If you are looking to buy a new PC this winter, and you've heard about DVDs, you might be thinking about getting a model with a DVD drive. Evesham have put together a system with even more components than are in it's name, and it's all centered around DVD.
What most people don't know is that DVD movies usually have a Dolby Digital (AC-3) sound track encoded on the disk, and you need a proper decoder and speakers to benefit from this surround sound. Fortunately, Evesham have included what we consider to be the best Dolby Digital speakers and decoder currently available for the PC. Videologic's Digitheater system includes 5 speakers, a decoder and a subwoofer and they truly provide a cinematic experience when watching DVD movies. Rumbling trains and explosions coming from behind you make you believe you are there in the middle of the action, and the system even comes with a remote control so you don't have to leave your seat to adjust the volume (to turn it up of course).
So, the speakers are excellent, but what about the other DVD components? There's no decoder card, but this PC is beefy enough to handle the decoding without one, and we found the playback to be acceptably smooth. Pioneer's 6x drive spins the DVDs and will also read CDs at 32x. The Maxi Gamer Xentor TNT2 Ultra provides not only stormingly fast 3D graphics but also has a TV output so you can watch movies on a wide screen TV if you don't want to make use of the 17" Taxan monitor.
Handily the ErgoVision 755 has a USB hub built into the base, so you gain an extra 3 USB ports to easily connect peripherals. The rest of the components are equally impressive, with an AMD Athlon 600MHz at the heart of the PC, and a vast 27Gb hard drive to store all your data. If all this isn't enough, the obligatory 56Kbps modem sits in one of the 4 PCI slots and an internal 100MB Zip drive lives in one of the 5.25" bays. All of this comes at a price though. To be exact the Vale Athlon TNT2 Ultra 600 will set you back £1820. However, while it may seem like a lot of money, it is worth it for all that you get.
You would expect a system of this specification to perform extremely well, and it did not disappoint. In 3D Mark 99 Max we saw one of the highest scores ever, at 6079. You can expect excellent graphics performance and frame rates of over 60 fps from the TNT2 Ultra. In Sysmark 98, the Evesham scored an equally excellent 258 which means that virtually any application you run will run incredibly quickly. Our only minor gripe was that Evesham did not provide a cable to connect the digital audio output from the SoundBlaster Live! to the Digitheater digital decoder input, so we couldn't get proper AC-3 sound from DVDs. And apart from PowerDVD for playing movies, there is no other software in this package, although Evesham will add Microsoft Office Small Business Edition for an extra 153 GBP.