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One of the concerns with buying from a small system integrator instead of one of the big players like Dell or HP is that they might go bust just when you need that technical support line or the warranty you paid so much extra for. This is especially true in the current, shall we say, difficult economic climate. However, Wired2Fire has been around for a while. In fact, we reviewed a system from the company back in 2006; the Wired2Fire Pyro 64-FX. The Pyro didn't exactly get a glowing recommendation though, so let's see if the Diablo MaXcore can turn things around.
Before we get onto the PC proper, it's certainly worth mentioning the bundle that ships with it. Unlike most PC builders, Wired2Fire gives you a whole slew of stuff in the box - the motherboard box as it happens. This includes all the adapters, manuals and software that come with the retail graphics card in your system, the bits and bobs from your PSU and motherboard. I also found the case's original 3.5in drive bay cover, and a copy of Windows Vista Premium OEM in its jewel case. Best of all, there is a full colour Wired2Fire manual which deals with setup and basic maintenance of your PC. Finally there's a football-themed cloth CD-folder thrown in.
Frankly, including all these bits and bobs is a brilliant idea, and gives you far more flexibility when upgrading than most pre-assembled PCs. The manual will also undoubtedly come in handy for many. Other system integrators take note.
Getting onto the PC itself, you get some pretty decent core components, including an Intel Core 2 Duo E4800 overclocked to a blisteringly-fast 3.6GHz, an overclocked nVidia GeForce GTX260 and 4GB of 800MHz DDR2 memory, backed by a 500GB hard drive. While none of these are top-of-the-line, they do offer great bang for your buck, which is reflected by the £830 asking price.
Visually, this is a very different beast to the Pyro. Instead of a custom-painted curvy case with side windows and a door, an Antec Three Hundred provides a solid black steel box with a minimum of embellishments and its drives exposed to the gaze of all and sundry. But that's no bad thing; Antec makes excellent cases, and the Three Hundred is no exception.
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