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In October of last year we were planning to get a few gaming PCs in between £600 and £700, of which the £599 CyberPower Infinity i5 Hercules SE was the first. However, after that DinoPC seduced us into reviewing the more expensive i7-Osuarus, and other system assemblers had trouble getting their entrants ready. Now it’s a new year though, and with it we have a new budget gaming PC: the Scan 3XS i3 OC, which comes in at just £2.65 over £700.
What does this get you in 2010? For starters, as its name suggests this Scan is based on an overclocked version of one of Intel’s newest Core i3 chips (keep in mind that though these are newer they’re not necessarily better than what has come before, as they lack the dynamic clock speeds and some features of their more expensive Core i5 and i7 siblings). This is backed by one of AMD/ATI’s new 5000-series DirectX11-compatible graphics cards offering Eyefinity triple-monitor support, with the usual 4GB of DDR3 RAM onboard and a 500GB hard drive for permanent storage.
The Scan 3XS i3 OC comes packaged in more protective padding than any other PC we have seen, with even the inside of the case literally stuffed with insulation to protect its precious components during transit. Despite the huge box it arrived in, the case itself is small by gaming standards and, along with the Infinity i5 Hercules SE before it, it’s one of the lighter tower PCs to come through our offices.
Though it also bears the Scan logo in embossed silver letters, the case for this system is a CoolerMaster Elite 335. On the outside this black mid-tower is certainly a neat affair, consisting of smooth steel panels on the sides and a metal mesh honeycomb-pattern front with a matt plastic surround and glossy plastic connectivity panel.
At the case’s front you’ll find a matt black Sony 24x DVD-Rewriter, and it’s nice to see that this is a SATA model when some assemblers are still shipping machines with EIDE optical drives. Connectivity here is as basic as it gets though, with just two USB 2.0 ports plus 3.5mm jacks for headphone and microphone alongside the blue-backlit power button and pinhole reset button.
Around the back, on the other hand, is a veritable plethora of connections. There are six USB ports, FireWire/1394 and eSATA sockets, Gigabit Ethernet, a single PS2 mouse/keyboard port, six analogue jacks and digital optical for audio, plus VGA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort from the motherboard’s integrated graphics. The latter are made redundant by the video card, though, which offers even more by swapping the analogue output with a second dual-DVI output.