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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Braebo Aphrodite review: a well-rounded family PC

Braebo's mid-priced Aphrodite family PC offers excellent build quality and a well-rounded set of peripherals, but in our tests suffered from lacklustre performance across the board. Take a look at Group test: What's the best family PC?

Housed in Cooler Master's new CM Force 500 system case, the Aphrodite looks impressive. Its twin optical drives provide DVD-RW support and Blu-ray playback and sit atop a multi-format card reader. At the top of the case there are three handy front-facing USB ports, one of which supports the speedy USB 3.0 standard.

Inside, built-in cable management ensures everything is kept tidy and accessible for upgrades, the Asus P8H77-V motherboard providing plenty of slots. One of these has been used to install an 802.11n Wi-Fi card. Also included is a VTX 3D-branded AMD Radeon HD7750 graphics card which adds basic gaming support.

Intel's 3.4 GHz Core i5-3570 processor, once almost ubiquitous in our PC group test, powers the system here but has since been superseded by the latest Haswell chips which offer slightly improved performance. This system is using last season's technology and will have shorter longevity in terms of upgrades.

A 1 TB low-power hard drive is supplemented by a 32 GB SSD which is configured as a cache volume using Intel's Smart Response technology. This is significantly slower than using an SSD as a system volume, but offers the advantage of accelerating the whole hard drive. So, while PCMark Storage results are lower than a dedicated SSD, this setup gains approximately a 50% performance boost over a hard drive alone.

Sadly overall performance of the Braebo Aphrodite was rather disappointing, with a score of only 3842 points where others were capable of over 6000 using the same system processor. Graphics performance is noticeably lower than some competing PCs available for less money.

A decent set of stereo speakers is included, along with a subwoofer, and a high-quality IPS monitor. However, the display measures only 21.5 inches and although it still provides the full 1920 by 1080-pixel resolution, text and icons will appear somewhat smaller.

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