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PC Nextday Zoostorm Advanced Home Gamer PC review

Barry de la Rosa
3 Aug 2010
PC Nextday Zoostorm Advanced Home Gamer PC
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
600
inc VAT

The old components might just about be able to keep up, but the 19in monitor is unacceptably small at this price

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Specifications

2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400, 4GB RAM, 19in 1,366x768 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Instead of equipping the Zoostorm Advanced Home Gamer PC with the latest processor and graphics card, PC Nextday has opted for older parts that used to command a premium, but are now much cheaper. This unusual approach has resulted in a PC with a quad-core processor that can also play games.

Intel's Core 2 Quad Q8400 was launched over a year ago and although it has four cores, it doesn't support technologies such as Hyper-Threading or Turbo Boost like the new Core range. It still managed to compete well with some of the AMD-equipped PCs in our group, scoring 97 overall. It means that it's fast enough to handle almost anything you can throw at it.

The same philosophy has been applied to the choice of graphics card, although in this case we think PC Nextday has gone too far. The GeForce 9800GT is almost two years old, and is essentially just an 8800GT, which is even older. Still, it managed 38fps in our Call of Duty 4 test, and 16.4fps in Crysis. Of course, it doesn't support DirectX 11 as most new cards do, so in newer games you'll miss out on some great effects. It does, however, support Nvidia's CUDA, which is used by programs such as Arcsoft's SimHD plug-in for TotalMedia Theatre 3 to help upscale DVD videos.

PC Nextday Zoostorm Advanced Home Gamer PC

Inside the case, we noticed a lot of bundled but untidy wires. There's not a lot of room for extra drives, as the drive bay bolted to the floor of the case is blocked by the graphics card. There aren't any free RAM slots (although the installed 4GB should be enough for most people), and only one free PCI and one free PCI-E x1 slot. The 1TB hard disk is generous, though, and will take a while to fill up.

Externally, there are only six USB ports in total, and no FireWire or eSATA ports. Fortunately, the mouse and keyboard connect to the two PS/2 ports, leaving all six USB ports for other devices such as MP3 players, mobile phones and external drives. Unfortunately, the keyboard and mouse set are the worst budget set we've seen recently; the keyboard has wobbly, bouncy keys that provide very little feedback, while the mouse is a simple two-button device that's too light.

Lastly, we come to the monitor. This is a 19in AOC display with a 1,366x768 resolution, which is far too small for a PC costing £600. We'd expect at least a 22in monitor with a 1,680x1,050 resolution, or - preferably - 1,920x1,080. Image quality was reasonably good, with natural colours and an acceptably bright and even backlight, but this isn't much of a consolation.

Although you can order the Zoostorm without the monitor and save £100, there's little reason to. While the processor and graphics card aren't bad, Palicomp's Core i3 Blast 530OC-22Plus has a faster Core i3 processor, graphics card and plenty of room for expansion. Its 22in monitor isn't great, but it's still a far better deal for exactly the same amount of money.

Basic Specifications

Rating**
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Quad Q8400
Processor external bus333MHz (1,333MHz quad-pumped FSB)
Processor multiplierx8
Processor clock speed2.66GHz
Processor socketLGA775
Level 1 cache4x 64KB
Level 2 cache2x 2,048KB
Memory4
Memory typeDDR2
Maximum memory8GB
MotherboardFoxconn G41MX 2.0
Motherboard chipsetIntel G41

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/4
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)1 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports2
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays3

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung SpinPoint F3 HD103SJ
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity1,000GB
Spindle speed7,200rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)Nvidia GeForce 9800 GT
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI, HDMI

Sound

SoundRealtek HD Audio
Sound outputs5.1 line out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive modeliHAS 124 Y
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size19 in
Screen modelAOC 931Sn
Native resolution1,366x768
Response time5ms
Screen inputsVGA

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardGenius K639
MouseGenius NetScroll 120

Software

Software includedOffice Starter 2010
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£600
Supplierhttp://www.ebuyer.com
Detailswww.pcnextday.co.uk

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