PC Specialist Vanquish X79 review

20 Dec 2011

Blistering speed across the board, cutting-edge parts and good build quality, although you pay for it both in cash and noise

Price when reviewed: 
1,999(£1,999 inc VAT)
5

It only launched last month, but already PC Specialist’s Vanquish X79 is the third PC we’ve seen with a factory-fresh Intel Core i7-3930K processor in its LGA 2011 socket. It’s already a monster, but here it’s overclocked from its stock speed of 3.2GHz to 4.6GHz – not quite the highest we’ve seen, but still a mouth-watering prospect.

Last month we saw the Scan 3XS Velocity X79 SLI Extreme and Chillblast Fusion Photo OC IV both running at 4.7GHz, and they scored 1.34 and 1.39 in our benchmarks. The PC Specialist finished just behind them with an overall 1.31. Don’t let that gap put you off: by all other standards it’s a stupendously fast PC, and it excelled itself in the intensive video and 3D-rendering segments of our tests, with individual results of 1.91 and 1.83.

Like the Scan, this PC packs a pair of Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 cards. They’re not overclocked to the same degree as Scan’s cards – the 775MHz core is here boosted to 783MHz, rather than 797MHz – but it’s a pairing that packs a punch. An average of 85fps in our Very High quality Crysis test makes it one of the fastest gaming PCs we’ve seen below two grand.

PC Specialist Vanquish X79

The third limelight-hogging component is the SSD. Kingston’s Hyper X offers a middling 120GB of capacity, but performance is superb: large-file write and read speeds of 485MB/sec and 451MB/sec are faster than every SSD in our recent Ultimate PC Labs. Its small-file write and read results of 115MB/sec and 44MB/sec are slower, but still ahead of most SSDs. Alongside it, PC Specialist has gone for the standard 1TB hard disk, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and a Blu-ray drive.

It’s all packaged into a familiar case, too. The Corsair Carbide 400R is tall and matte black, an undeniable head-turner, even if the build quality is slightly disappointing. There’s a bit of give in the bulging side panels, and the meshing at the front of the machine could be stronger.

But it’s far better on the inside. Cables are kept out of sight behind the motherboard tray, others are lashed down with cable ties, and the few spares that emerge from the 850W power supply are neatly bundled beneath the hard disk cages. Three side-facing and tool-free hard disk bays lie vacant, and although they’re flimsy, they do contain rubber mounts to absorb vibrations.

Details

Price ex VAT £1,666
Price inc VAT £1,999
Overall rating 5
Performance 6
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 4

Warranty

Warranty 3yr collect and return

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 1,120GB
RAM capacity 8.00GB

Processor

CPU family Intel Core i7
CPU nominal frequency 3.20GHz
CPU overclocked frequency 4.60GHz
Processor socket LGA2011
HSF (heatsink-fan) Intel water-cooling

Motherboard

Motherboard Asus P8X79 Pro
Motherboard chipset Intel X79
Conventional PCI slots free 0
Conventional PCI slots total 2
PCI-E x16 slots free 2
PCI-E x16 slots total 4
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots free 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots free 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 2
Internal SATA connectors 4
Internal SAS connectors 0
Internal PATA connectors 0
Internal floppy connectors 0
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 6
Memory sockets total 8

Graphics card

Graphics card Nvidia GeForce GTX 580
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? yes
3D performance setting Medium
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce GTX 580
Graphics card RAM 1.50GB
DVI-I outputs 4
HDMI outputs 2
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 2
Number of graphics cards 2

Hard disk

Hard disk Kingston Hyper X SSD
Capacity 120GB
Hard disk usable capacity 111GB
Internal disk interface SATA/600
Hard disk 2 make and model Seagate Barracuda 7200.12
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity 1,000GB
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity 931
Hard disk 2 spindle speed 7,200RPM
Hard disk 2 cache size 64MB

Drives

Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader/DVD writer combo

Additional Peripherals

Sound card Realtek HD Audio

Case

Chassis Corsair Carbide 400R
Case format Full tower
Dimensions 201 x 531 x 498mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supply Corsair TX850
Power supply rating 850W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 3

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 6
eSATA ports 2
PS/2 mouse port no
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
Modem no
3.5mm audio jacks 8

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 2
Front panel memory card reader no

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 7

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 293W
Peak power consumption 972W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings 126fps
3D performance setting Medium
Overall Real World Benchmark score 1.31
Responsiveness score 1.00
Media score 1.42
Multitasking score 1.51