We have never looked at a PC Specialist system before so we weren’t quite sure what to expect when the giant box rolled into our offices. First impressions are important, and the fact that the company have included all the accessories and manuals, including the motherboard literature is reassuring. They have even printed an extensive ‘welcome’ guide which details the technology and many steps which may prove useful to an inexperienced, or first time user.
The components inside the Vortex XT-270FB have been well researched and are a check list of award winning products. The Intel Core i7 2700k is one of the most cost effective high performance processors on the market, and when overclocked to 4.8ghz it really does sing, matching the much more expensive 6 core Core i7 990X at reference clock speeds.
The CooliT ECO II FatBoy handled the thermal output exceptionally well, maintaining temperatures below 70c, even when subject to intensive synthetic stress testing. It is also a reasonably quiet cooler which is a bonus.
AMD’s HD7970 is one of the fastest video cards you can buy, and we have reviewed many partner versions of this card in 2012. We see no current gaming situation that requires more pixel pushing power than this solution can deliver and it is particularly impressive with demanding Direct X 11 engines.
The Cooler Master HAF 932 case is a great foundation for this system, it looks great and produces an extremely high level of airflow for an overclocked system configuration such as this. System temperatures were maintained optimally throughout the chassis, very important when a processor is running at 4.8ghz.
Internally, the cable routing and attention to detail is clearly noticeable. All the cables are carefully routed to remain out of view when possible and the use of ‘Instapak’ foam protection ensures that nothing will move in transit. This review system arrived in perfect condition and fired up first time, without a hitch.
The bios settings can make or break a preoverclocked system and PC Specialist deserve a mention for correctly configuring all the voltage and timing parameters. It passed our stress testing before we started the review and we could see no settings that could be tweaked further to lower the temperatures or improve performance.
There are a few points we would like to make in regards to possible, future improvements. Firstly, the use of reference cooled AMD HD7970 means that the system is clearly audible under gaming load, even though the other components are quieter. This could have been improved by using a solution with an enhanced, two fan cooler, such as the excellent XFX HD7970 Double Dissipation, which we reviewed earlier this year.
Additionally, the use of modular power supply would help reduce the high volume of cables routed behind the motherboard tray. PC Specialist are using the excellent Corsair TX750 power supply, but there are quite a few unused cables which would make more sense stored in a box, rather than in the system.
Negatives aside we are extremely impressed with the Vortex XT-270FB System. PC Specialist clearly research the components they use and have a team capable of tweaking the bios to offer optimised, overclocked settings for people either unwilling or unable to experiment.
You can buy the system direct from PC Specialist for £1,499 inc vat over here.
- Quality components used throughout.
- Bios settings are well configured for complete stability at 4.8ghz.
- Good temperatures.
- Price point is competitive.
- Quieter versions of the HD7970 available.
- Modular power supply would have helped to reduce cabling.
Kitguru says: A powerhouse gaming system, which can double up as a video encoding and 3D rendering rig.