Evesham Decimator 3800 review

Price when reviewed

Don’t let the name fool you: the latest high-end beast from Evesham isn’t based on an AMD 3800+. The 3800 in the model name refers to the frequency of Intel’s Pentium 4 CPU, the newest and highest-clocked Model 570, running at 3.8GHz.

Evesham Decimator 3800 review

One rather satisfying aspect of the Model 570 is that you’re not going to be trumped by a newer, faster model coming out next week. Intel has shelved plans for the 4GHz Pentium 4, instead concentrating on bringing the new dual-core designs to market sooner. This means there’s likely to be a relatively long fallow period during which no new models will be released.

The Decimator’s memory complement is the now-familiar 1GB split across two modules for dual-channel access. You get 500GB of mass storage too, with dual 250GB Maxtor Diamond Max 10 hard disks in a RAID0 array. But the centrepiece of the system, aside from the processor, is its graphics: it’s the first PC we’ve seen to sport an X850 XT Platinum Edition card, the new, absolutely top-of-the-line model from ATi. You can read more about it on p82, but as the scores below demonstrate this is an impressively quick machine. All those scores are at the demanding 1,600 x 1,200 resolution, with 4x anti-aliasing and 8x anisotropic filtering.

However, the Decimator still falls behind the Scan White Cobra (see issue 123, p54) with its dual GeForce 6800 Ultra cards in an SLI (Scalable Link Interface) setup: these powered it to 74fps in Far Cry at the same settings, and 98fps in Doom 3 at 1,280 x 1,024. The Decimator scored 65fps in the latter test.

Where the Evesham machine wins hands-down is cost: £1,549 against £2,749. Next month, when we hope to review Scan’s version of the White Cobra with 6800 GT cards in an SLI setup, it will form a fairer comparison.

The machine itself follows the design trend towards extreme PCs: Evesham has eschewed the sober design of its usual case for a more extravagant aluminium housing. This includes a large LCD display showing CPU, hard disk and ambient case temperatures, able to monitor and control up to six cooling fans. If any of the fans fail, a strident alarm sounds. The trouble with it, apart from any aesthetic issues, is its very limited readability: you can see most of the LCD segments even when they’re supposedly unlit, making it hard to divine the actual data.

As for the fans themselves, you certainly get an ample complement with the Decimator. Two are mounted on a swing-out assembly over the motherboard, drawing air through the side of the case and blowing it directly over the components. This is in addition to the front and rear case fans. Including those in the power supply, there are a total of eight fans in this system; not the best choice for your living room from a quietness point of view. There’s no TV card installed, but the machine is supplied with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, and includes a remote control for at-a-distance viewing. A useful design touch is the top-mounted push-to-open flap that reveals two extra USB ports, a FireWire port and mic and headphone sockets.

Considering the number of wires from the fans and drives in the Decimator, it’s all neatly put together. The main power loom from the beefy 420W Tagan power supply is very long though and although Evesham has done everything possible to deal with the situation, it still hangs bundled up in the centre of the case taking up quite a bit of room.

Results in our application benchmarks indicate that the Model 570 processor is a step in the right direction, but Intel still trails behind AMD overall. The real-world application benchmark score of 2.19 is a way behind the score for an AMD system of similar calibre, but the Model 570 processor is ahead when it comes to media encoding and image manipulation. And you should see a boost in applications that support Hyper-Threading.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos