YoYoTech Intel Spartan 300 Gaming System
External Appearance & Internal Specs
Based around the Antec Three Hundred case, the Spartan 300 immediately earns points for avoiding the usual flimsy generic "gaming" cases that often look like they've been beaten with an ugly stick. Although no mofidications have been made to the case, we need to remember that this is all about gaming on a budget, and as such the glitz and glamour of windowed side panels, UV lighting and LED fans has all been omitted.
For those who haven't come across the Antec Three Hundred before, the case can accept a total of four 120mm fans (two front, one side, one back) and a single 140mm fan in the roof. Out of these five positions, only two fans have been installed (rear 120mm / top 140mm). The case is very much similar in appearance to its bigger brother - the "Nine Hundred", but whereas the Nine Hundred can accept a total of nine 5.25" optical drives, the "Three Hundred" can only accept three (surprisingly!).
Around the back of the case it was quite surprising to see both serial and parallel ports on the motherboard blanking plate. Considering that both of these connectivity methods haven't been used on any consumer equipment for more than 5 years now, it would have been more favourable for YoYoTech to pick a motherboard that features more modern connectivity options such as IEE1394 or eSATA.
When building a budget machine for a specific purpose such as gaming, it's often easy to put all of the money into one single area (for example a top-end graphics card) and neglect other important components of the system such as the CPU, Motherboard and Hard Disks. This creates a situation where one area of the system is bottlenecked and the performance of the PC as a whole suffers. With a limited budget of £500 it could be very easy for YoYoTech to fall into this trap, so let's check out the specs:
• Antec Three Hundred PC Case
• Antec Basiq 550w Power Supply
• MSI P43 Neo-F Motherboard
• Sapphire 4850 512Mb DDR3 Graphics Card
• Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 2.53Ghz @ ~3.5Ghz
• Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
• OCZ Reaper 2GB Kit (2x1GB) - DDR2 1066Mhz - PC8500 - 5-5-5-15
• Samsung Spinpoint 320GB SATAII Hard Drive
• Samsung 20x DVD Rewriter
• Onboard Sound
In all honesty, the configuration of the Spartan 300 is pretty much spot-on. An MSI motherboard featuring Intel's latest P43 chipset along with a highly overclockable Core2Duo E7200 has been used as the base of the system, with a Radeon 4850 512mb serving up ample graphics power. OCZ's high performance "Reaper" PC2-8500 memory kit also makes an appearance in place of the generic branded memory used by most system integrators, which will undoubtedly help when overclocking.
The overall system build is clean and professional with a fair amount of attention being paid to cable routing and bundling. The PSU has also received a fair share of the system funds with a modular Antec Basiq 550w unit providing stable power to the components while also having plenty left over for future system upgrades. Also pictured above-right is the Samsung HD320KJ 320gb hard disk used in the build, which should be more than enough capacity for the average gamer.
As a side note, our system didn't come with any spares or accessories. While this doesn't bother us too much, those who may want to add additional hard disks or other components in the future will most certainly be needing the other modular cables provided with the PSU and any accessories included with the Motherboard.
One final observation was that all fans inside the Spartan 300 had been set to low speed. This certainly helped keep the noise of the system down to acceptable levels when using the system for both gaming and typing up parts of this review, but we'd be lying if we said the system was suitable for those seeking near-total silence from their next PC.
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