- Review Price: £1299.00
Although the original AK47 became the most popular assault rifle in the world (although most of the weapons out in the field are Chinese copies, rather than Russian originals), I think Evesham would be happy enough if the Axis AK47 becomes the most popular SLI PC in the UK. The AK47 rifle was so widely used due to its simplicity, reliability and low cost. The Axis AK47 is also pretty basic for an SLI PC, it didn’t fall over once during our testing and the price is also pretty attractive.
I think that’s enough comparisons with firearms, but the Axis AK47 is the first affordable SLI system that we have seen at TrustedReviews to feature two GeForce 6800 cards. That might sound like a contradiction in terms, but with the latest generation of GeForce 6800 and 6800LE PCI Express cards based on the NV41 core sporting SLI connectors as standard, the cost of GeForce 6800 based SLI setups have dropped to a completely new level.
The two cards Evesham has gone with are from Leadtek, but gone are the big noisy coolers from the 6800GT cards we saw in the Duel SLi system – with the lower clock speeds of the GeForce 6800LE cards, a more discrete and quiet solution has been employed. The other major difference is that the GeForce 6800LE cards don’t have a power connector, which means less power draw but also less overclockability.
However, you don’t worry about this machine being a poor performer by any means, but more on that when we get to the benchmark results. The basic version of the GeForce 6800 range use DDR memory rather than GDDR3, which is also a limiting factor when it comes to memory clocks. On the upside the latest GeForce 6800LE cards now have 12 pipelines instead of the previous eight, which should improve the performance even though the cards in the Axis AK47 were only clocked at 334/618MHz core/memory. The Leadtek cards also have 256MB of graphics memory each, which again is up from 128MB of the previous generation of GeForce 6800LE cards.
Besides the two graphics cards the Axis AK47 comes with an Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard which offers a wide range of onboard features including dual Gigabit Ethernet, onboard 7.1-channel audio, support for up to eight SATA devices and onboard FireWire. Besides the graphics cards the only other card fitted is a 56K V.92 modem, but there is very little else that you might need.
The processor is a Socket-939 AMD Athlon 64 3700+ which is clocked at 2.2GHz and has 1MB of Level 2 cache. Add to this 1GB of Micron branded PC3200 memory and you’ve got a pretty good gaming machine. Remember, this is not a top of the range gaming PC so even though Evesham has used quality components you won’t find low latency memory or other high-value, super-fast kit in the Axis AK47.
Moving on to the storage devices there is 250GB Maxtor DiamondMax 10 SATA hard drive and a 16x Sony DVD+/-R DVD writer which also writes to DVD+/-RW media at 8x and DVD+R dual layer media at 4x. Finally we have a 16x Sony DVD-ROM drive as the floppy drive has finally become an optional extra. The front also houses two USB 2.0 ports, a single six pin FireWire connector as well as headphone and microphone connectors.
There’s plenty of space free inside the case with two empty 5.25in drive bays and four empty 3.5in drive bays. The PSU is a 420W unit from Tagan that should be more that sufficient for this setup. A rear mounted 120mm fan helps keep the system cool without creating too much extra noise. Build quality is up to Evesham’s normal high standards and all the cables have been tied up neatly with cable ties.
Apart from the system itself, you also get a ViewSonic VX924 19in TFT display with a 4ms response time. It is not quite up to the standard of the more expensive ViewSonic VP monitors, but there are far worse displays out there and the 4ms response time should at least keep most gamers happy. However, it is limited to 1,280 x 1,024 which is worth keeping in mind if you want to play your games in 1,600 x 1,200.
The remaining accessories consist of a set of Creative Labs I-Trigue 3200 2.1-channel speakers. I doubt many gamers will find these to be ideal, but again Evesham could definitely have supplied something far worse to keep the price down. There is of course a keyboard and a mouse, both wireless and from Microsoft. On the software side the only applications apart from those that come with the motherboard and graphics cards consists of a copy of Microsoft Works 8 and Roxio Easy Media Creator 7.
So, let’s take a look at the benchmark numbers. As a standard work horse the Axis AK47 scored 184 overall in SYSMark 2004 and 4,454 in PCMark 2004, neither score remarkable, but it’s by no means a slow PC. But the part that most buyers of this machine would be concerned with is of course its 3D performance. Considering that the Evesham Duel SLi that we reviewed back in February had dual 6800GT cards, albeit a 3500+ processor (which has half the cache of the 3700+) you’d think that the Axis AK47 might be a lot slower.
With driver improvements and some slight changes to how we do some of our benchmarking the game tests aren’t 100 per cent comparable, but at least the 3DMark scores are comparable across the board and the Axis AK47 looses out by some 3,500 points in 3DMark 03 at default settings whereas in 3DMark 05 at 1,280 x 1,024 it’s only behind by about 180 points. As the default resolution of the supplied screen is 1,280 x 1,024 and most games would look better at this resolution due to the characteristics of a TFT display it is important that the games will be playable at this resolution.
In Half-Life 2 with 4x FSAA and 8x AF it managed 80.1fps which is definitely a playable frame rate. Same settings in Doom 3 resulted in 60.4fps, again very playable. Finally in FarCry the result was 64.3fps. Disabling FSAA and AF brought the frame rate up by between 10-20fps on average depending on the game. So there you have it, some very decent benchmark numbers from a machine with two mid-range gaming graphics cards.
Oh yes, there is that little matter of cost, but at £1,299 inc VAT with a two year onsite warranty, the Axis AK47 looks like a pretty good bargain for anyone but the real hardcore gamer. It’s worth bearing in mind that SLI still doesn’t work with any and all games, but a single GeForce 6800LE should still be fast enough for most older games that fall into this category.
What Evesham has produced here is a very affordable SLI gaming machine based current technology. However, we’re on the verge of seeing a whole new era of graphics technology, not to mention recent CPU mile stones as well. So, although the Axis AK47 is a great machine and an affordable one at that, make sure you check back on Wednesday to find out what Evesham can produce with the next generation in graphics cards and CPU hardware!
Evesham is driving down the cost of GeForce 6800 based SLI system with the Axis AK47 and as long as you don’t want the absolutely fastest SLI rig on the planet, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Axis AK47.
Score in detail
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