Evesham Axis Inferno GT X2 review
Wrapped in Evesham’s standard case, there’s nothing to suggest that the Inferno GT X2 is anything to get excited about. However, with a pair of 7800 GTs installed, the Inferno is actually one of the best specified PCs around.
The two 7800 GTs, driven by a dual-core 2.2GHz Athlon 64 X2 4400+ processor and 1GB of PC3200 RAM, went about destroying our 3D benchmarks with gusto. Far Cry with HDR (High Dynamic Range) rendering and 8x anisotropic filtering on at 1,280 x 1,024 scored a smooth 61fps. With 4x anti-aliasing and 8x anisotropic filtering, the Inferno stormed through our Half-Life 2 benchmark at an incredible 106fps.
The dual-core processor made light work of our new application benchmarks too, scoring a phenomenal 1.21 overall, doing particularly well in the multithreaded 3ds Max and hugely demanding multitasking tests.
The 250GB hard disk is another plus, offering more than enough capacity to store all your images, movie files, games and applications, while the dual-layer DVD writer offers a permanent backup route. There’s even another optical drive; this time, a DVD-ROM for disc-to-disc copying.
Underpinning the system is MSI’s K8N SLI-F motherboard, which comes with a decent number of internal and external ports; these include three spare SATA connectors, and there’s room for three more hard disks in the case too. On the backplane, there’s one FireWire and one S/PDIF connector, as well as four USB connectors, complemented by two more on the front of the case. Here we have a small quibble with the design: a hinged flap lifts up to reveal the ports, but doesn’t completely clear the topmost one, making inserting chunky USB flash drives difficult.
The 2.1 Creative speakers don’t make full use of the onboard 7.1 surround-sound chip, but at least you’re not lumbered with piles of wires everywhere. At this price, though, we’d like to have seen a better-quality stereo pair, as the I-Trigue 3400s lack clarity and richness at high volume. In practice, this means DVDs sound muffled, and the accompanying subwoofer, although loud, is missing punch and clarity. We found that loud bass tones had a tendency to distort too.
Film buffs will appreciate the superb ViewSonic monitor, however. A 4ms response time means an impressive lack of lag on fast-moving images, and it handles very high and very low contrast images superbly. We were also impressed with the viewing angles on offer; even at nearly 180 degrees there was only a slight apparent drop in brightness. The 19in diagonal means everything is legible, and if we have a complaint it’s only that the resolution isn’t higher – a panel running the latest games with HDR rendering at 1,600 x 1,200 really is a stunning experience.
Evesham has clearly taken care while building the Inferno. The IDE cables attached to the optical drives aren’t rounded, but judicious use of cable wraps and the fact that they’re both attached to the same IDE port on the motherboard keeps things neat. Similar attention to detail with the power cables means airflow is unobstructed, which is a good thing, considering the CPU comes supplied with just a stock AMD cooler.
The system is quiet too. A slow-spinning 120mm fan at the back draws air off the CPU cooler and out the back, and means that the CPU cooler can afford to spin more slowly, keeping noise down. It’s not inaudible – place it on the desk next to the monitor and you’ll definitely hear it, but against a backdrop of conversation or gaming the noise falls away.