The Yoyotech BlackBox DB3 is a well-equipped and powerful PC gaming system
Processor: Six-core 3.5GHz Intel i7-5930K, RAM: 16GB, Front USB ports : 2x USB, 2x USB3, Rear USB ports: 2x USB, 8x USB3, Total storage: 120GB SSD, 2TB Hard disk, Graphics card: 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Gaming Edition, Display: N/A, Operating system: Windows 8.1
If you like your PC components to be on permanent display, Yoyotech’s BlackBox DB3 goes one better than a mere window; the Corsair Graphite 760T case it arrives in has a completely transparent side panel, showing off everything inside.
Both side panels are hinged from the rear and open with tool-free latches. You’ll need some clearance on either side of the desktop to open the doors, but once open it’s possible to lift each one completely off its hinges.
There’s plenty of cooling, with two 140mm red LED fans mounted to the front and two non-illuminated 140mm fans are fitted to the top. The case stands on two raised feet, which creates plenty of clearance underneath for better airflow. CPU cooling comes in the form of a Corsair H80i Hydro Series liquid cooler that uses a 120mm fan mounted to the rear of the case.
A fan controller on the front toggles between silent and performance fan modes. In performance mode the BlackBox DB3 never ramped up beyond a gentle whirr, even when under load, as the large diameter fans are able to run at a lower rpm to reduce overall system noise. For a PC as ostensibly powerful as this, we were impressed at how quiet it was. Our review system was well cabled and everything was neatly routed behind the motherboard. Combined with the excellent fans, the system is incredibly well ventilated.
A 750W Seasonic Evo Bronze PSU should provide enough power for upgrades, and there’s plenty of potential in the case as well. Only one of the three external 5¼in drive bays is occupied by a DVD-RW drive, there are three free 2½in bays and five free 3½in bays, which also support 2½in disks.
The DB3 uses an Intel Core i7-5930K that has six cores running at 3.5GHz, but can Turbo boost up to 3.7GHz. This is paired with 16GB of 2,1300MHz DDR4 memory, helping it achieve an overall score of 138 in our application benchmarks. The DB3 will be more than powerful enough for most uses, whether you want to do video editing or desktop publishing.
The system is also equipped with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Gaming Edition from MSI that has 4GB of GDDR5 memory. The GTX 970 is based on Nvidia’s 2nd-generation Maxwell architecture, which has lower power requirements and better energy efficiency compared to its Kepler-based predecessors. It’s a spectacular performer and made light work of our Dirt Showdown test, managing 124.6fps at 1,920×1,080 resolution and Ultra quality graphics.
It also managed 72.7fps in the more demanding Crysis 3 at 1,920×1,080, with 4x anti-aliasing and High quality graphics. Pushing it up to Very High quality dropped the frame rate to 44.9fps, which is still more than perfectly playable. Even with 8x anti-aliasing we saw on average 31.7fps, which while not as silky smooth was still just about good enough for an enjoyable time. If you’re looking for a gaming system, the BlackBox DB3 will have you covered for most new games at high to maximum graphics quality.
An MSI X99S Gaming 7 motherboard gives you decent upgrade potential with plenty of SATA3 ports and graphics card slots. The graphics card fills one of the four PCI-E x16 slots, along with two PCI-E x1 slots, although the size of the GTX 970 obstructs the PCI-E x16 and PCI-Ex1 slots directly below it. The motherboard supports up to 3-way mode SLI, although with all three slots in use they will only operate at x8 speeds.
There are eight memory slots and the motherboard can support up to a staggering 128GB of RAM. Four of the slots are already occupied. There are also eight SATA3 ports, five of which are available, and an M.2 slot for compact SSDs. The motherboard also had other nice touches for anyone looking to tinker, such as a debug LED and easy-to-access clear CMOS button on the back of the I/O panel.
Connectivity is excellent, with two USB ports, two USB3 ports and headphone and microphone jacks on the front. A further eight USB3 ports are on the back, along with another two USB ports. At the back, you get Killer Gigabit Ethernet for networking, an optical S/PDI and 3.5mm audio jacks for up to 7.1 surround sound. A dedicated headphone amplifier can drive headphones up to 600 ohms, and USB ports that have been optimised for use with USB DACs bolster audio capabilities further.
The 2TB mechanical hard disk leaves plenty of space for games and multimedia files, but we were hoping for a larger SSD than the 128GB model provided. A large proportion of that space is taken up with the Windows 8.1 operating system alone, which could mean you’re swiftly running out of space once you install some games and applications. The SSD speed up boot and shutdown times, however, and loading up games felt fast and responsive.
Overall there’s a lot to like about the Yoyotech BlackBox DB3, such as its wonderful case and decent motherboard. Gaming performance was nothing to scoff at either. It’s pricy, however, and for the money we would have wanted a bigger SSD. If you’re not looking to spend quite as much, the Scan 3XS Z97 Performance GTX produced excellent performance for the money.
|Processor||Six-core 3.5GHz Intel i7-5930K|
|Motherboard||MSI X99S GAMING 7|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel X99|
|Ports and expansion|
|Front USB ports||2x USB, 2x USB3|
|Rear USB ports||2x USB, 8x USB3|
|Other ports||1x PS/2|
|Case size HxWxD||564x246x568mm|
|PCI (free)||0 (0)|
|PCIe x1 (free)||2 (1)|
|PCIe x16 (free)||4 (2)|
|Serial ATA (free)||8 (5)|
|Memory slots (free)||8 (4)|
|Drive bays 2 1/2″ (free)||4 (3)|
|Drive bays 3 1/2″ (free)||6 (5)|
|Drive bays 5 1/4″ (free)||3 (2)|
|Total storage||120GB SSD, 2TB Hard disk|
|Memory card reader||None|
|Optical drive type||DVD-RW drive|
|Graphics card||4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Gaming Edition|
|Graphics/video ports||2x DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort|
|Sound card outputs||Optical S/PDIF, microphone, line in, line out|
|Operating system||Windows 8.1|
|Operating system restore option||Restore partition|
|Warranty||Three-year (One-year parts and labour, two-year labour RTB)|
|Price including delivery (inc VAT)||£1,375|
|Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)||£1,375|