A PC for work and play
Having tested a few now in diﬀerent PCs, we can conﬁrm that Intel’s latest processors, codenamed Kaby Lake, aren’t exactly a quantum leap over their predecessors (Skylake). More like a dispirited plod up a low kerb, to be honest. Some do show noticeable performance improvements, but the i5-7400 inside this new desktop system from PC Specialist is not a shining example. It’s no faster in practise than, say, 2013’s i5-4670K, which is now so old it’s oﬃcially ‘end of life’.
It is cheaper, though, which means it leaves room in a reasonable budget for 16GB of memory, a 240GB SSD, a 1TB hard drive, and a GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card from Nvidia’s surprisingly powerful new range. This lot plus a chunkily styled Cooler Master K350 case adds up to the Enigma K2.
Powerful graphics for gaming, but slower than some rivals
This particular GTX 1060 has 3GB of its own memory and isn’t quite as powerful as the 6GB variant. Even so, it’ll run just about any game on maximum-quality settings at Full HD (1920×1080-pixel) resolution with enough frames per second (fps) to keep things smooth: that is, well above 30fps, even if it doesn’t quite hit the preferred 60. Lots of graphics programs also support Nvidia cards, so it should help to keep photo ﬁlters speedy and video timelines responsive too.
That’s not to be sniﬀed at in a machine at this price. And it’s not as if the i5-7400 is a big compromise: it’s more than adequate for most Windows 10 tasks, including photo and video editing, as long as you’re not trying to produce the next Star Wars movie. But it’s appreciably slower than the i5–7600 processor, which you’ll ﬁnd in the Wired2Fire Diablo Ultima v2. The SSD isn’t in a super-fast M.2 slot, and nor is there such a slot for an extra drive.
The Asus H110M-R motherboard provides two USB 3.0 ports at the back, along with four USB 2.0 and, to keep all those free, a pair of PS/2 connectors, in case you still have a keyboard and mouse from yesteryear. There’s even an SD card reader. But there’s no USB 3.1, Type-C or Thunderbolt for high-speed external storage. That’s also true of the Diablo Ultima v2, but it gives you more raw processing power in return for having to turn down your 3D graphics options.
3.0GHz Intel i5-7400 quad-core processor • 16GB memory • 3GB GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card • 240GB SSD • 1TB hard drive • 3x USB 3.0 • 5x USB 2.0 • Gigabit Ethernet • HDMI port • DisplayPort • DVI port • Windows 10 Home • 415x192x418mm (HxWxD) • Three-year warranty
If you want a PC for gaming, work and media, and future expansion isn’t a big concern, this is a good buy
Wired2Fire Diablo Ultima v2
This teams an i5-7600 processor for demanding work and creative programs with a cheaper Radeon RX 460 graphics card