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Internally you’ll find a single hard drive, - an SATA connected Maxtor 6B250S0 offering 250GB and an impressive 16MB of cache. Your higher end gaming system is likely to include two or even three disks in a convoluted RAID array, but when push comes to shove, 250GB is enough space for practically everybody, and RAID for a desktop gaming system is probably overkill. Indeed more performance benefit will be gained from the disk supporting Native Command Queuing (NCQ) and the hard disk score of 5080 in PC Mark 2004 is pretty healthy.
Of course the star of the show internally is the pair of GeForce 6800GT cards, located in the two PCI Express slots on the Asus A8N-SLi motherboard. There is in fact another PCI Express slot in between these but it is totally obstructed by the large bulk of these cards. Evesham has selected to use Leadtek cards, probably for the simple reason that it was able to secure supply of this brand. This is slightly unfortunate as while these cards certainly perform well, they make an awful lot of noise. In fact as well as a CPU fan, there’s a 120mm rear fan, a front fan, and even one on the motherboard Southbridge chip. There are also two in the power supply unit. In combination with the two very noisy fans on the graphics cards this makes the Evesham one of the noisiest systems we’ve heard in a long time. Because of the heat generated by all the components packed into the case, Evesham has had to modify the side panel so that there is a grille above the CPU cooler and the graphics cards. It works but it does mean even more noise escapes. The cooling system certainly does its job though and round the back you’ll feel a strong blast of warm air being ejected from the interior.
Evesham has specified a Tagan power supply, the brand that won our recent group test. Surprisingly perhaps, it is only rated at 420W but we had no power related problems during our testing. The Tagan supplies two dedicated connectors to the graphics cards and one directly into the motherboard. Evesham has used the Tagan supplied cable tidies to keep things as neat as possible but with so much going on inside it’s not the neatest of systems, though there was nothing left trailing that would impede air flow.
The case that Evesham has chosen is its standard box with a spider-like front. Personally I’m not a fan of the way it looks though others in the office thought it looked good – purely a matter of taste. It’s certainly not particularly lavish inside or out, with no fancy hinges or swinging side panel mechanism – it’s all pretty functional. That said the side panel lock on the rear will be appreciated so you can keep the interior components safe from prying hands, unless of course the whole box is nicked.
There are two external 5.25in drive bays and one internal, as well as one internal 3.5in bay ready for expansion, which could be used to add a second hard disk drive. In the top two external 5.25in bays are a 16x dual-layer Sony DVD Burner and a DVD/CD-RW combo drive. Sensibly, rather than a plain old dated floppy disk drive, Evesham has supplied a 7-in-1 card reader – a very useful inclusion in today’s digitally dominated camera world.