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To give the latest generation of graphics cards a run for their money, we asked Evesham to build us the fastest PC it could. What Evesham came up with is this – the Evolution Extreme. This is the fastest, and most expensive PC ever to make its way into the TrustedReviews Labs.
Driving the Evolution Extreme is a 3.4GHz Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, which is currently the fastest processor in the Intel stable. Supporting the CPU is 1GB of PC3200 memory, supplied in the form of two 512MB modules for dual channel operation. Although there’s nothing wrong with the memory, it would have been nice to see some high-end modules from a company like Corsair, OCZ or GeIL to go with the super-fast CPU. The storage complement is made up of two 74GB Western Digital S-ATA Raptor hard disks. These disks are very fast and combine a 10,000rpm spindle speed with 8MB of data cache. But Evesham has pushed the storage performance even further by configuring the two Raptors in a RAID 0 array.
The screen is a stunning 20.1in TFT unit from ViewSonic – the VP201s. This screen would be a great addition to any system - with a native resolution of 1,600 x 1,200 you have masses of desktop real estate. With a high resolution screen like this, there’s no problem having multiple windows and applications open concurrently. But obviously this machine is aimed at the hardcore gamer, so it’s a good thing that the ViewSonic VP201s also has a low 16ms response time. This means that when playing fast moving games, you shouldn’t get any smearing problems.
ViewSonic’s VP range of monitors also has the best stand configuration that we've seen on a TFT. The screen is mounted on a central column which has a full range of dampened vertical movement. You can also easily twist the screen from side to side and if you’re looking at a particularly long document, you can pivot the screen into portrait mode. There are both DVI and D-SUB inputs and both cables are supplied in the box.
The Evesham case is a black and silver affair and matches the black and silver monitor very well. There are four 5.25in drive bays and the top two are filled with a DVD writer and a DVD-ROM drive. The former is a Sony DW-U18A which will write DVD+/-R discs at eight-speed and DVD+/-RW discs at four-speed. Considering the recent price drops, I’d expect to see a DVD writer in a modestly priced PC, so it’s a necessity in a machine like this. Evesham has also been thoughtful enough to make sure that both optical drives are black to match the case.
Two of the five PCI slots are occupied – the very bottom slot holds a V92 56K modem, while the next one up is filled by a Creative Labs Audigy 2 ZS sound card. The latter is a good inclusion and will please both gamers and movie buffs. Unfortunately this is the OEM version of the Audigy 2 ZS so you don’t get the front mounted media bay that comes with the full retail card. Complementing the Audigy card is a set of Creative Inspire T7700 7.1-channel speakers. If you have the space and the inclination to set all these speakers up in the right configuration, you should be greeted with an impressively immersive audio experience when gaming.
The keyboard and mouse are finished in black and silver and complement the rest of the system. They’re both wireless Microsoft units and performed with expected aplomb.