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This brings us on to the benchmarks, which were impressive, although they could have been even better had Evesham put in that faster memory. With the 4000+ processor the Axis Xcelsior managed an overall score of 198 in SYSMark 2004, while it achieved a very impressive score of 210 with the FX55 chip - for the first time AMD has managed to outperform the current top of the range Pentium 4 processor in SYSMark 2004. The PCMark 2004 score is similarly impressive, but again the memory scores could have been higher.
Looking at the 3D benchmarks, with the 4000+ a score of 12182 was achieved in 3DMark03 at standard settings. As this machine is geared towards the gaming market all benchmarks were run at 1,280 x 1,024 as well as 1,600 x 1,200 as well as our standard 1,024 x 768 setting. With the FX55 processor fitted the 3DMark03 score went up to 12335, which isn’t as significant an increase compared with the 2D SYSMark test.
In 3DMark 05 the 4000+ managed to produce a score of 4450 with the FX55 ever so slightly faster with a score of 4477. The CPU score in 3DMark 05 shows a bigger difference with the 4000+ scoring 4819 while the FX55 managed 4941. There is also a noticeable difference in Doom 3 where the 4000+ produced 95.3fps with the FX55 hitting 98fps. The numbers are similar in Far Cry and Unreal Tournament 2004 as you can see on the graphs page with the FX55 keeping the edge with a few frames.
Overall the FX55 doesn’t impress massively if you consider the price premium you have to pay for it, but this is usually the case with the top end processors - a lot of extra cost for a minimal performance increase. The 4000+ would be my choice, especially considering that £2231.33 is quite a lot of money to pay for a PC in the first place - the FX55 model will set you back £2348.83.
Obviously the Evesham Xcelsior is not quite as fast, or as special as the Holly Computers S939 AMD64W that we looked at a few weeks ago, but you have to remember that the Holly costs even more than the Evesham and doesn’t come with a monitor, speakers or input peripherals. So, considering the performance on offer, the Xcelsior provides pretty good value for money.
The Evesham Axis Xcelsior is a very fast PC and generally well specified, but the high latency memory and the poor PSU come as a letdown on a computer costing well over £2000. That said, you are getting a cutting edge machine that’s well built and has an excellent TFT display. With a little more attention to detail the Xcelsior would have grabbed a Recommended award, but even as it stands it provides a good mix of performance, features and value.