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Scan 3XS i3 OC Gaming PC - Scan 3XS i3 OC Gaming PC

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

So far this CPU might not sound too exciting, which isn’t too surprising considering it’s a budget part. Scan hasn’t just left it at its default clock speed, however, overclocking it by a whopping 1007Hz (1.07GHz) to give you a total of 4GHz. Consequently the Core i3 holds it own against significantly more expensive processors in many scenarios, including the Core i7 860 used in the £1,000 i7-Osuarus. It’s certainly more than up to running most games as fast as the graphics card will allow.

Though such an overclock would be possible with the stock cooler, Scan has played it safe and gone with something a little beefier. Arctic Cooling’s Freezer 7 Pro V2 does a good job of preventing your CPU from turning into toast (we measured a maximum of 70 degrees) and is configured to send the hot air straight to the case’s rear exhaust fan, leaving the system’s insides relatively cool.

For memory duties four gigabytes is the norm nowadays and as much as all but the most demanding games will use. In Scan’s case it has filled two of the motherboard’s available four slots with Corsair-branded XMS3 1,600MHz DDR3 memory, which look great with their black heatspreaders.

Speaking of the motherboard, as mentioned earlier it’s a mini-ATX affair based on Intel’s new H57 chipset. Gigabyte has gone for an attractive blue and white colour scheme, with a small metal cooling block over the northbridge. As far as slots go you get two PCI-Express x16 slots supporting ATI’s CrossFire technology (with each card getting x8 bandwidth), allowing you to add a second video card at a later date. In case you were wondering, the 400W Corsair non-modular power supply should be able to handle a second HD 5770 without any problems.

In addition to the outdated EIDE HDD and floppy connectors the motherboard also sports five SATA ports, four of which are occupied by pre-routed cables allowing you to add either an optical or hard drive to the installed models. At least as far as permanent storage is concerned you might end up doing this rather quickly too, as games take up a lot of space and the 500GB provided by the 7,200rpm Samsung Spinpoint F3 is a bit stingy these days.

As always the highlight of any gaming PC is going to be its graphics card, and while not the top of ATI’s line, as part of the 5,000-series the XFX HD 5770 does offer the best feature set on the market and won our coveted Recommended Award by offering excellent performance for its price. Most important for gamers among its features is of course DirectX11 support, which is likely to gain wider support than its predecessor did. ATI’s Eyefinity technology, meanwhile, will let you hook up three monitors out of the box, though anyone who can afford that setup can probably afford a better PC too.

vadim

January 28, 2010, 2:21 pm

Its been a long time since I last looked at one of Dell PCs' insides, but from my previous experience I can say that comparing Dell to any custom build is like comparing apples and pears. That is if we ignore the customer service differences and further upgrade pricing. Not looking to offend anyone, but I guess the author needs a bit more real life experience to draw such comparisons.

TechVegan

January 28, 2010, 3:06 pm

@vadim:


Not offended at all, but I hope I made it clear that upgrading is the one area where Dells can be problematic. It can't be denied that for the price the Dell is a far superior system, and as to upgrade prices, I don't really see any upgrades that would make sense for that system as you're buying to a price point - once you go above that you can get a whole different level of custom build. Besides which, Dell's upgrade prices tend to be reasonable, if not as cheap as buying yourself (which is the same for custom builds).





In the end, what I was comparing was basic hardware specifications for the money, and even factoring in a replacement case and motherboard for Dell's PC you would still have a decent price for what you're getting (FYI I've owned a Dell machine in the past and reviewed a few too).

Ben

January 28, 2010, 7:34 pm

I enjoyed the review, thank you! Very tidy insides - I do like seeing computers that have had thought put into the assembly.

MarioM

January 29, 2010, 10:06 pm

Please don't hate me, but I fancy the sound of that Studio XPS. I don't have the time to build and support my own PC - I want to buy something with 3 years NBD and just forget about it. But I can't for the life of me find the system you describe on their website. Linky?

TechVegan

February 1, 2010, 6:00 pm

@Ben:


You're welcome :) And yes, tidy insides are always a good sign that the assembler has actually put in some genuine effort.





@MarioM:


We hate you - kidding! Unfortunately, Dell has completely changed the configuration of its Studio XPS 8100 systems since the review, so now that system would come to over £800. Obviously when buying from an assembler like Scan you don't have to build or support the PC either, and the company offers a 2-year warranty as standard.

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