PC Nextday Zoostorm 5-6402 Advanced PC review

£799
Price when reviewed

Although it misses out on an award, PC Nextday’s entry into this Labs offers a tempting specification for the money. Outward appearances are good thanks to the stylish 19in AOC monitor, cordless keyboard and mouse, plus a chassis that fits in with the black and silver livery.

Then there’s the beefy CPU – a dual-core Athlon 64 X2 4200+. This is backed by 1GB of PC3200 memory and together with an ECS motherboard featuring the nForce4 chipset it’s no wonder the PC Nextday topped our 2D benchmarks with a respectable overall score of 1.10.

The purple motherboard sports Gigabit Ethernet and RAID too, but not FireWire. This is rectified by an Innovision PCI card, which provides two FireWire sockets. There’s a modem as well, but PC Nextday goes one step further and includes a Ralink Wi-Fi card, making it the only PC on test with wireless capabilities.

Using up the single PCI Express 16x slot is a Radeon X800 GTO. It managed a more-than-playable 45fps in Far Cry at 1,280 x 1,024. This is handy, as it’s the TFT’s native resolution, so you can’t crank it up any higher anyway.

The AOC LM928 is a decent monitor too. It has both DVI-D and D-SUB interfaces and provides a bright, sharp image that’s on a par with Mesh’s ViewSonic. As the 8ms response time suggests, we had no complaints with blurring in games or fast-paced movies.

The 2.1 Zoostorm speakers aren’t bad either, offering good dynamic range and enough power for high volumes. They connect to the integrated Realtek audio chip – it provides 5.1-channel output via mini-jack or a coaxial S/PDIF.

With a relatively fast dual-layer DVD writer, a DVD-ROM drive, a huge 320GB hard disk and a media card reader, the Zoostorm 5-6402 doesn’t leave you wanting for storage – and there’s a floppy drive too.

But, despite the great specification, there are a few niggles. One is the AOpen case, which, as we’ve said before, is frustrating to work with as it doesn’t have individually removable side panels. There’s the lack of a software bundle too, although this is a minor gripe.

We like the on-site warranty, but one-year can’t match Evesham’s three-year cover. Expansion is limited too – there’s just one free 3.5in bay, one 5.25in bay and no spare PCI slots.

However, if these disadvantages don’t bother you, the PC Nextday isn’t a bad choice. It isn’t too noisy and the big hard disk and Wi-Fi are definite plus points.

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