Not everybody wants to buy a PC for playing games, but for those who do, the Cube247 Sigma ST7 will prove very difficult to resist. The main selling point will be the presence of a card featuring ATI's new Radeon X1950 XTX graphics chip; Cube247 is one of the first manufacturers to get hold of this most sought-after component, making this a very novel PC system.

The beauty of the X1950 XTX is that it replaces the older GDDR3 memory with brand-new GDDR4 RAM. This needs less power and can therefore be run at higher speeds. The 1GHz memory clock speed can generate a memory bandwidth of 64GBps (gigabytes per second) – a massive 14.4GBps more than on ATI's X1900 XTX – which is why the X1950 sprints into the lead as the fastest single-chip graphics card.

It's unsurprising, then, that the Cube247 quickly establishes new record frame rates for a PC, easily puncturing the 200fps (frames per second) barrier in several tests.

What should perhaps cause a few raised eyebrows, though, is the fact that the Cube247 does this despite not having the fastest processor we've seen. The Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 is blisteringly fast, but it's not quite as sensational as the E6700s found in the Zoostorm Edge 5-7402 and Evesham Solar Plus.

Despite this apparent disadvantage, the Cube247's WorldBench score of 148 was just two points off that of the Zoostorm and a good 10 points clear of the Evesham – a testament to Cube247's attention to detail and to the power of the X1950 XTX.

And there are other strong components: the sound system is very nice, as are the 320GB hard drives. The 19in GNR is far from being our favoured flat-panel, however.

Cube247 Sigma ST7: Specs

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
  • Windows XP Home
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 2x 320GB hard drive
  • 19in GNR TS900H flat-panel
  • 512MB ATI Radeon X1950 XTX
  • Creative Audigy 4
  • Creative Inspire T7900 speakers
  • 16x/16x/16x/8x/8x/6x/8x/5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) drive
  • flash memory drive
  • 3-year return-to-base warranty
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
  • Windows XP Home
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 2x 320GB hard drive
  • 19in GNR TS900H flat-panel
  • 512MB ATI Radeon X1950 XTX
  • Creative Audigy 4
  • Creative Inspire T7900 speakers
  • 16x/16x/16x/8x/8x/6x/8x/5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) drive
  • flash memory drive
  • 3-year return-to-base warranty

OUR VERDICT

It doesn't have the fastest processor, but as far as real-world performance goes, it would be hard to beat this PC for pace. The X1950 XTX is a fantastic graphics card, and considering the delights on offer, a £1,399 price tag is very reasonable.

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