- Very powerful, good case design
- Not enough storage for some
If it's been a while since you have upgraded, you'll be blown away by the performance. Only 70GB of storage is probably not enough for most people's long-term needs, but that aside, this is a very powerful machine for under $2000.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
Packed with some of the latest power-hardware and priced at less than $2000, Pacstar's X-AM2Duo machine will have you running the newest and hottest 3-D games and even Windows Vista with many of its new and flashy trims -- when it hits our shores. Utilising an AM2 Socket-mounted AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600 dual core CPU, a Gainward GeForce 7950GT and 1GB of DDR2 Corsair TwinX 667MHz RAM this system simply oozes great frame rates and process-crunching power. To see if it performs as well as it sounds we ran it through our PC WorldBench 5 software to see how it handled multitasking and CPU intensive processes. We also hit it with a number of gaming benchmarks to find out how well it will handle the latest in gaming.
In WorldBench 5 it scored 109, a very good result. The Pacstar X-AM2Duo comes installed with 2x 512MB RAM DIMMS in a twin channel configuration. Doubling the RAM should do wonders for improving the performance even further if you plan to do some hefty multitasking. With a Gainward GeForce 7950GT installed, it's safe to say Pacstar had gamers in mind. The 7950GT with 512MB of DDR3 RAM is a step above NVIDIA's 7900GTX, but a step down from their latest top-end release the 7950GX2. That means you're looking at a lot of gaming power. Older games will run without any problems as shown by a score of 26,550 in 3DMark 2001 SE. On a more relevant scale 3DMark 2006 tests resulted in an impressive score of 5235, more than enough to play everything on shelves today and for some time. Using FEAR to get a feel for in-game performance resulted in equally impressive scores. FEAR's in-game benchmark set to a resolution of 1280x960 and full quality, including 4x antialiasing (AA) and 16x anisotropic filtering (AF), averaged 59fps (frames per second), a very playable frame rate.
Two 10,000rpm 36GB hard drives in a RAID-0 or striping array managed to copy 4.12GB of data in 2min 48sec, a fast result, but using small hard drives to lower the price tag will only defer expenditure on hard drive space, as most people will find that 70GB is not enough. Upgrading to 2x 150GB hard disks with Pacstar will bring the total price to $2469.
The case design is simple except for a small touch of flare on the front panel. The side panels are a little flimsy, but shouldn't cause anyone problems under normal circumstances. An LG DVD rewriter with dual-layer capabilities fills one of the four 5.25in drive bays; a 3.5in floppy drive and a media card reader (MS/MS-Pro/MS Pro Duo/CF/Microdrive/SD/MMC/SM) take up two external 3.5in drive bays; and the two hard drives take up two of the five internal 3.5in drive bays. All the drive bays face front to rear, but are easy to access. You might find it easier by removing the graphics card before you start installing new hard disks. Cables have been neatly tied and shouldn't get in the way. Cooling consists of only one 12cm fan pulling external air from the front panel and blowing it over the hard drives. The power supply is left to extract the rest of the air while a small shroud gives the CPU dedicated airflow from a vent in the side of the case. There's also a fan mount at the rear of the case for another 12cm fan.
Two free DIMM slots leave space for RAM upgrades and the 500watt power supply should be ample to handle a few more devices safely. Integrated gigabit LAN provides networking. On the front panel, 3x USB 2.0 ports and two audio ports provide some quick access. At the rear, a FireWire port accompanies another 4x USB 2.0 ports.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Acer Swift 7
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 4 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 5 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth 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.
- LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 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
- TPSenior Software DeveloperQLD
- FT.NET Developer -Australian Citizens with baseline clearanceNSW
- TPJunior Business AnalystQLD
- FTUX DesignerNSW
- FTDrupal Developer - Senior or Mid levelQLD
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperVIC
- CCSolution ManagerSA
- FTBI Report DeveloperQLD
- CCBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTWeb Developer/ReportsNSW
- FTTesting and Quality Assurance AnalystNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystQLD
- CCNetwork Service Delivery CoordinatorNSW
- FTManager Portfolio PlanningQLD
- CC.net Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- CCBusiness Solutions AnalystNSW
- FTBusiness AnalystSA
- CCDocument Scanning OfficerACT
- CCSystems EngineerACT
- TPSolution Architect - HealthQLD
- FTDatabase DeveloperVIC
- CCBusiness Analyst- Data GovernanceNSW
- FTProject Support | $32 phVIC
- TPSenior .Net Software DeveloperQLD