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Wired2Fire VX-5 review

Tom Morgan
14 Dec 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
550
inc VAT

Performance from the heavily overclocked processor is impressive, but the integrated graphics can’t handle games.

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Specifications

4GHz Intel Core i3-530, 4GB RAM, 22in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

A lot of manufacturers choose Intel’s Core i3 processor for PCs at this price, and Wired2Fire is no different. The VX-5 is based around a Core i3 530 that’s been overclocked from 2.93GHz up to a dizzy 4 GHz. This is one of the highest overclocks we’ve seen in a budget PC, and as expected performance was very impressive. It produced a blisteringly fast 173 in our image editing test, and an overall score of 136 is more commonly seen in more expensive machines.

There isn’t a dedicated graphics card; the VX-5 instead relies on the Intel HD graphics integrated in the processor. It’s powerful enough for day-to-day tasks like streaming internet video, but it struggles with full HD content. The 7.9fps score in Call of Duty 4 shows isn't suited to playing games. This does mean the PCI-E x16 slot is free to add a graphics card in the future, but as the 500W power supply doesn’t have a six pin connector, you’ll have to use a cable to convert two Molex connectors.

Despite the monstrous overclock, the VX-5 was near-silent during most tasks. The stock CPU cooler has been upgraded and, even when running at full load, it was still very quiet. The power supply contains the systems only other fan, so if you plan on adding a hot graphics card you should install some case fans too.

Wired2Fire VX-5

The case is made of a mix of metal and plastic, and looks rather plain. We did like the flip-down panel that hides the DVD re-writer though. The interior has been well thought-out, with the majority of cables hidden from view behind the drive bays. The motherboard is well equipped for future expansion, with a single PCI slot and two PCI-E x1 slots, although installing a dual-slot graphics card will obstruct one of these. There are three free 5 1/4in drive bays for extra optical drives or fan controllers, and five empty 3 1/2in bays for adding more hard disks.

There are two USB3 ports on the back of the motherboard for connecting super-fast external storage, as well as a further four regular USB ports. This will save having to install an add-in card in the future when USB3 devices become more popular. The Creative A220 2.1 speakers connect to the 5.1 line out ports, have decent bass thanks to a small subwoofer and are loud enough to fill a medium-sized bedroom or home office.

Wired2Fire VX-5 Ports

Everything we tested on the VX-5 looked great thanks to the BenQ 22in monitor. It’s a fantastic budget display that has high contrast, vivid colours and is very sharp. The LED backlight helped create even brightness levels, and the very helpful on-screen menus made it easy to adjust settings. The Logitech keyboard and mouse are both budget models, but they felt comfortable to use and the keyboard had good tactile feedback when typing.

There’s no question that overclocking the processor puts the VX-5 among the fasted budget PCs. It’s also the only system this month to include a set of speakers, so it’s ideal for an instant multimedia setup. The spacious 1TB hard disk and excellent monitor are great inclusions, but the lack of a graphics card limits its appeal to gamers. For those wanting to play games, the latest iteration of the CyberPower Infinity i3 Apollo Elite is a better option.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core i3-530
Processor external bus200MHz (3.6GHz DMI)
Processor multiplierx20
Processor clock speed4GHz
Processor socketLGA1156
Memory4
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory16GB
MotherboardAsus P7H55-M/USB3
Motherboard chipsetIntel H55

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/4
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)2 (2)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports6
Free memory slots2
Free 3.5in drive bays5

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Samsung HD103SJ
InterfaceSATA II
Total storage capacity1,000GB

Graphics

Graphics card(s)Intel GMA HD
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI

Sound

SoundRealtek ALC887
Sound outputs5.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out
SpeakersCreative Inspire A220 2.1

Removable Drives

Supported memory cardsnone
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size22 in
Screen modelBenQ G2222HDL
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Screen inputsVGA, DVI

Other Hardware

KeyboardLogitech Deluxe 250 Keyboard
MouseLogitech b110

Software

Software includednone
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionburn own restore disc

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years RTB
Price£550
Detailswww.wired2fire.co.uk

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