A well-balanced and well-built specification that just sneaks ahead of its main rival
- Looks great
- Can play games at 4K
- Almost silent
- Missing the top-tier AMD X370 chipset
The Scan 3XS Horizon Ti manages to include a top-tier eight-core AMD processor and one of Nvidia’s best graphics chips for under £2,000. The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti card is made by EVGA, and has a factory overclock of 1556MHz. What’s more, Scan has added an extra 50MHz to the core and 200MHz to the memory. Meanwhile, the 1800X runs at its stock speed of 3.6GHz with a 4GHz boost peak, and it can use XFR to reach an overall top speed of 4.1GHz.
Scan has fitted the usual 16GB of memory in this machine, although it’s only running at a middling frequency of 2,666MHz. Storage, meanwhile, comes from a solid combo – a 500GB Samsung 960 Evo PCI-E M.2 SSD and a 2TB Seagate hard disk.
Like the identically priced CCL Shadow Hawk, the Scan uses an Asus ROG Strix B370-F Gaming motherboard. It has beefed-up audio, RGB LEDs around its heatsinks, and PCI-E slots with steel surrounds, and the backplate serves up USB 3.1 ports, but no Type-C ones.
It’s also missing the top-tier AMD X370 chipset, but that isn’t a huge deal – the only features absent are support for Nvidia SLI and a handful of PCI-E lanes. Besides, the PSU would likely struggle with a second GTX 1080 Ti card anyway. The Corsair TX550M is a fine semi-modular unit with an 80 Plus Gold rating, though, and it’s ideal for this machine’s base spec.
The Scan’s specification compares well with the CCL, too. That machine had a GTX 1080 Ti with a marginally lesser overclock, and a Ryzen 7 1700 overclocked to 3.8GHz – not quite as lofty as the 1800X’s standard Turbo speed, but fast nonetheless. CCL’s machine also had a smaller SSD, but faster 3000MHz memory.
Scan has used a smart and unfussy mid-sized tower chassis for this build. The Fractal Design Meshify C is 440mm tall, which makes it around an inch shorter than the Phanteks case used by CCL. The Fractal’s front panel is decorated with striking, angular mesh, and this sturdy enclosure serves up the usual pair of USB 3 ports and audio jacks on its front panel.
Meanwhile, the interior is understated and conventional. The Corsair Hydro H100i V2 cooler sits in the roof, and there are 120mm intake and exhaust fans. A metal shroud across the bottom of the machine hides the PSU and single spare hard disk bay, and there are three more 2.5in mounts at the rear.
Scan has done its usual stellar job with the cables; they’re all black and tied down in straight lines, and the wires that reach the front of the system are barely visible through the side window. The window is made from tinted tempered glass, and a strip of white LEDs illuminates the interior.
There’s not much difference between the Scan and the CCL when it comes to practical aspects, but the two are worlds apart in aesthetics. The Scan is subdued, while the CCL had a black, white and orange theme with vinyl coating, coloured cable sleeving and much more lighting.
Any visual preference is subjective, but there’s no doubting the quality of both machines. Scan’s system just happens to look more modest, and its pricier CPU and larger NVMe SSD capacity also make it much more tempting for the price. Scan’s machine has a better warranty too. CCL’s machine has a three-year return-to-base deal, but the Scan has three years of parts and labour coverage that’s augmented by a year of on-site service.
Scan 3XS Horizon Ti review: Performance
There isn’t much to choose between the Scan and the CCL in in-game benchmarks, though. Both PCs blitzed every game at 2,560 x 1,440, and can even play games at 4K, with minimums well above 30fps. The Scan’s higher overclock makes it occasionally slightly quicker than the CCL, but only by tiny amounts.
There was barely any difference between the two PCs’ application benchmarks either. The Scan was a little slower in the single-threaded image-editing test, thanks to its lower clock speed, and it was a couple of thousand points behind in the video-encoding benchmark too. Any differences are slight though – the machines are only separated by 509 points in the overall system score.
Still, the Ryzen 7 1800X remains a reliable and impressive processor, with enough power to run any game, as well as heavily multithreaded productivity tools. The Scan’s SSD is quick too, with read and write speeds of 3,350MB/sec and 1,814MB/sec respectively.
The Scan performed well in thermal tests too. Its CPU and GPU peak Delta Ts of 60°C and 50°C are fine, with the latter bettering the CCL, and the Scan remained almost silent in gaming and system-wide benchmarks and stress tests, just like the CCL. There were no real throttling issues either. The GPU ran at just under 1900MHz throughout our testing, and every CPU core ran at 3.6GHz during a CPU stress test with each core at 100% load.
Scan 3XS Horizon Ti review: Verdict
There isn’t much to choose between the Scan and CCL at this price. Both machines have great graphics cards, and Ryzen processors that will scythe through almost all gaming and productivity tasks.
They’re both well built, and their contrasting visual styles will come down to personal preference. The Scan’s larger NVMe SSD gives it a serious edge, though, more than compensating for the slightly slower memory. The Scan also has a better warranty, and while its Ryzen 7 1800X processor isn’t overclocked, it’s still a pricier chip than the CCL’s Ryzen 7 1700. It’s a close battle, but the Scan just inches ahead, making it our current Ryzen gaming system of choice.