PC Specialist Vortex Destroyer review
A near-flawless system thanks to great performance, build quality and peripherals, albeit for a high price
Review Date: 10 Aug 2012
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: £1,457 (£1,748 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ivy Bridge has arrived, but Intel’s latest processors benefit laptops far more than they do desktops - and that means existing Sandy Bridge chips are still viable candidates for a desktop PC. PC Specialist obviously agrees, as its latest desktop PC bundle, the Vortex Destroyer, opts for an overclocked Sandy Bridge processor and partners it with a high-end X79-based motherboard.
PC Specialist hasn’t stuck with the ever-popular Core i5-2500K, though, instead loading its system with the rarer Core i7-3820. It’s a Sandy Bridge-E part, but unlike its six-core stablemates it makes do with four Hyper-Threaded cores and barely any more cache than cheaper processors.
Overclocking makes all the difference, however. The CPU’s stock speed of 3.6GHz has been clocked up to 4.6GHz, and that helped the PC Specialist to a benchmark score of 1.16. That’s more than enough power to scythe through everyday applications, and only a whisker behind the A-Listed Chillblast Fusion Flash, which scored 1.17.
The Vortex Destroyer’s graphics hardware is altogether more cutting edge. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 is a gaming powerhouse, and it motored through our gaming tests, scoring 75fps in Crysis at Very High quality and 1,920 x 1,080. It’s here where the PC Specialist trumps the Chillblast: the Chillblast’s Radeon HD 6970 graphics card only managed 53fps in the same test.
Neither CPU nor graphics card caused headaches when it came to heat. The processor’s peak temperature of 87˚C is reasonable considering the overclock, and the graphics card runs a little cooler, hitting a top temperature of 83˚C. Peak power consumption of 472W is higher than expected, though; most systems duck under 400W, with the Sandy Bridge-E chip largely responsible for the higher figure.
The installed copy of Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit nips along thanks to Kingston’s HyperX 3K SSD, and it’s partnered with a capacious 2TB hard disk. There’s also the small matter of a mighty 16GB of RAM and a Blu-ray drive.
It’s all housed in the familiar Fractal Design Define R3 chassis. This is a firm PC Pro favourite thanks to its keen balance of cooling and noise reduction. Sound-absorbing foam lines both side panels and the roof, and the Intel watercooling loop isn’t exactly loud. It makes for a system that’s very quiet when idle and only a little louder at peak.
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