Very expensive but immensely powerful and beautifully built; you’d be mad not to covet this PC
4.6GHz Intel Core i7-4770K, 16GB RAM, 27in 2,560×1,440 display, Windows 8.1
Ultra-high end gaming PCs aren’t for everyone, but they’re always a welcome spectacle. Built into a heavy-duty Corsair Obsidian 650D case and equipped with liquid cooling, dual graphics cards and a dedicated sound card, the Scan 3XS Z87 Vengeance SLI’s specification reads like every gamer’s wish-list. The PC’s interior is expertly assembled, too, and all of its cables are neatly routed out of sight.
Two of the six 3 1/2in drive bays are occupied by a 256GB Samsung SSD and a 2TB Seagate hard disk, so you get a great combination of a fast system disk that provides quick boot-up times and a large capacity mechanical disk for general storage. On the subject of media, the 5 1/4in drive mounted in one of four external bays is a DVD-RW drive rather than a Blu-ray drive.
Another 5 1/4in bay holds a multi-card reader that includes SDXC and microSD slots. None of the slots are labelled, so you’ll need to identify which slot is which yourself. The extra connectivity is useful nonetheless. Alongside the card slots are two USB3 ports that linked to a header on the motherboard. At the very top of the case is an external hot-swappable SATA hard disk bay and above the front panel card reader are two more USB ports and two USB3 ports. The latter ports are actually connected to two of the USB3 ports at the back of the computer, but it’s much more convenient to use USB3 ports than scrabble around under your desk to attach something to your PC.
At the back of the PC, in addition to the pair of USB3 ports connected to the front panel, are another two USB3 ports, two USB2 ports, a PS/2 port, a Gigabit Ethernet port and some audio ports. However, you won’t need these audio ports because the Z87 Vengeance SLI is equipped with a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z gaming card. The Sound Blaster Z gives you 5.1 analogue surround sound, it supports 192KHz/24-bit high-resolution audio and it has a built-in headphone amp that can power headphones of up to 600 ohms impedance. The Sound Blaster Z really is a big improvement over onboard audio in terms of sound quality and comes with drivers that allow you to optimise your audio settings easily.
BEST SERVED COLD
The 3XS Vengeance is powered by an Intel Core i7-4770K processor overclocked to 4.6GHz. In combination with 16GB of DDR3 RAM, it’s well equipped for the most processor-intensive tasks. That’s ably demonstrated by the PC’s overall score of 135 in our benchmark tests.
The processor is liquid cooled, with the radiator and its fans neatly mounted at the top of the chassis. There’s also a large 200mm fan at the front of the case and a 120mm exhaust at the back. Only two of the memory slots are occupied, so you can add two more 8GB modules to bring the motherboard up to its maximum of 32GB of RAM. Two of the motherboard’s six SATA ports are vacant, so you can also add extra storage if needed.
The system is powered by a 750W power supply, which proved to be far less power hungry than we expected. Power consumption peaked at around 282W when we were gaming, but dropped to around 80W on the desktop with standby power consumption of just 2W.
It’s worth noting, though, that there’s little scope for adding extra expansion cards. There’s just one free PCI-E x1 slot on the motherboard, along with a PCI-E x16 slot that actually runs at x2. Neither of these slots aren’t easily accessible because they’re wedged between the graphics cards.
However, the graphics cards are perhaps the highlight of this PC, as they’re a pair of overclocked EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 graphics cards with 3TB of memory apiece, and they’re linked by SLI which means they work together to produce truly blistering frame rates. Needless to say, the 3XS Vengeance SLI blasted through our tests. In Dirt Showdown, the PC produced an average frame rate of 163.8fps at a resolution of 1,920×1,080 with graphics quality set to Ultra, and a phenomenal 148fps at 2,560×1,440.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-4770K|
|Processor external bus||100MHz (DMI)|
|Processor clock speed||4.6GHz|
|Motherboard||Asus Z-87 A|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel Z87|
|USB2 ports (front/rear)||6/4|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||none|
|PCI-E x1 slots (free)||2 (1)|
|PCI-E x16 slots (free)||3 (1)|
|Free Serial ATA ports||2|
|Free memory slots||2|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||4|
|Hard disk model(s)||Samsung 840 256GB + Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001|
|Graphics card(s)||2x 3GB Nvidia GTX 780 SC|
|Graphics/video ports||4x DVI, 2x HDMI, 2x DisplayPort|
|Sound||Creative Sound Blaster Z|
|Sound outputs||5.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out, optical S/PDIF in, mic in|
|Supported memory cards||SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo, MMC, Compact Flash, microSD, M2, xD|
|Optical drive type(s)||DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
|Viewable size||27 in|
|Screen model||Asus PB278|
|Screen inputs||HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, VGA|
|Keyboard||Corsair Vengeance K60|
|Mouse||Corsair Vengeance M65|
|Operating system||Windows 8.1|
|Operating system restore option||Windows disc|
|Warranty||three years RTB (first year onsite)|