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Scan 3XS Z87 Performance GTX review

Kat Orphanides
20 Aug 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,299
inc VAT

A big SSD, dedicated sound card and loads of USB3 ports make this Haswell system stand out among similarly priced rivals

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Specifications

4.4GHz Intel Core i5-4670K, 8GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 8

The Scan 3XS Z87 is built into a Corsair Carbide 300R chassis, which is a relatively compact gaming case that doesn't suffer from the unsubtle industrial styling of many rivals. There's plenty of room in it despite its smaller size, which will make upgrading your PC a joy, should you need to do so, and we really appreciated the properly finished edges and surfaces.

Scan 3XS Z87 Performance GTX

The case also has a Perspex side panel that shows off the interior, which is illuminated by white LEDs. A controller at the back lets you turn these on and off. Neither the panel nor the case itself has much by way of dust or sound proofing, but there’s a protective mesh at the bottom of the case to prevent fluff getting in and the system's liquid cooler runs almost silently. Plus, there are no other case fans to make a racket.

Although the case normally comes with two 3 1/2in drive cages to provide a total of eight bays, one of these has been removed to provide extra space for the graphics card. You can replace it if you need it, but there are still two vacant 3 1/2in bays, plus one spare 5 1/4in bay. The other 5 1/2in bays are occupied by a DVD-RW drive and a memory card reader, which can take SDXC, microSD, Compact Flash and a number of other popular formats. We'd have liked the card slots to be labelled by type, though.

Scan 3XS Z87 Performance GTX

The card reader also provides an extra couple of USB3 ports, which are connected to the motherboard header. We're pleased to see these, as the case's own front panel USB3 ports are actually connected to USB3 ports on the back panel via pass-through cables. Alongside the front panel USB3 ports is a 3.5mm microphone input and a 3.5mm headphone output, and both are connected to the dedicated sound card that's installed in the PC.

The motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-Z87-HD3 which has four USB3 ports on its backplane, plus another two USB2 ports and a single PS/2 port for older keyboards and mice. It also has a Gigabit Ethernet port; the onboard graphics and audio ports aren't in use, as expansion cards handle these functions.

There's reasonable scope for expansion on the motherboard, too, with two PCI-E x16 slots. However, one of them actually runs at x4 and shares bandwidth with the two PCI-E x1 slots above it. This means you'll have to avoid using it if you want to keep using the Asus Xonar DGX sound card that’s installed in one of the x1 slots. The other PCI-E x1 slot is blocked by the graphics card. There are also two legacy PCI slots, should you need them for older cards you want to bring over from a previous PC. One of these is currently blocked by the controller backplane for the case lights, but this can be removed if you need the slot at any point in the future.

The motherboard also has six SATA3 ports, three of which are in use, and four memory slots. Two of these are occupied by 4GB DDR3 modules running at 1,600MHz, providing a memory capacity of 8GB. The system’s fitted with an Intel Core i5-4670K CPU, which is overclocked to 4.4GHz. It achieved an impressive overall score of 133 in our benchmark tests.

Scan 3XS Z87 Performance GTX

The 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 graphics card put in an excellent performance in our gaming tests, providing Ultra quality average frame rates of 87fps in Dirt Showdown and 56.2fps in Crysis 2. The Asus Xonar DGX sound card also sets this system apart from the pack. It's not a premium sound card, but its C-Media CMI8786 audio processor, dedicated headphone amp and excellent driver-based processing of environmental and surround sound audio all serve to make it a great improvement on built-in motherboard sound cards. As well as more stable drivers that make for a smoother gaming experience, its higher quality hardware means you get better sound when listening to music, too.

We’re pleased to see that the system has a branded 600W PSU, and also has a good storage setup that’s comprised of an SSD for the operating system and programs and a mechanical hard disk for data storage. Both drives have a high capacity, with the SSD being a 256GB model and the mechanical disk a 2TB model.

This is an expensive system and it's not without its annoyances, notably the motherboard's lack of truly usable PCI-E slots. However, if you want to buy a gaming system that's quiet, well-built and designed to last, this is an outstanding PC that deserves our Best Buy award.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4670K
Processor external bus100MHz (DMI)
Processor multiplierx44
Processor clock speed4.4GHz
Processor socketLGA1150
Memory8
Memory typePC3-12800
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardGigabyte GA-Z87-HD3
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z87

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)4/6
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)2 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)2 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports3
Free memory slots2
Free 3.5in drive bays2

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung 840 256GB + Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001
InterfaceSATA3

Graphics

Graphics card(s)2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 770
Graphics/video ports2x DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort

Sound

SoundAsus Xonar DGX
Sound outputs5.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out, line out, mic in
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

Supported memory cardsSDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo, MMC, Compact Flash, microSD, M2, xD
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Screen modelN/A
Native resolutionN/A
Screen inputsN/A

Other Hardware

KeyboardN/A
MouseN/A

Software

Operating systemWindows 8
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantythree years RTB (first year onsite)
Price£1,299
Detailswww.scan.co.uk

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