The PC itself runs into a 22-inch widescreen LCD monitor from Mirai, a name not that well-known in the UK, but one which deserves to be. It supports both analogue and DVI inputs and the GeForce card outputs DVI, giving it the best chance of top performance. Controls are under the bottom right lip of the screen’s surround, and there’s no annoying external power supply.
Sound provision is also good, as the 5.1 surround sound from the Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer card is fed into a matching set of Creative T6100 speakers.
Finally, the network provision looks decent, as both a gigabit Ethernet cabled connection and a Belkin Wi-Fi adapter are supplied. Our review system came without the Wi-Fi, but we’re assured this was a one-off error.
This is a smooth, slick system that runs Windows Vista Home Premium without breaking sweat. It scored 7,182 on PCMark 05, a very good score, showing a good hardware balance from the high-performing individual components. It comes with a copy of Works 8.5, though not with Word, which is a shame for a PC at this price.
It’s worth mentioning the Cyberlink DVD Suite that was pre-installed. This includes back-up software as well as DVD playback and copying (within copyright) of DVDs. It’s a more comprehensive product than many bundled on new PCs.
There were a couple of anomalies in the way the Elite Quad Express-SP ran. For a start, although the machine has 4GB of memory physically installed, both Windows and the front screen of PCMark reported 3GB available. There’s no shared memory for the graphics card, which has 256MB of dedicated graphics RAM and nothing else we could see that would grab the missing 1GB. The specification screen of PCMark shows all four DIMMs installed, so maybe it’s a reporting glitch or probably a Windows memory mapping quirk.
Then there’s no Windows remote supplied for use with Media Center. While it’s quite possible to use Media Center with a mouse, it rather curtails sinking back into your armchair for an evening’s TV.
If you want a top-class PC which can be used for all kinds of multimedia work and as a second TV with digital recording and excellent video and sound, the Elite Quad Express-SP is a great choice. While not all the applications you may want to run are yet written for multi-core processing, more and more will be and the spec and build of this machine will stand you in good stead for several years.