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Advent Centurion CBE1401 review

Barry de la Rosa
22 Mar 2010
Advent Centurion CBE1401
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
699
inc VAT

A well-designed case and quiet water-cooling can't make up for the poor choice of motherboard, and it's much too expensive.

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Specifications

3.4GHz AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition, 4.000000 RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Advent's Centurion CBE1401 is a gaming PC with an overclocked, water-cooled Phenom II X2 processor and an ATI Radeon HD 5750 graphics card. The water-cooling allows an increase in the CPU's speed from 3.1GHz to 3.4GHz, though it could probably be pushed further still with a little tweaking in the BIOS. It also greatly reduces the amount of noise, and even sitting right next to the Centurion you're only aware of a low whisper.

The dual-core Phenom is actually a rather cheap CPU, especially considering this PC's price. It scored well in our image editing test, with Advent's overclocking significantly boosting single-core performance, but fell down on the video encoding test, which favours triple- and quad-core CPUs. An overall score of 92 doesn't compare very well with the scores from the recent PCs we've reviewed around the £700 mark.

Thankfully, the HD 5750 is one of our current favourite cards, and produces respectable scores in our gaming benchmarks. The ability to play Crysis at over 30fps means that this PC will take on any modern PC game at high resolutions and detail settings, and should last a couple of years before you need to consider upgrading.

The Centurion has a bold design, and although we'd prefer not to have the large, illuminated AMD and Advent logos. We did appreciate the protruding top panel with its large, backlit power button and memory card slots. Behind this sits a rubber tray, an ideal place to leave any external hard drives, alongside another panel that houses four USB ports, an eSATA port and audio jacks.

The left side of the case has a window with a vent built into it. To reduce noise further, Advent has covered over this vent with a clear sheet on the inside. We'd question why Advent decided on having a window in the first place. While most of the large cables in the case have been tidily bundled, there are still many unsightly smaller wires criss-crossing the case.

Except for the water-cooling system, there's little of interest inside the case. The motherboard is a dated model, with two PS/2 ports and a parallel port instead of the more modern eSATA, FireWire and digital audio outputs. The lack of spare PCI slots is incredible, and Advent's decision to fill one of the available slots with a wireless card beggars belief. Serious online gamers wouldn't be seen dead using a Wi-Fi connection, which has much more latency than a wired connection, and the slot would have been better off filled with a decent sound card.

In the end, the Centurion CBE1401 is simply far too expensive: it doesn't come with a monitor or speakers, and yet it costs the same as our Best Buy Yoyotech Warbird i650cs. That PC scored far higher in our benchmarks, has a better selection of ports along with 7.1 surround sound and a 22in monitor.

Basic Specifications

Rating**
ProcessorAMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition
Processor external bus200MHz (1.6GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx17
Processor clock speed3.4GHz
Processor socketAM3
Level 1 cache256KB
Level 2 cache1,024KB
Memory4.000000
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory8GB
MotherboardFoxconn A7VMX-K
Motherboard chipsetAMD 780V

Ports

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

Internal Expansion

Casetower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)0 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports1
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays3

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Western Digital Caviar Green (WD500AADS-00M2B0)
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity750GB
Spindle speed7,200rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)1GB ATI Radeon HD 5750
Graphics/video ports2x DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort

Sound

SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Sound outputsstereo line out, mic in, line in
SpeakersN/A

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, CompactFlash, MicroDrive, SmartMedia
Optical drive modelHL-DT-ST GH41N
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL DVD-RAM

Display

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

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardAdvent SWT1200
MouseAdvent GP-M3000

Software

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

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£699
Supplierhttp://www.pcworld.co.uk
Detailswww.pcworld.co.uk

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