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Advent Centurion CQ9204 review

Kat Orphanides
1 Feb 2010
Advent Centurion CQ9204
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
650
inc VAT

Unless you're absolutely smitten with the look of Advent's Centurion, there are far better value PCs available.

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Specifications

2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300, 6.000000 RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Advent's Centurion is a gaming PC aimed at those on a budget. It doesn't come with a monitor, but does come with a keyboard and mouse. It looks more expensive than its £650 price would suggest, due to the casings transparent side panel and its unusually-shaped design with red strip lighting. Unfortunately, the beauty is only skin deep and the Centurion falls behind where it matters most.

The Centurion is the first PC we've seen with Nvidia's GeForce GT230 graphics card. Even though it has an impressive 1.5GB of graphics memory, its performance in our demanding 3D benchmarks was disappointing for a PC at this price. It managed a playable, but unremarkable 27.8fps in our Call of Duty 4 test. It struggled with our graphically intense Crysis test, managing just 12.6fps. The Centurion can play current 3D titles, but it will struggle with the very latest games unless you reduce detail settings and the resolution.

We were more impressed by the Centurion's performance in our Windows application benchmarks. It's fitted with a huge 6GB of RAM and a Core 2 Quad Q8300 processor. It scored 90 overall in our tests and it should be able to cope with demanding tasks for some time to come. Its huge amounts of memory make it well suited to HD video editing. However, there are PCs at this price equipped the far quicker Core i5-750 processor.

Although the Centurion is eye-catching, it's also noisy. It's loud enough to be annoying in a quiet room, so you'll want to stow it under your desk. We were also disappointed by the quality of the included peripherals. Both gamers and typists alike will find the keyboard far spongier than is ideal. Although the basic two-button optical mouse works well enough, gamers would have appreciated a model with side buttons or more accurate tracking.

One benefit of the Centurion's design is the number of expansion options available. If the huge 1TB hard disk isn't enough storage, there are five spare 3.5in bays for adding more disks. There are also two empty 5.25in bays for extra optical drives, alongside the usual DVD writer. All this should be more than enough for anyone.

If you actually want to use all the available drive bays, you'll have to add a PCI card with more SATA ports, but the three available SATA ports on the motherboard should suffice for most. There are two spare PCI slots and two empty PCI Express x1 slots, although one of the PCI slots is pressed up against the graphics card slot so it's not usable. You won't need to add a wireless networking adapter though, as an 802.11b/g one is already fitted.

The Centurion's isn't fatally flawed in any respect, but it's simply too expensive at £650. Mesh's similarly priced Matrix II 925 HD is far better value. It doesn't have as many expansion options as the Centurion, but it is far quicker in games, has similar Windows performance and comes with both a Blu-ray drive and monitor.

Basic Specifications

Rating**
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Quad Q8300
Processor external bus333MHz (1,333MHz quad-pumped FSB)
Processor multiplierx7.5
Processor clock speed2.5GHz
Processor socketLGA775
Level 1 cache4x 32KB
Level 2 cache2x 2,048KB
Memory6.000000
Memory typePC2-6400
Maximum memory16GB
MotherboardFoxcoon P43AL
Motherboard chipsetIntel P45
Power consumption standby7W
Power consumption idle90W
Power consumption active150W

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)4/6
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)1/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11a/b/g
Other portsnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)2 (2)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports3
Free memory slots1
Free 3.5in drive bays5

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity1,000GB
Spindle speed5,400rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)1.5TB Nvidia GeForce GT230
Graphics/video portsHDMI, DVI, VGA

Sound

SoundRealtek ALC888S
Sound outputs7.1 line out, coaxial S/PDIF out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, MMCplus, Memory Stick Pro/Duo, MicroDrive, xD
Optical drive modelLG GH40F
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Screen modelN/A
Native resolutionN/A
Response timeN/A
Screen inputsN/A

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardAdvent SWT1200
MouseAdvent Optical Wheel Mouse USB GP-M3000

Software

Software includedMicrosoft Works 9 SE
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore partition

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return or customer carry-in
Price£650
Supplierhttp://www.pcworld.co.uk
Detailswww.advent.co.uk

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