Cube247 Pulsar review

Price when reviewed

Although a new name in the Labs, Cube247 isn’t new to PC Pro. We’ve said in previous reviews that Cube247 doesn’t do things by halves, and with an AMD Athlon 64 4000+ the Pulsar is clearly aimed at those who want plenty of raw performance.

With a clock speed of 2.4GHz, it’s the highest-frequency AMD CPU on test, with only PC Nextday’s Athlon 64 X2 4200+ managing to outpace it by a slim margin thanks to a second core.

The CPU is installed into an Abit AN8 Ultra motherboard, which uses the nForce4 Ultra chipset. This provides FireWire (there are three ports), Gigabit Ethernet and RAID support. The board features a passive-heatpipe chipset heatsink to eliminate a fan, but noise levels were on a par with the Mesh – not the quietest, but not the loudest here either. We like the modular Jeantech PSU to which you can add new power cables when needed.

The front panel of the chassis boasts a floppy drive, a fast NEC dual-layer DVD writer, an LG DVD-ROM drive, headphone and mic sockets plus two USB 2 ports. Inside, Cube247 installs a 250GB Seagate hard disk.

At the rear, you’ll find ten more USB 2 ports, four of which are provided by a Mercury PCI card, which uses up one of the three PCI slots. Audio ports include six mini-jack connectors for the eight-channel sound, and there’s an optical S/PDIF output too.

Taking advantage of the mini-jacks is a set of Creative Inspire P5800 speakers. They offer 5.1-channel Dolby Digital audio, but we still have reservations about the quality of the subwoofer, which is underpowered.

At least there’s a large 19in TFT to make up for the mediocre speakers. GNR’s TS900H offers DVI-D and D-SUB interfaces and has integrated speakers, which you probably won’t need to use. It offers height adjustment and produces a fine image – rich colours, quick response times and great brightness.

3D firepower comes from a Sapphire Radeon X800 XL. Thanks to the hefty Athlon 64 4000+, it wasn’t held back at all in our Far Cry test, managing a credible 58fps.

Rounding off the system is a decent set of cordless Microsoft peripherals. Software is a little disappointing in that there’s no anti-virus or office software. The warranty lasts three years, but cover is return-to-base only. The company offers free delivery on the Pulsar, but since it costs £850 it’s a similar price to others here including delivery.

If performance is a priority, the Pulsar or PC Nextday are well worth investigating, but, ultimately, the Cube247’s return-to-base warranty means it can’t overtake the leaders this month.

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