Scan 3XS Node Titan review

29 Apr 2013

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

Price when reviewed: 
2,046(£2,047 inc VAT)
5

We're all for high-end PCs that push hardware boundaries, so we salivated when the Scan 3XS Z77 Node 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 £800 inc VAT.

In fact, the Titan is so expensive, it alone costs more than most PCs, and shunts the price of this one up above £2,000. You cannot but be impressed by its specifications, though: it sports a huge 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 over seven billion; its 6GB of GDDR5 memory is more than we've ever seen soldered to a graphics card; and it uses a super-fast 384-bit memory interface. Only the core clock looks low, at 836MHz, but it's able to dynamically up that to 876MHz using Nvidia's GPU Boost feature.

Scan 3XS 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 to handle demanding games across a trio of monitors.

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.

Scan 3XS Node Titan

One area where the Scan's performance can't match its rival, though, is storage. The 3XS system's single 256GB Samsung 840 SSD can't compete with the Wired2Fore'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 aluminium front looks classy, and the plain metal side panels will withstand trips to LAN parties despite a little flex. The Scan's 10kg weight and modest dimensions make it easier to lug around than the average tower system.

Details

Price ex VAT £1,705
Price inc VAT £2,046
Overall rating 5
Performance 6
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 3

Warranty

Warranty 3 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 2,250GB
RAM capacity 16.00GB

Processor

CPU family Intel Core i7
CPU nominal frequency 3.40GHz
CPU overclocked frequency 4.60GHz
Processor socket LGA 1155
HSF (heatsink-fan) Antec Kuhler H20 920

Motherboard

Motherboard Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe
Motherboard chipset Intel Z77
Conventional PCI slots free 0
Conventional PCI slots total 0
PCI-E x16 slots free 0
PCI-E x16 slots total 1
PCI-E x8 slots free 0
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots free 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots free 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 0
Internal SATA connectors 4
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 0
Memory sockets total 2

Graphics card

Graphics card Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
3D performance setting Medium
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan
Graphics card RAM 5.86GB
DVI-I outputs 2
HDMI outputs 1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 1
Number of graphics cards 1

Hard disk

Hard disk Samsung 840 Series 250GB
Capacity 250GB
Hard disk usable capacity 233GB
Internal disk interface SATA/600
Hard disk 2 make and model Seagate Barracuda
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity 2,000GB
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity 1,800
Hard disk 2 spindle speed 7,200RPM
Hard disk 2 cache size 64MB

Drives

Optical drive N/A

Case

Chassis Fractal Design Node 304
Case format Small form-factor
Dimensions 250 x 374 x 210mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supply Corsair GS600
Power supply rating 600W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 4
eSATA ports 2
PS/2 mouse port yes
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
Modem no
3.5mm audio jacks 6

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 2
Front panel memory card reader no

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 8

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 82W
Peak power consumption 427W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings 136fps
3D performance setting Medium
Overall Real World Benchmark score 1.25
Responsiveness score 1.13
Media score 1.34
Multitasking score 1.25