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PC Specialist Enigma HD review

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

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 *****
Processor Intel Core i5-2400
Processor external bus 100MHz (DMI)
Processor multiplier x31
Processor clock speed 3.1GHz
Processor socket LGA1155
Memory 4
Memory type DDR3
Maximum memory 16GB
Motherboard Asustek P8H61-M LE/USB3
Motherboard chipset Intel H61

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear) 2/6
Firewire ports (front/rear) 0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear) 0/0
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support none

Internal Expansion

Case tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free) 2 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free) 1 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports 2
Free memory slots 1
Free 3.5in drive bays 5

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 (ST31000528AS)
Interface SATA2
Total storage capacity 1,000GB

Graphics

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

Sound

Sound Realtek HD Audio
Sound outputs 5.1 line out
Speakers none

Removable Drives

Supported memory cards none
Optical drive type(s) DVD+/-RW +/-DL BD-ROM

Display

Screen model none
Native resolution N/A
Screen inputs N/A

Other Hardware

Keyboard N/A
Mouse N/A

Software

Software included Microsoft Office 2010 Starter
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option Windows disc

Buying Information

Warranty one year collect and return (lifetime technical support)
Price £549
Details www.pcspecialist.co.uk

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