Scan 3XS Carbon review
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.
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.
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Total hard disk capacity||4,000GB|
|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 sockets free||2|
|Memory sockets total||4|
|Graphics card||POV GeForce GTX590 Dual-GPU|
|Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?||yes|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia GeForce GTX590|
|Graphics card RAM||3.00GB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||0|
|Number of graphics cards||2|
|Hard disk||Western Digital Caviar Green|
|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|
|Speakers||Blue Sky EXO Mk 2|
|Sound card||Asus Xonar Essence STX|
|Chassis||SilverStone Fortress FT02|
|Case format||Full tower|
|Dimensions||212 x 616 x 497mm (WDH)|
|Power supply||Corsair CMPSU-1200AXUK|
|Power supply rating||1,200W|
|USB ports (downstream)||6|
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|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||1.16|