Scan 3XS MC2-7950GT review
Scan has chosen the same Akasa Zen case as the Chillblast. Finished in white, it transforms the looks, giving a much sleeker modern appearance.
Inside, there’s a beefy Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro CPU heatsink and fan, so the 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 never became hot and bothered. Given the standard clock speed and the low power drain, this might be overkill, but there’s plenty of speed on tap. In the 2D performance graph, you can see the Scan marks a noticeable step up from the slower chips below it. Although it didn’t extract quite as much power as the Eclipse, Evesham and Mesh with the same chip, in day-to-day use the difference won’t be noticeable.
For 3D power, you can rely on the XFX graphics card. One of four 7950 GTs in the group, it has the power to handle the latest games and is only beaten by the two 7900 GTXs (Eclipse and Mesh). Like the Mesh, Scan’s motherboard supports SLI, so you can install a second 7950 GT if you should think 33fps in Call of Duty 2 at 1,600 x 1,200 isn’t enough.
Output is via ViewSonic’s VX2025wm 20.1in widescreen TFT. A wide dynamic range gives great detail in dark areas of photographs without losing highlights. Colours are vibrant and it’s a pleasure to use in office applications. Only the lack of extras disappoints, such as the tilt-only stand and no USB ports, but these are just niggles next to image quality.
The 300GB hard disk has two partitions, leaving 73GB for Windows and over 200GB for data. The 3XS doesn’t have dual DVD drives, but the LG DVD writer does boast LightScribe and supports dual-layer and DVD-RAM.
On the back, there’s a coaxial S/PDIF output, but where most of the PCs have 7.1-channel integrated sound the Asus motherboard has 5.1 like the NEC, and Scan doesn’t bundle any speakers bar those integrated into the display. Disappointingly, the motherboard lacks FireWire support too. However, we like the modular PSU (where you plug in cables as needed) and the rounded cables throughout, rather than the spaghetti of wires commonly found inside a PC.
Overall, the MC2-7950GT is a great performer, but it lacks the extras seen in machines like the Evesham Visto. With the two-year warranty including only on-site support for the first year, there are better deals elsewhere this month.