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Vibox Exile review

Vibox Exile teaser
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £700
inc VAT

The Vibox Exile has an excellent case but it comes at the expense of upgradability


Processor: Quad-core 3.4GHz Intel i5-4690, RAM: 8GB, Front USB ports : 2x USB3, Rear USB ports: 4x USB3, 2x USB2, Total storage: 1TB SSHD, Graphics card: 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960, Display: 22in Asus VS228HR, Operating system: Windows 10 Home


It’s easy to become a bit jaded when looking at mid-range PCs. Once you’ve seen one black midi-tower case, you’ve seen them all. So when the Vibox Exile showed up in a rather special Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ITX case, it was a nice change from the norm.

ITX cases have the advantage of being more compact and often more stylish than their midi-tower equivalents, but bear in mind that the corresponding Mini-ITX motherboard will have limited upgrade potential. The Enthoo Evolv ITX is certainly attractive and also extremely well built, with nice touches such as vibration-dampening screws and brackets. A small white LED built into the front panel glows subtly when the system is turned on and contrasts nicely with the case’s matt black panels. There’s also a large window built into the side panel, although you won’t see a great deal as there’s no illumination inside the case.

The window gives you a glimpse of the Raijintek Themis CPU cooler. This is a big heatsink but it doesn’t have a noticeably negative effect on airflow in the PC. Cooling is aided by a massive 200mm fan fitted to the front of the case. Both the front and CPU cooler fans run quietly and the system remains whisper-quiet even under load.

Processing power comes from a quad-core 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-4690 processor. It’s not the newest processor around, but its score of 99 is still strong for a mid-range PC. The Exile comes with 8GB of 1,600MHz DDR3 across two memory modules, but as the MSI H97I AC motherboard has only two memory slots, you’ll need to replace both modules if you want to upgrade. In any case, the motherboard supports a maximum of 16GB, so this PC won’t be your first choice for a virtual machine-running powerhouse.

Vibox Exile guts

There’s not much room for expansion elsewhere, either. The motherboard’s only PCI-E x16 slot has a 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 installed. There are no PCI-E x1 or PCI slots, so adding any expansion cards such as a TV tuner internally will be out of the question.

Graphics performance from the PC’s popular Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 graphics card was as good as we expected. The Exile is a more than capable mid-range gaming system, and didn’t break a sweat with Dirt Showdown at 1,920×1,080 with 4x anti-aliasing and Ultra graphics settings, producing 82.2fps. In Metro: Last Light it produced 28.8fps at 1,920×1,080 resolution with SSAA turned on and Very High quality graphics. Turning off the hugely demanding super-sampled anti-aliasing led to a much smoother 52.5fps.

The motherboard has only four SATA3 ports, one of which is already occupied by a 1TB SSHD. The SSHD gives you all the storage of a mechanical hard disk with some of the speed of an SSD, thanks to 8GB of NAND memory, which caches the files you use most often and helps Windows feel more responsive.

Due to the case’s small size and the motherboard’s limited number of SATA3 ports, you won’t be able to add a massive amount of internal storage. There’s just one dedicated 2½in drive bay and two 3½ drive bays, one of which is already in use by the SSHD. There are no 5¼in drive bays, so you don’t have the option of installing an internal optical drive. If you use DVDs or CDs only occasionally, you can easily buy a USB DVD drive for less than £20.

There are two fast USB3 ports on the front of the case, as well as headphone and microphone jacks. Four more USB3 ports are provided on the back, along with two slower USB ports and a PS/2 port for an older keyboard or mouse. The MSI H97I AC motherboard comes with a dual-band 802.11ac Mini-PCI-E Wi-Fi card installed, so it’s ready for wireless networking right out of the box.

Vibox Exile rear ports

If you opt to spend another £100 for the complete system, the Vibox Exile comes with a keyboard and mouse set and a 22in Asus VS228HR display that has inputs for HDMI, DVI and VGA. We usually like to see 24in screens with modern PCs, but this is an impressive display. Our colour calibrator showed the monitor to be a great choice for performing colour-sensitive work, such as photo editing, as it displays an exemplary 95.7% of the sRGB colour gamut – a fantastic result for a budget monitor.

Also included is a Cooler Master CM Storm Devastator keyboard and mouse set, which is one of our favourite budget kits. The keyboard is incredibly comfortable to type on, and is only trumped by far more expensive mechanical models, while the mouse’s adjustable DPI setting is handy for switching between games and the Windows desktop.

As long as you don’t expect to make many drastic changes to your system in the future, the Vibox Exile is a great little system in a fantastic case. It has the edge over the CCL Nebula 200i, another Mini-ITX system, thanks to its faster processor performance and higher-quality peripherals. For other options check out our Best desktop PCs and buying guide.

Core specs
ProcessorQuad-core 3.4GHz Intel i5-4690
Processor socketFCLGA1150
Memory type1,600MHz DDR3
Maximum memory16GB
MotherboardMSI H97I AC
Motherboard chipsetIntel H97 Express
Ports and expansion
Front USB ports2x USB3
Rear USB ports4x USB3, 2x USB2
Other ports1x PS/2
Networking1x 10/100/1000, 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Case typeMini ITX
Case size HxWxD375x230x395mm
PCI (free)0 (0)
PCIe x1 (free)0 (0)
PCIe x16 (free)1 (0)
Serial ATA (free)4x SATA3 (3)
Memory slots (free)2 (0)
Drive bays 2 1/2″ (free)1 (1)
Drive bays 3 1/2″ (free)2 (1)
Drive bays 5 1/4″ (free)0 (0)
Total storage1TB SSHD
Memory card readerNone
Optical drive typeNone
Graphics card2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960
Graphics/video ports3x DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI
Sound cardRealtek ALC892
Sound card outputsLine in, line out, microphone, centre, subwoofer, satellite
Display22in Asus VS228HR
Native resolution1,920×1,080
Other hardware
KeyboardCooler Master CM Storm Devastator
MouseCooler Master CM Storm Devastator
Operating systemWindows 10 Home
Operating system restore optionRestore disk
Buying information
WarrantyTwo year RTB, lifetime labour
Price including delivery (inc VAT)£700
Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)£600
Part CodeExile

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