Zoostorm 5-7404 Quad Core review

Price when reviewed

While we expected a host of monster PCs this month, we wondered whether any manufacturers would take the opposite route and build us one for as little as possible. Thankfully, Zoostorm did exactly that, and the end result is surprisingly good.

Zoostorm 5-7404 Quad Core review

The 5-7404 Quad Core comes equipped with the lesser 2.4GHz Q6600 processor, meaning it can’t quite match the rest for 2D power. But when both CPUs are scoring 1.78 and 1.91 respectively in our 2D application benchmarks, there’s no way you’ll notice the difference in anything but the most intensive tasks.

The other major compromise comes with the inclusion of the GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB. It doesn’t come close to the GTX for frame rates, but if you can accept that you’ll need to lower texture settings in demanding games, it still trumps DirectX 9 cards hands down for performance and future-proofing.

Elsewhere, the 5-7404 holds its own with 2GB of RAM, a 500GB hard disk and a Creative X-Fi Xtreme Music card to power the punchy 5.1 speakers from Philips. But, best of all, the PC comes with the same 22in Asus MW221U as several other systems on test. It’s a fine display for gaming and entertainment, and the graphics card will comfortably run today’s games at the Asus’ native 1,680 x 1,050 resolution.

The black Cooler Master case isn’t as pristine as others, but the interior is tidy enough. There’s no second PCI-E slot 16x, as the Zoostorm is the only machine here not to have an nForce 680i SLI motherboard, instead using an Intel 975X Express-based board. The 500W power supply doesn’t give much scope for a dual-graphics card setup anyway, but we measured just 37dBA when idle, making the Zoostorm quieter than all but the Eclipse.

Naturally, there are compromises, such as the 500GB hard disk and graphics card, but if you’re happy with these limitations, this is still an incredibly powerful system for only £1,233. It’s even better value when you consider the three-year on-site warranty and Vista Ultimate, so we have no hesitation recommending the Zoostorm 5-7404 Quad Core for those on a budget.

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