Wired2Fire Hellspawn Predator review

27 Apr 2012

Wired2Fire’s base unit coaxes 4.8GHz out of its Ivy Bridge processor with barely a whisper from its cooling fans

Price when reviewed: 
1,175(£1,175 inc VAT)
5

After months of secrecy, Intel’s long-awaited Ivy Bridge processors have finally broken cover. Now, the first flurry of desktop PCs eagerly sporting Intel’s latest chip have begun to arrive, and Wired2Fire is the first manufacturer to get an Ivy Bridge system through PC Pro’s door.

Wired2Fire’s weapon of choice is Intel’s Core i5-3570k processor, which has a nominal clock speed of 3.4GHz. In this system, though, it has taken full advantage of the 3570k’s unlocked multiplier and upped the core voltage to 1.3V to get the CPU running at a heady 4.8GHz.

It isn’t all about the processor, though. For storage, there’s a Corsair 120GB Force 3 SSD, ensuring lightning-quick boot times and a seriously snappy feel, and launching applications in a blink of the eye. Working alongside this is one of Samsung’s speedy Spinpoint F3 drives, which provides another 2TB of storage.

Wired2Fire Hellspawn Predator

With 8GB of 1,866MHz DDR3 RAM to round off the package, performance is hardly lacking. The Wired2Fire scythed through our Real World Benchmarks with an overall score of 1.15, and while it isn’t the fastest we’ve seen, that power is matched with impressive efficiency. Idling on the Windows desktop, the whole system drew a mere 70W from the mains, and it was only once the CPU and the graphics card were working flat out that the figure rose to 332W.

The card in question is a Sapphire-supplied AMD Radeon HD 7950 – a highly capable performer. At Full HD resolutions it simply breezes through even the most demanding games, and we saw it dispatch our Crysis benchmark at Very High quality settings with a silky-smooth average of 63fps. Even once the resolution rose to that of a 30in monitor, a massive 2,560 x 1,600, the HD 7950 kept frame rates playable with an average of 38fps. If there’s a downside, it’s noise – the Sapphire’s cooling fans quickly drown out the case fans and CPU cooler during gaming sessions.

It’s thanks to Ivy Bridge’s 22nm die shrink and lower running temperatures that Wired2Fire hasn’t had to resort to expensive watercooling. Slide back the side panel and a huge Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro cooler dominates the upper part of the case, with two sets of fins cooled by twin 120mm fans, while further front and rear 120mm fans pull air past all the other components. It’s an arrangement that’s whisper-quiet in desktop applications, yet incredibly efficient. Even after running at 100% for several hours, temperatures on the hottest core never exceeded 75˚C, and the coolest core reached only 66˚C.

Details

Price ex VAT £979
Price inc VAT £1,175
Overall rating 5
Performance 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 4

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 2,120GB
RAM capacity 8.00GB

Processor

CPU family Intel Core i5
CPU nominal frequency 3.40GHz
CPU overclocked frequency 4.80GHz
Processor socket LGA 1155
HSF (heatsink-fan) Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro

Motherboard

Motherboard Asus P8Z77-V Pro
Motherboard chipset Intel Z77
Conventional PCI slots free 2
Conventional PCI slots total 2
PCI-E x16 slots free 2
PCI-E x16 slots total 3
PCI-E x8 slots free 0
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots free 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots free 1
PCI-E x1 slots total 2
Internal SATA connectors 4
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 2
Memory sockets total 4

Graphics card

Graphics card Sapphire Radeon HD 7950
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
3D performance setting Medium
Graphics chipset AMD Radeon HD 7950
Graphics card RAM 2.93GB
DVI-I outputs 2
HDMI outputs 1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 1
Number of graphics cards 1

Hard disk

Hard disk Corsair Force 3 SSD
Capacity 120GB
Hard disk usable capacity 111GB
Internal disk interface SATA/600
Hard disk 2 make and model Samsung Spinpoint F3
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity 2,000GB
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity 1,800
Hard disk 2 spindle speed 7,200RPM
Hard disk 2 cache size 64MB

Drives

Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader

Additional Peripherals

Sound card Realtek HD Audio

Case

Chassis Corsair Carbide 300R
Case format Full tower
Dimensions 210 x 490 x 450mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supply Corsair CX600
Power supply rating 600W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 2

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 2
PS/2 mouse port no
3.5mm audio jacks 6

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 2

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 7

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 70W
Peak power consumption 332W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings 63fps
3D performance setting Medium
Overall Real World Benchmark score 1.15
Responsiveness score 1.03
Media score 1.25
Multitasking score 1.16