After dominating ’80s home computing with the C64 and Amiga, Commodore died a horrible, slow death in the ’90s. But now the brand has been revived for a range of Windows PCs aimed at gamers. Prices start at £1000 for the entry-level G model, rising through the GS and GX to the top-of-the-range XX, tested here.
When is a Commodore not a Commodore?
You might be wondering what’s so Commodorey about a PC that’s specced (as these machines inevitably are) with components from numerous different companies. Times have changed since computer manufacturers made their own bespoke hardware, and yes, in many ways the XX is just another PC.
In fact, you could say the Commodore connection is only ‘C-Kin’ deep. C-Kins are Commodore’s own custom case design decals that can be added and removed to suit your mood, new wallpaper or fashion leanings, and it’s these above anything else that mark out the Commodore range from the competition.
The units themselves are pretty well made, with a chunky hinged door at the front revealing drive bays, an array of memory card slots, USB, FireWire, audio in and out and an illuminated fan vent. There’s a discreet slot on the door that allows you to trail cables out from the front panel while the door is closed. As you’d expect from a powerful gaming PC, the case is on the large side, but fortunately not in the same league as the elephantine Dell XPS 720 H2c.
Feel the power
The spec of the XX is about as good as it gets right now, allowing it to handle anything the latest games can dish out. It’s built on the solid foundations of a Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core 3GHz QX6850 CPU stuck onto an Asus motherboard. Visuals are squirted out of twin NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB SLI graphics cards. Twin 1000RPM 150GB hard disks allied to 4GB of 1066MHz RAM give both Windows Vista Ultimate and your games plenty of breathing space, while audio is delivered via a Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Pro sound card. That’s one serious spec sheet.
However, the very best rival systems will match it on hardware, so while the C-Kin concept initially seems a rather superficial feature, it’s actually the best reason for opting for a Commodore PC. They’re not all dribbling goblins and rampaging stormtroopers – some of the more subtle designs would even fade into the background of the most stylish living rooms, meaning you needn’t be banished to the cupboard under the stairs whenever you fancy a crafty frag.