Gladiator Trojan PCP3600 review

Price when reviewed

You’d be forgiven for thinking we’d printed the wrong supplier details, but Aria really does resell Gladiator systems now. And while the budget price dictates compromise, Gladiator’s system compromises a little less than its rivals.

Gladiator Trojan PCP3600 review

The processor is one of several Athlon 64 X2 3600+ chips this month. The PCP3600 didn’t excel in our benchmarks, but it copes better with heavy workloads than rivals thanks to its 2GB of RAM. Nor does it skimp on fixed storage: its 320GB hard disk is the largest of any system on test.

The PCP3600’s budget heritage is evident in its limited expansion options. The ECS motherboard does a good job, but it’s a pity to see only four PCI/PCI-E expansion slots when the case affords space for a full ATX motherboard. More drive connectors would also have made sense considering the numerous free bays. The two FireWire sockets are a con, as they aren’t connected to anything (there’s no FireWire support), and it’s frustrating that the board won’t accept more than the supplied 2GB of RAM.

Yet, in this market, such restrictions are common, and with so much included in the price there’s less urgency to upgrade the Gladiator than other PCs. Ironically, the 460W power supply is ready for new components; the motherboard also redeems itself with six audio jacks for surround speakers.

The 19in widescreen TFT won’t win any design awards, but it was a pleasure to use, with strong contrast and vivid colours. The 2.1 speakers are fairly loud and punchy.

The PCP3600 comes with a two-year warranty – not an on-site service, but still more than most suppliers offer. Thanks to the big hard disk and 2GB of RAM, it edges past the Mesh and the Zoostorm 2-3411, which won a Recommended Award last month (web ID: 120475), making it a deserved Labs Winner here.

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