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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Wired2Fire Hadron review: gaming PC with excellent build quality and a flash drive that provides great gaming performance


The Hadron, from Wired2Fire, is much like a standard gaming PC – only much smaller. Where many are built into cube-style cases, the Hadron lives in a tiny – and rather good-looking – tower in the form of the EVGA Hadron Mini-ITX case. (See also best gaming PC 2014.)

Standing vertically on the desktop, it exudes a rather expensive feel with attractive rounded edges and a transparent side panel. The meshed top surface houses a pair of quiet cooling fans which whir into action when necessary, while the front is blank save for the power switch and finished in a glossy piano black.

The right-hand side provides a pair of USB 3.0 ports, as well as audio jacks and an almost invisible slot for a built-in DVD burner, although none was actually installed in our review sample [Please check this: the spec sheet says yes, AIDA64 says no].

Inside, we find an Intel Core i5-4670K overclocked to 4.2 GHz and cooled by a large (compared to the size of the PC) Raijintek Aidos CPU cooler, fitted with a pair of bright red and rather eye-catching fans.

It's this cooler arrangement which forms the bulk of what can be seen through the side panel, contributing significantly to the visual appeal of the PC while keeping the internal components cool.

These components include 16 GB of memory and a 250 GB Samsung EVO SSD, paired with a 1 TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive. Of more interest for this machine is the Asus GTX 760 Direct CU II graphics card powering core gaming performance.

Although this is a higher-performing model than nVidia's reference design, it's based on the GeForce GTX 760 which is inevitably slower than the GTX 770-based cards found elsewhere. Gaming performance was therefore similar to rival gaming PC the Chillblast Fusion Xcalibur – which costs £300 less than the Wired2Fire Hadron.

Overall computing performance is generally very good. The Hadron's PCMark 7 score of 6890 points is the fastest of the whole group. But do note that the newer PCMark 8 benchmark allows more powerful systems such as Mesh's Elite Mini Gaming PC to shine through and overtake the Hadron, by a significant margin.

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