The Cube247 Serpens ST6 is the first desktop system we've reviewed powered by nVidia's new 9600GT mid-range graphics processor.

And the Cube247 Serpens ST6 has not one, but two of the 9600GT cards in a high-performance SLI configuration.

Based on an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, the Cube247 Serpens ST6 lags behind a little in our real-world speed benchmarks, with a WorldBench 6 score of 101. This is due to the failure of many current applications to fully exploit the Cube247 Serpens ST6's multi-core technology.

However, the Cube247 Serpens ST6 is also available for the same price fitted with an Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 – our current chart topper in this price category. Which processor you choose will be largely down to the kinds of programs you use and expect to use in the near future.

If you have a large number of peripherals, you'll be delighted to discover a total of 12 USB 2.0 ports provided with the Cube247 Serpens ST6, three of which are at the front along with a flash memory card reader.

Dual graphics cards make some extra demands on the Cube247 Serpens ST6 system both in terms of power and internal space.

The Cube247 Serpens ST6 is fitted with a whopping 750W Thermaltake power supply unit and the graphics cards themselves take up two slots each. With the only free PCI slot used by a USB riser-card, the only room for expansion is via a single 1x PCI-E slot.

Internally, everything has been assembled to a very high standard. The power supply's modular cable management system helps to keep this tidy and there's room for an additional two internal hard drives should you need them. Alongside the Cube247 Serpens ST6's 20x Optiarc DVD writer, there's a second DVD-ROM drive, enabling quicker disc copying.

It's good to see 4GB of Corsair branded memory installed in the Cube247 Serpens ST6, and because this system ships with a 64-bit operating system, the full amount is available for use. Unfortunately, the RAM used is from the lower-speed Value Line range which doesn't allow the processor or motherboard to reach its full performance potential.

The 22in monitor from Hanns-G offers good quality for the price and it fitted with both a VGA port and a convenient HDMI socket which allows the easy connection of other multimedia devices.

There's no sound card included with the Cube247 Serpens ST6, but the onboard audio is drives a set of Creative Inspire T6100 5.1 surround speakers for an immersive gaming or multimedia experience.

Cube247 Serpens ST6: Specs

  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (optional E8500 at same price)
  • Vista Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • 500GB hard drive
  • 22in display
  • 2 x GeForce 9600GT
  • 12 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x DVD drives
  • 5.1 speaker set
  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (optional E8500 at same price)
  • Vista Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • 500GB hard drive
  • 22in display
  • 2 x GeForce 9600GT
  • 12 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x DVD drives
  • 5.1 speaker set

OUR VERDICT

The pair of GeForce 9600GT graphics cards, combined with 4GB of memory, make the Cube247 Serpens ST6 a very powerful gaming system for the money, although you'll have to make do without a dedicated sound card and there's very little room for expansion.

Find the best price