Advent CBE1401 review

Price when reviewed

Advent is known for its affordable and generally fairly plain PCs, but the new CBE1401 is a step in a different, more ambitious direction. It’s marketed as a fast and flashy gaming system, and the core specification goes some way to backing that up.

Using the same architecture as AMD’s fastest chips, the Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition only has two cores but it’s no slouch. It’s been overclocked from its stock speed of 3.1GHz to 3.4GHz, and paired with 4GB of RAM to produce a solid benchmark score of 1.59. It’s a good level of base performance, even if we have seen scores as high as 2.38 from PCs at similar prices.

Sitting below the CPU is ATI’s Radeon HD 5750 which, although a mid-range part, still offers enough power for most modern games. The Advent handled our Medium-quality Crysis benchmark at 70fps respectively, and then churned through the 1,600 x 1,200 High-quality test at a playable 35fps. Again, we’ve seen faster PCs at this price, but it’s a competitive performance.

Advent CBE1401

Advent has worked hard to make its machine look the part, too. The imposing chassis features a red strip-light around its angular facade and, aside from its dramatic styling, the exterior provides a good selection of ports. A card reader is joined by four USB ports, an eSATA socket and two audio jacks, and there’s a small padded area on top to keep your MP3 player or your car keys. Build quality is consistently good.

More unusual for an Advent PC is the use of a CoolIT water-cooling module. The AMD processor sat idle at 24 degrees and peaked at just 35 degrees amid our demanding benchmarks. It also kept the PC quiet, with a gentle hum the most we heard throughout our time with it. It’s impressive stuff at this price, but we can’t help but wonder if it’s at all necessary: the processor is hardly a roasting high-end chip, and the CoolIT costs a substantial £40 exc VAT, far more than a decent fan.

It also helps to distract from the less than inspiring internals of the chassis around it. For a start, it’s sparse and unpainted, and little attempt has been made to tidy away the multicoloured cables that sprawl out of the budget PSU. Upgrade space is at a premium, too, with just a single PCI Express x1 slot and one SATA port; there are no empty DIMM sockets or PCI Express x16 slots.

While the case does also include two front-orientated 3.25in bays, there aren’t any gaps on the front of the chassis to access them. What you do get is three spare hard disk bays and two 5.25in bays. The only other plus points are a welcome 802.11bg wireless card, a 750GB hard disk and DVD writer.

The keyboard and mouse are poor, too. Advent’s own-brand peripherals feel cheap and clicky, and you’d be much better off spending peanuts on a basic Logitech set.

That’s a list of issues long enough to undo the work done by the core components. When you can buy a PC as impressive as the A-Listed Wired2Fire Hellspawn Ultima for a similar price, it’s hard to see why anyone would settle for such a poorly designed chassis and weak peripherals. Credit to Advent for trying something new, but it has a long way to go before we start associating the brand with high-end PCs.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity500
RAM capacity4.00GB
Screen sizeN/A


CPU familyAMD Phenom
CPU nominal frequency3.10GHz
CPU overclocked frequency3.40GHz
Processor socketAM3
HSF (heatsink-fan)CoolIT E.C.O. ALC


MotherboardFoxconn A7VMX-K
Motherboard chipsetAMD 780V
Conventional PCI slots free0
Conventional PCI slots total2
PCI-E x16 slots free0
PCI-E x16 slots total1
PCI-E x8 slots free0
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots free0
PCI-E x4 slots total0
PCI-E x1 slots free1
PCI-E x1 slots total1
Internal SATA connectors4
Internal SAS connectors1
Internal PATA connectors1
Internal floppy connectors0
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory typeDDR3
Memory sockets free0
Memory sockets total2

Graphics card

Graphics cardATI Radeon HD 5750
Graphics chipsetATI Radeon HD 5750
Graphics card RAM1.00GB
DVI-I outputs2
HDMI outputs1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1

Hard disk

Hard disk usable capacity698GB
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Cache size16MB
Hard disk 2 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speedN/A
Hard disk 2 cache sizeN/A
Hard disk 3 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 4 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacityN/A


Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical disk 2 make and modelN/A
Optical disk 3 make and modelN/A


Monitor make and modelN/A
Resolution screen horizontalN/A
Resolution screen verticalN/A
ResolutionN/A x N/A
Pixel response timeN/A
Contrast ratioN/A
Screen brightnessN/A
DVI inputsN/A
HDMI inputsN/A
VGA inputsN/A
DisplayPort inputsN/A

Additional Peripherals

Speaker typeN/A
Sound cardN/A


ChassisAdvent Centurion
Case formatFull tower
Dimensions210 x 500 x 550mm (WDH)

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays3

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)8
FireWire ports1
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portyes
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
3.5mm audio jacks6

Front ports

Front panel USB ports4
Front panel eSATA ports1
Front panel memory card readeryes

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardAdvent wired keyboard and mouse

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 7

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