For anyone hoping that AMD could start doing more than cleaning up the crumbs, the disappointing performance of this Evesham Axis R6 XT's Athlon 64 X2 6000+ processor might give pause for thought.


  1. CyberPower Infinity Crossfire GT
  2. Arbico CD8800 XL
  3. Mesh Elite E6700 GTS PCA
  4. Mesh Elite Q6600 PCA
  5. Evesham Axis R6 XT

Fifth place

After fasting for several years on the trot, Intel has recently been gobbling up as many processor performance awards as it can. For anyone hoping that AMD could start doing more than cleaning up the crumbs, the disappointing performance of this Evesham's Athlon 64 X2 6000+ processor might give pause for thought. It's not that the 6000+ is a massive distance away from the scores being notched up by the Intel faithful, but this chip isn't really doing enough yet to offer true competition.

Which is a shame as, otherwise, this is a mostly fairly pleasing PC. We say mostly, because Evesham's decision to rely on onboard sound doesn't really make sense when you look at some of the wonderful effects being produced by the X-Fi cards found in the other PCs. The Evesham is reasonably cheap though, so you could always take the £50 that you'll save on, for instance, the Arbico, and use it to bolster the audio capabilities. And in most other areas, this is a very decent machine.

The 20in ViewSonic flat-panel is one of the best in the chart, and its gorgeous colours and rock-steady image should make up for any shortcomings you have over the 20 inches of screen space. In our opinion, this is more than large enough for typical PC use, but some users will still have their heads turned by the 22in models. The ATI HD 2900 XT graphics card is one of the best in the chart, although the Evesham did struggle to beat the Mesh Elite E6700 in our games tests, despite that PC having an inferior 8800 GTS. The CyberPower was significantly faster, so we assume the AMD processor was having a significant effect here too. And sadly that about sums up the Evesham.

Click here to read about Evesham's change in ownership.

Buying advice

Processor: Intel is back and its Core 2 Duo chips are quickly establishing themselves as the best in every category. The £1,000+ chart is no exception, and while prices haven't fallen significantly enough for 6800 to make an appearance, the E6700 is rapidly taking over the top five. A reasonably new contender, though, are the Quad-Core chips. These potentially offer around 50-100% extra performance, but only in applications and games that are programmed to take advantage of the extra cores included within each chip. Don't expect multi-core applications to be flooding in, but a couple of years time could have seen a rather dramatic shift in the software landscape. And then, the higher the number of cores, the more impressive the performance is likely to be. In today's world, though, the likes of the E6700 remain better bets.

Memory: Make no mistake about it. The age of the 2GB PC is almost upon us. If you skimp on memory now, you might find yourself having to administer a critical upgrade later on. Given the power and juggling space required by 2007's software titles, 1GB Power PCs won't cut it in the Vista era. If you really want the best performance, look for a high quality memory maker like Corsair.

Storage: It's unbelievable that anything less than 400GB is now considered a small amount of storage space but look out our chart and you'll see most manufacturers looking in the region of 400GB to 500GB. You're unlikely to get - and, unless you specialize in a particularly gigabyte-hungry pastime like video, won't really need - much more than this. Make sure you get serial ATA cabling for rapid transfer rates
Have backup covered with a multi-format DVD writer. Dual layer capabilities (allowing you to store 8.5GB rather than 4.7GB on a disc) are a must, and you should make sure the drive supports DVD+R DL at eight-speed or more. 8x DVD-R DL is nice but not essential. Also, look for good eight-speed DVD+RW facilities. Other optional formats include DVD-RAM.

Click here to read about Evesham's change in ownership.

Monitor: You'd think all of the flat-panels found in this category would be of superior quality. But you'd be miserably mistaken. No chart offers such a range of flat-panel shapes and sizes. A 22in model may sound nice, but be very careful that you choose a good one. Many of today's 22in flat-panels suffer from poor colours and fuzzy images and, depending on how sensitive you are, this might cause more than a few problems. 20in screens are safer bets, if you don't mind inferior resolution support. 19in models are becoming more outdated, although you might get better image quality if you don't mind going to this size.

Graphics card: At this price point, you should be able to get something rather startling. The GeForce 8800 GTX is undoubtedly the most prized acquisition. Its support for DirectX 10 means that Vistaites can look forwards to some impressive games titles coming out in the future. The GTX also has bags of performance and a slew of sizzling features. However, you shouldn't overlook its slightly less exciting sibling, the 8800 GTS, nor the brand new ATI HD 2900 XT. The latter card can't keep up with the GTX, but it will eclipse even the 640MB version of the 8800 GTS.

Sound card and speakers: Onboard or integrated sound has come on in leaps and bounds with support for 7.1 channel sound but it's still no match for a decent soundcard. Hunt around and you should be able to get a PC with a Creative Audigy card or, better still, one from the excellent X-Fi range. If you only want 2.1 channel speakers then make sure they're high quality but most manufacturers are bundling 5.1 channel speakers. Strangely, 7.1 speakers are becoming less and less common, but if you want audio excellence then you'd be best off holding out for a set of these.

Click here to read about Evesham's change in ownership.

Evesham Axis R6 XT: Specs

  • 3.05GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 320GB serial ATA
  • MSI K9A Platinum motherboard
  • 6 USB ports
  • 20in ViewSonic VG2030wm flat-panel, 0.258mm pixel pitch, 1,680x1,050 maximum resolution
  • 512MB ATI HD 2900 XT, PCI Express
  • onboard MSI sound card
  • 7 x Creative Inspire T7900 speakers
  • maximum DVD speeds 16x/18x/18x (DVD -ROM/-R/+R) 8x/8x (-R DL/+R DL) 8x/8x/12x (-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • includes Microsoft Works 8.5, Roxio DVD Media Creator, Bullguard Security Suite
  • 2-year onsite, 1-year RTB warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score 97
  • 3.05GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 320GB serial ATA
  • MSI K9A Platinum motherboard
  • 6 USB ports
  • 20in ViewSonic VG2030wm flat-panel, 0.258mm pixel pitch, 1,680x1,050 maximum resolution
  • 512MB ATI HD 2900 XT, PCI Express
  • onboard MSI sound card
  • 7 x Creative Inspire T7900 speakers
  • maximum DVD speeds 16x/18x/18x (DVD -ROM/-R/+R) 8x/8x (-R DL/+R DL) 8x/8x/12x (-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • includes Microsoft Works 8.5, Roxio DVD Media Creator, Bullguard Security Suite
  • 2-year onsite, 1-year RTB warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score 97

OUR VERDICT

Aside from the AMD processor and onboard sound (and, if you're quibbling, the slightly miserly 320GB hard drive), this is actually a rather good (and very affordable) PC. Unfortunately, in another close and competitive month, those shortcomings are enough to leave the Evesham lying in the gutter and gazing at the £1,001+ stars.

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