Excel Computers Excel SG-685X
- Quality components and peripherals, performance results
- The DDR2-based P35 motherboard may limit future upgrades for some enthusiasts
With quality components and quality peripherals you can't go wrong. The Excel SG-685X performed well in our tests and is bound to please any gamer looking for an upgrade.
Price$ 2,999.00 (AUD)
If you're into gaming, but don't have the know-how to build your own PC, the best option is to go for a vendor like Excel Computers, who has a PC like the Excel SG-685X. This machine is built using some of the best available hardware, and is almost a guaranteed good performer.
Excel Computers has installed an Intel E6850 3GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, one of the latest releases from the Intel camp. This CPU takes advantage of the P35 chipset with a 1333MHz front side bus (FSB) that motherboard manufacturers have started pumping out in preparation of the next generation Intel Penryn CPUs. Many of the new motherboards will support the new DDR3 RAM, but many, like the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3 installed here, still only support DDR2. In some respects this seems like short term planning for a PC upgrade, but DDR2 is still a very powerful performer and there are only a few DDR3 options currently available.
Excel Computers has installed 2GB of Corsair 800MHz DDR2 RAM and an MSI GeForce 8800GTX. The 8800 GTX is NVIDIA's number two graphics card, which offers 128 stream processors, a core clock speed of 575MHz and a memory clock of 1800MHz (effective speed). There's a total of 768MB of DDR3 graphics memory on this bad-boy and a solid 384-bit memory bus to transfer data rapidly between the card and the system. This card also supports DirectX 10, the next generation application programming interface from Microsoft and the basis for the next generation of high-end games such as Crysis.
Also included is a D-Link wireless, though the motherboard includes a gigabit Ethernet port. There is plenty of storage, with two 500GB Western Digital hard drives (1TB total) and Excel Computers has installed an e-SATA bracket on the rear of the case, giving you up to 3Gbps transfer speeds to external SATA drives. The bracket includes a Molex power socket for un-powered drives. For other storage needs you can turn to the ASUS 181BLT SATA DVD burner.
The Antec Nine Hundred case is an excellent choice, offering plenty of cooling, including a 200mm "Big-Boy" fan for hot air extraction at the top. Three 120mm fans are also installed and the Silverstone 560-watt power supply also has an extraction fan. This particular iteration of the case also includes rubber sockets for water-cooling tubes to be inserted, in case you're feeling adventurous with your hardware.
There's no boring generic keyboard and mouse with this package. Instead, you get a Logitech G15 programmable keyboard with its own LCD, and a Logitech G5 corded laser gaming mouse. High resolution movies will look nice on the Acer AL2416W 24in screen, which offers a native resolution of 1920x1200.
In our benchmarks the SG-685X performed well, achieving 111 in WorldBench 6, more than enough for games and plenty for photo editing and other taxing applications of the like. Our MP3 encoding tests showed good results. Converting 53 minutes worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files took just 60 seconds in iTunes and 89 seconds in Cdex (Cdex uses only one core of the CPU).
In game tests we also saw good scores and frame rates. First we put the SG-685X through some DirectX 9 tests, beginning with 3DMark 2006, in which it scored 11224 at the default setting. In FEAR it averaged 80fps (frames per second) using the maximum quality settings and a resolution of 1600x1200.
In the DirectX 10 tests it also performed reasonably. Using the Call of Juarez DirectX 10 demo the SG-685X averaged 26.5fps. In Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (DirectX 10 version) it averaged 70.3fps, with the default settings. With the maximum resolution of 1920x1200 and all DirectX 10 features turned on the average fps dropped to 32.5fps.
We even gave it a spin in the new Crysis beta test demo and, although the game is still in development, we were able enjoy the splendour of the high quality settings with playable frame rates.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Portable SSD
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Acer Swift 7
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Huawei Mate 9
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Intel ships latest Itanium chip called Kittson, but grim future looms
- Samsung Galaxy S7 hardware will come to the DragonBoard 820c computer
- Now you can try Microsoft's supersized Surface Hub before buying
- Samsung scraps a Raspberry Pi 3 competitor, shrinks Artik line
- Google wants to add AI to gadgets made using Raspberry Pi
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCUser Experience Designer - Part time - Short contractACT
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerQLD
- CCSenior Systems EngineerNSW
- FTInfrastructure Architect (Adelaide Based)VIC
- FTPMO Coordinator-Permanent Opportunity-Education/Government Background EssentialNSW
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC
- FTSalesforce AdministratorQLD
- TPScrum MasterVIC
- TPMicrosoft Dynamics DeveloperNSW
- TPSenior Service Desk AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Full Stack .Net Developer with Strong SQL DevNSW
- TPProject Manager to manage two concurrent ProjectsQLD
- FTLife/400 Resource - PermanentNSW
- CCLevel 1/2 SAP Support AnalystACT
- CCMDM Consultant/DesignerVIC
- FTMicrosoft ProgrammerSA
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- CCSAP ISU Device Management ConsultantNSW
- TPMid-Level Java DeveloperNSW
- FTIt Security and process analystNSW
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)ACT
- CCProject SpecialistVIC
- CCSecurity Analyst - multiple rolesACT
- CCGun Java Developer wanted...VIC
- TPDesktop Support OfficerQLD