PC Specialist’s Hailstorm GT is notable for two reasons. The first, its £899 price, means it undercuts most of its gaming PC rivals – and the second, found on the inside, is the Skylake processor. The mid-range price means that PC Specialist hasn’t opted for a top-tier processor inside the Hailstorm GT. Instead, it’s slotted in a Core i5-6600K. The quad-core chip doesn’t have Hyper-Threading, which is the biggest difference compared with Core i7 parts, but PC Specialist has given it a serious boost by overclocking it to 4.6GHz.
Monday, 21 September 2015
Eschewing Skylake in favour of Haswell-E, Overclockers’ Titan Riptide is designed to bridge the gap between games and high-end work applications, and without breaking the bank. The Riptide’s work credentials come from the Core i7-5820K, which is the most affordable part from this CPU range, but it still has six Hyper-Threaded cores and a 3.5GHz stock frequency. The former means multi-threaded applications will run quicker than with any current quad-core chip, and Overclockers has also raised the clock speed to 4.2GHz, so it will be fine with single-threaded software and games too.
Stealth is carving a niche for itself by building PCs with the grunt for gaming in cases that are small and quiet. Its first effort, the Stealth 1.0, had reasonable power but uncomfortable audio levels; its second system looks to address those issues.
The Stealth 2.0 doesn’t just rely on an APU this time – the machine now pairs one of AMD’s mid-range A-series chips with a discrete half-height Gigabyte graphics card based on Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 750 Ti. This GPU was the first Maxwell part, so it’s very efficient in terms of both temperature and power consumption. In this case, the GPU’s original 1020MHz core has been upped to 1033MHz, while its 2GB of GDDR5 memory remains at the stock speed of 5400MHz.
Sandisk released a number of SSDs in late 2013 and throughout 2014, ranging from the more run-of-the-mill SSD Plus models, through to the Extreme Pro range. Among them were the mSATA versions, which never quite reached the Extreme Pro level but still offered a decent upgrade for notebook users.
It feels like an age since we’ve had a Plextor drive in for testing. Last year, the company released a slew of its M6 model drives, covering standard SSD and mSATA. The 256GB M6M in particular is one of the more recent of the M6 drives, although it too is over a year old now.
The 850 EVO range of SSDs from Samsung has proved to be very popular among enthusiasts and system builders since they were launched late last year. They're the first generation of drives to use the coveted 32-layer 3D V-NAND technology, and when paired with Samsung’s own TurboWrite technology, the benchmark results are well beyond the average.
The Crucial MX200 range of SSDs come in the standard 2.5" SSD form, as well as M.2 and this, the mSATA version. Aside from the 2.5" model, which we’re led to believe uses a different controller, there’s not a lot of difference between the manufacturing processes and benchmark specifications.
Kingston has quite a range of SSDs, mSATAs and M.2 drives in its impressive catalogue. Although the mSATA standard may not be quite as popular as it once was, it’s still a healthy business line for the company, falling under the SSD System Builder category.