IT-Partner XTD 2450 £879
9th Jun 2008 | 15:44
A PC designed to make you question your PC-building beliefs
The XTD has given me a conundrum: it's a well specced, well-made rig that costs about the same as if you'd bought all the individual bits yourself and spent an age setting it all up.
And trying to figure out which component was the offending item stopping the damn thing posting... Of course, I have long been a proponent of building your own PC when it comes to starting from scratch, but rigs like this are starting to make me question my own DIY ethos.
To DIY or not?
At the age of sixteen, I was elbow-deep in components and loving it.
Okay, so this was back in the age of myriad motherboard jumper switches and thus immense frustration, but it really felt like you were building something and saved you a lot of money at the same time.
Now though, with rigs like the XTD offering pre-installed, out-of-the-box performance for the same cost as DIY-ing it solo, they're starting to become the smart choice.
Impressive gaming performance
Aesthetically, the XTD has a touch of the pug-ugly Apache gunship about it, all angular lines and matte-black functionality.
Personally, I'm a devotee of the Antec Nine Hundred chassis, mostly due to its big fans. With two at the front - one as an exhaust and another larger one spinning on the ceiling of the case - the cooling in this chassis is impressive and the large fans also run very quietly.
Adding to the chilly atmosphere is the blue-cold cathode tube lighting up the inside of the PC. It's a good-looking machine and one that would make me a grin from ear to ear if I'd just spent my own money on it.
But looks aren't everything, and in these days of rig-pillaging games performance is a must; thankfully, the XTD ticks this box too. It doesn't quite match the heights of the thoroughly impressive Liquid Infinity machine from CyberPower, but at over £600 cheaper you wouldn't expect it to.
Crysis trundles along quite happily, hitting the magic 30fps mark at 1,400x960, and manages the same feat for World in Conflict with everything tuned to maximum at 1,600x1,200.
My only slight niggle is the paucity of storage: these days, 320GB might seem slightly miserly. Price per GB though has dropped through the floor in recent times, meaning you can pick up another 500GB drive for £50.
The rest of the components definitely have a touch of class about them, from the ageing, though excellent Striker Extreme motherboard to the 1,066MHz Dominator RAM.
With a setup like this, it'll only be a matter of switching GPUs a little further down the line when a worthy successor arrives, but you'll be happy as Larry on Larry-Day until then.