Scan 3XS Z77 FT03 Nanu - Too Hot To Handle?

11/29/2012 3:09:35 PM

Scan straps high-end components into a case that's a fraction of the size of normal systems. A great idea, or is this PC too hot to handle?

Scan has long had a hard-earned reputation for high levels of quality when it comes to desktop PCs, but we didn't expect the Bolton-based firm to abandon the traditional tower entirely for its latest machine, the busily named 3XS Z77 FT03 Nanu.

Star of the show is the SilverStone FT03-Mini, and it's one of the most striking mini-ITX cases on the market. It shares the brushed aluminium finish of the full-size FT03 and, like its bigger brother, it's arranged vertically, so it's tall, slim and imposing.

Description: Scan 3XS Z77 FT03 Nanu

Its sleek metal is only disturbed by a couple of logos and a slot-loading Blu-ray drive, with all the PC's ports hidden beneath a plastic lattice on top of the machine.

It doesn't leave much room for components inside the machine, but Scan has done an admirable job of cramming cutting-edge hardware into a system that's significantly smaller than the average tower. The Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe motherboard is attached to the only side panel that can't be removed, the NVidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti graphics card lines one side of the chassis, and the Blu-ray reader, hard disk and SSD are all arranged vertically, opposite the motherboard.

Power comes from a small SilverStone unit housed in the roof and, remarkably, Scan has crammed a Corsair H60 water-cooling unit, with its 120mm fan, into the bottom of the machine. Underneath is the only case fan included in the FT03-Mini: a 140mm spinner that can be removed for easy cleaning.

The move to a smaller case is impressive, but it puts upgrade room at a premium. The only space to grow comes in the form of the single 2.5" drive bay and single free SATA socket on the motherboard; the two memory slots and single PCI Express x16 socket are already occupied.

Scan hasn't opted for a low-power or budget processor in its diminutive machine. The popular Core i5-3570K is used here, and while an overclocked boost from 3.4GHz to 4.4GHz isn't the highest we've seen, it still provided a respectable benchmark result of 1.12 – a little behind top-end towers, but as much power as we've seen from any small form-factor system.

NVidia's GeForce GTX 660 Ti is the latest mid-range card of choice, and it's easy to see why; its result of 63fps in the Very High quality Crysis test run at 1920x1080 is excellent, and the Scan even handled the same test at 2560x1600, scoring 36fps. It's enough grunt to play every top game, albeit on one screen; those who want to play across multiple monitors will need more graphics hardware than this machine can provide.

Neither of the two powerful key components contributed to excess heat or noise. The processor and graphics card peaked at 74°C and 76°C respectively, and the system only produced a quiet rumble, even during our toughest benchmarks.

Description: Scan 3XS Z77 FT03 Nanu

Elsewhere there's 8GB of RAM and a 2TB hard disk, but the 120GB Corsair Force 3 SSD used as a boot drive disappointed. In the AS SSD benchmark it wrote and read sequential files at 102MB/s and 198MB/s - much less than our top drives, which regularly write files at 300MB/S or more, and read them at around 500MB/S.

That SSD is the only qualm we have with this system. In every other department, it's superb - more application and games power than you'll likely find in most full-size machines inside a system that's smaller and more stylish than virtually anything else we've seen. It's expensive, but the quality is there. If you're searching for a smaller PC, you've found the one to buy.


Price: $2,102.4



·         3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K overclocked to 4.4GHz

·         Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe motherboard

·         8GB DDR3 RAM

·         NVidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti graphics

·         120GB Corsair Force 3 SSD

·         2TB Seagate Barracuda hard disk

·         Blu-ray reader

·         Silverstone FT03-Mini case

·         802.11 n dual-band wi-fi

·         Gigabit Ethernet

·         6 X USB 3.0, 4 X USB 2, 2 X eSATA, optical S/PDIF

·         Three-year RTB warranty

·         189 X 397 X 235mm (WxDxH)


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