Apart from the system itself, you also get a ViewSonic VX924 19in TFT display with a 4ms response time. It is not quite up to the standard of the more expensive ViewSonic VP monitors, but there are far worse displays out there and the 4ms response time should at least keep most gamers happy. However, it is limited to 1,280 x 1,024 which is worth keeping in mind if you want to play your games in 1,600 x 1,200.
The remaining accessories consist of a set of Creative Labs I-Trigue 3200 2.1-channel speakers. I doubt many gamers will find these to be ideal, but again Evesham could definitely have supplied something far worse to keep the price down. There is of course a keyboard and a mouse, both wireless and from Microsoft. On the software side the only applications apart from those that come with the motherboard and graphics cards consists of a copy of Microsoft Works 8 and Roxio Easy Media Creator 7.
So, let’s take a look at the benchmark numbers. As a standard work horse the Axis AK47 scored 184 overall in SYSMark 2004 and 4,454 in PCMark 2004, neither score remarkable, but it’s by no means a slow PC. But the part that most buyers of this machine would be concerned with is of course its 3D performance. Considering that the Evesham Duel SLi that we reviewed back in February had dual 6800GT cards, albeit a 3500+ processor (which has half the cache of the 3700+) you’d think that the Axis AK47 might be a lot slower.
With driver improvements and some slight changes to how we do some of our benchmarking the game tests aren’t 100 per cent comparable, but at least the 3DMark scores are comparable across the board and the Axis AK47 looses out by some 3,500 points in 3DMark 03 at default settings whereas in 3DMark 05 at 1,280 x 1,024 it’s only behind by about 180 points. As the default resolution of the supplied screen is 1,280 x 1,024 and most games would look better at this resolution due to the characteristics of a TFT display it is important that the games will be playable at this resolution.
In Half-Life 2 with 4x FSAA and 8x AF it managed 80.1fps which is definitely a playable frame rate. Same settings in Doom 3 resulted in 60.4fps, again very playable. Finally in FarCry the result was 64.3fps. Disabling FSAA and AF brought the frame rate up by between 10-20fps on average depending on the game. So there you have it, some very decent benchmark numbers from a machine with two mid-range gaming graphics cards.
Oh yes, there is that little matter of cost, but at £1,299 inc VAT with a two year onsite warranty, the Axis AK47 looks like a pretty good bargain for anyone but the real hardcore gamer. It’s worth bearing in mind that SLI still doesn’t work with any and all games, but a single GeForce 6800LE should still be fast enough for most older games that fall into this category.
What Evesham has produced here is a very affordable SLI gaming machine based current technology. However, we’re on the verge of seeing a whole new era of graphics technology, not to mention recent CPU mile stones as well. So, although the Axis AK47 is a great machine and an affordable one at that, make sure you check back on Wednesday to find out what Evesham can produce with the next generation in graphics cards and CPU hardware!
Evesham is driving down the cost of GeForce 6800 based SLI system with the Axis AK47 and as long as you don’t want the absolutely fastest SLI rig on the planet, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Axis AK47.