This chunky powerhouse is a fantastic gaming system with lots of upgrade potential
4.4GHz Intel Core i5-4670K, 16GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 8
The Vibox Black Legion has risen in price from £1,050 to £1,200 due to unavoidable increases in component prices since we originally tested the PC back in August. Apologies for the late publication of this review and any confusion caused
Despite having a name that’s somewhere between a support unit in a fantasy RTS and a slightly unimaginative death metal band, the Vibox Black Legion is a rather awe-inspiring piece of kit. We especially like its Corsair Graphite 600T case, which is enormous, heavy and brilliantly designed, particularly if you like to tinker and upgrade your PC.
The case’s side panels are held in place by chunky clips and hinge open smoothly to provide access to the case’s large internal bay. There’s plenty of room inside thanks to its great length. You can even remove the central drive cage to accommodate the largest graphics cards, should you decide to upgrade to one in the future. There’s not a single sharp or even slightly unfinished edge to be found, either.
The left-hand side panel has a mesh grille built into it, with mounting points for up to four additional fans. As it is, the grille gives you a rather good view of the case’s interior, which is pleasantly illuminated by the logo on the processor cooler. Despite being liquid cooled, the system is surprisingly loud, even with the case’s multitude of fans running at their lowest speed. A dial above the front panel lets you manually spin them at full speed should you need some extra cooling. It’ll certainly look conspicuous your living room, but it’s less over the top than many gaming cases, despite its size.
There are four 5 1/4in drive bays, one of them occupied by a DVD-RW drive, plus two drive cages with space for three drives in each. The vibration-damped 3 1/2in drive rails slide in smoothly, and one has been fitted with an adaptor that holds a 120GB SSD boot drive. A 2TB 3 1/2in hard disk occupies the bay below. Three of the motherboard’s six SATA3 ports are in use, leaving three vacant for future upgrades.
The Black Legion’s processor is an Intel Core i5-4670K processor, which is overclocked to 4.4GHz and is fitted in a Gigabyte Z87X-D3H motherboard. Two of the four memory slots are occupied by 8GB modules of 1,866MHz DDR3 RAM to provide a total memory capacity of 16GB. This should be enough memory for years to come.
Unsurprisingly, the PC produced a phenomenal score of 134 in our benchmark tests, and produced a particularly strong multitasking score of 144. The graphics card is an XFX AMD Radeon R7950 with 3GB of graphics memory, and it performed well in our tests, producing average frame rates of 38.6fps in Crysis 2 and 88.49fps in Dirt Showdown at Ultra quality and a resolution of 1,920×1,080.
The motherboard has lots of expansion slots. Although it has three PCI-E x16 slots, only one runs at x16, with the others running at x8 and x4. None of these slots share bandwidth, either, so when the x8 slot is populated the main x16 slot runs at x8, and when the x4 slot is populated none of the PCI-E x1 slots will work. That’s a pretty good reason to keep the x4 slot unpopulated, as the motherboard has three very handy PCI-E x1 slots.
One of these is blocked by the graphics cards, but that still leaves two available for expansion cards such as a sound card or additional USB3 ports. The motherboard’s only PCI slot is occupied by a Wi-Fi card.
The case connectors are located on top of the PC, just above the front panel. Here, alongside the fan speed adjustment dial, you’ll find four USB2 ports, a USB3 port and a FireWire port. The latter isn’t connected to anything, though, as the motherboard doesn’t have an IEEE 1394 header. Unfortunately, the front panel’s USB3 port was connected to a USB port on the back panel via a pass-through cable. Should you require more USB ports, the motherboard has two free headers. In fact, it’s a shame Vibox hasn’t used two backplane USB3 adaptors to make the most of the headers. At present, the headers feel wasted.
At the rear of the system, the motherboard provides plenty of connectivity. In addition to the occupied USB3 port, there are another five USB3 and two USB2 ports. Alongside these is a PS/2 port for an older mouse or keyboard, and there’s also a Gigabit Ethernet port, should you want to connect to your network via wire rather than Wi-Fi. Conveniently, the Black Legion comes with a full one-year version of Bullguard Internet Security. It’s based on the BitDefender engine, which did well in our most recent anti-virus group test.
The Black Legion is a highly specified, well-built and well-priced PC, and is one of the best gaming systems you can buy. Should you want something a little more discreet, you could buy the Computer Planet ND 5000, but otherwise there’s no reason not to invest in the Vibox Black Legion.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-4670K|
|Processor external bus||100MHz (DMI)|
|Processor clock speed||4.4GHz|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel Z87|
|USB2 ports (front/rear)||5/8|
|eSATA ports (front/rear)||0/0|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11n|
|PCI-E x1 slots (free)||3 (2)|
|PCI-E x16 slots (free)||3 (2)|
|Free Serial ATA ports||3|
|Free memory slots||2|
|Free 3.5in drive bays||6|
|Hard disk model(s)||Kingston SH103S3120G + Seagate Barracuda ST200DM001-9YN162|
|Graphics card(s)||3GB AMD Radeon HD 7950|
|Graphics/video ports||2x DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort|
|Sound outputs||7.1 line out, optical S/PDIF out, stereo line out, mic in|
|Supported memory cards||none|
|Optical drive type(s)||DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
|Operating system||Windows 8|
|Operating system restore option||Windows disc|
|Warranty||one year RTB|