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PC Specialist Vortex i5 GTS review

Alan Lu
18 Nov 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
849
inc VAT

A big monitor and Windows 7 Ultimate make this a real workhorse, but better-value deals are available.

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Specifications

2.67GHz Intel Core i5-750, 4.000000 RAM, 24in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit

PC Specialist's Vortex i5 GTS looks identical to many of the company's previous PCs, using the same rather bland case.

What it lacks in style, though, it makes up for in other areas. It's surprisingly quiet, even though it comes with one of Intel's powerful Core i5 750 processors, and has a large 24in monitor.

We've already seen a few Core i5 750-equipped PCs, but we're still impressed by how quickly the processor tears through our application benchmarks. Up to 16GB of RAM can be fitted, but the 4GB included here should be more than enough for most tasks for some time to come.

The 24in Acer widescreen display has a big native resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels. This gives you a direct pixel-to-pixel match when watching Full-HD video, plus a huge desktop for working on. It's bright, with accurate-looking colours, but viewing angles aren't very wide so colour accuracy suffers unless you're sitting directly in front of the screen.

Gamers may be a little disappointed by the Nvidia GeForce GTS 250 graphics card. Although the Vortex i5 managed a smooth 56.2fps in our Call of Duty 4 test, Crysis was only just playable at 27.4fps. Our tests are run at 1,680x1,050, so you'll need to sacrifice anti-aliasing to get Crysis running smoothly at the monitor's higher native resolution. We're used to seeing more powerful graphics cards in PCs at this price.

One surprising bonus is that Windows 7 Ultimate comes pre-installed on the spacious 750GB hard disk. This has features not found in Windows 7 Home Premium, such as file encryption and remote desktop hosting, but they are too specialised to be of interest to most people.

There are only two PCI slots, one of which is blocked off by the graphics card. However, there are more than enough USB ports for adding external devices, with 15 in total, plus FireWire and eSATA ports. No speakers are included, but in addition to the analogue 7.1 surround-sound speaker outputs, there's also optical and a coaxial S/PDIF for connecting to a surround-sound amplifier.

PC Specialist's Vortex i5 GTS is a good choice for demanding work, thanks to a large screen, Windows 7 Ultimate and a fast quad-core processor. It's quiet and has plenty of useful ports, too. Many will prefer Mesh's £800 Ice5 750 CS, though. That has the same processor, but a larger 1TB hard disk and a more powerful graphics card (it now ships with ATI's new HD 5770). It has a slightly smaller 22in screen, but the same 1080p resolution. The Vortex is just outdone by the better-value Ice5, but for those who will make use of Windows Ultimate's extra features, it's actually the better choice.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core i5-750
Processor external bus133MHz (2.0GB/s Direct Media Interface)
Processor multiplierx24
Processor clock speed2.67GHz
Processor socketLGA1156
Level 1 cache4x 32KB
Level 2 cache4x 256KB
Memory4.000000
Memory typePC3-8500
Maximum memory16GB
MotherboardGigabyte GA-P55M-UD2
Motherboard chipsetIntel P55 Express
Power consumption standby3W
Power consumption idle70W
Power consumption active190W

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)5/10
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/1
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/1
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone
Other portsnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)0 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)2 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports5
Free memory slots2
Free 3.5in drive bays3

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)WD Caviar Green WD7500AADS
InterfaceSATA 300
Total storage capacity750GB
Spindle speed5,400rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)1GB Nvidia GeForce GTS 250
Graphics/video portsHDMI, DVI, VGA

Sound

SoundRealtek ALC888B
Sound outputs7.1 line out, coaxial S/PDIF out, optical S/PDIF out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, MMCplus, Memory Stick Pro, MicroDrive, xD
Optical drive modelLG GH22NS40
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size24 in
Screen modelAcer V243H
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Response time2ms
Screen inputsDVI, VGA

Other Hardware

ModemNo
KeyboardLogitech Deluxe 650 Cordless
MouseLogitech Cordless Optical Mouse RX 650

Software

Software includedAhead Nero Express 7 Essentials, CyberLink DVD Suite 5
Operating systemWindows 7 Ultimate 32-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£849
Detailswww.pcspecialist.co.uk

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