Dino PC Microraptor GTX 660 Ti review
3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K, 8GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 8
As new processors and cooling systems become increasingly efficient, manufacturers are better able to create very powerful small form-factor PCs. This fits in neatly with the increasing popularity of PC gaming as popular consoles start to show their age.
Small, and quiet enough to sit next to your TV without getting in the way or making your sitting room sound like a runway at Heathrow, the Dino PC Microraptor GTX 660 Ti is a compact powerhouse with an Intel Core i5-3570K processor running at 3.4GHz and an overclocked 2GB EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti graphics card. The powerful processor hasn't been overclocked, presumably to keep heat and noise down, but with an overall score of 100 in our newly updated benchmark tests we can't imagine that you'll actually need any more power for any current game or desktop application. The system proves its gaming credentials in our 3D benchmarks with average frame rates of 57.2fps in Dirt Showdown and 40.5fps in Crysis 2, both at maximum quality.
Even when undertaking such challenging tasks, the system noise barely rises above a low hum. We were pleasantly surprised by this because the Microraptor is air-cooled and uses a stock Intel CPU cooler, along with a fan built into the front of the neat little Silverstone SG05 case. The case is well ventilated, which also means that you'll want to vacuum the dust out of it every now and then. It gets a little warm to the touch, but never particularly hot. Despite its small size, the case feels solid and is well-finished internally.
The compact case has space for a slimline disc drive, a 3 1/2in HDD and a 2 1/2in drive. These are respectively occupied by a Blu-ray re-writer, a 2TB storage drive (shipped unformatted so you can partition and use it as you please) and a 120GB system drive with Windows 8 installed and enough space left to install any games or any other software.
Below the drive cage, you'll find the motherboard, which is an Asus P8H77-I mini ITX board. It has just one expansion slot, a PCI-E x16 slot which houses the graphics card. Two memory slots are each occupied by a 4GB module of Corsair Vengeance DDR3 RAM capable of running at 1,866MHz, although the system ships with the RAM set at the motherboard's default 1,333MHz. There are six SATA ports, two of which are SATA3, and both are in use.