UK Gaming Computers Ares System Review
The hardware market is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand the endless pursuit of Moore's Law has meant that there is always mind-expanding hardware arriving to make our hearts pound and pulses race, but yet on the other it's an expensive game to play if you want to live on the leading edge. It didn't seem two minutes ago we were raving about the GTX Titan, and yet we usually have to make our graphs very long indeed for it to still be included somewhere down the bottom. The result of all this is that it's fiscally irresponsible to attempt to buy a system with the best possible hardware in it, because usually by the time it's built it's out of date. It's infinitely more sensible to go with the second best hardware, ensuring you have plenty of computing power without breaking the bank.
When we recently put together a list of our sub-1K system the specification was nearly identical to the UK Gaming Computers Ares. We don't say this because we wish to point out our own supreme instincts, but rather to emphasise how UKGC have their finger on the pulse of hardware. An ability to squeeze every last drop of performance out of a system without needlessly hiking the price speaks volumes about their business acumen.
There is almost nothing to place in the cons column when looking at the Ares. Built around an ASUS Maximus VII Ranger motherboard, probably the finest price/performance one around, with the fantastic Intel i5-4690K CPU overclocked to a lofty 4.6GHz - and not by just slapping a ton of volts on it and hoping for the best either - all topped off with an ASUS Strix GTX970 graphics card and put in the outstanding Fractal R5 case. The major components are almost no-brainers, but there is a subtlety to those choices, and the other less obvious components, that lets you know this has been put together with care.
It would be easy to have gone for a flashier motherboard, but the Ranger does everything you could realistically want without bumping the price. Equally almost any GTX970 would do, but the Strix is a gem of a card and our results back this up. By utilising an air cooler the price stays low, and yet the overclock is achieved carefully enough that even in the midst of a heavy Unigine run we still only saw 78°C on the CPU and 67°C with the Strix. Good airflow through that R5. The Samsung 850 Evo SSD is blisteringly fast. Heck even the OS in our review sample was Windows 7, and whilst Microsoft might call us Luddites for preferring it, the benefits to those of us who know what we're doing are numerous.
All of that hardware and quality building shows up in our benchmarks too. Throw what you like at the UKGC Ares and it shrugs its shoulders and gets on with the job of delivering. Without worrying about such gaudy trinkets as case windows and fancy lighting it's stealthy, subtle, understated. A sledgehammer in a pillow case. All of that alone would be enough to bring our coveted Gold Award around the neck of the Ares, but when you include a 6 year warranty and a raft of customisation options then it's impossible for it to win anything else. A serious statement of intent, the UK Gaming Computers Ares wins our OC3D Gold Award.