Pacstar Quad Core 8800
- Quad-core CPU, graphics card, Zalman cooler, room to upgrade, tool-free case
- Doesn't have a RAID array, minor limitations on the mid-range motherboard
Yet again, Pacstar has put together a nice gaming machine that has plenty of room for upgrades. This system will keep most gamers happy for some time and offers the possibility for even more power down the track.
Price$ 3,099.00 (AUD)
The spacious and bulky Gigabyte 3DAurora 570 case used in the Pacstar Quad Core 8800 system hints at the tasty gaming power inside and Pacstar's decision to use this case bodes well for future upgrades.
The large, roomy interior is home to several nice pieces of hardware, including an Intel Core 2 Quad QX6700 2.66GHz CPU, 2GB of GEIL DDR2 800MHz RAM and a Palit GeForce 8800GTS 640MB graphics card. These are installed on a Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3P (rev 2.0) motherboard. Also notable within the case is the huge Zalman cooler on the CPU. Pacstar ships the machine with a 20in widescreen Samsung monitor, which has a native resolution of 1680x1050. Added to these powerful components is a media card reader that supports Secure Digital, Multimedia Card, Compact Flash, Microdrive, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro and Memory Stick Duo formats.
This quad-core-based machine will handle heavy processing tasks fairly well, but will excel at handling rendering or photo editing tasks and encoding tasks. It will also provide excellent performance during heavy multitasking. As more and more games are being coded to use two or more CPUs, the quad-core will eventually provide stellar performance in this area, too.
On the subject of gaming, the Palit 8800 GTS 640MB (see a similar card here GeForce 8800 GTS (GV-NX88S640H-RH)) is a very nice graphics card no matter what your level of gaming is. It offers some of the best performance possible on currently available DirectX 9-based games, and also offers DirectX 10 support for games that will be released later this year, such as the eagerly awaited Crysis.
In 3DMark 2006, using default settings (1280x1024 resolution with no anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering), the Pacstar Quad Core 8800 scored 9149, which is a very good result, but one we've come to expect from a machine with an 8800 GTS-based graphics card. Running the same test, but with the native resolution of the monitor (1680x1050) and 8x anti-aliasing (AA) with 16x anisotropic filtering (AF), it scored 5694, which is still a very impressive score for current games. Using the FEAR in-game benchmark at a resolution of 1280x960 and with 4xAA and 16xAF enabled, this machine scored an average of 82fps, which ensures super-smooth game play.
Two sideways facing hard drives, one a 36GB 10,000rpm Western Digital (WD) Raptor that has been used to hold the Windows XP Home operating system, and another 400GB Samsung (7200rpm) hard drive for data storage, occupy two of the four available 3.5in internal drive bays. Situated in the first two hard drive bays at the bottom of the drive cage is a plastic box that can hold extra cables, adapters and brackets, a handy feature of the 3DAurora 570 case. This can be removed if more hard drives need to be installed.
We ran some copy tests to see how quickly the drives can transfer data. Using 4.12GB of raw data, of varying sizes, we did a copy test for each hard drive from one place on the hard drive to another. The WD Raptor took 3min 24sec to complete this task, which is a transfer rate of 20.2MB/s. The Samsung 400GB drive was a little slower at 18.5MB/s. These scores are ok, but nothing flash. A RAID configuration with larger WD raptors would have been nice.
The drives are mounted using screw-free (clip-on) brackets and simply slide in and out. It's easy to access the drives, but the sliding action is quite stiff and cumbersome. Tools aren't needed to install expansion cards or optical drives either.
The Zalman CPU cooler consists of a 120mm fan that's semi-enclosed by a ring of aluminium and copper fins, which conduct heat directly from the CPU. It's considerably quieter than the stock Intel cooler for quad-core CPUs. Another 120mm fan on the front of the case sucks air from the front and blows it over the hard drives. Hot air is extracted via two 120mm fans on the rear of the case and another in the SeaSonic 550watt power supply. Overall we found this system to be reasonably quiet considering its grunt.
The Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3P (rev 2.0) motherboard is not Gigabyte's flagship model, but can handle up to 8GB of DDR2 800MHz RAM across four DIMM slots and supports two ATI graphics cards using CrossFire technology. Unused in the case are two PCIe x1 slots, one PCIe x16 slot and two PCI slots. Only two of the SATA ports are in use as the LG DVD re-writer is an IDE drive, leaving six free SATA ports for additional devices.
Although the case is large, it's not too heavy. The media card reader can be accessed via the front panel, as can the optical drive, three USB ports and a FireWire port. Audio ports are also available on the front panel. On the rear panel, digital (optical and coaxial) and multi-channel analogue ports for surround sound audio are available. A further four USB ports can also be found, as can another FireWire port, as well as serial and parallel ports. PS/2 ports are available, though the supplied mouse and keyboard are USB.
Although the case interior is so spacious, and the cables are less likely to impede air-flow, Pacstar has done a quick and simple job of tying them together so they don't get in the way.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Huawei Mate 9
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Portable SSD
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
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
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
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.
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTReports Developer - Hyperion EssentialNSW
- TPApplication DeveloperACT
- TPAPS6 Java DeveloperACT
- TPOrganisational Change Manager | Office 365QLD
- CCTSM SpecialistNSW
- FTData Storage Support Consultant (EMC)QLD
- FTSenior IOS DeveloperNSW
- TPTechnical WriterVIC
- FTSAP Payroll and Time ConsultantVIC
- CC.NET Developer!QLD
- CCSecurity Vetting OfficerACT
- TPSAP BA - Source to PayQLD
- TPAgile Implementation LeadNSW
- CCProcess Assurance LeadNSW
- FTDatabase DeveloperACT
- FTOracle DeveloperACT
- CCSalesforce Functional AnalystNSW
- CCInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- FTDesign Specialist - TelecomNSW
- FTData Centre Technical SpecialistACT
- FTProject Co-OrdinaterNSW
- FTDatabase DeveloperQLD
- CCChange and Communications ManagerQLD