Evesham is usually expeditious in selling PCs with the latest technology, and it has demonstrated its swiftness once again in releasing the Vista-equipped Solar Storm, which you can buy for £999. This might seem like a big wodge to shell out for a PC nowadays, but you get what you pay for, including a gorgeous 20-inch widescreen monitor, capacious storage and strong multimedia capabilities, which gives it the edge on the budget boxes you find on the high street.
With a name like Solar Storm, you might expect Evesham's first Vista machine to look fairly special, but it's nothing to write home about. It's predominantly black with a smattering of silver, which does it few favours -- it looks pretty much the same as the majority of desktop PCs being sold today.
There's a small flap at the bottom of the chassis that hides a pair of USB ports, a six-pin FireWire port and a couple of audio (mic-in and line-in) jacks. These are a nice addition, but we'd prefer it if the ports were mounted higher up the case, where they'd be more accessible to people who place the PC under a desk.
A DVD-ROM drive and separate DVD rewriter inhabit the drive bays at the top of the front panel. This gives you the ability to burn data from one disc directly to another, which comes in particularly handy for copying audio CDs.
There's much more going on at the rear of the case than there is at the front. There are six separate audio jacks for connecting a set of speakers as well as parallel and serial ports, four USB ports, a six-pin FireWire port, two PS/2 ports for a mouse and keyboard, plus an external serial ATA port. All the ports and their surrounding areas are colour coded, so you shouldn't have difficulty marrying the right cable to the right hole.
The internal layout of the case is fairly typical. The cables look a little messy, but they're all secured with cable ties and are, for the most part, out of the way. The one unusual object inside is a green funnel, which is attached to the side panel. This is positioned just above the CPU fan and is supposed to help direct air straight through the side vent. We're sceptical about how beneficial this is to the PC's cooling system, but its presence isn't hurting anyone.