Wired2Fire Diablo Predator
4.7GHz Intel Core i5-3570K, 8GB RAM, 23in 1,920x1,080 display
When asked to submit a Windows 8 PC for review, Wired2Fire took a no-nonsense approach. The Diablo Predator takes the tried-and-trusted approach of pairing a powerful overclocked Intel processor with an enthusiast Nvidia graphics card.
The PC is understated and smart in its black Xigmatek Asgard case. There are few extras on the outside, such as a card reader, but the PC has a useful panel on the top of the case with two USB ports, one USB3 port and headphone and microphone ports.
The rear of the PC has another couple of USB3 and four USB2 ports, which is fairly standard. You also get three analogue audio outputs for 5.1 surround sound and an optical S/PDIF output to connect to surround sound amplifiers and speaker systems that don't have HDMI inputs. You're spoilt for choice with the graphics card, which has two DVI as well as HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, and you can use any combination of these to run three monitors in Nvidia's Surround multi-monitor gaming mode.
Things are reasonably tidy inside the case; the PC isn’t quite as neat as the Scan Value G31, but cables are tidy and there's no obstruction to airflow. You get a good-quality 600W Corsair power supply and there's a spare PCI Express power connector in case you want to upgrade to a more powerful card later. There's a large Xigmatek cooler for the processor and a 120mm exhaust fan, and the PC only makes a low hum.
The PC has an Asus P8Z77-V LX motherboard. This gives a reasonable amount of room for expansion, with three free PCI slots, but you don’t get any PCI Express x1 slots. You can always fit PCI Express x1 or x4 cards in the spare PCI Express x16 slot, though.
The PC has 8GB RAM, which is enough for some serious multitasking, but there are two free slots for some extra memory. The PC is also well served for storage, having a Blu-ray reader and DVD re-writer combo drive, a 1TB mechanical hard disk for storage and a 120GB SSD for use as a Windows 8 system drive. The motherboard has two SATA3 ports and four SATA2. Both SATA3 ports are taken up with the hard disk and SSD, while the Blu-ray/DVD writer is plugged into one of the SATA2 plugs.
The PC comes with an AOC i2352Vh monitor, which is one of our favourites. It's a 23in 1,920x1,080 screen with DVI, HDMI and VGA inputs, as well as 3.5mm audio passthrough sockets. It's also an IPS panel; IPS technology tends to give more accurate colours than the still-more-common TN type. When testing with our open-source Dispcalgui calibration software and a Spyder4Express colour calibrator, the software reported too much green in the image at its default settings. Once we'd fiddled with the colour balance, brightness and contrast settings, we managed to get the picture just right and the calibrator reported the screen was within 97.2 per cent of the sRGB colour standard - as much as the best monitors we've seen.
The included Keysonic keyboard looks cheap, but it’s comfortable to use thanks to well-judged key feedback, and we had no complaints about the Logitech B110 mouse in normal desktop use; it's a bit light for accurate headshots, though.