Joining the four extra USB ports on the back panel are one FireWire socket, two PS2 ports for keyboard and mouse, a Fast Ethernet port, an S/PDIF digital audio socket, and six sockets for analog audio line in/out and 7.1 surround sound. All the ports and sockets are clearly labelled and colour coded so even a complete novice shouldn’t have a problem putting one of these together.
Graphics come courtesy of a low profile add-in card that has one DVI output and an analog S-Video out socket. The DVI port isn’t dual-link so it won’t support ultra high resolution displays like the 30in HP LP3065 but if you are going to spend nearly £1,000 on a monitor you should probably be planning to spend more than £475 on a computer.
The graphics card ticks enough feature boxes to enable playing most current games (though it doesn’t have DirectX 10 support) but you’ll have to drop to very low resolutions in order to do this. Quickly firing up Call of Duty 2, the GeForce 7300 LE was only able to keep up when I turned the resolution down to 640 x 480, with no anti-aliasing, and with all the in-game settings to medium or low. Also, the fan on the graphics card is a tiny thing that spins very fast and creates a distinctly audible hum. I cannot see the logic behind the decision to use such a poor cooler, there are plenty of decent coolers out there and it really does mar an otherwise unobtrusive PC.
So the S3000 isn’t a gaming powerhouse, but it was never meant to be. Putting it through its paces with our usual set of 2D productivity tests, it proves more than capable and under general use it feels fast and responsive. PCMark 05 returned a reasonable overall score of 3563 though the graphics score is understandably low. The key thing is the combination of a dual-core CPU with a decent quota of 2GB RAM that ensures you should never grind to a halt.
Due to the cramped case and use of small low capacity fans the system does run quite hot but so long as you don’t block the air intakes and exhausts you shouldn’t have any problems.
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