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PCSpecialist Cobalt Spark R Prebuilt Review (i3 + RX 6600)

Rating: 8.0.

Often when we review prebuilt PCs, the systems are fitted with the latest and greatest components, and it's not surprising to see prices coming in well over £2000. But what if you, or someone you know, is just looking to get into PC gaming for the first time, and wants a capable machine that won't cost thousands upon thousands? Enter the PCSpecialist Cobalt Spark R, offering a solid spec while priced at £799.

00:00 Start
00:49 Pricing and hardware details
05:18 Cable management and a closer look
06:13 CPU behaviour
06:48 Benchmarks
08:47 Gaming performance
11:07 CPU Thermals
11:45 Noise output and power draw
12:25 Closing Thoughts

  • Processor (CPU): Intel® Core™ i3 Quad Core Processor i3-14100F (Up to 4.7GHz) 12MB Cache
  • Motherboard: ASUS® PRIME B760M-A WIFI (mATX, LGA1700, DDR5, PCIe 4.0, Wi-Fi 6)
  • Memory (RAM): 16GB PCS PRO DDR5 4800MHz (2 x 8GB)
  • Graphics Card: 8GB AMD RADEON™ RX 6600 – HDMI, DP – DX® 12
  • 1st M.2 SSD Drive: 1TB PCS PCIe M.2 SSD (3500 MB/R, 3200 MB/W)
  • Processor Cooling: PCS FrostFlow 100 V3 Series High Performance CPU Cooler
  • Network Card: ONBOARD LAN PORT
  • Wireless Network Card: ONBOARD Wi-Fi (MOTHERBOARD DEPENDENT)
  • USB/Thunderbolt Options: MIN. 2 x USB 3.0 & 2 x USB 2.0 PORTS @ BACK PANEL + MIN. 2 FRONT PORTS
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Home 64 Bit – inc. Single Licence
  • Operating System Language
  • United Kingdom – English Language
  • Warranty: 3 Year Standard Warranty (6 Month Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)

Starting off with a look at the case, PCSpecialist is using an own-brand chassis here, called the PCS Spectrum G ARGB. It's pretty compact mid-tower, with grey steel panels, a meshed front and tempered glass side panel. It's clearly built to a price as the steel panels do feel somewhat flimsy, but it'll get the job done once safely sat on a desk. It also ships with a total of four ARGB fans, three in the front and one in the back, and while the roof is left empty, it does have room for two 120/140mm fans if you wanted to add those in.

By now you will have probably noticed that this is an ATX mid-tower case, but PCSpecialist has opted for a micro-ATX motherboard, specifically the ASUS Prime B760M-A WiFi. This does mean there is quite of lot of empty space inside the chassis, so it does look slightly odd, but it is clearly a cost-saving measure to use an mATX board. The motherboard itself has been fine during my testing though, I've not had any issues with it I can't fault the BIOS setup either, with the memory at the correct speed and ReSizable BAR enabled out of the box.

It helps that the CPU is only an Intel Core i3-14100F, offering four performance cores with hyper-threading, but no efficiency cores, and a rated 58W base power draw. It's clearly meant to hit a certain price-point, as the CPU alone is only a little more than £110, but it will be interesting to see how it stacks up for gaming. Its low power draw also means PCSpecialist hasn't gone overboard with the cooler, as we find a PCSpecialist-branded FrostFlow 100V3, a fairly standard-looking 4-heatpipe tower cooler.

Paired with the i3 CPU we find 16GB of DDR5 memory, clocked at 4800 MT/s. This is again PCSpecialist-branded, but AIDA64 did suggest the modules are manufactured by ADATA. Either way, 16GB is reasonable for a system of the price, though 4800 MT/s is quite slow by modern standards, as is the CL40 latency – but it all comes back to the price-point.

Providing our GPU horsepower, PCSpecialist has opted for an AMD Radeon RX 6600, with the XFX Speedster SWFT 210 model used here. It may be about two and a half years old now but the RX 6600 is still a great choice for budget-conscious gamers and we will be testing it at both 1080p and 1440p later in the review.

One thing not immediately visible is the SSD. PCSpecialist has opted for a single M.2 drive, and this has been installed in the primary slot underneath the integrated heatsink. Specifically, it's a 1TB PCS3840 own-brand drive, and it's only PCIe Gen 3 speed, rated for 3500 MB/s write and 3200 MB/s read. Obviously 1TB doesn't go very far these days, in fact after I installed just seven games, it was almost full. The good news is another M.2 slot is very easily accessible in the bottom right corner of the motherboard, so adding in another terabyte or two down the line would be a doddle.

Round the back of the case we get a look at the power supply, a Corsair RM650 unit. This is a fully modular 80+ Gold unit, which I think is a fantastic inclusion at this price point – cheaper prebuilts often skimp with 80+ Bronze, or even 80+ White PSUs, but the RM650 is only £75 on its own and its great to get a quality unity included here. 650W also gives you enough headroom to be able to carry the unit forward even if you upgrade both the CPU and GPU down the line, so again, kudos to PCSpecialist here.

General cable management is also very good as we can see. Round the back everything has been very neatly down behind the motherboard tray, there are a few trailing cables in the main compartment – specifically the HD Audio front panel connector – but it's hard to be overly critical here.

You'll also notice that central control hub round the back, which is both a fan and ARGB controller. All five fans in the system feature ARGB lighting, as well as the PCSpecialist FrostFlow cooler heatsink, and this control hub connects to the reset switch on the front panel so you can change lighting effects and colours without the need for software.

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