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PC Specialist Elite S130 review

Michael Passingham
16 Feb 2016
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
799
inc VAT

The Elite S130 isn’t the most attractive PC, but its decent specification and great controller make it fine value

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 3.3GHz Intel Core i5-660, RAM: 8GB, Front USB ports : 1x USB2, 2x USB3, Rear USB ports: 4x USB2, 2x USB3, 2x USB3.1, Total storage: 240GB SSD, 1TB hard disk, Graphics card: 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960, Display: None, Operating system: Windows 10

Small doesn't always mean elegant, as is demonstrated by the PC Specialist Elite S130's  Cooler Master Elite 130 chassis. It's not ugly but its awkward size means it's slightly too big to fit in a TV cabinet. Still, buyers with little room will appreciate the PC's small 240x399mm footprint and squat 207mm height. The untidy honeycomb mesh on the front doesn't look great and the visible dust filter behind it isn't particularly pleasing either.

The chassis has many holes at the top to allow the PSU to vent upwards. The whole build takes up more than the advertised 240x399mm because the PSU mounting point sticks out from the rear of the case, meaning you'll need to put the PC a little further away from the wall to leave space at the rear for the power connector.

Inside the case there's a 120mm intake fan keeping the air moving, while a low-profile Noctua cooler services the PC's quad-core 3.3GHz Intel Core i5-6600 processor. Unlike the i5-6600K found in some other systems, the i5-6600 has a locked-down multiplier, making any kind of decent overclocking impossible. Its base clock speed is reduced from 3.5GHz to 3.3GHz, although both chips have the same 3.9GHz Turbo Boost clock speed. In this build, we didn't see the clock speed rising much above 3.6GHz in our more intense benchmarks, although it would occasionally peak at 3.9GHz in shorter bursts of activity. This may be due to the difficulty of cooling in a compact case.

The PC Specialist Elite S130 also has 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and managed an overall score of 95 in our benchmarks. We saw a disappointing 76 in the image-editing test, while a high of 104 in the video-encoding test was offset by a less-impressive score of 95 in the multitasking benchmark. Despite the lower-than-expected overall score, performance in day-to-day tasks such as web browsing and streaming video is unhindered and Windows 10 feels as snappy as ever.

Gaming is handled by a 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960. When you're not playing games, the cooling fan on the GTX 960 doesn't even spin up. Only when it's under load is there any fan activity, and even then the card is nice and quiet. The main source of noise from the PC when it's working hard is the PSU, which vibrates the chassis ever so slightly to produce a quiet humming sound.

The PC's gaming performance at 1,920x1,080 is excellent. Dirt Showdown, running at Ultra quality, recorded an average frame rate of 84.7fps. The more challenging Metro: Last Light test was tougher, showing a slightly jerky 26.8fps. However, switching off super-sampling anti-aliasing led to a smooth 53.3fps, and the game still looks great with this disabled.

There isn't much room for extra hardware inside the chassis, although Cooler Master has drilled mounting holes in every place where there's room. There's one slot for a 5.25in optical drive that can also be used by a 3.5in or 2.5in device. At the bottom of the case there's room for another 3.5in or 2.5in drive, with a 2.5in mounting point on the bottom of the 5.25in bay. Finally, a mount on the side of the case makes room for one more 3.5in or 2.5in drive. In this build, PC Specialist has included a 240GB Kingston SSD and a 1TB Seagate hard disk for bulk file storage.

There's no room for extra PCI-E devices or RAM modules, so upgrading your memory to 16GB will require an expensive purchase of two 8GB sticks. For now, 8GB is enough for most games, but it may prove to be a limitation down the line.

PC Specialist has chosen a high-end Asus Z170I Pro Gaming motherboard, which includes two USB2 ports, four USB3 ports and two USB 3.1 ports for future, faster peripherals. It also comes with built-in dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which is a handy addition, as well as five 3.5mm audio jacks and an optical audio port. The graphics card, meanwhile, has three DisplayPort outputs, one HDMI and one DVI.

PC Specialist also supplies an Xbox One controller, although in its out-of-the-box state you'll only be able to connect it to your Elite S130 via a 1.5m USB cable. The controller can connect wirelessly, but that requires a £20 dongle and two AA batteries. Still, the Xbox One controller is excellent, with smooth analogue sticks, well-placed buttons and high-quality switches. Most modern games come with controller support, too, so getting your controller set up with your favourite games will be very easy.

You get PC Specialist's standard warranty that includes a year of parts cover and three years of labour. You'll pay for shipping back to base after the first month.

It may be a bit of a compromise in terms of design, but the PC Specialist Elite S130 is a good-value compact PC. With strong processing performance, plenty of storage and a great games controller, it has everything you'll need to get gaming for £800.

Core specs
ProcessorQuad-core 3.3GHz Intel Core i5-660
Processor socketLGA1551
RAM8GB
Memory typeDDR4
Maximum memory32GB
MotherboardAsus Z170I Pro Gaming
Motherboard chipsetZ170
Ports and expansion
Front USB ports1x USB2, 2x USB3
Rear USB ports4x USB2, 2x USB3, 2x USB3.1
Other ports1x PS/2
Networking1x 10/100/1000, 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Case typeMini-ITX
Case dimensions HxWxD207x240x399mm
PCI (free)None
PCIe x1 (free)None
PCIe x16 (free)1 (0)
Serial ATA (free)4 (2)
Memory slots (free)2 (0)
Drive bays 2 1/2" (free)1 (1)
Drive bays 3 1/2" (free)5 (3)
Drive bays 5 1/4" (free)3 (2)
Storage
Total storage240GB SSD, 1TB hard disk
Memory card readerNone
Optical drive typeNone
Graphics
Graphics card2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960
Graphics/video portsDVI, 3x DisplayPort, HDMI
Sound
Sound cardRealtek ALC1150 (integrated)
Sound card outputs5x 3.5mm, S/PDIF
SpeakersNone
Display
DisplayNone
Native resolutionN/A
InputsN/A
Other hardware
KeyboardNone
MouseNone
ExtrasXbox One controller
Software
Operating systemWindows 10
Operating system restore optionWindows 10 restore
Buying information
WarrantyThree years RTB including one year parts cover
Price including delivery (inc VAT)£799
Price excluding monitor (inc VAT and delivery)N/A
Supplierpcspecialist.co.uk
Detailspcspecialist.co.uk
Part CodeElite S130

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