Using two top-spec graphics cards, the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme is a high-end desktop PC with a total of four graphics processors to provide some of the fastest gaming graphics currently available.

The cards the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme uses are nVidia's latest, GeForce 9800GX2s, making waves among the gaming community with their extremely high performance.

Antec's P182 case is as well-constructed as it is capacious, with the power supply fitted at the bottom of the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme to facilitate air flow.

Tool-free drive bays with slide-out caddies provide easy access to the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme's innards, and there's plenty of room for extra drives, to join a pair of Optiarc AD-7200 DVD burners.

With a Creative Labs X-Fi sound card sandwiched between the huge bulk of those graphics cards, there's just one extra PCI-Express slot available, but the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme is equipped with just about everything a demanding user might need, including nine USB 2.0 ports, a multi-format memory card reader and twin network ports.

Intel's Q6700 is a popular quad-core CPU with plenty of raw power, despite using technology older than the latest generation of quad-core. We're not seeing the newer CPUs yet simply due to lack of available stocks. And Intel's recent halving of the price of the Q6700 gives a very attractive price-to-performance ratio - given the right apps, the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme is capable of delivering superb performance.

To make sure your applications make the most of the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme's hardware, 8GB of Corsair Dominator RAM is installed, running at 1066MHz to exactly match the processor front-side-bus speed.

Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition completes the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme.

With graphics performance such as this, there's no point wasting it on a low-res display, so Cube247 has supplied the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme with an Asus MK241H 24in monitor with 1,920x1,200 resolution, to flex those GeForce muscles, as well as allowing a full 1080p HD picture from high-def media.

We found the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme's monitor able to produce a high-quality image with excellent colour and contrast. Image scaling could have been a smoother when displaying lower resolution input.

NEXT PAGE: speed benchmarks, games tests and our expert verdict > >

Using two top-spec graphics cards, the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme is a high-end desktop PC with a total of four graphics processors to provide some of the fastest gaming graphics currently available.

During our WorldBench 6 real-world speed benchmark, the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme turned in a score of 110 and, unsurprisingly, we recorded some very fast framerates in gaming tests, although older games which don't play well with dual cards work even less well with quad SLI. These problems can usually be fixed by keeping up-to-date with game patches and graphics drivers.

At 1024x768 resolution, running Company of Heroes on the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme gave 141.1 frames per second (fps) average, decreasing to 57.8fps at 1920x1200. Meanwhile, FEAR gave us 228 and 124.9fps, respectively, at the same resolutions, all using PCA's usual settings (maximum quality, including anti-aliasing).

No system can yet run Crysis at such high settings, but if you leave anti-aliasing disabled on the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme, you still get a playable game at 1920x1200, with framerates of 28fps using the game's ‘Very High' graphics settings.

All this raw graphics power comes at a price, not only in terms of, well, price but also in power consumption and noise. In the case of the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme an 850 Watt Antec True Power PSU provides the juice and, to keep things cool, the graphics cards' fans are complemented by additional case fans, including a separate triple-fan cooler for the memory sticks.

This all results in a noisy PC which will be distracting in a home environment. Maybe less of a problem when you're engrossed in hard-core gaming using the supplied Creative T7900 7.1 speakers; but it's also loud on normal Windows activities. You may need to fine-tune the Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme's fan speeds and monitor temperatures closely to keep noise at an acceptable level.

Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme: Specs

  • 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR RAM
  • 2x 500GB hard drives as RAID0
  • Asus Striker II motherboard
  • 24in display
  • Creative X-Fi Gamer sound card
  • Creative T7900 7.1 speaker system
  • 2x nVidia GeForce 9800 GX2
  • 2x DVD writers
  • 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR RAM
  • 2x 500GB hard drives as RAID0
  • Asus Striker II motherboard
  • 24in display
  • Creative X-Fi Gamer sound card
  • Creative T7900 7.1 speaker system
  • 2x nVidia GeForce 9800 GX2
  • 2x DVD writers

OUR VERDICT

The Cube247 Leonis ST Xtreme is a powerful high-end gaming PC made of top-quality components and capable of delivering extreme levels of gaming performance. Its quad-core processor technology is a forward-looking option that will deliver increasing performance gains as more titles are optimised to take advantage of it.

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