PC Specialist V3600 review

Price when reviewed

PC Specialist is the second integrator debuting in this Labs. Like several other systems here, the V3600 is based around an Athlon 64 X2 3600+, but it was one of only two to arrive with a graphics card installed in the PCI-E 16x slot, a 128MB Nvidia GeForce 7200GS.

PC Specialist V3600 review

It’s an odd choice, especially as there’s a GeForce 6150 LE GPU on the motherboard. In our Call of Duty 2 benchmark, the V3600 averaged an unplayable 11fps at the lowest detail settings, and just 4fps on medium settings. Older games should be playable, though.

The monitor is also an idiosyncratic choice: the chunky Hanns-G display looks almost retro next to the low-profile widescreen models from most other suppliers. Images and text are clear and colourful, and the 19in 1,280 x 1,024 resolution makes everything easy to read, but the aesthetics are a matter of taste. A pair of Logitech speakers is a welcome sight.

The V3600’s performance is more than adequate. Its 2D benchmark rating of 0.76 was one of this month’s lowest, but it’s a fast system, and you’ll be no less productive with this than with the top-scoring Cyberpower. The 160GB hard disk and 1GB of DDR2 RAM give Vista the resources it needs, and two free DIMM slots permit expansion up to 4GB.

There’s space for two more optical drives and two hard disks, but only one spare SATA connector and one free IDE channel to connect them to. Besides the filled PCI-E 16x slot, it has two free PCI slots and a free PCI-E 1x slot, which shouldn’t overload the supplied 350W PSU. Push studs secure the drives and cards rather than screws, but neither the drive mountings nor the motherboard extend to the bottom of the case, so around 20% of the system unit is wasted space.

While the PC Specialist V3600 does a good job, nothing elevates it above the competition. Its noise and power consumption scores were also mediocre, at 38dBA and 70W respectively, and the one-year collect-and-return warranty is among the stingiest on test.

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