This hits the sweet spot of price and performance on the desktop, but be careful of sticky fingers!
An interesting case…
…But get a bigger desk
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We can't even begin to look at this machine without first diffusing the enormous elephant in the room; it's got one o' them Geiger-esque Antec Skeleton cases, hasn't it.
Glorious. Redolent. Perfect for tinkerers, are your precious components just waiting for that errant can of Diet Slurm to make an arcing circuit between you and them? No – in reality, it's no more dangerous than any of the half-assembled PCs we surround ourselves with every day, but still, it leaves you ill at ease.
Naturally there are questions to be asked: the Skeleton, by its nature, should be about starting from scratch and rolling your own. Sold fully set up, all it really has left to boast about is its gimmicky shape. Its huge footprint means it's something of a desk hog if you're just simply wanting a new PC.
The insides aren't even that remarkable (bar a few fancy LEDs scattered around the place), but we will give Advance Tec credit where it's due: they're the sort of components you'll want your chums to notice.
Centrally, there's a Core i7 920, an absolutely roaring processor at the top of its game; the phenomenal Zotac GeForce 295 GTX fills a PCIe slot, tearing through gaming graphics with some degree of nonchalance; and 3GB of Corsair's finest RAM fill the triple-channel slots. This is unquestionably the gaming PC you want to get your hands on.
Though it's not overclocked, Advance Tec has clearly managed to build a rig even heftier than the beast on which we originally tested the 295 GTX. The AT-FX Skeleton consistently picks up a few frames per second on each of our test games, to the point where its performance is adjective-defyingly unbelievable.
The only problem here has been Core i7's problem from the word go: money is tight at the moment, if you hadn't noticed. Crunchy credit has put an especially big dent in the high-end market. But look at this as an investment.
The AT-FX Skeleton is over-capable. It'll last you as long as two other PCs. If you see yourself buying a new £700 box every year or so you should, without hesitation, get a PC with this exact setup - which is comparatively affordable compared to ninja PCs of the past – and skip next year's purchase altogether.
Whether you plump for what amounts to a bundle of components in a fancy cage or something with a more idiot-proof enclosure is a different question entirely.