The Matrix has a powerful CPU and GPU, as well as some great components, but it needs more hard drive space
3.1GHz Intel Core i5-2380P, 8GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Eclipse’s Matrix i5238r777 has an unassuming glossy black case, but underneath lurks a powerful AMD Radeon HD 7770 graphics card, backed up by an Intel Core i5-2380P processor, 8GB of RAM and a 500GB SATA3 hard disk. There’s plenty of room for expansion inside the case too, along with a good choice of components.
Its EZ-Cool power supply, for example, is rated at 650W, which provides plenty of power for the installed components and is possibly enough to support a second graphics card. You could, for example, install a second AMD card and link the two using AMD’s CrossFire technology, although you should be aware that some games have issues with dual-card setups.
On its own, the 7770 did very well in our benchmarks, scoring a smooth 40fps in Dirt3 and a slightly less impressive 20fps in Crysis 2. You’ll be able to play most games, but to get playable frame rates in the latest shooters or other graphically intensive games you’ll need to reduce some settings.
With the settings turned down to Very High, we got a far more playable 30fps, although we lost some incredible DirectX 11 effects, such as tessellation. At the Ultra setting, the tyre tracks in the mud in the Crysis 2 benchmark looked like ruts with jagged edges; with the settings turned down to Very High, they looked like a painting on a flat surface.
Intel’s Core i5-2380P is a CPU we haven’t come across before, and that’s because it’s brand new, although it’s similar to the Core i5-2400 released last year. The only difference is that it doesn’t include an onboard graphics chip, which is fine because this PC already has a dedicated card fitted. It’s still got plenty of 2D power, however, and scored 102 overall in our Windows benchmarks. Along with 8GB of RAM, this should be sufficient for most users’ needs and you’ll only notice slowdowns if you’re editing large files such as movies or RAW photos.
There’s only 500GB of hard disk space, which is still enough for a large collection of multimedia files, but it isn’t as good as the 1TB we’ve come to expect from a desktop PC. There’s plenty of room to add more disks or optical drives, and it has four spare SATA headers. The Seagate hard disk supports SATA3 and takes up one of the two SATA3 headers, which leaves one spare for an SSD should you wish to install a faster Windows boot disk.
Two spare RAM slots are available, although the installed 8GB is more than most people need. There are also spare PCI and PCI-E slots for expansion cards, although the graphics card blocks a PCI-E x1 slot and a normal PCI slot. We hardly noticed noise, even though it has a stock Intel CPU fan, a Zalman 80mm case fan and a graphics card.
We felt the Matrix i5238r777’s 500GB hard disk let it down, and we would’ve preferred a 1TB device. It represents great value for money in every other area, however, and it has lots of potential for expansion, a fast graphics card and plenty of Windows performance. A good alternative, if you;re looking for a Blu-ray drive too, is the PC Specialist Enigma HD.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-2380P|
|Processor external bus||100MHz (DMI)|
|Processor clock speed||3.1GHz|
|Motherboard||Asustek P8Z68-V LX|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel Z68|
|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|
|PCI-E x1 slots (free)||2 (1)|
|PCI-E x16 slots (free)||2 (1)|
|Free Serial ATA ports||4|
|Free memory slots||2|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||5|
|Hard disk model(s)||Seagate Barracuda (ST500DM002)|
|Total storage capacity||500GB|
|Graphics card(s)||1GB AMD Radeon HD 7770|
|Graphics/video ports||DVI, HDMI, 2x DisplayPort|
|Sound||Realtek HD Audio|
|Sound outputs||7.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out|
|Supported memory cards||none|
|Optical drive type(s)||DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Operating system restore option||Windows disc|
|Warranty||one year RTB|