are words that have rarely found themselves bundled together in the same sentence in recent years. After all, the cost of high-end graphics cards, CPUs and Memory can easily enter the thousands when pricing up "the ultimate gaming rig". But is there really any need for us to go spending several months wages on a pre-built system that gives no real-word visible advantage to one that's 1/2 the price? Would we honestly see the difference between 100FPS or 200FPS outside the realms of benchmarking?
This is something that UK based component retailer YoYoTech
have clearly given a lot of thought before putting together their latest range of Gaming PC's. With prices starting at £500 for the most basic model and going up to around £700 for their top-end, it's clear to see that YoYoTech have avoided the usual slap-the-most-expensive-components-in
mentality adopted by a lot of system integrators. But, are these systems actually any good for gaming? Can you spend £500 on a PC and not experience a slide-show when playing the latest games? Today we're going to be looking at YoYoTech's entry level Spartan 300 system complete with an Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 (and a lot of overclocking) to see if gaming on a budget is really possible.
So, who are YoYoTech and why do they have a name reminiscent of a 1920's childrens toy? Well, while we can't answer the latter, YoYoTech have been in business for over 8 years and have run all operations from their Tottenham Court Road store in Central London. With a team of 10 staff, YoYoTech are one of the larger UK retailers and have the added advantage of an open store-front where shoppers can pop in and get a good look at the products before making a purchase. More information on YoYoTech can be found on their website
- some of which is quoted below:
ServiceWe pride ourselves in being the Personal Touch computer and Accessories business for the enthusiast and beginners. With a friendly and knowledgeable staff we endeavour to offer complete satisfaction to all our customers. We are continually sourcing the latest and hottest products at competitive prices. With dedicated web developers and utilising the latest technology we continually update our website to bring you a secure and friendly environment to browse and purchase at your own convenience.
We stock all major brands and leading components for gamers and overclockers. Our reputation and experience allows us to negotiate hard with manufacturers and bring you, our customers, the most competitive prices. Our customers are our bloodline and we listen to them to give them the products they need at prices they want.
The YoYoTech system configuration page shown below may not be the most pretty thing we've ever seen, but with the entire configuration process split up into 5 separate sections, the number of configuration options and additional services is arranged in such a way that it you're not overwhelmed with hundreds of checkboxes all on one page. A running total of your system build along with a detailed breakdown of your chosen options is displayed in a black box at the right-side of the screen and follows you up and down the page as you scroll through the various options (slightly annoying).
A good selection of alternate components is available, some of which are even cheaper than the default ones chosen by YoYoTech. If any component used in the system happens to be out of stock during the configuration of your order, the website will request that you choose an alternate product in order to avoid any delays to your order.
Unlike some of our previous system reviews, we didn't actually have any correspondance with YoYoTech during the system build (the machine simply arrived on our doorstep one day!). Therefore it is impossible for us to comment on subjects such as pre-sales service, the order process and whether or not we were kept in the loop during the system build. However, YoYoTech do assure us that customers are kept informed via email at all stages of the build from begining to end.
On delivery of the system we were quite surprised to see that YoYoTech had shipped the unit in nothing more than the stock Antec Three Hundred box. While this is more than acceptable for an empty enclosure, the installation of components adds additional weight to the case, resulting in nastier knocks if the box is dropped by a courier during shipping. For this reason it would be quite good to see YoYoTech double boxing their systems, or at the very least protecting the vulnerable edges of the box with an additional layer of card.
Now let's move on to the system appearance and specifications...