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Dino PC Marcodon 3570K review

Kat Orphanides
2 Jun 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
699
inc VAT

It’s not overclocked, but this highly capable PC is kitted out with all the latest hardware apart from a Blu-ray drive

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Specifications

3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K, 8GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Dino PC's Marcodon 3570K has one of Intel's new Ivy Bridge processors - a Core i5-3570K, which is a little more powerful than the Core i5-2500K processor which has been the mainstay of most of our award-winners over the last year. Here, the processor runs at its native 3.4GHz, producing an overall score of 114 in our benchmark tests.

Dino PC Marcodon 3570K

The processor is fitted to Gigabyte's Z77-D3H motherboard, which uses Intel's new Z77 chipset. This chipset is optimised for Ivy Bridge but has the same LGA1155 socket as its Sandy Bridge predecessors. The motherboard has two PCI-E x16 slots, one of which is occupied by the graphics card. One of the motherboard's PCI-E x1 slots is blocked by the graphics card, but that still leaves two free. There are also two free PCI slots. The graphics card is a 1GB AMD Radeon HD 7770. It's among the best of AMD's new mid-range cards and produced fairly smooth results of 29.7fps in Dirt 3 and 28.1fps in Crysis 2 at full quality, although frame rates did drop slightly when there was a lot of action on-screen.

Only two of the motherboard's four memory slots are in use. Each currently contains a 4GB module of 1,333MHz RAM for a total of 8GB, which should be plenty for everything short of professional video rendering. The motherboard has six SATA ports, two of which are SATA3. One SATA2 and one SATA3 port are currently in use. There's also an mSATA port just above the first PCI-E x16 slot. This allows you to add tiny, fast mSATA solid state storage drives, which can be used as a cache for the main hard disk, speeding up performance. If you use this, though, one of the standard SATA2 ports is disabled.

Dino PC Marcodon 3570K

There are plenty of expansion bays if you want to add full-sized 3 1/2in hard disks. Unusually, the drive cage, which has sufficient space for six disks and contains only one, faces backwards, so you'll have to open the case panel behind the motherboard to get at it. Above the 3 1/2in cage is a three-bay 5 1/4in drive cage. There are two bays free, with the third occupied by a DVD-RW drive, which is an odd and slightly disappointing choice considering the number of PCs we've seen recently that can read Blu-ray discs.

The case itself is relatively sturdy and well ventilated, with one rear case fan. It's a long way from being a silent PC. A deep consistent whirr emerges from the case, interspersed at unpredictable intervals by a rather irritating, higher-pitched whine whenever the processor comes under load. Fortunately, we became used to this after a short time. The front panel has two USB3 ports alongside the obligatory 3.5in mic and headphone ports. At the back of the PC are another four USB3 ports and four extra USB2 ports, as well as a PS/2 port for older keyboards and mice. There's also a Gigabit Ethernet port, optical S/PDIF output and 7.1 analogue audio outputs.

Dino PC Marcodon 3570K

Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor technology isn’t exactly a quantum leap from Sandy Bridge in terms of performance, but it’s certainly a worthy update. At just shy of £700, this is the first Ivy Bridge PC we’ve reviewed that’s priced to appeal to consumers who care about performance but don’t have over a grand to spend. Although we’ve seen better graphics performance from other PCs, this system did well in all our tests. The system also has plenty of overhead for overclocking thanks to the processor's unlocked multiplier. If you’re after the latest hardware and prefer your PCs not to be overclocked by the manufacturer, this is an excellent system, although we’d have liked a Blu-ray drive.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core i5-3570K
Processor external bus100MHz (DMI)
Processor multiplierx34
Processor clock speed3.4GHz
Processor socketLGA1155
Memory8
Memory typePC3-10666
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardGigabyte Z77-D3H
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z77

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/8
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)3 (2)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)2 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports4
Free memory slots2
Free 3.5in drive bays4

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Western Digital Caviar (WD10EARS-22Y5B1)
InterfaceSATA2
Total storage capacity1,000GB

Graphics

Graphics card(s)1GB AMD Radeon HD 7770
Graphics/video portsDVI, HDMI, 2x Mini DisplayPort

Sound

SoundVIA HD Audio
Sound outputs7.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out, stereo line out, mic in
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

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

Display

Screen modelnone
Native resolutionN/A
Screen inputsN/A

Other Hardware

Keyboardnone
Mousenone

Software

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

Buying Information

Warrantythree years RTB (three years labour, two years parts)
Price£699
Detailswww.dinopc.com

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