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PC Specialist Apollo Q830 GT review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 650
inc VAT

Specifications

2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300, 4.000000 RAM, 22in 1,680×1,050 display, Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit

PC Specialist

PC Specialist’s Apollo Q830 GT may have a quad-core processor, but we can’t help feeling disappointed by the specification.

Extras such a TV tuner card and a memory card reader are a nice bonus, but they’re neither expensive nor difficult to add to a PC after you’ve bought it.

They certainly don’t make up for a fairly poor set of benchmark results. The Apollo Q830GT was outperformed by several of the £500 systems in our memory-intensive image manipulation tests and also our games benchmarks. The culprit is the pedestrian Nvidia GeForce 9400 GT graphics card, which couldn’t even manage 10fps in Call of Duty 4.

The company appears to have made this compromise to bundle a decent monitor – a 22in Edge10 W223. It’s bright and looks good from most angles, although its reproduction of dark tones isn’t as clear as that of the 20in Iiyama that comes with Mesh’s Matrix II 920 Nero. This is down to poorer contrast.

The Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 processor is very capable when it comes to optimised, multithreaded applications such as video processing, but it simply lacks the speed and power of the AMD Phenom II X4 920 processors in the £650 Mesh and Eclipse PCs. What’s more, its relatively slow clock speed of 2.5GHz means that it doesn’t perform as well as faster dual-core processors for non-optimised tasks.

Performance in our video transcoding and decoding tests was good, so with its TV tuner, large monitor and HDMI output this PC could serve well as a media centre. PC Specialist’s choice of case isn’t a bad one – the side panel has a quick-release mechanism, so no screwdriver is needed – but it was fairly average in terms of fan noise. Free delivery and a year’s internet security subscription are nice bonuses, but they don’t stop this PC looking bad when compared with the faster systems that are available for the same price. The collect-and-return warranty goes some way to redeeming the shortfall, but ultimately there are better PC bundles here.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Processor Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300
Processor external bus 333MHz (1,333MHz quad-pumped FSB)
Processor multiplier x7.5
Processor clock speed 2.5GHz
Processor socket LGA775
Level 1 cache 4x 32KB
Level 2 cache 4,096KB
Memory 4.000000
Memory type PC2-6400
Maximum memory 4GB
Motherboard Asus P5N73-AM
Motherboard chipset Nvidia GeForce 7050 + nForce 610i
Power consumption standby 5W
Power consumption idle 76W
Power consumption active 110W

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear) 2/4
Firewire ports (front/rear) 0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear) 0/0
Wired network ports 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support none
Other ports antenna in

Internal Expansion

Case midi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free) 1 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free) 1 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports 2
Free memory slots 0
Free 3.5in drive bays 3

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Seagate Barracuda (ST3500820AS)
Interface SATA 300
Total storage capacity 500GB
Spindle speed 7,200rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s) 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9400 GT
Graphics/video ports HDMI, DVI, VGA

Sound

Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Sound outputs 7.1 line out
Speakers none

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy drive no
Supported memory cards CF, SD, MMC, Memory Stick, MicroDrive, SmartMedia
Optical drive model HL-DT-ST GH22LS30
Optical drive type(s) DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size 22 in
Screen model Edge 10 W223
Native resolution 1,680×1,050
Response time 5ms
Screen inputs DVI, VGA, line in

Other Hardware

Modem No
Keyboard Logitech Internet 350 Keyboard
Mouse Logitech M-UAE96

Software

Software included CyberLink PowerDirector DE, Norton Internet Security 2007, Cerel Snapfire Plus SE 1.2, Nero 7, Power DVD 7
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option Windows disc

Buying Information

Warranty one year collect and return
Price £650
Details www.pcspecialist.co.uk

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