Newest Review: ... was also very good information and photos available for every component. The ordering process was also very simple and took ... more
Great Gaming/Multimedia Pc on a Budget
Member Name: TheGroover
Advantages: Great value, Great Service, Great Quality with an informative and intuative website.
Disadvantages: Build time was IMO slightly excessive.
Having spent months oogling at the advances in gaming technology and using my friends mac for music production I decided it was time to get a new pc. I wasn't looking for a serious powerhouse, just something I could use to do almost anything I wanted to a good, fairly quick standard.
I proceeding to look around the usual websites, like dell, hp and asus and was drawn to a few pc's of a 'good' standard having a budget of around £800. Then I decided, thankfully, to look into custom built computers.
I immediately found that I could build a machine far superior to those offered on the major company websites for less money. I checked out a few places, read some reviews and decided that pc specialist was the most reliable and offered great value for money.
It was then I became addicted to the specification options, I must have chose 50 different specs in 7 days. Very clear and easy to use, and quite fun! After sometime I decided on the perfect spec for my needs (after ammending it 3 times even after I placed my order, again a very quick and simple process).
I had decided upon:
Case: COOLERMASTER CM690 MKII ADVANCED CASE
Processor: Intel® CoreTMi5-2500k Quad Core (3.30GHz, 6MB Cache) + HD Graphics
Motherboard: ASUS® P8Z68-V LX: USB 3.0, SATA 6GBs, ATI®CrossFireX
RAM: 8GB KINGSTON HYPER-X GENESIS DUAL-DDR3 1600MHz, X.M.P (2 x 4GB KIT)
Graphics Card: 1.25GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 560 Ti 448 CORE
Memory: 1TB SEAGATE Barracuda SATA 6Gb/s HDD, 32MB Cache (7200rpm)
Optical Drive: 12x BLU-RAY ROM DRIVE, 16x DVD ±R/±RW
Power Supply: CORSAIR 650W ENTHUSIAST SERIESTM TX650 V2-80 PLUS® BRONZE
Processor Cooling: TITAN FENRIR EVO EXTREME HEATPIPE CPU COOLER
Sound Card: ONBOARD 6 CHANNEL (5.1) HIGH DEF AUDIO (AS STANDARD)
OS: Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit - inc DVD & Licence
Warranty: 3 Year Standard Warranty (1 Month Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
Delivery: STANDARD INSURED DELIVERY TO UK MAINLAND (MON-FRI)
Build Time: Standard Build - Approximately 8 to 10 working days
Order reference number: 440138
Total Pricing: £977
Processed Date: 13-01-2012
Pre-Production Date : 17-01-2012
Build Date: 01-02-2012
Test Date: 08-02-2012
QC Date: 11-02-2012
Awaiting Dispatch Date: 11-02-2012
Dispatch Date: 11-02-2012
As previously mentioned the ordering process was fluid and very accessible, I'd imagine it would easily cater for those who aren't that tech savvy.
I use my HD TV as a monitor and I added my own firewire and wireless pci cards.
Like most new computers setting it up correctly took some time, it was 3 days before everything ran perfectly, experiencing only mere driver faults and to date have no major hardware defects.
Infact I have encountered only one small problem in the time I have had it, one of the fans on my gpu will start clicking when under any kind of load. However, I am sure that this is a manufacturing defect and nothing to do with pcs production.
Packaging was good and thorough, everything was secure and undamaged when it reached me, I actually struggled to get it out of the box it was packed so well. A foam insert was inside the casing which I was impressed with, making sure no components came loose in transit.
Cracking open the case I saw everything was fitted neatly and secure, no anomalous items or messy wires, so overall great build quality.
The welcome/starter kit the pc comes with was highly useful, manuals, driver discs and spare parts all included. The one thing that stuck out to me was the inclusion of the Windows 7 disc, so many companies nowadays either don't include or charge extra for giving you a hard copy of windows, which in my opinion isn't really getting the OS you paid for.
Something that did confuse me was the lack of disc for the free copy of battlefield 3 (as included with the 448 core version of the gtx 560 ti), I was considering sending an enquiry to customer services about it until I found a piece of card with a download voucher number on it. Not a significant criticism really, the last time I was into pc gaming we had discs in cases, pre-noughties they were in rather unnecessarily large cases as I'm sure some old school gamers remember fondly. The notion of steam and origin is still pretty foreign to me and it would have been better to be informed that by 'free copy of battlefield 3' they meant 'Free download voucher code for Battlefield 3'. I am splitting hairs here though, a free game is a free game and despite me being stuck in the 90's it's a good bonus.
The pc itself is an excellent piece of kit, in gaming it excels itself beyond my expectations. Online reviews suggested that my GPU would struggle playing BF3 on ultra settings but I have as of yet experienced no stutter or lag that interrupts the flow of gameplay. I have my Graphics on a medium overclock using the provided software, Vtune, usually I would be using Rivatuner but I thought I would give it a go anyway, although it doesn't have as much functionality as I'd like it's user-friendly I have no reason to switch just yet.
In addition I overclocked my cpu to 4.3ghz and the cooling system I bought keeps my temps nice and moderate, so bonus points on the good cable tidying and heatsink fitting from the guys at pcs.
I stuck with the standard warranty on the premise that if any major problems were to occur they would show within 30 days, and any minor problems I would be able to fix myself. With a year of free parts warranty anyway and a mass of good reviews I thought I'd save myself a fiver.
The only negative I have about my order would be the wait time, having not chosen the fast delivery options I have limited room for criticism however, if you do choose to order with pcs take the predicted delivery times and online statuses with a pinch of salt.
At the time of ordering the lead times were around 13 days, and this grew all throughout january. It took 20 working days days to dispatch my order, people had ordered days after me and received their computers sooner, on the same building option. I wasn't supplied with any kind of delay information but when emailing them to enquire pcs replied within hours and assured me that they were on the case, informing me that they would work to get the pc to me the following friday.
When it didn't move from the 'in testing' status by friday morning my heart had sunk a little, I sent another email to them, while receiving no reply this time it moved to the 'order dispatched' very early that saturday.
In that case I expected it to arrive on the monday, but I was again disappointed that morning when I had a text to say it was only just dispatched. I found this very confusing, and shows that even though it can be handy, the online order status shouldn't always be trusted.
All in all I am extremely happy with my computer and the service I encountered, I couldn't have wished for a greater multitasking machine for under £1000, I can do my work on it, play high end games, listen to, record and edit music. I am confident that i made a good investment, and will only need a gpu upgrade in the few coming years I own it. Despite the long wait, I found the customer service to friendly and information on the pcs website very useful, if there was an option for 4.5 stars I would choose it. I would highly recommend Pc Specialist's prices and services to anyone and I will not be buying a pc from a major brand company ever again.
Summary: A fantastic <£1000 performance pc from a company I will be recommending for a long time.