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PC Specialist Vanquish 300R review

Kat Orphanides
5 Apr 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
999
inc VAT

A great selection of top-notch components and liquid cooling make this a great gaming PC

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Specifications

4.6GHz Intel Core i5-3570K, 8GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 8

Even before you use it, the Vanquish 300R seems a great deal. It has an Intel Core i5-3570K that’s overclocked to 4.6GHz, a GeForce GTX 670 graphics card and 8GB of 2,400MHz RAM. It also uses an SSD as its system drive, so it boots into Windows 8 quickly.

PC Specialist Vanquish 300R

As reflected in its name, the Vanquish 300R’s case is a heavy duty Corsair Carbide 300R. It doesn't provide a great deal of sound or dust-proofing, but it's very sturdy, has plenty of space in which to work and is well finished inside and out. It looks conservative, but we think that’s a good thing, as we’re fans of understatement when it comes to case design. We’re also pleased to see that it uses a branded power supply: the Corsair TX650.

This provides plenty of power for the graphics card, which is a Palit 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 - a great choice. In our 3D graphics tests, it achieved a very smooth 44fps average frame rate in Crysis 2 and a blistering 61.4fps in Dirt Showdown, both at Ultra quality. You’ll certainly be able to play all the latest 3D games with this graphics card.

The GTX 670’s size means that it blocks one of the motherboard's two PCI-E x1 slots, but there's still a vacant slot above it. There are also three unused PCI slots, and a PCI-E x16 slot that actually runs at x4; this houses a Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card. This OEM version of the card lacks the shiny red electro-magnetic shield used on the retail version, but it’s otherwise identical, with outputs for 5.1 analogue surround sound, a header connector for the front panel audio ports and optical S/PDIF inputs and outputs for digital surround sound via an AV receiver or amplifier.

PC Specialist Vanquish 300R

Although it lacks the replaceable op-amps and high-end DACs of more expensive models, it's a massive improvement on motherboard audio. The driver provides plenty of options to enhance movie and gaming audio and it sounds great whether you’re listening to music through high-end headphones or causing thundering explosions in your favourite first-person shooter. You can even output fully processed gaming audio via the optical S/PDIF output.

The motherboard is an Asus P8Z77-V LX, which is a board we probably see more frequently than any other. It isn’t terribly exciting, but it has everything we expect from a current LGA1155 board, including USB3 support, two SATA3 ports and four SATA2 ports. Both of the SATA3 ports are connected to the PC's two hard disks: one 120GB SSD system drive, which provides fast booting into Windows 8 and responsive desktop performance, and a 1TB HDD for all the media and data you'll want to store.

These drives occupy two of the four 3 1/2in bays in a cage at the bottom of the case. There are also three 5 1/4in bays at the top, one of which is occupied by a DVD-RW drive. There isn't a centre drive cage, which means there's plenty of room to add components, even full-length graphics cards. We like the 300R’s tool-free bays and vibration-reducing grommets, too.

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