Evesham.com – Athlon 800 review

a fast home games machine
Photo of Evesham.com – Athlon 800
£1,503

Now this is a machine with a lot of power under the bonnet. It’s based on a rather nippy 800Mhz AMD Athlon chip (not that you’d have guessed that from the name), and this is backed up with 128MB of memory, an impressively fast 28GB hard drive, and a GeForce 256 SDR graphics card (the Guillemot 3D Prophet). An 8X DVD drive is also present.

Extras are kept trim, but a Zip drive and a Diamond 56k Internal PCI modem are also included. Taking care of the sound is a SoundBlaster Live! card, and the speakers are the excellent Creative Labs Four Point surround system. The monitor is a Vibrant brand 19-inch model.

This PC benchmarked some pretty impressive stats, with a 3D mark about where it should be in an Athlon machine of this speed, and some Quake 3 benchmark figures that are certainly drool-worthy, running at a blistering pace particularly at the lower (below 1024X768) resolutions. Basically, it’s fast, as you would expect.

The system shipped with the latest Nvidia Detonator drivers installed for the graphics card – and these are actually beta drivers. We can’t help but feel that this certainly showed in the speed tests, but it also caused a degree of instability within the system as a whole. It locked up on more than a few occasions, which was slightly disconcerting.

While we’re picking through the negatives, the monitor comes in for a mention – it’s impressive that it’s a 19-inch unit, but the display quality itself lacked clarity. The basic Logitech wheel mouse also didn’t sit very well with a system of this calibre.

With the cover off, this machine is a work of art – there’s plenty of space, it’s all very tidily put together with the cabling tied back out of the way, and there’s plenty of room for expansion with three free PCI slots (one being a joint PCI/ISA for backward compatibility purposes).

The combination of the 800MHz processor and extremely quick and large hard drive makes this a blazingly fast machine on the desktop, and the GeForce graphics card means it’s just as quick when it comes to games.

Company: Evesham.com

Contact: 0800 0353 353


Verdict
For the price, this is an excellent spec for a system. It's an extremely fast PC, with top quality components, aside from the monitor which is at best average, despite its size. It's also a shame that the stability of the system wasn't quite perfect, possibly due to the GeForce beta drivers installed.