Scan 3XS Vengeance £1740

5th Jan 2011 | 09:12

The Vengeance is a machine best served cool and quiet…

TechRadar rating:

4.5 stars

Demonstrating exactly what you can do with the top end of this new generation of components.

Like:

Awesome performance; No compromise on components; Whisper quiet; Comparable with a hexcore rig;

Dislike:

There's not a lot you can do to better this

Scan 3XS Vengeance review: Overview

We're not entirely sure who Scan Computers is aiming to exact its vengeance upon with this rig, but by the numbers the 3XS Vengeance is producing it's a pretty safe bet it's going to manage it.

This is the first full PC we've seen to actually put the new second-generation Intel Core platform into context. You'll have read just how good this Sandy Bridge platform is by now, but until you actually see it in a machine, it's tough to quantify.

The pairing of the Core i7-2600K and Nvidia GTX 580 could well be the top CPU/GPU partnership of the next six months or so, but until we get a few more rigs across our test benches, it's a hard to be certain. No matter the context, though, the only machine in the last year to come close to the 3XS Vengeance's performance numbers has been the CyberPower Charybdis.

That was a £2,000 machine sporting an overclocked Gulftown six-core CPU and twin 1GB GTX 460s running in SLI. Granted, that rig still has the performance lead, but only by a hair's breadth – and that's mostly down to the twin GPUs beating at the heart of the PC, rather than the CPU itself.

Scan 3XS Vengeance review: Benchmarks

From these benchmarks the Charybdis might look the better machine, but it's not £250 better. The performance figures you're getting from the 3XS Vengeance are so close, and on the DiRT 2 gaming benchmark slightly ahead, that you'd happily go for this more fully featured setup.

These benchmarks don't take into account the superior OCZ SandForce SSD and dedicated soundcard of the Scan machine either, both of which help make it such a quality machine.

CPU performance

Cinebench R11 – Index: higher is better

Scan 3XS Vengeance: 8.73
CyberPower Charybdis: 10.32

DirectX 11 tessellation performance

Heaven – FPS: higher is better

Scan 3XS Vengeance: 25.9
CyberPower Charybdis: 28.2

DirectX 11 gaming performance

DiRT 2 – FPS: higher is better

3XS Vengeance: 90
CyberPower Charybdis: 88

Scan 3XS Vengeance review: Verdict

The other major difference between the CyberPower Charybdis and the Scan 3XS Vengeance is the noise. The Charybdis had to water-cool the CPU to keep it happy, but still relied on two large fans, and the twin GPUs also made a bit of racket happily heating up the innards.

Scan's 3XS Vengeance, on the other hand, is whisper quiet.

Despite the fact that the Core i7-2600K is running at a lightning 4.5GHz, it's kept cool by the Alpenfohn Matterhorn active-cooler, which is itself a rather softly spoken chiller. The GTX 580, too, still surprises us with just how quiet it manages to be. Compared with its GTX 480-shaped forebear, that's doubly impressive.

At £1,740, it's by no means a particularly wallet-friendly machine, but considering the combination of top-end tech and spectacular benchmarks it comes out looking rather good value.

There's absolutely no compromise in this system – at no point have cuts been made to make sure this machine hits a certain price point. Indeed, if the rather scarce GTX 580 becomes more widely available, the pricing may actually come down.

You've got the top Sandy Bridge CPU, seriously overclocked, the best graphics card on the planet, a full 1TB storage drive and a SandForce-powered SSD from OCZ, a bloated 8GB of speedy DDR3, and even a particularly tasty discrete soundcard as an extra cherry on top.

Faster components and chipsets will arrive, but a 3XS Vengeance purchase is going to remain relevant for a while yet. Essentially, this is a machine that will happily be playing at the top of its game for the next two years at least.

As the first machine of what is effectively a new generation, it was always going to blow the previous rigs we've seen out of the water, but we can't help but be impressed by the 3XS Vengeance.

We liked

The performance of this rig is nothing short of phenomenal. The pairing of a Sandy Bridge CPU and Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 makes it something to reckon with.

It's also incredibly quiet for something packing this much high-end kit.

We disliked

To be honest, there's very little not to like about this machine. There's been no compromise with any of the components, making it about as feature-rich a machine as currently possible.

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