Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

The MaXcore comes with the 64-bit version of Vista Premium. This is good in that it allows Windows an any applications to take advantage of the full 4GB of memory. The downside is that the system will be compatible with fewer of the older games, so gamers who have a soft spot for retro or like buying older budget games beware.

Bootup to the desktop takes 36 seconds, which is fairly speedy. This is partially thanks to the commendable lack of bloatware; in fact, there really isn't much pre-installed, apart from Adobe Acrobat Reader 8 - which is exactly what many gamers will want. The only other icons you'll find are the recycle bin and a shortcut to 'play Portal now', which is automatically installed by the nVidia drivers. However, since this only leads to a purchase page for the game, I wish Wired2Fire had removed it altogether.

As you would expect considering what it packs under the hood, the Diablo MaXcore absolutely stomps most games, not to mention applications. The only machine to beat it for under a £1,000 is the CyberPower Gamer Infinity Crossfire-HD. Using the same processor, but overclocked to a full 4GHz rather than the MaXcore's 3.6GHz, and with twin ATI Radeon 4870's in CrossFire, there is a significant gap between the two systems in some games. In Crysis at 1,920 x 1,200 and 2xAA, for example, the Diablo MaXcore managed a barely playable 23fps, while the CyberPower churned out 50fps.

However, the CyberPower does demand a £180 premium and comes with its own problems, including of course a significantly higher power draw. And performance for the Diablo MaXcore in almost every other game is exemplary, as highlighted by the 58fps it managed at 1,920 x 1,200 and 4xAA in Call of Duty 4.

In terms of overall value, the MaXcore is a very attractive proposition for £830, though depending on your needs it's not necessarily the best deal out there. It's also worth noting that Wired2Fire offers a free 9am to 6:30pm technical support line with UK staff, and best of all, the company has just switched to a local rate number. While this service is especially nice for those who are new to PCs or PC gaming, a similar service is offered by some competitors, including CyberPower. As far as the warranty goes, one year is slightly below standard, but it is collect-and-return; for which many companies charge extra.

Verdict

Wired2Fire's Diablo MaXcore is a gaming beast for a decent price. Apart from high noise levels, which can be remedied with minimal effort, there is little room for complaint, though you'll want to spend the extra £22 on the optional Thermaltake CPU cooler.

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