MegaPC won our 2006 Reliability and Service award for online vendors: a great show of trust by the Australian public. Now it’s building PCs. Its first is the Magnum.
It’s an imposing beast thanks to a monolithic SilverStone TJ06 case and 22in ViewSonic ViewDock monitor. The latter sports integrated speakers, subwoofer and iPod dock. If you don’t have an iPod there’s a redundant, ugly socket, but at least you can use other MP3 players too. It also sports a four-port USB hub, microphone, 3.5mm in/out audio jacks and headphone socket. Despite this, while sound was well-rounded, with punchy bass and clear top end, it didn’t get nearly loud enough. However, the 1680 x 1050 display was crisp, sharp and clear, and good colours made our games and videos look great.
Also included is a high-end keyboard and mouse from Razer – the latter offers a 2000dpi resolution for precise gaming.
But what of the PC? The quality case makes it very quiet and the air duct, which sits above the CPU cooler, helps further. There sits a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo E6700, 2GB of top-quality OCZ PC2-6400 RAM and a whopping three 320GB 7200.10 Seagate Barracuda hard disks (with 16MB cache) running in RAID0. These combined to score 1.54 in our benchmarks – very high, but as can be seen in our CPU test, 2% slower overall than a basic E6700-based system with a single 10,000rpm (WD Raptor) hard disk. Also, everyone who saw the Magnum in our Labs winced at the three hard disks in RAID0: if just one fails you’ve lost everything. We’d have preferred the safer option of having a Raptor(s) for speed plus a separate hard disk for important data. However, the Magnum’s RAID array did mean our Photoshop and Multitasking tests ran around 10% faster than our CPU test rig which may appeal to some users.
Also on board is an 8800 GTX graphics card. This averaged a massive 60fps in our high-end 1600 x 1200 Call of Duty test. However, it only managed 23.4fps in our highest DirectX 10 Company of Heroes test - but we expect this to rise as DirectX 10 drivers mature.
There’s room to expand inside the case: slots for an extra graphics card, two hard disks, two more sticks of RAM, three PCI slots and one PCI-E 1x slot are available. At the front lie four USB ports, FireWire and two audio jacks while at the back are connectors for 5.1 audio, optical and coaxial S/PDIF, four USB ports, FireWire, Gigabit Ethernet, parallel and eSATA.
It’s a well-built, powerful system polished off by a two year collect and return warranty. But in the against column are the hard disks and the A-Listed TI Super Power 8800. TI offers less quality and support, but speed is comparable and it’s over $1000 less. As such, the Magnum just misses an award.