• Price: 1599

  • Company: Scan.co.uk

  • Pros: Excellent case; secure, capacious storage.

  • Cons: 32-bit OS; slow processor; poor test scores.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 7 out of 10 We rate this 7 out of 10

Scan is the only company that’s chosen to include Windows Vista on its workstation, and it seems to have made no difference to its performance. Most of the major photographic, graphic design, video editing and motion graphic applications run smoothly under Vista.

The problem here is that Scan has chosen the 32-bit version of the Vista Business platform – which includes the Aero makeover, but limits you to 3GB of accessible RAM. The PVE-930 performance in Photoshop was impressive considering this, but its scores were well behind models running 64-bit OSs.

The PVE-930’s test results in After Effects were also underwhelming. The unit has a slightly slower clock speed than the Core 2 Quad Extreme and Xeon processors used by single-chip rivals. When combined with 3GB of available RAM, this makes it nearly twice as slow in video tests as models with 3GHz chips and 8GB RAM.

Even if Scan had installed the 64-bit version of Vista, a model with a single processor and 4GB RAM was going to lag behind workstations with two chips or 8GB RAM. The PVE-930’s bottom-of-the-table score in our Cinebench rendering test bears this out, and the workstation’s real-time 3D score is merely adequate.

The PVE-930 has the same top-notch Coolermaster case as Armari's Magnetar QS2. Behind the silver front are four 3.5-inch hard drive bays and six 5.25-inch optical drive bays, which can be easily converted for use as extra hard drive bays. The four core hard drive bays allow the user to pop drives in and out with total ease.

Scan has included two massive 1TB drives in a RAID 1 array, so one drive mirrors the contents of the other for complete data security. This is good for users who really can’t afford to lose their work – such as those in broadcast environments – but most creative would be better off with a faster RAID 0 set-up.

This model was reviewed as part of our group test of workstations for graphics professionals.