With a great graphics card but an inferior display, this PC’s best bought without a monitor
4.5GHz Intel Core i5-3570K, 8GB RAM, 21.5in 1,920×1,080 display, Windows 8
The Eclipse Gladiator i5357r785is a compact and rather attractive midi-tower desktop PC. Inside the neat-looking case is a powerful PC with a very fast graphics card.
Thanks to the 1GB AMD Radeon HD 7850 graphics card, this PC stormed through our graphics tests. A result of 58.6fps in Dirt Showdown at 1,920×1,080 and Ultra detail is impressive, but we’re more impressed with the Crysis 2 test. This game is really graphically demanding, so the Gladiator’s score of 38.8fps running with Ultra detail settings at a Full HD resolution shows how powerful the graphics card is. You’ll be able to play any game on this computer, with the detail settings turned up to the max.
There are loads of connection options, too, with two DVI ports, two mini DisplayPort connectors and an HDMI output. The card’s fan runs a little loud when it’s at full pelt, but you’re unlikely to notice it under the sound of explosions.
The processor and motherboard are an Intel Core i5-3570K and an Asus P8Z77-V LX2, which is probably the most popular combination with PC makers in the UK. In this case, the processor has been overclocked to 4.5GHz, up from its stock speed of 3.4GHz, producing an overall score of 125 in our benchmark tests. That’s fast enough for any game or desktop application you could want.
The system is equipped with 8GB of budget 1,333MHz RAM, which lacks the shiny heat spreaders of higher-end RAM, but didn’t throw up any problems during our tests. The motherboard can take up to 32GB of memory and two slots are currently vacant, making it easy to add more if you need it. However, 8GB is plenty for most purposes.
The case’s small size means that it feels a little cluttered, even though the cables strewn from the 650W EZCool PSU are secured into place where possible. The small internal bay means that fitting longer graphics cards isn’t an option, either, as they’ll be blocked by the drive cage. There’s little in the way of dust blocking or noise dampening, although the system was very quiet in practice.
There are four SATA2 ports, two of which are occupied by the 1TB hard disk and DVD drive, and two empty SATA3 ports, which would be useful if you want to add an SSD in the future. There’s plenty of room to install more drives in one of four vacant 3.5in bays or three unused 5.25in bays.
Adding expansion cards should be easy, too, with two PCI, two PCI-E x1 and two PCI-E x16 slots on the motherboard. The graphics card blocks takes up one PCI-E x16 slot and blocks one of the x1 slots, but that still gives plenty of expansion space.
Otherwise, it’s business as usual with 5.1 analogue outputs, four USB and two USB 3 ports at the rear next to the Gigabit Ethernet port. It’s good to see a further two USB3 ports at the front of the PC, where they’re arguably more useful.
The system comes with a budget CIT mouse and keyboard. They’re rather basic, but comfortable to use, although the keyboard has slightly spongy keys and both devices have quite short cables.
The monitor is a 21.5in matt AOC e2250Swdn with VGA and DVI inputs, and a resolution of 1,920×1,080. Unfortunately, it’s not the greatest display we’ve seen. In our tests, it produced a contrast ratio of 214:1, while its colour gamut was just 79.8 per cent of the sRGB standard. This display wasn’t as punch or vibrant as with monitors provided with other systems.
It’s the display that lets the Gladiator down in this extremely competitive price category, and it’s a bit of a disappointment given how good the graphics card is for gaming. If you already have a high quality monitor, the rest of this system is well worth buying. If you’re buying a full system, however, the Chillblast Fusion Sprite has a much better display along with a graphics card that’s almost, but not quite, as fast as the Gladiator’s.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-3570K|
|Processor external bus||100MHz (DMI)|
|Processor clock speed||4.5GHz|
|Motherboard||Asus P8Z77-V LX2|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel Z77|
|USB2 ports (front/rear)||2/6|
|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 (ST1000DM003-1CH162)|
|Graphics card(s)||1GB AMD Radeon HD 7850|
|Graphics/video ports||2x DVI, 1x HDMI, 2x mini DisplayPort|
|Sound outputs||5.1 line out, headphone, microphone|
|Supported memory cards||none|
|Optical drive type(s)||DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
|Viewable size||21.5 in|
|Screen model||AOC e2250Swdn|
|Screen inputs||DVI, VGA|
|Operating system||Windows 8|
|Operating system restore option||Windows disc|
|Warranty||one year RTB|