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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Computer Planet ND 3000 review: a good value gaming PC


Computer Planet’s offerings include a range of bespoke and customisable PC systems, this particular model however comes from their Next Day range, which are available for immediate delivery. See all gaming PCs.

Our review system was customised somewhat from the basic version available on the company’s site, boosting the CPU up to an Core i5-4670K quad-core processor, as found in all but one of the PCs in this month’s round-up. However, the ND 3000 is unique in that the processor hasn’t been overclocked by the vendor, running instead at its stock speed of 3.4 GHz with a Turbo Boost up to 3.8 GHz. See also: What's the best gaming PC?

This caused correspondingly slower PCMark 7 results, although the score of 6550 points isn’t really far behind the PC Specialist Vanquish GT1 running at 4.2 GHz. And it’s some way ahead of the Arbico Elite 4670 OCX which produced an abnormally poor result.

You may feel tempted to overclock the processor yourself, especially as this particular CPU was designed with this in mind. The PC is fitted with a Corsair H60 sealed liquid-cooler unit which would be more than up to the task, as is the Corsair VS650 power supply.

Unfortunately, there’s a minor spanner in the works for inveterate tweakers at least, in the form of the Gigabyte GA-B85M-D3H motherboard which features Intel’s budget business B85 Express chipset. Not only does this offer fewer internal ports than a Z87 board, but it also disallows overclocking.

Gaming grunt is provided by another nVidia GeForce GTX 770, this time running at stock speeds, yet producing framerates close to those of the overclocked PC when pushed to high-quality settings.

Keeping all components running at stock speeds, may be a waste of ‘free’ potential performance, but it does cut down considerably on power consumption. This PC consumed up to 150W power less at full tilt than the most power-hungry systems.

Interestingly, this PC comes with a 23-inch AOC E2343FI monitor, which incorporates a 30-pin iPhone dock and speakers built into the base. An advertised fast response time of 2 ms should help smear-free gaming.

A Logitech MK260 Wireless keyboard and mouse set is also thrown in, but this is hardly a gaming combo – we’d recommend a decent wired pair instead.

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