Evesham Axis RD Plus review

£799
Price when reviewed

Glance through the Evesham Axis’ specs on the feature table, and you may well wonder exactly how it beats the Mesh to the post this month. The Axis RD Plus has a 17in TFT, a three-piece speaker system and few extras, while the Matrix Vector 2006 boasts a 19in TFT, 5.1 speakers and several extras.

Evesham Axis RD Plus review

However, look a little closer and you’ll find compelling reasons to choose the RD Plus. One is that – like all current Evesham PCs – it comes with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. This makes it ideal for watching or serving your videos, photos and music, but bear in mind that a TV tuner and MCE remote cost an extra £80.

The three-year on-site warranty is more compelling and is only matched by NEC – Mesh offers two years’ on-site cover, but the third is return-to-base. Then there’s the fact that a 19in TFT offers no advantage in terms of resolution against a 17in – both are stuck with 1,280 x 1,024 pixels. We like the 17in ViewSonic VX715 too – it offers a bright, even and well-contrasted image, with a fast response time that won’t let you see any smearing in games.

Speakers are a more personal choice, and whether you’d prefer a surround-sound set (complete with its tangle of wires) or a more discrete 2.1 set will depend on whether you want surround sound or not. The fact is that the I-Trigue 3200 set not only looks good, but offers decent bass and treble.

Another highlight is the CrossFire-capable motherboard. The MSI board has two PCI Express 16x slots, one of which is filled with a Radeon X800 GTO. If you want better performance, you can install a master card at a later date. At our tough settings, the X800 GTO managed 46fps – not the fastest here, but still capable of playing the latest games at high detail levels.

We had no complaints with 2D performance. Despite having half the memory of every other PC here, the dual-core Athlon 64 X2 3800+ helped it to a healthy 1.03 in our 2D application benchmarks.

The storage subsystem is solid too. A 200GB hard disk provides plenty of room for data and media, while the combination of a fast dual-layer DVD writer and a DVD-ROM drive means you’ll be able to make DVD backups on-the-fly.

With FireWire, Gigabit Ethernet, 10/100 Ethernet and six USB 2 ports, the only tickbox left unchecked is an S/PDIF output. This is made up for by quiet running – the RD Plus measured only 36dBA from the front when idle.

It all adds up to a great PC for £799: a solid warranty, good performance and a selection of quality peripherals.

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