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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Eclipse Vengeance i5357r795 OC review - gaming PC falls behind the competition

The Eclipse Vengeance i5357r795 OC PC's rather aggressive appearance comes courtesy of its Zalman Z9 U3 gaming system case. A blue illuminated fan shines through the hidden angular Z formed by the front panel, while a manual thumb-wheel controls its speed below a digital case temperature readout.

Inside, the components are rather less unique. The ubiquitous Intel Core i5-3570K forms the basis of the system, and this has been overclocked from 3.4GHz up to 4.7GHz – just a little higher than has been set by Chillblast and CyberPower. 

However, overall performance of this PC was nowhere near as good as we had hoped. A PCMark 7 score of 5864 points is lower than we expected and gaming results were among the slowest.

This PC uses an AMD Radeon HD 7950 graphics card, which is obviously going to deliver lower performance than the beefier Radeon HD 7970 found in more expensive systems from CyberPower and Wired2Fire but, rest assured, you can still have a great gaming experience at decent resolutions and settings. Framerates often averaged around the magic 60fps even with settings cranked right up.

Under our power consumption torture tests, this PC ran into big problems with overheating. We thought at first that it may have been due to a cooling problem. The Corsair H40 liquid-cooling unit used here is a slightly lower-performance version of the H55 and H60 models found in competing systems, and this PC regularly experienced CPU temperatures of around 105 degrees celsius, causing the processor to automatically throttle back its speed and resulting in slow performance.

The massive 500W power consumption measured under these tests pointed to a different problem. It turns out that Eclipse had boosted the core CPU voltage to 1.3V, which is much higher than generally required to achieve a stable overclock at this speed. This resulted in significantly higher power consumption and therefore much higher temperatures. Lowering this voltage setting should rectify the problem.

The supplied monitor is an AOC i2369Vm which is very similar in specification to the model supplied by CyberPower. It features a very thin, frameless bezel and high-quality IPS panel rather than a TN panel.

The Gigabyte K8100 keyboard is a proper gaming device with a huge built-in wrist rest, LED-backlit keys and macro facility. There's also a built-in USB 2.0 hub, 20 anti-ghosting keys and a touch-sensitive slider for volume control. Three different groups of keys feature different levels of elastic force – the frequently-hammered WASD keys offering more resistance, while peripheral keys often pressed with the little finger are given a lighter touch. It also features configurable gaming profiles.

The mouse is the Leviathan from Dragon War Association, featuring eight programmable control buttons and switchable settings up to 3200 dpi with different sensor colours. 

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