Advertisement
Advertisement

Computer Planet GX300 Budget PC review

Kat Orphanides
1 May 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
515
inc VAT

Ageing hardware and a VGA only monitor make this PC a less than perfect choice, even on a budget

Advertisement

Specifications

3GHz AMD A8-3870, 8GB RAM, 21.5in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Surprisingly, even for a low-cost computer, the Computer Planet GX300 Budget PC has forgone the latest hardware and opted for an AMD FM1 motherboard and processor combination, rather than the newer FM2 standard. This is particularly surprising, as FM2 processors are currently such good value.

That said, in terms of performance there's nothing wrong with the 3GHz A8-3870 processor. Combined with the 8GB of RAM, this PC managed 61 overall in our benchmarks, which is only a few points behind the latest FM2 processors.

Computer Planet GX300 Budget PC

The CPU's built-in graphics processor isn't bad. Running the laptop version of our Dirt Showdown test at a resolution of 1,280x720 we got a frame rate of 28.5fps. This is a fair way behind the latest FM2 processors, so you'll only be able to play older less demanding games. If you want a bit of a graphical boost, you can install a low-cost AMD graphics card in the PCI-E x16 graphics slot and use CrossfireX with the CPU's graphics chip.

We found the Gigabyte GA-A55M-DS2 MicroATX motherboard quite disappointing. While we can live with just two RAM slots, it's disappointing not to see the latest standards supported. So, there are no USB3 ports and no SATA3 ports, which will mean if you add an SSD later you won't get the maximum speed out of it.

For expansion there are PCI-E x1 and PCI slots, although the PCI-E x1 slot will be blocked by the fans on most graphics cards if you install one. There are also only four SATA2 ports, of which two are in use, connected to a DVD-RW drive and a 500GB hard disk.

Computer Planet GX300 Budget PC

At the back of the PC are a miserly four USB ports, along with two PS/2 ports, three 3.5mm analogue audio outputs for up to 5.1 surround sound, a Gigabit Ethernet port and VGA and DVI graphics outputs, which you can use to drive up to two displays from the on-chip GPU. There are another two USB ports at the front, plus the usual 3.5mm mic and headphone ports.

Computer Planet supplies the system with an Acer S220HQL monitor, which has only a VGA input. There's nothing particularly wrong with this type of connection, although it means the monitor doesn't support HDCP, so you can't connect external devices that require it, such as games consoles or Blu-ray players. PCs will be fine and should be able to play all content, although it is possible that some applications could require HDCP, although this is unlikely. At least the display is evenly lit with decent colour accuracy. However, at £116 above the base unit price, we'd be tempted to buy the PC without the monitor and buy a better-quality one.

The case is a standard issue budget Cooler Master Elite, with an unfinished interior including rear expansion slot covers that have to be removed by force and can't be replaced, as well as little by way of sound or dust proofing. However, it's reasonably spacious, easy to work in and doesn't look too bad either. There are three vacant 5.25in bays and six unused 3.5in bays, including an externally facing one suitable for a memory card reader. The system comes with 500W Cooler Master PSU, which should stand you in good stead for any upgrades you want to add.

Computer Planet GX300 Budget PC

Finally, the system comes installed with Windows 7. There's nothing wrong with this operating system, but we'd prefer Windows 8, as it boots faster. The system also comes with a basic Logitech wired mouse and keyboard. They're among our favourite budget options, as they're both comfortable and functional.

The GX300 Budget PC isn't too bad in isolation, but for the same money, you can get newer, faster core components and a better monitor. We'd go for the Best Buy Wired2Fire Velocity VX instead.

Basic Specifications

Rating**
ProcessorAMD A8-3870
Processor external bus100MHz (HyperTransport)
Processor multiplierx30
Processor clock speed3GHz
Processor socketFM1
Memory8
Memory typePC3-10600
Maximum memory64GB
MotherboardGigabyte GA-A55M-DS2
Motherboard chipsetAMD A55

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/4
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)1 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)1 (1)
Free Serial ATA ports2
Free memory slots0
Free 3.5in drive bays6

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Seagate Barracuda (ST500DM002-1BD142)
InterfaceSATA3

Graphics

Graphics card(s)AMD Radeon HD 6550D
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI

Sound

SoundVIA HD Audio
Sound outputs5.1 line out, stereo line out, mic in
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

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

Display

Viewable size21.5 in
Screen modelAcer S220HQL
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Screen inputsVGA

Other Hardware

KeyboardLogitech K120
MouseLogitech M120

Software

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

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return, three years labour and parts warranty
Price£515
Detailswww.computerplanet.co.uk

Read more

Reviews