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PC Nextday Zoostorm 72-4301 Core i3 Advanced HD PC review

Kat Orphanides
17 Mar 2010
PC Nextday Zoostorm 72-4301 Core i3 Advanced HD PC
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
700
inc VAT

The Zoostorm 72-4301 just doesn't do enough to justify its price when there are much more powerful PCs available for the same money.

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Specifications

3.067GHz Intel Core i3-540, 4.000000 RAM, 19in 1,440x900 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Intel's Core i3 processors provide plenty of computing power for a relatively low price, making them a great choice for a mid-priced PC system. PC Nextday's Zoostorm 72-4301, at £700, uses just such a processor, and should have been a balanced PC that could handle most computing needs. Unfortunately, it was quickly obvious that some odd choices have been made with the system's specification.

Instead of a dedicated graphics card, the 72-4301 relies on the Core i3's graphics processor, which is integrated onto the chip itself. It may be a clever technical arrangement, which helps keep power consumption down, but it's not particularly powerful. Although fine for everyday office tasks, or even for a bit of photo or video editing, this system simply can't handle 3D games. It managed a meagre 8.4fps in CoD4 and crawled through Crysis at 3.1fps.

Gaming isn't important to everyone, though, and this PC has some great multimedia features. Most conspicuous are its pair of disc drives - one DVD RW and one Blu-ray – so you could watch a movie while burning a CD, or make direct disc-to-disc copies. However, this PC not ideally suited for Blu-ray playback. Although the integrated graphics can handle Blu-ray quality HD video, the 19in widescreen monitor has a maximum resolution of just 1,440x900 – so it can't display the full detail of HD video. The monitor is bright and evenly backlit, thankfully, but it doesn't have a wide range of viewing angles.

The microATX-sized case looks drab, but is compact and sturdy. There's some room for expansion but not a great deal, with just one free 3 1/2in bay. The large 750GB hard disk is welcome, but not hugely impressive. The Intel DH55TC motherboard has just one PCI and one PCI-E x16 slot, plus two PCI-E x1 slots, one of which will be blocked if you install a graphics card. The motherboard already has VGA, DVI and HDMI outputs, so you can connect it to an HDTV or add a second monitor.

For audio output, there are just the standard three rear 3.5mm audio ports, supporting 5.1 surround sound using the motherboard's Intel HD audio processor. There are no S/PDIF digital outputs provided, which is disappointing on a modern PC. There are six USB ports on the back and another two at the front.

The Core i3-540 is the faster of the two available chips, running at 3.06GHz. It did well in our usual benchmark tests, with an overall score of 106. There's 4GB of RAM fitted, which is plenty for most purposes.

This system suffers from lack of a clear purpose – as it's too expensive for an office workstation, but its monitor and graphics chipset are underspecified for either multimedia or gaming purposes. Last month Yoyotech's outstanding Warbird i650 showed you can get a far better equipped for £700. The Zoostorm 72-4301 just doesn't do enough to justify its price.

Basic Specifications

Rating**
ProcessorIntel Core i3-540
Processor external bus133MHz (2.0GB/s Direct Media Interface)
Processor multiplierx23
Processor clock speed3.067GHz
Processor socketLGA1156
Level 1 cache2x 64KB
Level 2 cache2x 256KB
Memory4.000000
Memory typePC3-10600
Maximum memory16GB
MotherboardIntel DH55TC
Motherboard chipsetIntel H55

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/6
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone
Other portsnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)2 (2)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports3
Free memory slots2
Free 3.5in drive bays5

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Western Digital Caviar (WD7500AADS-00M2B0)
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity750GB
Spindle speed7200rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)none

Sound

SoundIntel HD Audio
Sound outputs5.1 line out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive modelATAPI iHoS104, TSST SH-S223C
Optical drive type(s)BD-ROM + DVD+/-RW +/-DL, DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size19 in
Screen modelAcer V193w
Native resolution1,440x900
Response time5ms
Screen inputsVGA

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardGenius KB-06XE
MouseGenius Netscroll 120

Software

Software includedCyberlink PowerDVD 8.0
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£700
Supplierhttp://www.pcnextday.co.uk
Detailswww.pcnextday.co.uk

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