Commodore Gaming Commodore XX review

£2601
Price when reviewed

Retro gamers beware. Commodore Gaming’s Commodore XX isn’t beige. It doesn’t even have a tape drive. What you do get is a seriously flashy gaming PC filled with top-of-the-range components.

Commodore International has licensed the Commodore name to a new company called Commodore Gaming, with a remit of building gaming PCs. The range has four main models – the G, GS, GX and XX – ranging from £1,000 to more than £2,500 for the base unit alone. It seems you can customise each PC’s specification, but there are only a few simple steps. Commodore wants to stay true to the spirit of the Commodore 64 by providing a one-box gaming product. All will handle the latest games, as even the lowest-specification G has an Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS graphics card.

However, what makes Commodore’s PCs stand out is their impeccable custom paint jobs. Included in the price is a “C-Kin”, of which there are 100 finishes available – ours is inspired by the 1982 Commodore 64 game Jupiter Lander, complete with pixellated craft.

Paint job aside, the XX has a few neat touches. The feet on the bottom of the case are in the shape of the famous Commodore chicken head, and a button on the front changes the colour of the cooling fans’ LEDs to one of seven colours, and can be set to cycle through them if you’re feeling particularly flash.

The PC is also well designed. The door on the front of the XX covering the optical drive and card reader has a double hinge, so it can fold flat against the side of the case. The door is also hollowed out, so there’s an inch gap between it and the front-mounted case fan for improved airflow. Everything inside is neat and tidy. The only problem with the case is that the side panels are tricky to get back on once removed, and the fold-out panel containing the front USB and FireWire ports tends to get stuck.

The XX has an elaborate cooling system. There are 120mm fans at the front and rear of the case, and a large Arctic Cooling CPU cooler. Dangling in front of this is a further heatsink and fan, which takes heat up to the PSU to be blown out of the case. As if that wasn’t enough, the XX’s side panel has an enormous 190mm fan built into it. The sheer amount of cooling means you should be able to take advantage of the Asus P5N32-E SLI motherboard’s overclocking features, but the PC does make quite a racket.

Our top-of-the-range XX test PC has an impressively high-end specification. Its Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6800 quad-core processor is the second-fastest chip Intel makes, and is fabulously overpowered for normal computing tasks. The XX comes with 2GB of Corsair Dominator memory, complete with huge heatsinks for overclocking. We’d have liked to have seen 4GB of RAM at this price, though. Storage totals 800GB and is provided by a pair of lightning-fast Western Digital Raptor 150GB hard disks configured in a striped RAID0 array to make the most of their high transfer rates, while you can keep your documents on the extra 500GB Samsung disk.

Commodore has also fitted a high-specification Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi sound card, and graphics are taken care of with a pair of Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX cards in an SLI configuration. Short of fitting the overpriced GeForce 8800 Ultra, it’s hard to see how the XX could be any better for games, especially now Vista’s problematic SLI support is pretty much fixed. The power demands of such powerful components are taken care of with an 850W power supply.

Commodore Gaming’s XX won’t appeal to everyone. Some will hate its looks, and others won’t be able to stand the noise it makes. It also looks expensive compared to Evesham’s Solar Quattro G8. But if you’re after something a bit different with an absurd amount of power, the XX is certainly worth a look.

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