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PC Specialist Enigma HD review

Barry de la Rosa
24 Mar 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
549
inc VAT

Doesn't have much room for expansion, but its Blu-ray drive, 1TB hard disk and great performance make it a Best Buy

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Specifications

3.1GHz Intel Core i5-2400, 4GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

PC Specialist's Enigma HD is a desktop PC that’s powered by an Intel Core i5-2400 processor and an AMD Radeon HD 6850 graphics card, all backed up by 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard disk. It also has a Blu-ray drive, which means you can watch Full HD movies.

PC Specialist Enigma HD

PCs generally fall into two categories: those that are designed to be used as they are, and those that have an eye on future upgrades. The Enigma HD falls into the former category. Its motherboard only has two expansion card slots free (one PCI and one PCI-E x1) and there's only one free RAM slot. There's plenty of room for the easy installation of extra disks and drives too, thanks to three spare 5.25in drive bays and tool-free clamps to secure them in place, but the motherboard only has two free SATA headers.

Neither of these supports the faster SATA3 standard, either, which rules out the installation of a fast SSD as a Windows boot disk. There is, however, support for USB3, with the Enigma HD having two USB3 ports on the rear of the case. There are more USB headers on the motherboard, but sadly these only support the older USB2 standard, so if you have more than two USB3 devices you'll have to invest in a USB3 hub to attach all of them at the same time.

The Enigma HD has a 1TB hard disk, and it’s a 7,200rpm model too, which should give a slight performance boost. 4GB of RAM is pretty standard these days, and the Enigma HD’s 64-bit version of Windows 7 can make full use of it. 4GB is sufficient for most people's needs, but if you edit large files such as videos or RAW photos, you may need 4 GB more - this will only cost around £20, though.

PC Specialist Enigma HD

Intel's Core i5-2400 is getting on, but a score of 96 Overall in our Windows benchmarks shows that it's fast enough for most people's needs. In fact, it's only just shy of our reference PC's overall score of 100. What's more, it's incredibly efficient, only drawing 148W when pushed to its limits and 1W in sleep mode.

Sadly, external expansion is limited. The eight USB ports are fairly standard, but there aren't any eSATA or FireWire ports for older external drives. It only has three 3.5mm audio outputs, supporting a maximum 5.1 surround sound system, and there's no S/PDIF port to support older AV equipment. If you want to connect to a home cinema setup, it's better to output both audio and video via the HDMI port to an AV amplifier in any case.

PC Specialist Enigma HD

AMD's Radeon HD 6850 may be a previous generation card, but it's still one of the best value cards currently available. It has a good variety of outputs too, with the cohort comprised of two DVI ports, one DisplayPort and one HDMI port. It scored 42fps in Dirt 3 and 20fps in our demanding Crysis 2 benchmark. If you reduce settings to Very High, you get a far more playable 41fps in Crysis 2, although you then miss out on some great effects, such as tessellation.

The Enigma HD doesn't have a lot of room for improvement, but there's little that it can't do already. It can play games and Blu-ray films, it has adequate performance and plenty of storage space, and it'll even save on energy bills. It's just a shame that the warranty isn't longer. It's still great value, however, and it wins our Best Buy award.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2400
Processor external bus100MHz (DMI)
Processor multiplierx31
Processor clock speed3.1GHz
Processor socketLGA1155
Memory4
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory16GB
MotherboardAsustek P8H61-M LE/USB3
Motherboard chipsetIntel H61

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/6
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone

Internal Expansion

Casetower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)2 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports2
Free memory slots1
Free 3.5in drive bays5

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 (ST31000528AS)
InterfaceSATA2
Total storage capacity1,000GB

Graphics

Graphics card(s)1GB AMD Radeon HD 6850
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI, HDMI

Sound

SoundRealtek HD Audio
Sound outputs5.1 line out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

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

Display

Screen modelnone
Native resolutionN/A
Screen inputsN/A

Other Hardware

KeyboardN/A
MouseN/A

Software

Software includedMicrosoft Office 2010 Starter
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return (lifetime technical support)
Price£549
Detailswww.pcspecialist.co.uk

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