PC Specialist E-3850 review
PC Specialist builds bespoke systems for schools; this one is a sub-£400 PC when Windows 7 Professional is included. Exclude the OS and you get a high-end PC for less than £300. The E-3850 has a full-sized tower case and a large footprint, but the metal case is rugged and solidly built, so it shouldn’t struggle to survive in a classroom environment. It’s also supplied with a high-quality Logitech K200 keyboard and mouse, plus the price includes a three-year, return-to-base warranty.
The E-3850’s specifications sound pretty impressive. A 2.9GHz AMD A8 3850 Fusion APU handles both CPU and GPU duties, and with 4GB of RAM there’s enough performance for more demanding applications, as the 0.66 benchmark score pays witness (albeit that some Intel-powered systems here are faster). With a generously-sized 1TB hard disk there’s also plenty of room for storing video and audio.
The front panel houses a rather large green LED, along with a DVD writer, two USB 2 ports and connections for headphones and microphones. A recessed panel plays host to a multi-card reader and a third USB 2 port. Around the back are four USB 2 and two USB 3 ports, along with HDMI, DVI and VGA ports, as well as ports for audio, microphone, PS/2 and Ethernet connections. That said, with so much connectivity on the front panel, students will rarely need to use those at the rear. There are also spare expansion slots, providing extra flexibility and helping to future proof your purchase.
HD video and 3D applications look good and run well on the E-3850, and while there’s no support for Blu-ray playback, most schools won’t find this an issue. Going down the bespoke PC route requires the confidence to know what ICT you need both for today and tomorrow, and you also need to ensure that the supplier will deliver the goods and the service. If you’re tempted by the idea of making your ICT budget stretch a little further, this is an excellent all-round performer at a very attractive price.
|Warranty||3 yr return to base|
|Total hard disk capacity||1,000GB|
|CPU family||AMD A8|
|CPU nominal frequency||2.90GHz|
|Graphics chipset||AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Dimensions||70 x 390 x 350mm (WDH)|
|USB ports (downstream)||7|
Operating system and software
|OS family||Windows 7|