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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Quiet PC Serenity Home Value review: a silent Family PC

We're used to receiving very high quality systems from Quiet PCs, typified usually by excellent build-quality, premium components, quiet operation and a correspondingly high price. Take a look at Group test: What's the best family PC?

The Serenity Home Value is something rather different though. With the emphasis shifted somewhat towards affordability, this new system retains the company's famed near-slient operation, but with considerably less expensive components. See also: Braebo Aphrodite review.

The slimline ZM-T1 mini-tower case, is made by Zalman, known for its quiet components, and houses a Gigabyte GA-H61M-USB3V motherboard fitted with an energy-saving 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5-3475S processors.

To save power, this processor runs at a basic clock speed of 2.9GHz, and this is increased automatically up to a maximum 3.6 GHz under load. That's 700 MHz of turbo boost, compared to the usual 400 MHz you'll get with last year's Intel Core i5-3570.

The low-power chip, enables the Serenity Home Value to maintain a far lower level of power consumption than any competing system this month, requiring only 26W at idle. This also enables the system to run cooler and quieter than most, despite the use of the stock Intel processor cooler.

Because the PC uses the chips' integrated HD Graphics 4000 GPU rather than a plug-in graphics card, power consumption is kept low under load too, although gaming performance is severely limited.

You won't be playing any demanding games with this unless you're prepared to drop the quality settings to the minimum and even then you won't be experiencing particularly slick gameplay.

Under PCMark 7 the system achieved a creditable 4464 points, helped in part by its Seagate Momentus XT solid-state hybrid drive which combines SSD and hard-disk technology into a single unit. Its 500 GB capacity is a little low against terrabyte competition; but it achieved around 50% greater performance than a regular hard disk.

A hefty 16 GB of RAM is included and you also get a Microsoft 720p webcam. But the system includes neither a Blu-ray drive nor even a monitor, which will have to be taken into consideration when pondering the low £696.26 price tag.

A two-year collect-and0return warranty is provided, along with free lifetime telephone and email support for the original purchaser.

View the original article here

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