Advance Tec AT-FX X58 Gamer review

Where does the line between last-gen and next-gen lie?

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

A good Core i7 starting point but falls behind similarly-priced quad-core machines

For

  • Entry-level Nehalem platform
  • Good upgrade potential

Against

  • Outperformed by top last-gen PCs
  • Misses CyberPower's extra GTX260

A month ago, CyberPower wowed us with its £1,500 SLI rig, now undercutting it quite significantly is AdvanceTec's take on the Core i7 machine with the AT-FX X58 Gamer.

Gone is the second GTX260 and the DHX heat-spreader on the Corsair RAM.

The replacement of the excellent, yet pricey, MSI X58 Eclipse with Gigabyte's cheaper, but still feature-rich mobo doesn't seem too much of a compromise to us. AdvanceTec has also maintained CyberPower's factory overclock, and has done so by using an Intel cooler.

To me that would indicate that with a bit nouse, a decent aftermarket cooler and some careful studying of the intricacies of Nehalem overcooking, you could eek out some bonus digits. Still, it has to be remembered that it's somewhat trickier to wring the extra performance out of the Core i7 chips as compared to the Core 2 chips.

Standing up to the competition

When you're talking about a gaming PC though it's all about the GPU in terms of performance nowadays. Compare the scores from the X58 Gamer to AdvanceTec stable mate, the AT-FX Wah'dita and you'll see what difference the 4870x2 in that Core 2 Quad rig makes.

The Wah'dita actually stands up pretty well at the 2560x1600 high-end, when compared to CyberPower's pricier twin GTX260 i7 machine. The AT-FX X58 Gamer, however, noticeably misses that extra NVIDIA card; proving, as a side-note, the improvements in current SLI performance.

With the advent of AMD's new Phenom II chip though the pigeon is definitely among the cats. Being able to drop that chip into a bargain basement AM2 motherboard, and combining it with a 4870x2, you'll be getting pretty darned close in terms of gaming performance. Future-proofing it ain't, but it sure is an attractive alternative.

Good value gaming

To be fair though, AdvanceTec does offer this PC with only 3GB of the Corsair 1,333MHz RAM for £1,040 and that halving of the memory realistically isn't going to make a massive difference, in terms of gaming performance.

If you're looking for that full Core i7 platform upgrade then the Advance Tec AT-FX X58 Gamer is a good starting point - you can get a last-generation Intel machine that outperforms it for the same price, but in terms of hitting the Nehalem trail for a grand, it's still one hell of a stunning entrance.