Kitguru reviews hundreds of products every year and having high performance, up to the minute test systems at hand to partner with the latest components is extremely important. This is especially true when reviewing the latest graphics cards.
Several of our systems have been relegated to the storage room and we are proud to announce that we have been working with highly respected UK system builder PCSPECIALIST in configuring new Haswell based test rigs.
We have reviewed many systems from PCSPECIALIST over the last year and have found their builds to be extremely proficient, especially when it comes to setting up the bios correctly – a hurdle that many system builders still manage to mess up.
Not only we will be using the new Kitguru.net Test Rig in many of our upcoming system reviews, but PCSPECIALIST are selling it to the public with a starting price of £1,300 inc vat.
Let us explain the build process first and highlight the system with images taken in our studio and in the real world test environment.
We have also included a gallery at the bottom of this page so be sure to check it out.
It is important to point out that this system also features custom LED lighting, a new option PCSPECIALIST are offering now with some of their systems. Their configurator hasn't been updated to support this as we go live with our article today, but you can simply email or phone PCSPECIALIST after your configuration to get it incorporated into the build.
The KitGuru.net Test Rig – order here
When we chatted with PCSPECIALIST we both agreed that the system needed to be based on the newest Haswell Core i7 4770k @ 3.5ghz. This Quad Core i7 processor is very efficient on a core basis and with hyperthreading it ensures excellent performance under any given situation. Obviously to ensure we aren't dealing with limiting issues when testing the latest high powered graphics cards, it had to be overclocked.
We also opted for the Corsair 600T chassis. It is easy to work with, has a built in fan controller, looks fantastic and the window panel shows off the build nicely. We reviewed the graphite version of this case a while ago, and if you missed it, head over here.
The system is built around the excellent ASUS Maximus VI Hero Z87 motherboard. We reviewed this back in August and it earned our Worth Buying award. ASUS motherboards have a great reputation for stability when overclocked and the Maximus VI Hero is no exception.
This system build varies slightly from the one you will receive if you buy it – we specifically asked PCSPECIALIST to leave extra PCI E cables easily at hand, for when we test Crossfire or SLi configurations. All the extra power supply cables are supplied in the accessory box, with the build.
Overclocking Haswell isn't quite the experience that many people had expected. Haswell runs hotter than the last generation model so excellent cooling isn't an option, it is a prerequisite.
Both Kitguru and PCSPECIALIST agreed that the Corsair H100i Hydro Series cooler was the best bet. It has proven popular with the enthusiast public, especially as it leaves plenty of space free across the ram slots. The image above shows the Kitguru test rig with a Sapphire HD7970 6GB Toxic Edition installed, but PCSPECIALIST offer a wide variety of AMD or NVIDIA partner cards in their configurator.
Kingston supply both the 120GB HyperX Solid State Drive, and 16GB of DDR3 HyperX Beast 2,400mhz memory. For storage purposes a 1TB mechanical drive is also installed.
The power supply is incredibly important in any system and to ensure that Kitguru would have the ability to test multiple high end graphics card configurations we opted for the Corsair HX1050 power supply. This won our highest award when we reviewed it some time ago. If you missed that review head over here.
With the LED lighting and all the fan cables running into the front mounted controller – hiding all the cables carefully is no mean feat. Be aware that this side of the system is rarely seen (if ever), but PCSPECIALIST have tied them all up into place and routed them carefully along the edges and central area of the motherboard tray. None of these can be seen from the front.
Kitguru says: It has been great fun working with PCSPECIALIST over the last month configuring these systems for KITGURU reviews. You will see these systems appearing in many of our reviews over the coming months. Remember if you like our choices and want to share the same system – then you can order one directly from PCSPECIALIST over here. Just remember to select a graphics card!