Evesham Evolution Double D GT review
When planning this group test, we initially hoped suppliers could send in Intel-powered dual-core PCs for £699, as with the AMD systems. Unfortunately, due to the higher cost of Intel’s chips, that price proved difficult to meet, so we gave suppliers an extra £200 to spend. Taking advantage of this, most manufacturers have loaded more extravagant extras into these systems, and this is amply demonstrated by the graphics cards on offer.
Evesham in particular has gone all-out in this department, supplying a stunning Inno3D GeForce 7800 GT. Although this card costs significantly less than its outrageous big brother – the GTX – there’s little difference in frame rates achieved.
For this group test, we placed more emphasis on the machines’ 2D performance, but again Evesham scored well and it’s the fastest of the four Intel-based PCs. However, this machine couldn’t match the AMD systems for overall pace.
The MSI P4N Diamond motherboard is packed with extras, including a Silicon Image two-port SATA/300 RAID controller to add to the chipset’s four SATA/300 ports (although the 250GB hard disk has a SATA/150 interface). It’s also one of only three machines here to sport SLI capability. With the 7800 GT on offer it will be some time before most people will contemplate using this, but it’s there waiting should you need it. Audio handling is by a Creative Sound Blaster Live! 24-bit controller soldered onto the motherboard.
To make room for SLI (two PCI Express 16x slots and the switching unit), the motherboard has only one PCI Express 1x and two PCI slots (one filled by a modem). There are plenty of spare drive bays at the front of the chassis, and at the bottom of the case there are spare sliders clipped into a bracket.
The only disappointment was the huge clump of wires that could have been tucked away on the far side, but at least memory access is unrestricted. The drives already fitted are a DVD writer that burns dual-layer +R9 and -R9 DVDs, and a DVD-ROM drive for copying on-the-fly. Connection ports provide everything you’d expect, including coaxial and optical S/PDIF, and FireWire front and rear.
The Evesham Evolution Double D GT is impressive and ties first place with the Mesh Elite 840 Dual for feature points. For once, the warranty isn’t an issue, with both manufacturers offering three years on-site. What stretches the Evolution ahead is that it’s a quieter machine and offers better graphics.