Yoyotech Warbird Dark Iron CS review
4.6GHz Intel Core i5-2500K, 8GB RAM, 24in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
We asked Yoyotech to build us a quiet and compact gaming PC for review. What we got didn't quite meet our expectations, but the Warbird Dark Iron CS certainly does the business when it comes to performance. Its Intel Core i5-2500K processor has been overclocked to 4.6GHz, which means that the PC was able to power through our benchmark tests with an overall score of 139.
The core specification is rounded out by 8GB of 1,600MHz RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics card with 1GB of memory. It's one of our favourite cards, and held its own in our challenging high-quality 3D graphics tests, producing frame rates of 59.6fps in Dirt 3 and 32.3fps in Crysis 2, so even the most demanding games are playable at high resolutions. The card has two DVI ports and an HDMI port and supports up to two monitors simultaneously.
The PC comes with less storage than most, but what is has is impressive. The 60GB boot disk is a SATA3 SSD, producing boot times of just a few seconds. The second disk is a slim-line 500GB hard disk. Storage is rounded out by a DVD-RW drive. This still leaves three unused SATA2 ports and two empty SATA3 ports, so there's plenty of room to upgrade. There are also six vacant 3 1/2in drive bays and one spare 5 1/4in bay. We were pleased to see that one of the case's drive cages can be removed if you need extra internal space for extra-long graphics cards such as AMD's Radeon HD 6990.
The sizable Fractal Design case is particularly well designed. Not only does it look sharp, with a matt black interior and glossy white highlights, but it's solidly built and well finished. Although it lacks the heavy soundproofing of some other Fractal Design cases, its drive rails are still damped to minimise vibration, and a variable speed dial on the back of the PC allows you to control fast the case fans spin, so you can find a compromise between cooling power and noise.
The system's very loud when the fans are on full, but this is reduced to a low hum when you turn the dial down a bit. We had no problem running our benchmarks with the fans on low. The processor has a massive Enermax cooler on it, but neither this nor the 550W Enermax Naxn PSU makes a great deal of noise.
The Gigabyte Z68X-UD3P-B3 motherboard has a whopping ten USB ports on the back - two of them USB3 - alongside a FireWire port, a PS/2 port and 7.1 analogue audio outputs, plus an optical S/PDIF output for digital sound. Inside, there are two free PCI slots and two PCI-E x1 slots - a third is blocked by the graphics card. There's also a second PCI-E x16 slot.
The PC comes with a 24in Hanns.G HH241DPB display with DVI and VGA inputs. We liked its matt finish, which reduces reflections from overhead lights but can also give colours less punch, and even backlighting. Its colours aren't the most accurate we've ever seen, but we appreciated their warmth and vibrancy. The wireless Microsoft keyboard and mouse set are also a particularly good choice - high quality and of a sufficiently standard design to suit almost everyone.
This is an excellent system for anyone who wants great gaming performance and fast boot times. It's rather large, and not as quiet as we'd have liked, but it's a top-notch PC in terms of performance and quality components and is well worth its £999. The Chillblast Fusion Whisper is a quieter choice if you're after near-silent gaming, while the Wired2Fire Hellspawn XFire is a touch more powerful, if more expensive, but the Warbird Dark Iron CS stands alongside them with a well-deserved five stars.