There is no floppy drive, but in its place you’ll find a memory card reader/writer which accepts Compact Flash Type I/II, SD, MMC, SmartMedia, xD, MemoryStick and MemoryStick Pro formats. It also features headphone and microphone sockets and single USB 2.0 and FireWire ports. The front audio ports are wired up to the SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS card through an adaptor, as the Audigy cards have a special connector that normally only works with Creative’s Live drive. As if this wasn’t enough front mounted connectivity, there are an additional two USB 2.0 ports and a single FireWire port hidden behind a flap at the bottom of the case.
The screen that Evesham supplies as a part of the package is the excellent VP201s 20.1 in TFT display from Viewsonic. This screen has a native resolution of 1,600 x 1,200 and features DVI as well as D-SUB input options. The VP range from ViewSonic also features one of the best stands on the market – there’s dampened vertical movement, panning motion and the ability to pivot the screen into portrait mode. Also, the target gaming market will be pleased with the 16ms response time. The VP201s also picked up a Recommended award in our recent TFT group test.
You do also get a set of 7.1-channel speakers to go with the Audigy 2 ZS sound card. Evesham supplied a set of Creative Labs Inspire T7700s which provide a decent surround sound effect. Finally there’s a Microsoft wireless keyboard and a wireless optical mouse with tilt wheel.
One final thing I have to mention when it comes to the component choices is the power supply. As this is meant to be a high-end gaming PC which is highly likely to be overclocked and probably upgraded in the future with a more powerful graphics card and processor, a 300W PSU is just not good enough. As all modern computers since the Pentium 4 put a higher load on the 12V rail than the other power rails, it is even more worrying to see that the 12V rail peaks out at 216W. This means that if the PC draws more than 216W from the 12V rail it will shut down in best case and in worst case it could damage components in the PC.
In its current configuration the Axis Xcelsior peaked at a power draw from the wall socket of no more 232W running 3DMark 05. If we then calculate that the PSU has an estimated efficiency of 75 per cent, which is quite high, this would mean that the power needed by the components inside the machine would be in the region of 174W combined across all the power rails. This is well within what the PSU can deliver, but I would rather be safe than sorry in this instance. On a more positive note the PSU only draws 4W in standby, which means that the Xcelsior will consume minimal power when it’s not being used. As with the memory, I wouldn’t expect Evesham to supply a high-quality power supply with a bog standard PC, but with a system like this one I would have liked to have seen something a bit more special.
Evesham doesn’t have a lot on offer in terms of software, but you do get a copy of Microsoft Works 8.0 and a basic anti-virus package, but I would have liked to have seen a couple of recent games supplied as well, since there is nothing included that would even give you an idea of how good this PC is when it comes to 3D frame rates.