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Braebo Caelus review

Michael Passingham
21 Oct 2014
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
699
inc VAT

A great value PC with a good monitor and a set of 5.1 speakers, the Braebo Caelus is a great all-rounder

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 3.2GHz Intel Core i5-4590, RAM: 8GB, Front USB ports : 3x USB2, 1x USB3, Rear USB ports: 2x USB2, 4x USB3, Total storage: 1TB hard disk, Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 750, Display: 23.6in AOC I2476VWM, Operating system: Windows 8.1

The Braebo Caelus may not be the most powerful PC in the world, but it ships with some welcome extras that make it a worthy choice as a general-purpose family PC. Coming in an unbranded, black CIT MXA05 case it's certainly an understated build, but the case's compact dimensions mean it will easily fit on or under a desk.

With such a small case, you have to sacrifice a significant amount of future expansion and upgrades. A large graphics card won't fit into this case, and there's only a single 2.5in drive bay free for adding a laptop-sized hard disk or, more realistically, an SSD.

There's a spare RAM slot with the 8GB of supplied memory coming in the form of a single stick, so you can double your RAM later if you want. There are also two SATA2 ports free for extra storage, with the SATA3 ports taken up by the hard disk and optical drive. If you were to fit an SSD, we recommend moving the optical drive to one of the slower SATA2 ports.

The PC has a multi-format card reader, which accepts a large variety of storage media including SD and MMC cards. The additional USB2 port on this card reader brings the total number of front connectors to four, including one USB3 port. A wireless card is also included, which is a very useful addition for those placing their PC in a room away from their router, meaning you won't need to buy a separate dongle.

At the rear of the case there are a further four USB3 ports and two more USB2 connectors, with a full complement of six 3.5mm ports, making setting up a surround sound speaker system easy. This is particularly useful as the Caelus comes with a set of Creative Inspire T6300 5.1 speakers. While this certainly won't get the pulses of audiophiles racing, this is a perfectly satisfactory set of speakers, which add atmosphere to games and movies.

The Intel Core i5-4590 is one of the less powerful chips in the i5 lineup, struggling a little in our benchmarking tests. With four cores, and a maximum Turbo Boost clock speed of 3.7GHz, it performed best in our multitasking tests, scoring 93, but with a below-average image rendering score of 78 and a fairly woeful 48 in the video conversion benchmark, it scored 76 overall. It will still cope with most tasks well, but you can get more powerful computers at this price.

The Braebo Caelus has a mid-range Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 graphics card, making it suitable for playing even the latest games on relatively high settings. In our Dirt Showdown benchmark at 1,920x1,080 pixel resolution, 4x anti aliasing and Ultra graphics settings, the PC was able to achieve a good average frame rate of 43.8fps. Things weren't so smooth with Crysis 3 - on High graphics settings it was only able to run at an average of 32.1fps, dipping to lows of 20fps. It was only after we dropped texture settings to Low and anti-aliasing to 2x when the game became playable, with an average frame rate of 46.2 dropping at times to a still playable 34fps.

The graphics card has outputs for VGA, HDMI and DVI ports, with both VGA and HDMI supported by the supplied AOC I2476VWM monitor. Thanks to its IPS panel, this 24in screen displays superbly vibrant and accurate colours, managing to cover 97.6 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut. We weren't quite so impressed with its 258:1 contrast ratio, which leaves some finer details a little hard to spot, but it still manages to deliver pleasing images. It's also stylish, with a brushed black and silver design making it stand out from the plain black monitors we normally see.

The keyboard and mouse supplied with the Caelus are Microsoft Wireless 800 models. The keyboard is relatively comfortable to type on, although you may wish to upgrade to a more expensive set if you have particular typing needs.

As a final sweetener, Braebo has thrown in a one-year subscription to Cloud backup service LiveDrive, with 500GB of space included. LiveDrive is Expert's favourite Cloud backup service, see our LiveDrive review, so we're happy to see it included here.

While the Braebo Caelus doesn't have the outright power of other £700 PC systems, its bundled speakers, great monitor, Cloud backup, wireless card and SD card reader make it a great all-round package. The graphics card, while firmly stuck in the mid-range part of the market, is good enough to play the latest games at decent settings, too. If you're looking for a great all-rounder, the Braebo Caelus is a great choice. 

Core specs
ProcessorQuad-core 3.2GHz Intel Core i5-4590
Processor socketFCLGA1150
RAM8GB
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardGigabyte GA-H81M-HD3
Motherboard chipsetLGA1150
Ports and expansion
Front USB ports3x USB2, 1x USB3
Rear USB ports2x USB2, 4x USB3
Other ports2x PS2
Networking1x 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi
Case typeMid tower
Case size HxWxD350x170x330mm
PCI (free)1 (1)
PCIe x1 (free)1 (0)
PCIe x16 (free)2 (0)
Serial ATA (free)2x SATA3 (0), 2x SATA2 (2)
Memory slots (free)2 (1)
Drive bays 2 1/2" (free)2 (1)
Drive bays 3 1/2" (free)1 (0)
Drive bays 5 1/4" (free)1 (0)
Storage
Total storage1TB hard disk
Memory card readerMemorystick, memory stick duo, SD, MMC, XD, Compact Flash 1, Compact Flash 2, transflash, MicroSD
Optical drive typeDVD rewriter
Graphics
Graphics cardNvidia GeForce GTX 750
Graphics/video portsDVI, VGA, HDMI
Sound
Sound cardRealtek ALC892
Sound card outputs7.1 line out, headphone, microphone
Speakers5.1 Creative Inspire T6300
Display
Display23.6in AOC I2476VWM
Native resolution1,920x1,080
InputsVGA, HDMI
Other hardware
KeyboardMicrosoft Wireless 800 keyboard
MouseMicrosoft Wireless 800 mouse
Extras1-year 500GB LiveDrive backup
Software
Operating systemWindows 8.1
Operating system restore optionRestore partition
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Price including delivery (inc VAT)£699
Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)£549 (excluding speakers)
Supplierwww.braebo.com
Detailswww.braebo.com
Part CodeCaelus

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