Scan 3XS Z77 Node Titan - An Excellent PC

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Titanic gaming power in a tiny package, matched by an equally huge and unpalatable price tag

We’re all for high-end PCs that push hardware boundaries, so we salivated when the Scan 3XS Z77 Node Titan turned up in the labs. It’s built around the Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan, which is the world’s most powerful single-core graphics card and the most expensive, too, costing a mighty $1,280 inc VAT.

In fact, the Titan is so expensive that it alone costs more than most PCs, and shunts the price of this system up above $3,200. You can’t help but be impressed by its specifications, though: it sports 2,688 stream processors, a number that far surpasses the 1,536 of Nvidia’s previous flagship card (the GTX 680). It packs in double the number of transistors, at a shade more than seven billion; and its 6GB of GDDR5 memory as the most we’ve ever seen soldered to a graphics card.

Scan 3XS Z77 Node Titan

As a result, this Scan PC is a gaming beast, brushing aside our 3D benchmarks with effortless ease. Its score of 93fps in the 1,920 x 1,080 Very High quality Crysis test is a massive 18% faster than the Wired2Fire HAL 4000. It’s enough to play any top title on any single monitor at its maximum settings, and there’s enough grunt here to handle demanding games across a trio of monitors too.

An overclocked processor means the Scan doesn’t just excel in our games benchmarks. The 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-3770K has been tweaked to run at 4.6GHz, and the 3XS romped through our application tests to a score of 1.25. That’s on a par with the record-breaking Wired2Fire, which used an overclocked Core i5 chip.

One area where the Scan’s performance can’t match its rival is storage, however. The system’s single 256GB Samsung 840 SSD can’t compete with the Wired2Fire’s twin SSDs arranged in RAID0. The Samsung drive returned sequential read and write results of 514MB/sec and 247MB/sec; the Wired2Fire scored 818MB/sec and 183MB/sec respectively.

Still, the Scan is one of the most powerful machines we’ve ever seen, which is even more impressive given that it’s all been squeezed into Fractal Design’s tiny Node 304 chassis. It’s the same case used by the Wired2Fire, and it remains one of the most impressive small-form-factor enclosures on the market. The brushed aluminum front looks classy, and the plain-metal side panels - despite showing signs of a little flex - will withstand trips to LAN parties.

The Scan's chassis is compact and attractive

Scan has brought its famously fastidious PC building to the pokey Fractal chassis. Cables run in lines along the bottom of the case and others are tied neatly to the Node’s metal skeleton. For all the company’s attention to detail, though, the small chassis means the internals are tricky to access, and there isn’t much room for upgrades.

We’d advise against further overclocking, too, since the chassis and configuration already struggle to keep the components cool. At peak load, the overclocked processor hit a toasty peak temperature of 92°C - only 13°C short of the chip’s thermal maximum - and the graphics card’s peak of 82°C is high as well. Noise is less of an issue: the Scan is louder during intensive benchmarking than the Wired2Fire, but cranking up the volume on your speakers will quickly mask its rumble.

This Scan is an excellent PC, then, and a Titan in more than just name. It’s the fastest gaming PC it’s possible to imagine, incredibly quick in other areas, and well put together, too

This Scan is an excellent PC, then, and a Titan in more than just name. It’s the fastest gaming PC it’s possible to imagine, incredibly quick in other areas, and well put together, too. But the cost of the Nvidia GeForce Titan graphics card alone pushes the price up far too high, and with the cheaper Wired2Fire matching its application and storage benchmark results, you’d have to be mad to spend the extra.

Key specs

  • 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-3770K overclocked to 4.6GHz
  • 16GB DDR3 RAM
  • 256GB Samsung 840 SSD
  • 2TB Seagate Barracuda hard disk Nvidia GeForce Titan graphics
  • Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe motherboard
  • Fractal Design Node 304 case
  • 6 x USB 3
  • 4 x USB 2
  • optical S/PDIF
  • 2 x eSATA
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • dual-band 802.11abgn Wi-Fi
  • 3yr RTB warranty
  • Windows 8 64-bit 250 x 374 x 210mm (WDH)


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