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Scan 3XS-X58 Core i7 review

Mike Jennings
30 Jan 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,620
inc VAT

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Specifications

Scan's 3XS machines have a reputation for excellent performance and meticulous attention to detail.

The 3XS-X58 Core i7 is no exception. Its processor is an Intel Core i7-920, and although it's the cheapest of the current Core i7 range its performance hasn't been sacrificed to cut costs.

Scan has overclocked the i7-920 from 2.66GHz to 3.6GHz, which is quicker than the fastest Core i7-965's stock speed. In our PCMark Vantage benchmark, the Scan returned a stunning overall score of 7,990, which is the quickest we've seen. It's good to see a Core i7- based PC with truly stunning performance, though it does seem like overclocking is the only way to get value out of Intel's latest processor.

Graphical power is provided by an Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 with 896MB of RAM. In our Call of Duty 4 benchmark, the 3XS-X58 managed an impressive 68.7fps. A result of 37.7fps in our demanding Crysis benchmark proves that this PC can cope with any modern game. We ran our tests at higher resolutions and with all the detail options turned to maximum. Call of Duty 4 was still perfectly playable, and looked stunning at a resolution of 1,920x1,080.

The rest of the specification is respectable, though not jaw-dropping. It has 3GB of RAM, which is plenty for most purposes, with space available for another 3GB if required. The 1TB hard disk is more than ample for most music and video collections. The optical drive is capable of reading but not writing Blu-ray discs. Its Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi sound card produces great-sounding audio and can decode high-quality 7.1 channel audio from Blu-ray movies, although you'd need software such as Arcsoft TotalMedia Theatre.

The case, a Silverstone Fortress FT01, both looks great and is brilliantly designed. Open it and you'll see a tidy, organised system with every cable routed unobtrusively around the motherboard and the various components. Several large fans keep the powerful components inside cool. A layer of sound-absorbing foam on the side of the case helps keep the 3XS-X58 quiet when it's running.

A PC like this doesn't come cheap. As well as its price of £1,620 including VAT, the 3XS-X58 demands plenty of power; it used a hefty 171W when idle and a huge 327W when running our benchmarks. You'll also have to consider the cost of any new peripherals you need for a complete system.

Despite its price, there's no denying that the Scan is an exceptionally fast and well-built PC. There's little point in buying one unless you need the extraordinary processing power available from its overclocked processor - for HD video editing, perhaps. If you do buy it, you won't need to replace it for many years.

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