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A few weeks back AMD launched its latest and greatest processors, the Athlon 64 4000+ and the FX55. Evesham has supplied TrustedReviews with its first PC based on these new processors - the Evesham Axis Xcelsior. The Axis Xcelsior is based on the Athlon 64 4000+, but you can change the CPU to an FX55 for an additional £117.50 inc VAT.
The new processors from AMD feature no new technology, no die shrinks or groundbreaking features, they simply reflect a speed bump. The 4000+ is pretty much the FX53 with a new name, with the FX55 replacing the FX53. The 4000+ is clocked at 2.4GHz with the FX55 adding a further 200MHz totalling 2.6GHz. Both of the new processors feature 1MB of level 2 cache – in fact the 4000+ is clocked at the same speed as the old 3800+, so it’s just the extra cache that’s giving a performance boost.
I was a little disappointed when I unpacked the Xcelsior from the box, as it looked just like any other Evesham PC. The case Evesham is using is an OEM version of the Chenbro Gaming Bomb, with a duller front and no side window. It’s not a bad case, but it would be nice to have seen something more exciting for a cutting edge machine like this.
Although a good looking system is one thing, it is far more important that it is well built, using quality components. Evesham is usually pretty good here, so opening the machine up, it came as no surprise to see a tidy and well laid out interior. All the cables are routed neatly and tied up with cable ties, although this may be a cause for concern the day you want to upgrade your PC - the type of cable ties used can’t be opened so you’ll need to be handy with a pair of cable snips, and be careful not to catch any of the wires.
Let’s take a closer look at the components used, starting with the motherboard. The MSI main board goes by the model name K8N Neo2 and is based on the nVidia nForce3 250 chipset. It features both onboard 10/100Mbit Ethernet and onboard Gigabit Ethernet, onboard FireWire and 5.1-channel sound, although this has been disabled in favour of a Creative Labs SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS sound card.
With the Axis Xcelsior being a high-end PC one wouldn’t expect to find less than 1GB of memory and this is just what Evesham has fitted, although I was disappointed to find two sticks of CAS3 PC3200 Hynix memory, rather than some low latency performance modules. This is not the first time we have had a high-end PC from Evesham with bog standard memory fitted and it’s a shame that Evesham hasn’t listened to our comments in the past. I understand that this would add extra cost, but with a machine like this, the target user would probably be willing to pay the premium.
On the plus side Evesham has thrown in a first rate graphics card – an ATI Radeon X800 XT. This isn’t the ultra-rare Platinum Edition model, but rather the standard, slightly slower clocked version. It still features 256MB of GDDR3 memory and ViVo, and to be honest it’s more than fast enough to satisfy the hardcore gamer. This card will really show what it can do when Half-Life 2 launches tomorrow.
You can never have too much hard disk space and Evesham hasn’t skimped here with a 300GB Maxtor SATA hard drive. This hard disk has 16MB of cache and is currently one of the fastest SATA hard drives available. Evesham also sticks with two optical drives, the top one being a Sony DVD+/- writer which can write up to 16x DVD+R media, while also supporting DVD+R Dual Layer discs. The bottom drive is a 16x Sony DVD-ROM drive.