Scan 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus review
Creating a cinematic blockbuster in your home may seem like a far-fetched proposition, but that’s all in a day’s work for the Scan 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus. Taking the latest Intel Devil’s Canyon CPU, a five-strong flush of SSDs and a soundproofed tower case, the only thing missing from this high-powered workstation is a movie’s worth of 4K footage and, most important of all, talent.
The 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus looks every inch the mean, menacing workstation: its black exterior is completely featureless bar the USB ports and power button that sits on the top edge; there are no windows or flashing lights to catch the eye.
It weighs an absolute ton by desktop PC standards, too, partly due to the thick pads of sound-deadening foam that line the case’s side panels and roof. Not that we’re complaining: dab the power button, and the Scan boots up with barely a whisper, the front- and rear-mounted 140mm fans barely audible above the distant hum of the hard disk.
Scan 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus review: interior
The real action takes place behind the scenes. Slide off the Define R4 case’s weighty side panel and you’re greeted by an impeccably neat interior, every cable neatly zip-tied and routed out of sight. Most striking, however, is the sheer number of drives inside: this workstation is bristling with storage.
Scan has lashed together two Intel 530 SSDs in a 120GB RAID1 array for Windows and applications, a further three Intel 730 SSDs in a 480GB RAID5 array for active video projects, and added a 2TB WD Black hard disk for archiving. Up front, there’s a Pioneer Blu-ray writer ready and waiting to burn copies of the finished article.
Alongside all that storage, there’s a quad-core Intel Core i7-4970K overclocked to 4.4GHz, 16GB of 2,133MHz DDR3 RAM, and a 2GB EVGA GeForce GTX 760 superclocked graphics card that, as the name suggests, comes pre-overclocked by EVGA. All of the above are plumbed into an Asus Z97-K motherboard, and powered by a modular Corsair 550W PSU.
This isn’t perhaps quite as impressive a roster as some systems, but it’s fair to say that this PC’s priorities are quite different to gaming behemoths such as the Chillblast Fusion Dragon. The CPU overclock is deliberately modest to ensure 24/7 stability, and the GPU has been selected to help take advantage of CUDA-accelerated applications, as opposed to its gaming prowess. And even if you do get bored of being productive, the EVGA card is plenty fast enough to sneak in a bit of high-resolution gaming at the end of the day.
Scan 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus review: benchmark results
Turn your attention back to more serious pursuits, though, and the 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus is in its element. In our Real World Benchmarks it scored 1.3, which puts it only narrowly behind the 1.31 of the 12-core Apple Mac Pro. In fact, there’s only one PC that we’ve seen perform significantly faster, and that’s the Chillblast Photo OC V, which used an overclocked six-core Ivy Bridge-E to push ahead to a score of 1.43.
The Scan’s flush of SSDs puts it in a different league to anything we’ve seen before. Tested with the AS SSD benchmark, the 240GB RAID1 array turned in sequential read and write speeds of 814MB/sec and 113MB/sec respectively.
That’s quick by any standards, and plenty fast enough for a system drive, but the 480GB RAID5 array smashed past every machine we’ve ever seen – and that’s including the lightning-quick PCI Express SSD of the Mac Pro. With sequential read and write speeds of 1,377MB/sec and 423MB/sec, the Scan’s RAID5 array is fast enough to playback multiple 4K, or even 5K video streams without breaking a sweat.
Scan 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus review: noise
Despite all that raw power, the 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus isn’t a PC that draws attention to itself. The combination of a huge Thermalright TS140P CPU cooler and 140mm fans front and rear make light work of keeping the components in check.
A switch on the front panel makes it possible to swap between 5V, 7V and 12V fan speeds, and the case fans were clearly audible only once they were pushed above 5V. At their slowest setting, and with PC Pro’s Labs feeling the effects of a UK-wide heat wave, pushing the CPU flat out with Prime95 didn’t see CPU temperatures rise above 90°C.
A clutch of decent connections rounds off the package nicely. To save you scrabbling around under a desk, the Fractal Design Define R4 case provides two USB 2 and two USB 3 ports on its front, and swinging open the case door reveals a Scan-branded card reader stocked with every card format you could ask for alongside a further two USB 3 ports.
On the inside are two spare conventional PCI slots and a single PCI Express x1, as well as a pair of DIMM sockets in wait for a further two sticks of RAM. Notably, there’s also an empty M.2 slot for adding a miniature, high-speed SSD – not that this is a PC that’s crying out for extra storage.
Scan 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus review: verdict
If you’re looking for a high-performance video-editing workstation, it’s safe to say that the 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus is well up to the job. The storage arrangement makes a huge amount of sense for a video-editing workflow, and the combination of carefully selected components and a superb build make for a PC that’s both powerful and unusually quiet.
There’s stiff competition from the Chillblast Photo OC V, which costs £200 less, but for those with Steven Spielberg aspirations, the Scan’s troop of supercharged SSDs make it hard to beat.
|Warranty||1yr on-site, 2 yr return to base|
|Total hard disk capacity||2,600GB|
|CPU family||Intel Core i7|
|CPU nominal frequency||4.00GHz|
|CPU overclocked frequency||4.40GHz|
|HSF (heatsink-fan)||Thermaltake TS140P|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel Z97|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Memory sockets free||2|
|Memory sockets total||4|
|Graphics card||EVGA GeForce GTX 760 Superclocked|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia GeForce GTX 760|
|Graphics card RAM||2.00GB|
|Number of graphics cards||1|
|Hard disk||2 x 120GB Intel 530 SSD|
|Hard disk usable capacity||120GB|
|Hard disk 2 make and model||3 x 240GB Intel 730 SSD|
|Hard disk 2 formatted capacity||480|
|Hard disk 3 make and model||Western Digital Black|
|Hard disk 3 nominal capacity||2,000GB|
|Optical disc technology||Blu-ray writer|
|Monitor make and model||None|
|Case format||Full tower|
|Dimensions||232 x 464 x 523mm (WDH)|
|Power supply||Corsair RM550|
|Power supply rating||550W|
|Front panel USB ports||4|
Operating system and software
|OS family||Windows 7|
|Recovery method||USB thumbdrive|
Noise and power
|Idle power consumption||73W|
|Peak power consumption||360W|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||1.30|