Summary

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5/10

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Advent CBE1401 Centurion - AMD Watercooled Gaming PC - Advent CBE1401 Centurion

There are also two good old PS2 ports for mouse and keyboard, and unfortunately you'll need the latter for the included peripherals. Advent has made the lamentable decision to stick with the same sub-par mouse and keyboard it provided with the PQG9002. The three-button ambidextrous USB mouse is actually not too bad, though very far from a worthy gaming peripheral. The PS2 keyboard, however, is just plain poor, with mushy feedback and lacking even basic extras such as volume keys.

Getting back to the CBE1401 Centurion PC, the front sports a strong and tight mesh section, in which are integrated three 5.25in drive bays. The bottom two are free while the top one hides a DVD-Rewriter. The mesh flap in front of it is surprisingly sturdy and effortlessly drops and springs back as the drive opens and closes.

A transparent side panel on the left lets you see into your case, though in this instance we wish it didn't. It's bad enough that the case's inside isn't painted black, but the various brightly-coloured plastics, mismatched cables, and rather lacklustre cable management combine to make the view singularly unattractive – not helped by weak red lighthing inside, which can thankfully be turned off using an external switch at the case's back.

At least the side panel is easily removed by undoing two thumb screws. Three of the internal 5.25in bays have tool-free clip systems that work very well and are among the sturdiest I've come across. The same can be said for the four hard drive clips, though they do lack rubber grommets to dampen vibration. The card expansion slots seem like they might be tool-free as they're secured using what look like thumb-screws, but thanks to smooth heads that offer zero grip a screwdriver will still be required. Though most are neatly curled, the case does have a few razor-sharp edges inside so be careful when upgrading.

Advent's gaming machine is powered by a generic CWT 450 watt power supply, which is fine to power the installed components but doesn't leave too much room for future high-end graphics card plans, and we suspect it's not the most power efficient either. Another disappointing choice is that the 750GB hard drive is a Western Digital Caviar Green. These drives are optimised for low power consumption and as a result have rather poor performance – fine for a data or backup drive but for a system with only one drive we'd hope for something faster. This isn't just a theoretical performance difference either, as we noticed markedly longer game loading times than other gaming PCs we've looked at recently.

As you might already have guessed by its connectivity, the motherboard also disappoints. It's a Foxconn A7VMX-K Micro-ATX affair based on AMD's deprecated AM2+ platform, which doesn't support AMD's latest processors is restricted to DDR2 RAM thus severely limiting your upgrade potential. With the board's single free PCI slot being taken by the Wi-Fi G card, there's only a single PCI Express x4 slot for expansion, and as both memory slots are filled with 2GB sticks of generic DDR2 RAM you can't add extra memory without replacing the whole lot. Last of all there's only a single free SATA port. Honestly, it all feels like a budget PC from a few years ago.

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