Scan 3XS Carbon review

Price when reviewed

In issue 204 of PC Pro, we asked seven British PC manufacturers to send us the most extravagant system they could build – money no object. Meet the victor…

When a PC costs as much as a second-hand family saloon, it had better do something special. From benchmark-tearing performance, to its stunning 30in monitor and speakers, the Scan 3XS Carbon offers exactly that.

It’s the outlandish SilverStone FT02 chassis, however, that proves the system’s most attractive feature. It looks superb, with plenty of curves, a brushed-metal finish, and also features this month’s most unconventional design. Peer through the wide window set into the side, and you’ll see what we mean. The motherboard has been rotated through 90 degrees, with a pair of huge graphics cards pointing skywards and the backplate staring through a grille at the top of the enclosure.

Unusual build
The twisted motherboard doesn’t only make for intriguing visuals, it also affects the rest of the build. Rather than sitting in the bottom-rear, the hefty 1,200W power supply is suspended in the top of the chassis, with modular cables that emerge downwards before disappearing behind the motherboard tray. The five hard disk bays, which are easy to remove and solidly constructed, are vertically orientated too.

The base of the chassis is occupied by a trio of slow-spinning 180mm case fans (the top of the chassis follows more traditional lines with a 120mm exhaust fan), and there’s a gap at the bottom to allow air to be sucked in from both sides.

Scan 3XS Carbon

The second of Scan’s unconventional choices is an air cooler in a group test dominated by liquid cooling, but Scan doesn’t satisfy itself with half-measures: the Thermalright Silver Arrow is substantial in size – 162mm tall and 122mm from end to end – and its two chunks of slatted metal are topped with a pair of 140mm case fans.

It’s certainly different, but there’s no doubt the Silver Arrow works: the peak processor temperature of 79˚C is in line with every overclocked and water-cooled processor in this Labs. The two graphics cards are kept cool, with a peak of 82˚C, and the Carbon is also surprisingly quiet. Although it gets louder under stress, if you’re gaming you’ll barely notice it.

Elsewhere, the Scan Carbon bears all the traditional hallmarks of the company. Cable routing is tidy, with no excess wires dangling from the Corsair PSU and most cables lashed down in straight lines, even behind the amply proportioned motherboard tray.

The SilverStone case is littered with thoughtful design features. Its three 180mm fans are all fitted with removable dust filters – just like a vacuum cleaner – and the top of the case serves up a trio of fan speed controllers. Both side panels are constructed from thick 4.5mm aluminium, which makes for supreme build quality, and are lined with noise-dampening foam.

We’d like to have seen more ports on the front of the chassis, though, and upgrade room is at a premium. The sound card, numerous wires and pair of graphics cards render the bottom half of the board almost inaccessible, and that gigantic cooler makes accessing the two spare DIMM sockets tricky.


Warranty 1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 4,000GB
RAM capacity 8.00GB
Screen size 30.0in


CPU family Intel Core i7
CPU nominal frequency 3.40GHz
CPU overclocked frequency 4.70GHz
HSF (heatsink-fan) Thermalrite Silver Arrow


Motherboard Asus P8Z68-V Pro
Motherboard chipset Intel Z68
Conventional PCI slots free 1
Conventional PCI slots total 2
PCI-E x16 slots free 0
PCI-E x16 slots total 3
PCI-E x8 slots free 0
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots free 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots free 1
PCI-E x1 slots total 2
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec


Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 2
Memory sockets total 4

Graphics card

Graphics card POV GeForce GTX590 Dual-GPU
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? yes
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce GTX590
Graphics card RAM 3.00GB
DVI-I outputs 6
HDMI outputs 0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 2
Number of graphics cards 2

Hard disk

Hard disk Western Digital Caviar Green
Capacity 2.00TB
Hard disk 2 make and model Western Digital Caviar Green
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity 2,000GB


Optical drive LG BH10LS30
Optical disc technology Blu-ray drive


Monitor make and model Dell Ultrasharp U3011t
Resolution screen horizontal 2,560
Resolution screen vertical 1,600
Resolution 2560 x 1600
Contrast ratio 880:1
Screen brightness 221cd/m2

Additional Peripherals

Speakers Blue Sky EXO Mk 2
Speaker type 2.1
Sound card Asus Xonar Essence STX


Chassis SilverStone Fortress FT02
Case format Full tower
Dimensions 212 x 616 x 497mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supply Corsair CMPSU-1200AXUK
Power supply rating 1,200W

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 6
eSATA ports 1

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboard Logitech G510 Gaming keyboard, GX9 Gaming mouse

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 7

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 277W
Peak power consumption 833W

Performance tests

Overall Real World Benchmark score 1.16
Responsiveness score 0.94
Media score 1.30
Multitasking score 1.23

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