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Computer Planet ND2500 review

Kat Orphanides
4 Jun 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
700
inc VAT

A powerful PC with a high-quality display, but a faster graphics card would have been nice

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Specifications

4.6GHz Intel Core i5-3570K, 8GB RAM, 21.5in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 8

Although the Computer Planet ND2500 is built into one of Cooler Master’s more restrained Elite cases, with an unfinished grey metal interior and little by way of noise and dust filtering, some quality components have gone into building the system. We're pleased to see that these include a 600W Cooler Master PSU which should be powerful enough to support the vast majority of upgrades.

Computer Planet ND2500

The 1GB Zotac Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 graphics card is a decent card, although you may have to turn down detail settings and resolution in order to get the best frame rates. At Ultra quality, running at 1,920x1,080 the ND2500 managed just 21.7fps in Dirt Showdown and only 15.9fps in Crysis 2. Dropping the detail settings got us 53fps in Dirt Showdown, although the 23fps in Crysis 2 was still quite jerky. For some casual gaming at lower resolutions, though, this PC is capable.

Application performance was a lot better, thanks to an overclocked Intel Core i5-3570K, overclocked to 4.6GHz, up from the stock speed of 2.8GHz. Combined with the 8GB of RAM, the PC score 128 overall, which shows that the ND2500 can cope with any task you throw at it.

Build quality and choice of components inside the case is excellent. We were pleased to see a Gigabyte Z77-D3H, which a great-value motherboard that has impressed us in standalone reviews. It has two PCI slots, three PCI-E x1 slots and a couple of PCI-E x16 slots, although one of these actually runs at x4, so it's better for expansion cards rather than dual graphics. The main x16 slot is home to graphics card, which blocks the PCI-E x1 slot immediately beneath it, but that still leaves two slots free to use.

Computer Planet ND2500

The motherboard also has four SATA2 ports and two SATA3 ports. Both of these are currently in use, connected to the DVD drive and 1TB hard disk, but if you later wish to add another hard disk or, particularly, an SSD, you should move the DVD-RW's connection to one of the SATA2 ports.

Two of the motherboard's four memory slots are occupied by 4GB modules of 1,600MHz DDR3 RAM, leaving two vacant for easy upgrades. However 8GB should be plenty for most users, unless you're into virtualisation or particularly heavy-duty video, audio or image editing. The motherboard can, like most, handle a maximum 32GB of RAM.

There are eight USB ports at the back of the motherboard, which is a far more generous supply than you'll find on many similarly priced systems, particularly as four of them are USB3. There's also an unused USB3 header on the motherboard, which you can use to add extra USB3 ports via a backplate if you need them.

The motherboard also has a PS/2 port, Gigabit Ethernet, an optical S/PDIF output for digital audio and five 3.5mm audio outputs for analogue surround sound. There are also 3.5mm mic and headphone ports at the front of the PC, along with three more USB ports and an extremely useful memory card reader.

Computer Planet ND2500

The supplied CIT mouse and keyboard are about as basic as you're likely to find. The keyboard feels a little cramped, despite its conventional layout, and there's not much feedback from the keys. The mouse is very light, but comfortable and responsive. However, its very short cable might be a problem if you want to keep the PC on the floor. Both peripherals are good enough to use until such point as you find something that more specifically meets your requirements from an input device.

The PC even comes with a little set of Logitech S120 stereo speakers. They're really bright, lacking in bass and harsh at higher volumes, but they're certainly good enough for YouTube and system sounds. The ND2500 also comes will full versions of Webroot AntiVirus 2013, which we suggest replacing for security software that provides better protection, and PowerDVD 10, which is great.

A 21.5in AOC E2260Swda monitor is supplied, which is a little smaller than we'd expect at this price. That said, with a Full HD (1,920x1,080) resolution and excellent image quality, there's a lot to like. In our tests we found it had a very good contrast ratio of 967:1 and produced an excellent 98.8 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut at its default settings. Although it's not very easy to finely adjust the monitor's position, this is one of the best budget displays that we've seen.

While we wouldn’t usually recommend opting for a £700 PC with a 21.5in display, the AOC E2260Swda’s high quality is undeniable. The entire system is well designed and the processor has all the power you’ll need, and only the slightly underpowered GTX 650 graphics card detracts. The Chillblast Fusion Sprite has a better graphics card and a large IPS display, making it a better buy.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core i5-3570K
Processor external bus100MHz (DMI)
Processor multiplierx46
Processor clock speed4.6GHz
Processor socketLGA1155
Memory8
Memory typePC3-12800
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardGigabyte Z77-D3H
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z77

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)3/8
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 bays6

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Seagate Barracuda (ST1000DM003-1CH162)
InterfaceSATA3

Graphics

Graphics card(s)1GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 650
Graphics/video ports2x DVI, mini HDMI

Sound

SoundVIA VT2021
Sound outputs7.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out, stereo line out, mic in
SpeakersLogitech S120 2.0

Removable Drives

Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo, CF, CF II, MicroDrive, M2, MicroSD, SIM
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Viewable size21.5 in
Screen modelAOC E2260Swda
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Screen inputsDVI, VGA

Other Hardware

KeyboardCIT KB-2106C
MouseCIT MS-M14

Software

Operating systemWindows 8
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantythree years RTB (first year collect and return, two years manufacturer parts cover with labour and return shipping)
Price£700
Detailswww.computerplanet.co.uk

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