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Scan 3XS Z97 Performance GTX review

Richard Easton
11 Sep 2014
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,200
inc VAT

The Z97 Performance GTX's high-end Core i5 processor and great gaming performance make it a Best Buy-winning PC

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 4.7GHz Intel Core i5-4690K, RAM: 8.00GB, Front USB ports : 2x USB3, Rear USB ports: 2x USB2, 4x USB3, Total storage: 256GB SSD, 2TB Hard disk, Display: N/A, Operating system:

The Scan 3XS Z97 Performance GTX is a solid mid-range gaming PC powered by a quad-core Intel Core i5-4690K that’s been overclocked to 4.7GHz with the aid of a Corsair H80 liquid cooler. The i5-4690K is one of Intel’s recently launched Devil’s Canyon processors, and it’s specially designed to run at higher clock speeds than the Core i5-4670K on which it’s based.

Although the Z97 Performance GTX is only equipped with 8GB of memory, the RAM is clocked at 2,133MHz rather than the 1,600MHz you might expect to find in a PC. We’ve found that faster RAM has a minor effect on performance, but every little helps and the speed boost is certainly welcome.

The Z97 Performance GTX achieved a fantastic overall score of 143 in our PC benchmark tests. This shows it’s an excellent all-round performer that will excel at image- and video-editing, music production and other processor-intensive tasks.

The 3XS Z97 Performance GTX is built into a Corsair Graphite 230T case, which has a large window on its side panel that lets you see the PC’s internal components. There are also filters on the front to help keep dust out and if you ever need to change the installed liquid cooler for a different one, the top of the case has 240mm and 280mm radiator mounting points. The case has a two-tone colour scheme and its design overall is subtle enough to not appear garish.

The case has three 5 1/4in bays, although only one is available as the other two are used for an optical drive and Scan’s multi-card reader. The reader has slots for many different cards, but frustratingly none of these are labelled.

There are also four 3 1/2in bays, with one occupied by a 2TB hard disk, and another four 2 1/2in bays, one of which has a Sandisk Enterprise X110 256GB SSD installed. The SSD helped to make the system feel super-responsive and Windows 8.1 had swift boot up and shutdown speeds.

The installed liquid cooler uses a 120mm fan attached to the rear of the case that runs almost silently and there are also another two quiet 120mm front fans. However, the front fans light up in a bright blue light that can be a little distracting. Fortunately, you do have the option of choosing non-LED fans at the time of purchase.

The case is large enough to fit a large graphics card and a 2GB EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 comes installed. The graphics card acquitted itself well in our gaming benchmarks. We saw 84fps in Dirt Showdown when running the game at 1,920x1,080 resolution, 4x anti-aliasing and Ultra quality graphics.

Even in our more challenging Crysis 3 benchmark, the PC produced a respectable 53.5fps at 1,920x1,080, 4x anti-aliasing and High quality graphics. With 8x anti-aliasing and Very High graphics quality, the PC still produced a very respectable 34.4fps.

This great gaming performance that shows the Scan 3XS Z97 Performance GTX can handle most games at medium- to high-quality settings. Performance wasn’t far behind the Chillblast Fusion Nebula, which costs a similar amount but includes a more powerful 3GB GeForce GTX 780 graphics card.

The Fusion Nebula produced 117fps in Dirt Showdown, 59.3fps in Crysis 3 with 4x anti-aliasing and High graphics. However, there was hardly any difference in Crysis 3 performance with 8x anti-aliasing and Very High graphics, with the Chillblast system producing 35fps.

The Scan 3XS Z97 uses an Asus Z97-K motherboard. The board has four memory slots, but only two of these are occupied, so you can add another pair of modules at a later date should you wish, up to a maximum 32GB. The GTX 770 sits in one of the board’s two PCI-E x16 slots. There’s a second x16 slot available, but it only runs at x4.

There are also two PCI-E x1 slots but one of these is occupied by a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX 5.1 dedicated sound card, and the second is obscured by the large graphics card. Of the board’s six SATA3 ports, three are vacant.

The Sound Blaster isn’t a top-of-the-range sound card but it is superior to onboard audio. The card also has a dedicated headphone amp that supports up to 600ohms and you can also connect up to 5.1 channel speakers.

The motherboard has PS/2 connections for a keyboard and mouse, Gigabit Ethernet, two USB2 and four USB3 connections. The front of the case has another two USB3 connections. You’ll also find a further two USB3 ports on the Scan multi-card reader. However, these use pass-through cables that need to be connected to two of the rear USB3 ports if you want to use them, and the cables have also had to be drilled through the back plate of the sound card. On the GTX 770 graphics card you get HDMI, DisplayPort and two DVI connections for hooking up displays.

The Scan 3XS Z97 Performance GTX showed scintillating application performance and decent gaming punch. The system is well put together and the inclusion of a sound card was a nice touch, even if it is at the expense of any usable PCI-E x1 slots.

It performed much better in our application benchmark than the Chillblast Fusion Nebula that costs the same and even better than the more expensive Palicomp Haswell Hydro-780. While the Scan 3XS Z97 Performance GTX was marginally behind in gaming, it is still great value and deserving of a Best Buy award.

Core specs
ProcessorQuad-core 4.7GHz Intel Core i5-4690K
Processor socketFCLGA1150
RAM8GB
Memory typePC3-17066
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardAsus Z97-K
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z97
Ports and expansion
Front USB ports4x USB3
Rear USB ports2x USB2, 4x USB3
Other ports
Networking1x 10/100/1000
Case typeMid tower
Case size HxWxD565x270x490mm
PCI (free)2 (2)
PCIe x1 (free)2 (0)
PCIe x16 (free)2 (1)
Serial ATA (free)6x SATA3 (3)
Memory slots (free)4 (2)
Drive bays 2 1/2" (free)4 (3)
Drive bays 3 1/2" (free)4 (3)
Drive bays 5 1/4" (free)3 (1)
Storage
Total storage256GB SSD, 2TB Hard disk
Memory card readerSDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo, MMC, Compact Flash, microSD, M2, xD
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL
Graphics
Graphics card2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 770
Graphics/video ports
Sound
Sound cardCreative Sound Blaster Audigy FX 5.1
Sound card outputsLine in, line out, mic in, subwoofer, headphone
SpeakersN/A
Display
DisplayN/A
Native resolutionN/A
InputsN/A
Other hardware
KeyboardN/A
MouseN/A
ExtrasN/A
Software
Operating systemWindows 8.1
Operating system restore optionRestore disc
Buying information
WarrantyThree-year (one-year onsite + two-year RTB)
Price including delivery (inc VAT)£1,200
Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)£1,200
Supplierhttp://3xs.scan.co.uk/
Detailshttp://3xs.scan.co.uk/
Part Code3XS Z97 Performance GTX

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