The move to quad core is happening whether the market is ready for it or not. Few applications take advantage of four cores and our Real World Benchmarks reflect this: the only benefits appear in our 3Ds Max encoding test and our multiple application test.
Excel’s BV-660 PC is based around Intel’s 2.4GHz Q6600 chip and is flanked by 1GB of RAM and a 500GB hard disk. When we tested the QX6600 last month (web ID 85546) in our high-performance test bed it scored a massive 1.77. So we were disturbed by the Excel’s score of just 1.10. But our benchmarks run with less than 0.5% error so the score was valid. We put the 67% performance discrepancy down to the cheap, Corsair Value RAM which had high latency settings – an unfortunate corner to cut. However, we did glimpse some performance boosts: a high score of 1.50 was achieved in our 3Ds Max test which relies on raw processer power.
3D performance comes from Nvidia’s 8600 GTS graphics. The Excel averaged a decent 36fps in our medium-settings, Call of Duty 2 test. However, DirectX 10 drivers are still immature and we only saw 3fps in our Call of Juarez test. This only rose to 16fps when using our low settings at 1024 x 768.
But we were happy to see Asus’ 19in widescreen VW192T LCD supplied. This vibrant monitor performs very well and is also used by the A-Listed Megaware Value Power. It even has speakers – though they struggle with anything beyond Windows’ pings and beeps. Still, the 5ms response time limits lag and the well-lit display provides vibrant colours.
The Logitech keyboard and mouse are adequate and, bizarrely, a D-Link draft-N wireless router is supplied (with PCI adapter): though we’d rather see a lower price than have this forced on us. A DVD writer is supplied as is a media card reader that supports all major formats.
Expandability is possible via two PCI slots and two 1x PCI-Express slots. There are also two RAM slots, a spare optical drive bay and three spare hard disk bays. The front sports three USB ports and a rather-nifty LCD for setting case temperature – if you want to lower it, just press the buttons and the case fan will kick into life (while breaking the near-silence). At the back lie four USB ports, optical and coaxial S/PDIF out ports, serial, parallel, Gigabit Ethernet and six audio jacks.
The warranty is one-year RTB but conversion to 2yrs on-site costs only $99 more. All in all it’s a good, cheap way to buy into Quad Core but the processor is let down by bottlenecks coming from the cheap, supporting components surrounding it. As such, it can’t quite beat Megaware’s competitor which is better for gaming and comes with a set of speakers to boot.
This Review appeared in the November, 2007 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine