Evesham is a well known UK manufacturer thatâ€™s been established since the day computers started to make inroads into the consumer market. Nowadays Evesham is one of the largest PC manufacturers in the UK and offers a wide range of system for home users, businesses and the education market.
The Axis 2800+ is a well rounded PC and it fits right in with what we requested for this roundup. It might not have the fastest processor on test nor the fastest graphics card, but it offers a whole lot more than just speed. The build quality is first rate and Evesham offers a high quality case that is completely tool-less, making it very easy to add new components. If you donâ€™t like the look of the system case, ask Evesham for the alternative facia instead, which we think looks a lot better. Evesham even offers optional fascias in different colours for an extra cost which are as easy to swap as a mobile phone fascia, if not easier.
As the name applies the Axis 2800+ features an AMD Athlon XP 2800+ processor. You also get 512MB of PC2700 memory which should be plenty for everything but advanced video editing.
Most computer manufacturers use motherboards that are cost effective, but Evesham has gone with the fully featured MSI K7N2 Delta-ILSR nForce2 board, with a good set of features on offer. It comes with integrated FireWire, S-ATA RAID, IDE RAID, 10/100Mbit Ethernet and 5.1-channel sound.
Little else is needed to create a very competent PC, but Evesham has done a great job of adding just the right components. To make the most of the motherboard, all of the integrated features are utilised in one way or another.
A 160GB Maxtor S-ATA hard drive is connected to the S-ATA RAID controller and this makes Evesham one of only two companies that supplies S-ATA hard drives, the other being JAL. Continuing on the storage subject, youâ€™ll find a Sony DVD writer that supports DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW, as well as a Sony CD-RW drive. The CD writer is great if you feel the DVD writer is a bit on the slow side for burning CDs, but you lose the ability to copy DVDs on the fly.
The integrated nForce2 audio is also used and as the motherboard features the MCP-T southbridge with hardware Dolby Digital support, thereâ€™s little need for a soundcard to be fitted. A set of Creative Labs 5.1 speakers are also supplied to give you great sound in games or when you watch DVDs, but as with all 5.1 speakers, they do take up quite a lot of space and create quite a tangle of cables around your desk.
But the jewel in the crown is the graphics card, an ATi All-in-Wonder 9800SE with 128MB of graphics memory. You might wonder what the SE stands for, but to be honest, weâ€™re not quite sure. But we do know what the SE means in practical terms, as the SE versions of ATiâ€™s graphics chips are slower versions of the ones you might be familiar with and are aimed squarely towards computer manufacturers. You might think that this is a con, but for something like an All-in-Wonder card we donâ€™t have a problem with such a solution as it adds so much else to the PC. Besides the 9800SE did well in both instances of 3DMark although it isnâ€™t quite as good as a fully fledged 9800 or 9800 Pro.
The All-in-Wonder also adds a TV tuner, video capture, its own S/PDIF output and TV out for connecting the computer to a TV or a projector. This is a truly amazing card which adds a wide range of features to any PC and itâ€™s fast enough for games as well as offering rich multimedia features. And letâ€™s not forget the remote control, which allows you to change the TV channel and control pretty much the rest of your PC from the comfort of your armchair.
Evesham supplies a great 17in Philips TFT display with this machine that offers both DVI and D-SUB inputs and a native resolution of 1,280 x 1,024.
The wireless Microsoft keyboard and optical mouse are also great additions and comfortable to use.
Evesham also offers a good software bundle with a copy of Microsoft Works Suite 2003 and Pinnacle Studio 8SE in the box.
Evesham has produced a first rate PC at a reasonable price. Itâ€™s got just about every feature you could want and consequently walks away with the Editorâ€™s Choice Award.