Scan 3XS Carbon review

Price when reviewed

How fast does it go?
The Scan romped through our battery of gaming benchmarks with some of the best results we’ve seen. The Carbon was third fastest of the Ultimate PCs in our 2,560 x 1,600 Very High quality Crysis benchmark (the native resolution of its Dell screen) with 16x anti-aliasing, and it came into its own during the tougher tests. We upped the resolution to 5,760 x 1,080 (the effective resolution of three Full HD monitors, side by side) and its average of 39fps couldn’t be beaten. This form continued in other games, with the Scan topping the Crysis 2 charts at all resolutions, and boasting similar dominance in Just Cause 2.

SSD performance was also consistently impressive. The Scan’s OCZ Vertex 3 produced a speed of 416.1MB/sec in our large-file write test, and its read result of 341.3MB/sec was very quick too. Hard disk performance, however, wasn’t quite as solid. The two Western Digital Caviar Green drives are arranged in RAID0, but a slow platter speed of 5,400rpm holds them back, with large-file write and read speeds of 151.8MB/sec and 143.8MB/sec.

The relatively modest 4.7GHz CPU overclock returned a PC Pro Real World Benchmark score of 1.16, which admittedly isn’t among the fastest of this ridiculous group. In any other company, however, that’s ample power for any application.

Scan 3XS Carbon

The whole package
If there are concerns over performance, we had no such worries over the package as a whole. The supplied monitor is a 30in 2,560 x 1,600 Dell UltraSharp U3011t, offering stunning image quality: there’s no sign of backlight bleed on the IPS panel, while the average Delta E of 3.6 and a maximum of 7.6 result in colours that appear accurate and vivid, rather than oversaturated. The Dell’s measured contrast ratio of 880:1 is fine, too, although we’d have preferred the deeper shades of black to be as distinctive as the varying shades of bright white.

The monitor’s sturdy stand lets you rotate its orientation from landscape to portrait. The rear provides every sort of input you could possibly need, including pairs of both DVI-D and HDMI inputs, plus single DisplayPort, component and composite connections. The side of the screen has a four-port USB hub and card reader too.

The other star of Scan’s peripheral bundle is, undoubtedly, the audio kit. Blue Sky’s EXO Mk 2 speakers are beautifully made, with an air of quality about them that lifts them above the rest. And we weren’t disappointed when we turned up the volume on the machine’s aluminium control unit.

These speakers belt out a tune with a power, grace and balance that’s simply unmatched in this Labs, with rumbling bass, an expansive mid-range and treble that’s as clear as a bell. They’re among the best PC speakers we’ve tested.

The Scan doesn’t better its Ultimate PC rivals in all our benchmarks, and it doesn’t have the most outlandish build. But in most of the tests that matter, and as an all-round package, it’s our favourite. Excellent games performance, superb build quality, quiet operation and stunning peripherals combine to make a PC that takes on, and defeats, the barefaced bluster of the competition. It’s expensive, but if you’re going to splash out this much on a PC, it’s where we recommend you aim your wedge of cash.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity4,000GB
RAM capacity8.00GB
Screen size30.0in


CPU familyIntel Core i7
CPU nominal frequency3.40GHz
CPU overclocked frequency4.70GHz
HSF (heatsink-fan)Thermalrite Silver Arrow


MotherboardAsus P8Z68-V Pro
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z68
Conventional PCI slots free1
Conventional PCI slots total2
PCI-E x16 slots free0
PCI-E x16 slots total3
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 total2
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory typeDDR3
Memory sockets free2
Memory sockets total4

Graphics card

Graphics cardPOV GeForce GTX590 Dual-GPU
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?yes
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce GTX590
Graphics card RAM3.00GB
DVI-I outputs6
HDMI outputs0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
DisplayPort outputs2
Number of graphics cards2

Hard disk

Hard diskWestern Digital Caviar Green
Hard disk 2 make and modelWestern Digital Caviar Green
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity2,000GB


Optical driveLG BH10LS30
Optical disc technologyBlu-ray drive


Monitor make and modelDell Ultrasharp U3011t
Resolution screen horizontal2,560
Resolution screen vertical1,600
Resolution2560 x 1600
Contrast ratio880:1
Screen brightness221cd/m2

Additional Peripherals

SpeakersBlue Sky EXO Mk 2
Speaker type2.1
Sound cardAsus Xonar Essence STX


ChassisSilverStone Fortress FT02
Case formatFull tower
Dimensions212 x 616 x 497mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supplyCorsair CMPSU-1200AXUK
Power supply rating1,200W

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)6
eSATA ports1

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardLogitech G510 Gaming keyboard, GX9 Gaming mouse

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 7

Noise and power

Idle power consumption277W
Peak power consumption833W

Performance tests

Overall Real World Benchmark score1.16
Responsiveness score0.94
Media score1.30
Multitasking score1.23

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