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Computer Planet ND 3000 review

Kat Orphanides
22 Sep 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
892
inc VAT

A good all-round PC limited by a poor choice of processor and monitor

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Specifications

3.2GHz Intel Core i5-4570, 8GB RAM, 23in 1,920x1,080 display, Windows 8

The Computer Planet ND3000 is available as a basic system and with a couple of upgrades. Considering it doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card, the basic system we started with is rather expensive, at £734.

The case is a fairly sturdy and well-finished Cooler Master chassis with seven 3 1/2in bays and three 5 1/4in bays. One of each is occupied, by a 1TB hard disk and a DVD-RW drive, and one of the 3 1/2in bays is externally facing so you could fit a memory card reader. At the top of the front panel, you'll find a USB3 port, a USB port and mic and headphone ports.

At the back, the motherboard provides an array of ports including two USB and two USB3 ports, a PS/2 port for a mouse or keyboard, Gigabit Ethernet and six 3.5mm stereo ports for analogue surround sound. If you opt not to buy the dedicated graphics card and want to rely on the processor's integrated graphics, you'll be able to use two of the motherboard's DVI, HDMI and VGA outputs to connect a couple of monitors.

Computer Planet ND 3000

The Gigabyte B85M-D3H motherboard is unusual for a socket LGA1150 board in that it only has four SATA3 ports, although these are bolstered by an additional two SATA2 ports. There are four memory slots, two of which are occupied by 4GB modules running at 1,333MHz. There's less room for expansion cards than you'll see on many motherboards, with just two PCI and two PCI-E x16 slots. There are no PCI-E x1 slots and one of the PCI slots will be blocked if the optional graphics card is installed.

The PC's Intel Core i5-4570 processor is a little less powerful than the i5-4670K processors we see in a lot of PCs at this price, and it doesn’t have an unlocked multiplier so can't be easily overclocked, but its overall score of 102 in our benchmark tests shows it is still more than powerful enough to run demanding applications.

The main upgrade you can add to the system is a £140 Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 graphics card with two DVI outputs, an HDMI port and a DisplayPort. It's a fairly competent gaming card with 2GB of graphics memory, and managed a frame rate of 50.9fps in Dirt Showdown at Ultra quality and a resolution of 1,920x1,080. When running Crysis 2 at the same settings we saw a slightly jerky 26fps, but lowering the game to Extreme quality meant that we got a smooth 45.4fps. If you’re planning on playing games you should definitely get this upgrade, as the processor's integrated graphics can only manage a properly playable frame rate of 32.3fps in Dirt Showdown at a resolution of 1,280x720 and High quality.

Computer Planet ND 3000

For £117, Computer Planet will supply a 23in AOC E2343Fi monitor with HDMI and VGA inputs. This has an unusually chunky stand which includes a 32-pin iPod dock, so you can play video straight from an iPod or iPhone on the screen. If you want to dock a newer iPhone or iPod with a Thunderbolt connector, you'll need an adaptor. The matt display looks slightly dull and cold, and it didn’t do well in our colour calibration tests, either; we saw a contrast ratio of 158:1, and the monitor could only cover 77% of the sRGB colour gamut.

The monitor adds an extra £118 to the price of the system. It's not terribly expensive, but it's not very good, either. You can also add a standard, serviceable Logitech keyboard and mouse set for £18.

Computer Planet provides a one year collect and return warranty covering both parts and labour, and another two years' return to base warranty covering parts only. The system also comes with full copies of PowerDVD 10, Nero 12 and Webroot Anti Virus 2013. It's worth noting that Webroot's detection engine didn't do well in our last group test, so you may want to consider an alternative to make sure you're protected.

Although it has a reasonably powerful base configuration, we found the Computer Planet ND3000's motherboard to be limited in its upgrade potential and we weren't impressed with the PC's monitor upgrade. Rivals such as the award-winning Chillblast Fusion Kestrel or Palicomp Sniper Elite2 Gamer have better base configurations and more flexible upgrade paths.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4570
Processor external bus100MHz (DMI)
Processor multiplierx32
Processor clock speed3.2GHz
Processor socketLGA1150
Memory8
Memory typePC3-10600
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardGigabyte B85M-D3H
Motherboard chipsetIntel B85

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/6
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)0 (0)
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)2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 660
Graphics/video ports2x DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort

Sound

SoundRealtek ALC892
Sound outputs7.1 line out, headphone, microphone
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

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

Display

Viewable size23 in
Screen modelAOC E2343Fi
Native resolution1,920x1,080
Screen inputsVGA, HDMI

Other Hardware

Keyboardnone
Mousenone

Software

Operating systemWindows 8
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantythree years RTB (one year parts, three years labour)
Price£892
Supplierhttp://www.computerplanet.co.uk
Detailswww.computerplanet.co.uk

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