The Evesham Solar G92 Shockwave was only one or two components away from making a serious splash. If only the hard drive were a little more generous.

In the past, Evesham machines have often struggled on the processing-speed front, but the Solar G92 Shockwave is right up there with the best of them, finishing just two WorldBench 6 points behind the commanding Chillblast Apollo. This strong performance is due to the Evesham Solar G92 Shockwave’s impressive base specifications: a Core 2 Duo E6850 and 4GB of PC2-6400 RAM.

The Evesham Solar G92 Shockwave's 320GB hard drive is the only disappointment – and even that should be enough for the typical user. Still, this unit still seems slightly poor value for money when compared to the Arbico Elite 8850GX, Chillblast Apollo and CyberPower Infinity GT, for instance.

As with the CyberPower Infinity GT, the Evesham Solar G92 Shockwave's GeForce 8800 GT is an impressive graphics card – albeit not quite as good as the Arbico Elite 8850GX’s 8600 GTS 512. The Creative X-Fi XtremeAudio sound card puts on a nice show, while the I-Trigue 3220 three-piece speaker system offers good support. The Evesham Solar G92 Shockwave's 22in AMW display is fairly good, while the DVD writer is a nippy little Samsung model that offers pretty fast double-layer support – although it’s not quite as impressive as the Mesh Pulse SLI and Arbico Elite 8850GX drives.

Verdict

Chuck in another bumper software pack from Evesham and the Solar G92 Shockwave is a very competent system that’s only one or two small upgrades from being a triumph.

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See also:
Evesham Solar G92 Shockwave: expert review
Power PCs chart ranking
Power PCs buying advice

Power PCs buying advice (March 07 issue)

Processor We may shortly reach the tipping point in the delicate balance of power that exists between Intel’s dual-core Core 2 Duo chips and the quad-core stunners in the Core 2 Quad range, but we haven’t got there yet.

If you want a PC that’ll fly through next year’s software library, the Quad Q6600 is worth a gamble. You may have to sacrifice a small amount of speed on today’s applications but, in the long run, the gains could far outweigh the pains.

Having said that, dual-core chips continue to improve. For today’s programs, the likes of the E6850 are the best bet. Even in the age of quad-core, you should still get plenty of performance from the top dual-core chips.

Memory Make no mistake about it: the age of the 2GB PC as standard is here. If you skimp on memory now, you might find yourself having to administer a critical upgrade later on. Indeed, most PCs at this price point now come with 4GB. You can make do with less, but expect 4GB to become the norm.

Storage It’s unbelievable that anything less than 400GB is now considered a small amount of storage space, but look at our chart and you’ll see that three of the manufacturers have actually opted for a hefty 500GB. Many users can actually get along very comfortably with considerably less than this – 320GB is a respectable capacity – but those intending to store lots of video and audio files should be prepared to stock up.

Cover backup 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 with a minimum of eight-speed – although 10-speed or 16-speed would be better still. DVD-R DL is nice but not essential. Also, look for good eight-speed DVD+RW facilities. Other optional formats to consider include DVD-RAM.

Flat-panel Flat-panels can vary wildly in quality. We’re starting to see 22in flat-panels as standard but, for the best image quality, the safe bet remains a good 20in screen. Bear in mind that you’ll probably have to stare at this screen for long periods so, if you’re buying a cheap 22in, give it a try to ensure that you’ll be able to put up with the picture quality. Try to get a screen with a response time of 8ms or less so that the screen doesn’t blur on fast-moving images.

Graphics card At this price point, you should be able to get something rather impressive. The 8800 GTS 512 has just jumped on to the scene and is already making waves. Its support for DirectX 10.0 means Vista users can look forwards to some impressive games in the future. However, the 8800 GT isn’t far behind. The latter is a cheaper card, and you may be able to find a PC housing not one but two of them. In scaleable link interface mode, this should produce good results.

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 sound card. Hunt around and you should be able to get a PC with a card from Creative’s Audigy 4 family or the excellent X-Fi range. If you only want 2.1-channel speakers, make sure they’re high-quality models, but most manufacturers are bundling 5.1 speakers. For audio excellence, hold out for a set of 7.1-channel speakers in this price range.


See also:
Evesham Solar G92 Shockwave: expert review
Power PCs chart ranking
Power PCs buying advice

Evesham Solar G92 Shockwave: Specs

  • 3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6850
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR RAM
  • 320GB serial ATA
  • MSI P6N SLI
  • 6 x USB
  • 22in AMW X2210WDS (0.277mm pixel pitch, 1,680x1,050 max res @ 75Hz)
  • 512MB PCI Express Zotac nVidia GeForce 8800 GT
  • Creative X-Fi XtremeAudio
  • 3 x Creative I-Trigue 3220
  • subwoofer
  • 20x/20x/12x/12x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Microsoft Works 8.5
  • Roxio DVD Media Creator
  • BullGuard Security Suite
  • one-year onsite warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 118
  • 3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6850
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR RAM
  • 320GB serial ATA
  • MSI P6N SLI
  • 6 x USB
  • 22in AMW X2210WDS (0.277mm pixel pitch, 1,680x1,050 max res @ 75Hz)
  • 512MB PCI Express Zotac nVidia GeForce 8800 GT
  • Creative X-Fi XtremeAudio
  • 3 x Creative I-Trigue 3220
  • subwoofer
  • 20x/20x/12x/12x/6x/8x/12x/16x (DVD-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM/-ROM)
  • Microsoft Works 8.5
  • Roxio DVD Media Creator
  • BullGuard Security Suite
  • one-year onsite warranty
  • WorldBench 6 score: 118

OUR VERDICT

Chuck in another bumper software pack from Evesham and the Solar G92 Shockwave is a very competent system that’s only one or two small upgrades from being a triumph.

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