Scan Value G31 review
The Value G31 is certainly the best-looking computer we've seen in a while. Its black-and-white NZXT case lends the G31 a class we don't often see in a desktop PC, and is ideal for showing off Microsoft's flashy new Windows 8 operating system.
Things are just as impressive inside. We don't often see PCs that are untidy behind their side panels, but rarely is everything so neatly routed as in the Value G31. It's also full of good-quality branded components, such as a 600W Corsair power supply, OCZ SSD, EVGA graphics card and an enormous Thermalright processor cooler. There's more cooling than in many PCs, thanks to an extra top-mounted 120mm fan to supplement the standard rear 120mm model, and it's a quiet computer.
Like all the Windows 8 PCs we've seen so far, the G31 has an Intel processor. The Core i5-3570K is the most popular Ivy Bridge chip among PC manufacturers, and it isn’t hard to see why. It's a fast processor out of the box, and its unlocked multiplier means it’s ripe for overclocking. Scan has pushed this one up to 4.5GHz, which is a respectable rather than spectacular overclock, but a score of 148 overall in our benchmarks shows that the G31 will have absolutely no problem with any desktop Windows application, and its 8GB of RAM is plenty for multitasking.
The PC's graphics card is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 660, which is running 66MHz faster than the card's stock 980MHz. The added megahertz led to an extra 3fps in our 1,920x1,080 Ultra detail Crysis 2 test compared to our tests of the stock GTX 660, which pushed the game into playable 30fps territory. Our Dirt 3 benchmark doesn't currently run under Windows 8, so for a second game test we ran Dirt Showdown. This is a newer title that’s much more technically challenging than Dirt 3; at 1,920x1,080, 4x anti-aliasing and Ultra detail we only saw 24.5fps, which is too jerky to be properly playable. However, setting the detail to High gave us 119.7fps, so you don’t have to worry too much about playable the latest games at decent detail settings.
The graphics card gives you plenty of choice when it comes to connecting monitors, with twin DVI outputs and HDMI and DisplayPort sockets. The motherboard's rear panel has a generous assortment of four USB and four USB3 sockets, and there are USB and USB3 ports on the front panel. Scan has fitted a high-quality Asus Xonar DG sound card to the PC; this gives you 5.1 audio outputs as well as optical S/PDIF, and has a built-in headphone amplifier to help your cans sound their best. A dedicated sound card can make a significant difference to how much you enjoy music and games, and it’s good to see one included.
The PC's storage is taken care of with a 120GB SSD boot disk and a 1TB mechanical hard disk for your files. The combination of an SSD, a modern UEFI BIOS and Windows 8 leads to very fast boot times; Windows 8 was fully booted just 16 seconds after we pressed the PC's power button. We're used to seeing Blu-ray readers in PCs of this price, but the Value G31 makes do with a simple DVD rewriter.
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