Zoostorm Core 2 Quad Q6600 Advanced Premium PC review

Price when reviewed

As if to demonstrate just how affordable powerful processors are becoming, Zoostorm has opted against Intel’s popular Core 2 Duo processors for this inexpensive home machine, in favour of a Core 2 Quad Q6600.

While it may not be the fastest quad-core component available, the four cores still run at 2.4GHz and, accompanied by the now ubiquitous 2GB of DDR2 memory, propel the Zoostorm to a respectable benchmark score of 1.29 – almost a third quicker than our reference machine. But we were keen to see if the Q6600’s inclusion meant compromises elsewhere.

The micro-ATX case is a spacious model that’s also cool and quiet, thanks in part to the use of an Akasa fan rather than the standard Intel heatsink; the resulting whirr will be barely audible in the usual living room environment. Cables are neatly lashed together and kept out of the way, allowing for easy access to the pair of spare RAM slots. The only quibble here is the 4-pin power connector that stretches around the heatsink, restricting access to the processor.

The motherboard at the centre of the Zoostorm is an ECS G33T-M, which has a couple of free SATA ports for storage or optical drive expansion. The board features a free PCI Express 1x and two PCI slots, plus a PCI Express 16x slot that would, ideally, house a graphics card should you want to add gaming power in the future.

it_photo_5557Unfortunately, though, the 285W PSU will need upgrading should you wish to fit anything half decent; there’s no spare 6-pin power connector, so unless you opt for a low-end card with no extra power requirements you’ll have to make do with the GMA X3100 integrated graphics. They certainly won’t play the latest games but you may just about get going in old games at low resolutions.

The 250GB hard disk is as much as we’d expect at this price, but those concerned with storage may wish to upgrade using the single extra bay that’s included. However, installing another disk is somewhat unwieldy – part of the mounting for the removable side panel is directly in the way, making installation convoluted. There are more problems should you wish to remove the existing hard drive: one of the screws holding it in place is right beside the main power socket on the motherboard and difficult to reach.

The exterior of the case is an understated affair, divided into two areas – a brushed metallic lower half that houses the power button, and a black plastic section containing the DVD-RW drive and front ports. They’re hidden behind a small door which feels worryingly flimsy and cheap, and build quality is not hugely impressive in other areas either.

The main power button, for instance, is actually cut out of the metal that forms the lower half of the case, making it unforgiving and requiring some effort just to boot the PC. The eject button for the optical drive is similarly stiff, responding intermittently with no regard for how hard we’d pressed it.

Three USB ports, headphone and microphone jacks, FireWire and an all-formats card reader adorn the front of the case. At the rear, four USB ports, a pair of PS/2 sockets and a VGA connection sit alongside enough ports for 7.1 audio. Zoostorm has also included a wired Microsoft keyboard and optical mouse, which are perfectly usable choices.

it_photo_5556The integrated graphics mean there’s no DVI port at the rear, but that’s not an issue as the bundled Cibox C1905 19″ TFT is VGA-only anyway. It’s a fairly attractive, black model – except for the small floral flourish that surrounds the status light – and although we’re a little concerned about the unevenness of the backlight, it’s nothing that will distract greatly from everyday work. We weren’t surprised to find that the stand only tilts, but the rather basic feature-set is in keeping with the budget of the PC.


Warranty1 year(s) return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity250
RAM capacity2.00GB
Screen size19.0in


CPU familyIntel Core 2 Quad
CPU nominal frequency2.40GHz
CPU overclocked frequencyN/A
Processor socketLGA 775
HSF (heatsink-fan)Akasa


MotherboardECS G33M-T
Conventional PCI slots free2
PCI-E x16 slots free1
PCI-E x1 slots free1
Internal SATA connectors2


Memory typeDDR2

Graphics card

Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingN/A
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA X3100
DVI-I outputs0
HDMI outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0
Number of graphics cardsN/A

Hard disk

Hard diskWestern Digital WD2500
Hard disk 2 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacityN/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speedN/A
Hard disk 2 cache sizeN/A
Hard disk 3 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacityN/A
Hard disk 4 make and modelN/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacityN/A


Optical driveToshiba
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical disk 2 make and modelN/A
Optical disk 3 make and modelN/A


Monitor make and modelCibox C1905
Resolution screen horizontal1,440
Resolution screen vertical900
Resolution1440 x 900
DVI inputs0
HDMI inputs0
VGA inputs1
DisplayPort inputs0

Additional Peripherals

Speaker typeStereo


Case formatFull tower

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)7
PS/2 mouse portyes

Front ports

Front panel USB ports3
Front panel memory card readeryes

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardMicrosoft

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows Vista

Noise and power

Idle power consumption58W
Peak power consumption117W

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score1.29
Office application benchmark score1.08
2D graphics application benchmark score1.54
Encoding application benchmark score1.08
Multitasking application benchmark score1.46
3D performance (crysis) low settingsFail
3D performance settingN/A

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