Scan 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus review

£2000
Price when reviewed

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.

Scan 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus

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 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus

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.

Scan 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus

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.

Scan 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus

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

Warranty1yr on-site, 2 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity2,600GB
RAM capacity16.00GB

Processor

CPU familyIntel Core i7
CPU nominal frequency4.00GHz
CPU overclocked frequency4.40GHz
HSF (heatsink-fan)Thermaltake TS140P

Motherboard

MotherboardAsus Z97-K
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z97
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory typeDDR3
Memory sockets free2
Memory sockets total4

Graphics card

Graphics cardEVGA GeForce GTX 760 Superclocked
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce GTX 760
Graphics card RAM2.00GB
DVI-I outputs1
HDMI outputs1
DisplayPort outputs1
Number of graphics cards1

Hard disk

Hard disk2 x 120GB Intel 530 SSD
Hard disk usable capacity120GB
Hard disk 2 make and model3 x 240GB Intel 730 SSD
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity480
Hard disk 3 make and modelWestern Digital Black
Hard disk 3 nominal capacity2,000GB

Drives

Optical drivePioneer
Optical disc technologyBlu-ray writer

Monitor

Monitor make and modelNone

Case

Case formatFull tower
Dimensions232 x 464 x 523mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supplyCorsair RM550
Power supply rating550W

Front ports

Front panel USB ports4

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodUSB thumbdrive

Noise and power

Idle power consumption73W
Peak power consumption360W

Performance tests

Overall Real World Benchmark score1.30
Responsiveness score1.25
Media score1.34
Multitasking score1.32

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