles (all seven of them) without too much bother, but it's simply not good enough for a £700 PC.
Unfortunately, that pretty much sums up Advent's latest gaming machine. Its initial good looks (albeit an acquired taste), relatively quiet operation and Wi-Fi provision can't overcome a messy interior, consistently poor and severely outdated component choices, lacklustre overclocking and rubbish peripherals – especially as you can get so much more for the money.
The Scan 3XS i3 OC, for example, gives you a far faster and newer overclocked Intel Core i3 CPU, faster, better memory, superior 5770 graphics card, better motherboard, and a Blu-ray drive - all for just £3 more! And this doesn't even take into account the neater build, better upgradeability, build quality and service. Heck, even last year's £600 CyberPower Infinity i5 Hercules SE beats this gaming PC in almost every way, despite using an older generation graphics card.
The Advent CBE1401 Centurion gaming PC might be relatively quiet but it's also messy, outdated, underpowered and overpriced. Enough said.