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Review: Scan 3XS AMD Chameleon

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 24 October 2005, 10:17

Tags: Athlon 64 X2 4800+ , SCAN, AMD (NYSE:AMD)

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SCAN 3XS AMD Chameleon
Processor AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ (2760MHz, 12 x 230, dual-core)
Mainboard ASUS A8N-SLI Premium
Memory Corsair XMS3200 XL 1GiB (2 x 512) @ 230MHz 2.5-4-4-8
Graphics XFX GeForce 7800 GTX SLI (490/650)
Disk Setup2 x Western Digital Raptor 74GB; RAID0 (~138GB); nForce4
3 x Western Digital Raptor 74GB; RAID3 (~138GB); XFX Revo 64
Audio Realtek ALC850
Cooling Custom Scan Watercooling for CPU and GPUs
Chassis Silverstone J06B with Chameleon paint option
Laser cut etchings and cooler openings
Optical Drives 2 x Sony DWQ28 dual-layer DVD±R/RW drives
Media Reader Mitsumi FA404M (SM/MMC/SD/CF/MD/MS) 7-in-1 plus floppy
Power Supply Tagan TG580-U15 2force Modular 580W PSU

The tested AMD based SCAN 3XS Chameleon doesn't pull any punches in terms of specification, with only a couple of things I'd improve on if it were mine. Happily, both things are part of the options list you can choose yourself, so you could add them in for a little extra. It's likely that anyone buying a 3XS Chameleon in this sort of state will specify 2GiB of system memory rather than 1GiB, for obvious reasons, with an upgrade to the onboard audio the second thing I'd specify if I were buying a Chameleon of my own. SCAN have Creative Labs Audigy 2 and X-Fi options for that, should you feel like it.

Otherwise you've got a dual-core AMD Athlon 64 X2 at nearly the speed of Athlon 64 FX-57's single core in terms of outright frequency and likely faster due to the increased driven clock. You've got overclocked NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX SLI which is quite simply the fastest graphics solution on the planet right now, five 10,000rpm hard disks for a total of nearly 300GB of disk space, split across two RAID arrays.

The storage array is powered by an XFX Revo64 Netcell RAID controller and the PCI-bound RAID-3 (striping + parity on one disk) controller provides protection for your data and speed increases to boot, with the Raptors doing well in that respect on their own. The RAID-0 array for the boot volume makes little real-world sense to this reviewer who'll argue until he's blue in the face that boot volume data protection is more important than boot volume speed. However, the array is very fast on the NVIDIA nForce4 controller as I'll show you shortly.

Tagan's excellent TG580 modular supply keeps the 3XS Chameleon running; SCAN choosing very wisely in that respect. A pair of Sony dual-layer DVD burners are driven by Ahead's Nero authoring suite and give the 3XS Chameleon excellent backup and DVD authoring ability, and the included 7-in-1 media reader is an essential part of a modern PC in this reviewer's eyes so thumbs up to Scan for specifying one.

So a specification to shame nearly all others, SCAN offering its 3XS Chameleon in this configuration to customers, including the overclocked processor and validation of that overclock for you before shipping. You have to try very hard to best a spec like this and it really shows. By far and away the most powerful single-processor desktop PC which HEXUS has ever had the pleasure to test, on paper.

And on top of the monsterous specification, is the appearance of the thing.