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Scan 3XS Nanu Gamer PC Review

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Reviewed by Greg Hook, 2nd March 2012. With its high specification components, attention to detail build, relatively quiet operation and excellent Blu-ray playback, the 3XS Nanu Gamer will have no trouble in being the new centre piece of your Home Cinema for many years to come.
Read the full review...
 

KhalJimbo

Well-known Member
Nice one Greg, looks a monster in a small box, what are the temps like though? Everything is really tightly packaged and it doesn't look like much air is getting through that bad boy!
 

Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
Sorry but I can't see this as anything other than a poor review and pandering to Scan. There are no "proper" tests or comparisons in the whole thing, let alone the inconsistent or untrue comments throughout.
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
Sorry but I can't see this as anything other than a poor review and pandering to Scan. There are no "proper" tests or comparisons in the whole thing, let alone the inconsistent or untrue comments throughout.
Care to give some feedback that is perhaps constructive and it might help us improve on what you perceive to be a poor review? What 'proper' tests should have been included? Why is it pandering to Scan? What are the untrue comments, have you tested this system yourself?
 

bladedripper

Distinguished Member
This system is like the one in my sig that i have had for about 15 months and its fantastic,id recommend this type of rig to anyone.
The only difference with mine is my cpu is water cooled and i have the gtx 580,thanks for the review....:smashin:
 

Chox1988

Distinguished Member
Looks like a very nice machine but i have to disagree with the value for money being rated as excellent, at almost £1200 i'd expect a lot more machine for my money, pretty poor value for money imo given the rig could be built for much less.

But i guess if you put a high value on it being put together well and stress tested etc. then its one for you. But theyre things i'd rather do myself and save the 3 to £400 quid over the odds that this costs.
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
Nice one Greg, looks a monster in a small box, what are the temps like though? Everything is really tightly packaged and it doesn't look like much air is getting through that bad boy!
Cheers. You can see the temps on the HW Monitor screenshot that I posted at the bottom of the tests on the test page.
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
Looks like a very nice machine but i have to disagree with the value for money being rated as excellent, at almost £1200 i'd expect a lot more machine for my money, pretty poor value for money imo given the rig could be built for much less.

But i guess if you put a high value on it being put together well and stress tested etc. then its one for you. But theyre things i'd rather do myself and save the 3 to £400 quid over the odds that this costs.
I added all the components to a shopping list and it did came under the value of Scan's, but then when you add extra for the service such as the build, overclock and install etc. Obviously you can build cheaper yourself and shop around for the components, but not everyone wants to do that.
 

Chox1988

Distinguished Member
I added all the components to a shopping list and it did came under the value of Scan's, but then when you add extra for the service such as the build, overclock and install etc. Obviously you can build cheaper yourself and shop around for the components, but not everyone wants to do that.
Indeed :)
 

Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
Care to give some feedback that is perhaps constructive and it might help us improve on what you perceive to be a poor review? What 'proper' tests should have been included? Why is it pandering to Scan? What are the untrue comments, have you tested this system yourself?
Before I start I'll just quote what I wrote over in the PC Gaming section where this review is also linked and being discussed:

...
I will say this though, I do not know everything there is to know and am happy to be called out on anything I have written. More often than not I'll be able to justify why I've written or done what I have, other times I may well just have to hold my hands up and say I did wrong. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Any of what I say is not meant in an offensive or personal manner, only that I was disappointed with what I read, as well as why, in the hope that you can become better with more experience. :)
Ok, my feedback in full then:

I'm not a fan of the summary right at the beginning of the review but that's just personal preference, neither is it particularly my point or reason for being disappointed. The system is described as being "relatively quiet", or in the "Home Cinema Integration" section we're told the system is "quiet", and that is about as generic as you can get, especially when a recommended usage for the computer is to use it as a HTPC despite being marketed towards gamers and the Cons section stating the GPU's cooler could be quieter. This brings me onto the other point of people generally wanting HTPCs to be low power draw devices, along with being quiet, so I'd have expected a forum devoted to this sort of thing to measure both sound levels and power draw.

During the quick run through the connections on the back, the review fails to mention that the motherboard has an analogue 7.1 output, instead preferring to say it has "the usual coloured audio connections". Again, I'd expect better from any reviewer, let alone one on AVForums. The on-board wireless is also mentioned but we're never told what standards it conforms to - is it 802.11n? Are we meant to go off and look that up ourselves afterwards?

Greg then moves onto the SSD and the amount of available space. He doesn't mention how much space the user is left with after Windows 7 has been installed on it. Had Scan turned off hibernation and some other tweaks to get the most available space as well as the other tweaks for the best performance and lifespan from the SSD? The wireless connection was stated to have been used and stable but the throughput was never tested or even any attempt at describing whether it was tested from sitting next to the access point or sat in the garden shed.

The review then moves into a closer look of the system and the cooler, as well as the distance between the cooler and the 18cm exhaust fan, is mentioned. From here it is then stated that the CPU cooler's pushes air towards the 180mm fan, which is then expelled from the case but, unless the Akasa AK-960V2 is different, the majority of coolers like this blow down on the heatsink, rather than sucking air up through it. I'm happy to be proved otherwise on this one but is this the case here as well? Greg then goes on to state that the case has "almost 300mm of space" for a graphics card, though also states that any graphics card, including dual GPU-based ones will fit despite the longest reference one being 305mm. Just to confuse everyone a bit more, the "Upgradeability" section says there is exactly 300mm of space - what are readers meant to believe here? Still on the graphics card, the review says that the vents are right next to the graphics card's fan allowing it to expel air from the case with ease but the cooler on this graphics card, as with the vast majority, blows air onto the heatsink and PCB therefore making that vent an intake. Mentioned here as well is there being 400W of power available for the graphics card, how did you arrive at this number?

We now move onto Battlefield 3 and CoD: MW3 and some crucial pieces of information are missed out. Settings are mentioned but the resolution is not, as many here will know this can be the difference between being bound by the CPU or the GPU as well as being the difference between being reasonable in expecting the system to run it or being completely absurd. The average frame rate is shown but the minimums are also really needed (the maximums would be nice but aren't needed as much), especially as this was mentioned as being an issue when running at the Ultra pre-set in Battlefield 3.

The upgradeability bit fails to mention one key thing that many people often wonder about pre-built systems and that is the status of the warranty should you wish to tweak it yourself. Will the system's warranty be void if I overclock the graphics card (as mentioned was possible earlier in the review), or the CPU, or change the memory etc.?

The test results page is where the review really falls down though. We are told the computer can boot to the desktop in 17 seconds but we're also told it boots to the desktop in 13 seconds, then shown a screenshot with it doing it in 18 as well. Was the 17 second figure given because it was the average, or it was your favourite of the lot or what? It was said that some programs can cause it to be slower but what has caused the differences here? In addition to this, we have absolutely nothing to compare it with. Those in the know will know it's pretty damn good but no-one else will, or, they may do and just not know how much of an improvement it is over a mechanical HDD booting under the same conditions. The other issue that arises here is the testing methodology, when does the program start counting the boot time? Is it as soon as Windows gets around to starting it and you're therefore getting fairly random results or is it done in a way that the times are always grouped closely together?

Onto the Super Pi test now and the review suffers two issues, firstly the running theme of saying it's a great result yet having absolutely nothing to compare it to. Even if the test was run at the CPU's stock settings vs. the overclocked settings it's at least something! The other is more of a technical detail but is it stated that the test is "purely a test of core clock speed", yet it isn't exactly. It's a test of the CPU's single threaded ability which, among other things, is effected by the clock speed. It otherwise implies that older and/or inferior architectures at a higher clock speed will perform better than this system.

Ignoring the fact that the WEI is not a favourable benchmark tool, as stated, the results are described as impressive, again, without any comparison to anything at all. The section then goes on to state that a score of 7.9 is not achieveable unless "you have at least an 8 core processor such as the i7 range, overclocked too", while it would be nice to see a source cited for this, there are currently no i7-branded chips with 8 cores. There are some with 4 cores and thanks to Intel's Hyperthreading technology, 8 threads or 6c/12t in the Sandy Bridge-E class.

The 3DMark 11 results are fairly similar to what I've said before, there are no comparisons to anything else and nothing to clarify the comment about the gains given by overclocking the CPU to 5GHz. Most importantly though, is that Futuremark sell the Advanced Edition of 3DM11 in GBP, which would have been better to say thanks to being a UK-based site. I do have to wonder here though, has Greg/AVForums purchased the Professional edition of 3DMark 11 which is licensed for commercial usage?

To save me repeating myself over and over, the ATTO and PassMark test suffer from what every other test has suffered and that is that there is no comparison at all.

Finally, we're onto the temperatures and it would be great to see how both the CPU and GPU manage under 100% load, such as when encoding a video or playing a game where the GPU is utilised to its maximum. We're back to noise again here as well and told that under load the system does become noticeable but we're able to drown it out, this is the case with most computers but the main factor being how load the sound has to be to drown the computer out.

Overall, there are some minor issues such capital letters (GHz and MHz) and such other issues that would give a much more professional review if consistent.

I'll be the first to admit that I've been picky in some of what I've written above, having said that, there are also some glaring issues that end up making it, in my opinion, a disappointing review. The pandering to Scan bit was probably a tad on the harsh side, which I apologise for. The better way of putting what I meant was that maybe AVF aren't exactly prepared or equipped to give a fair review and comparison to computers. What would have been a better kick start to AVF doing computer reviews would either be a round-up of what multiple places have for a set price-point or what a retailer has to offer in terms of their pre-built range and then the review going into detail over what the performance (as well as any other) differences are. To answer your question, Phil, no, I've not tested this exact system myself but have reviewed other pre-built systems so know what is involved.

Going back to one of the other questions asked by Phil, the tests I would have liked to have seen would be the ones where there are solid and set benchmarks that can easily be compared to other systems, not only now to give greater depth to the review but also to future reviews.

I will also admit that I'm a hard person to please as I can be quite pedantic. Again, I intend no offense to be taken by this but for it to be used to improve future reviews. :thumbsup:
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
In response to Ash, thank you for your opinion and feedback and all comments will be taken on board and forward to future reviews.

The main point I would say is that the review is not written for the techies, those that have an intimate knowledge of PCs and know everything about them. The benchmark tests I ran are so other users can easily run the same test on their PC and see how it fares.

It's about trying to strike a balance of having just enough technical information but not too much that will make the casual PC user leave the review due to not understanding it or not really caring anything about the finer points.

Whilst this may not please a user such as yourself 100% it's about writing for the masses.

Thanks.
 

Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
In response to Ash, thank you for your opinion and feedback and all comments will be taken on board and forward to future reviews.

The main point I would say is that the review is not written for the techies, those that have an intimate knowledge of PCs and know everything about them. The benchmark tests I ran are so other users can easily run the same test on their PC and see how it fares.

It's about trying to strike a balance of having just enough technical information but not too much that will make the casual PC user leave the review due to not understanding it or not really caring anything about the finer points.

Whilst this may not please a user such as yourself 100% it's about writing for the masses.

Thanks.
I agree that is it the majority you want to cater for and that it is just my opinion.

While I believe that you want to do tests that anyone can try, you do also want to show a comparison so that you can show the strengths and weaknesses of the system compared to others, especially when you're comparing the market (or meerkat :D) with what you can get from each retailer - possibly more so if not aimed at the more technical people as I doubt they will wish to be running benchmarks.

As another point to ponder, is the normal AVF readership of the less technically minded part of the population as I wouldn't have thought so?
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
As another point to ponder, is the normal AVF readership of the less technically minded part of the population as I wouldn't have thought so?
Again, your points have been taken on board, even though I thought your initial response was a little unfair and rude. As an editorial we are always looking at expanding and we would far rather have enthusiasts writing our content for users, where there is an understanding that the review is written from that point of view and not for a manufacturer or retailer.

It is always about pitching the reviews at the right level and with the correct balance of technical detail, but also being accessible to users with wide ranging experience levels. That can be difficult as you want to appeal to the technical guys and niche members, as well as the far wider community who don't want to be hit over the head with techno babble. It takes time to hit the right balance and with constructive feedback from users old, new, experienced and not so tech minded, we will no doubt hit the sweet spot moving forward.

We have data on who our readership are and we try to cater for as many as we can. If our reviews were to the level I like to read things at, it would be very niche and not widely read. We have to cater for everyone, even a site like AVF which is renowned for technical discussions, has to be welcoming and accessible to people new to computing or TVs or Home Cinema; as well as the enthusiasts and hardcore technophiles. As someone who states they write reviews I am sure you are more aware than most just how difficult a job it is to get the balance just right, never mind actually writing a review. It seems like such an easy job until you sit down and try it. Readers also have differing priorities when it comes to products and trying to cover all of these points can be difficult when introducing new content like this.

As I have said, we are open to suggestions and comments. We welcome feedback with open arms. If we are missing stuff that the majority want to see, we will do our best to add it. We put the effort in for the members here and make sure it fits with as many readers as possible, from newbie to enthusiast. All we ask is that feedback is constructive and conversation is polite. We can't please everyone, but we will try to cover as many as we can... and new ventures like PC reviews take time to find their feet.
 

Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
I'll be honest, I don't read AVF's reviews, this was maybe my second I've read.

My original comment may have been a touch blunt but isn't particularly unfair and I have explained why. This might not be a popular opinion but I'm not naive enough to think that reviews are not, in any way, written for manufacturers or retailers. When a site, as the vast majority do, relies on manufacturers and retailers to send review samples, it's in the best interests of said site not to annoy and scare that manufacturer/retailer away. Especially when those manufacturers/retailers are ones who advertise on the site and therefore keep it alive.

I was not saying to make the content inaccessible for those new to, or even just less clued up on, the technical aspects of things but in the same vain you are silly to give nothing to compare to, in the hope that some will or can try it themselves, or even worse that they have to go elsewhere to find the information. If they have to do that then why were they here in the first place? They haven't gained anything by being here then.
 

bigtruck

Distinguished Member
As a pc user I think I fall somewhere in the middle ground. I understand how they work and can put one together but I'm not particularly au-fait with the more detailed technical aspects of computer architecture.
For me, this review tells me what I'd need to know - how does the system cope with games, blu-ray etc & what are the temps build quality like. Greg tells us about the noise levels, and knowing that Greg knows his stuff I know that it will be quiet enough for me. That said, some people won't have a clue about the reviewer, so the only possible addition to this are might be the noise level comparison I've seen used in other reviews which gives the reader something to picture the noise level by. That however would require a meter to take readings & I assume that wasn't available.
Personally I think it's a good review that is easy to understand for the majority of it's target audience.
 

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
This might not be a popular opinion but I'm not naive enough to think that reviews are not, in any way, written for manufacturers or retailers. When a site, as the vast majority do, relies on manufacturers and retailers to send review samples, it's in the best interests of said site not to annoy and scare that manufacturer/retailer away. Especially when those manufacturers/retailers are ones who advertise on the site and therefore keep it alive.
Your balance between naivity and scepticism is a little too far towards scepticism because our reviews are categorically NOT written in any way for manufacturers or retailers.
I know that a consipracy theory, however BS it is, is more interesting than the plain old truth. But the plain old truth of the matter is that AVF can't compete with the quantity of reviews produced by the PLCs because we are a tiny operation in comparison. The only way we can compete is in the quality, authenticity and lack of bias in our reviews. So it is exactly that which we insist on.
 

damo_in_sale

Well-known Member
Hi Greg,

Does the machine auto switch the output frequency to suit the source material, eg blu-ray 24Hz (or a multiple of), and 50Hz for PAL DVD etc? Or does it just do frame interpolation to a constant output frequency which is typically 60Hz on PCs these days?

Cheers,

Damo

PS, thanks very much for your review :smashin:
 
Last edited:

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
Hi Greg,

Does the machine auto switch the output frequency to suit the source material, eg blu-ray 24Hz (or a multiple of), and 50Hz for PAL DVD etc? Or does it just do frame interpolation to a constant output frequency which is typically 60Hz on PCs these days?

Cheers,

Damo

PS, thanks very much for your review :smashin:
Cheers! :)

The system didn't autoswitch, I had to manually change the video settings to 24, otherwise it just defaulted to 60. It was an easy enough change though.
 

GuitarGuy

Well-known Member
I really enjoyed the review Greg. Congratulations on such a coherent and well written first go, I really look forward to future reviews from you.

Ash, just stop, you may as well take greg's display picture for crying out loud, you're being incredibly unfair to him and you actually contradict yourself between your posts, first moaning about lack of tech detail then agreeing that its right to cater to the mass market who don't care about the intricate details. You are by all means entitled to your opinion and that's fair enough, but unjust slating of someone's hard work in a non constructive way is just plain BS I think.
 

Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
I really enjoyed the review Greg. Congratulations on such a coherent and well written first go, I really look forward to future reviews from you.

Ash, just stop, you may as well take greg's display picture for crying out loud, you're being incredibly unfair to him and you actually contradict yourself between your posts, first moaning about lack of tech detail then agreeing that its right to cater to the mass market who don't care about the intricate details. You are by all means entitled to your opinion and that's fair enough, but unjust slating of someone's hard work in a non constructive way is just plain BS I think.
While I'll agree my original comment wasn't particularly constructive, my full feedback was incredibly constructive and Greg knows that I was making my points in a constructive manner to help him in the future - we discussed it on Steam, had some discussions and some debates over the points.

Yes, of course you want to appeal to the majority of readers in a review, but if they're the non-technical people they aren't the ones likely to return to just read a new review. They'll be trying to get an opinion on what they're looking to purchase and that's it. The more technical people, a niche, will be the ones who read reviews just to see what's going on with stuff so it's a pretty good idea to appeal to those as well. Greg and I discussed how this can be, how you can communicate what you're doing and what's coming up in a way that people can decide whether the following bit is of importance to them as well as how to communicate results in a clear and concise way.
 

paulneale

Standard Member
OK, so it wasn't the usual AVF hardcore tech style review, it wasn't that bad, and provided enough info to make a broadly informed decision.

IMO Ash: if I did want to know some of the intricately detailed stuff you mentioned, I don't think looking it up myself was unreasonable, since it's largely subjective as to whether the readership as a whole would share your lines of enquiry to that level of obsessive detail*.

*Appreciating that you might not self identify your questions as obsessively detailed, but IMO, they are.

Anyway, to the point: would it be an option for Ash to write a review and AVF put out a poll to the readers on which aspects or styles we preferred to read from the 2 approaches?

Horses for courses, as they say, but I think 90% of the time, Greg's level of detail and vagueness is just fine. Let's see how wrong I am, and whether it is possible to please all of the people all of the time!
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
I thought Greg's review struck the right balance between technical detail and more general comments. I mean anyone can drone on for thousands of words talking about technical minutiae but that's hardly going to make for an interesting read. The skill comes in making concise points and being informative, thus appealing to everyone.
 

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