Altech Gameforce Mercenary

Altech is a regular achiever in our PC Best Buys, and the company has put together an enviable desktop computer in the GameForce Mercenary.

The system is a solid performer, built around an ABIT AW8-MAX motherboard using Intel's 955X chipset.

The Antec Sonata II case effectively vents the dual-core Intel Pentium D 840 (3.2GHz) processor with a shroud, while a speed-adjustable 120mm exhaust fan helps keep the enclosure cool.

There are two PCI slots free, but use of the PCI Express X1 slot is hindered by the fan of the ABIT Radeon RX850 XT PE PCIe graphics card. This graphics card has 256MB of memory, two DVI-outputs plus 9-pin to HDTV and 9-pin to composite video-in/video-out cables. The graphics, along with the 19in Samsung SyncMaster 930BF monitor and CPU, make up the lion share of this system's price. The Sonata II case includes lockable side and front doors.

Verdict: With scores of 92 in PC WorldBench 5 and 6179 in 3DMark 2005, this is a solid performer that's ideal for gaming, 3D and video editing. However, we recommend opting for a bigger hard disk, because 80GB just isn't enough by today's standards.

Altech Gameforce Mercenary
Price: $3890 ($2891 without monitor)
Vendor: Altech Computers
Phone: (02) 8831 9955
Specs: 19in Samsung SyncMaster LCD; ABIT AW8- MAX motherboard; Socket 775 Intel Pentium D 840 CPU; 1GB DDR RAM; 80GB Seagate SATA hard disk with NCQ; 256MB ABIT Radeon RX850 XT PE PCIe graphics card; Samsung 16x dual-layer DVD-RW drive; 2 x Gigabit Ethernet; 7 x USB 2.0; integrated 7.1-channel audio; serial, parallel and PS/2ports; Microsoft wireless keyboard and mouse; Windows XP Pro.

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