Gladiator Retarius PCP6300 review

Price when reviewed

Of all the £699 PCs on offer in this Labs, the Gladiator’s chassis is one of the best. It’s sturdily built and has a lockable door that hides the drives and power button, while a silver door below it houses the USB and audio ports.

Gladiator Retarius PCP6300 review

It’s disappointing that the FireWire port isn’t live (there’s no FireWire controller), but the tool-free hard disk rack is welcome. As standard, there’s a capacious 320GB disk. Plus, the Retarius is the only £699 PC here to boast both a DVD writer and DVD-ROM.

The MSI motherboard uses the latest P965 chipset, although it’s fitted with the slowest Core 2 Duo (an E6300) and scored 1.13 in our 2D application benchmarks, a way behind the Vantage and Eclipse. Graphics-wise, there’s an ATi Radeon X1650 XT that could only break 30fps in Far Cry at 1,280 x 1,024; Call of Duty 2 proved too much of a strain. Dropping to XGA meant both games soared to about 60fps.

The graphics card’s fan is quiet, but the CPU fan makes the PCP6300 noisier than most here. Build quality is relatively messy too, but at least there’s plenty of room for expansion with five slots, two memory sockets and five drive bays all free.

Save for Aria, every £699 PC comes with a 19in widescreen display. Gnr’s TS902W has decent colour accuracy, good contrast and a quick response time, but only a VGA cable is included. For audio, Logitech’s decent X-230 2.1 speakers are bundled. It’s also good to see Microsoft’s Digital Media Keyboard included and a year of on-site warranty.

The PCP6300 isn’t a bad deal for £699 – plus only £10 delivery – but the Vantage is noticeably quicker, even if it sacrifices on a DVD-ROM. In this Labs, the Gladiator doesn’t have the power to compete with the leaders.

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