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Scan 3XS E series

Scan is a company that is more famous for the “Today Only” deals on its website than its PCs. When the system arrived we were a bit perplexed over the instructions supplied as Scan puts antistatic bubble wrap inside the system to prevent any damage during transit. The only problem here is that you have to open the PC to remove the bubble wrap when it arrives, but rather this than a damaged PC.

The 3XS E series looks very stylish when you take it out of the box as it’s finished in aluminium and black. Sadly this is somewhat cosmetic and the inside of the case is nowhere near as impressive as the outside. It is however much better than the case from Jal and unless you’re the kind of person that likes to tinker around inside your PC this is hardly an issue.

Inside the case you’ll find an Abit NF7 version 2.0 motherboard with an AMD Athlon XP 2500+ CPU and 512MB of PC3200 memory. This is the slowest processor on test and it shows in the benchmarks as the Scan system is one of the slowest in Sysmark 2002 and PCMark 2002. Sadly the motherboard is a bit lacking compared to most of the ones found in competitors PCs. It offers very few integrated features. It does come with 5.1-channel sound, but it does not feature the MCP-T and thus lacks Dolby Digital support.
You also get integrated 10/100Mbit Ethernet on the board. If only Scan had used a different version of this board with support for S-ATA and FireWire, it would have had a much more compelling machine on offer.

Due to the lack of S-ATA the hard drive is a standard 120GB IDE drive from Maxtor, a little below the average on test. Scan has only supplied a single optical drive, but as it is a Sony DVD writer capable of handling DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW and CD-R/RW media and there is little else you need unless you intend to copy a lot of CDs. We still feel that the extra cost of a DVD-ROM drive or even a CD-RW drive does not add that much extra to the overall system cost.

The graphics card is a Creative Labs GeForce FX 5600 Ultra and it brings the Scan system up in the middle of the playing field in both versions of 3DMark. This is connected to the excellent LG Flatron L1710B 17in TFT display that won the Editor’s Choice award in our recent monitor group test. It has a native resolution of 1,280 x 1,024 at 75Hz and features a built in USB hub.

The wireless keyboard and mouse are from Chieftech, who is better known for its cases. This is a reasonable setup, but it can’t compete on quality with the Microsoft bundles seen elsewhere in this group test.

Scan has however added a couple of unique features of its own, the first one being a 6-in-1 memory card reader that supports Compact Flash Type I/II (including MicroDrives), Smart Media, Secure Digital, MultiMedia Card and Sony Memory Stick.
The other one being a small unit inside the PC called Cooling After, that keeps the CPU and rear case fan running for approximately 30 seconds or so after you switch off the PC to cool it down gently. How useful this is in real life is debatable but it is still a novel feature.

There is no office package supplied with the Scan system, but you do get a set of 10 blank DVD-Rs in the box allowing you to try out the DVD writer straight away.

Verdict

The build quality of the 3XS E series system is first rate, but sadly the choice of components hasn’t done it any favours. It’s not a terrible system and Scan has spent some extra money on the LG TFT display, but at this price it’s hard to recommend.

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