PC Specialist Vortex Destroyer review

Price when reviewed

Ivy Bridge has arrived, but Intel’s latest processors benefit laptops far more than they do desktops – and that means existing Sandy Bridge chips are still viable candidates for a desktop PC. PC Specialist obviously agrees, as its latest desktop PC bundle, the Vortex Destroyer, opts for an overclocked Sandy Bridge processor and partners it with a high-end X79-based motherboard.

PC Specialist hasn’t stuck with the ever-popular Core i5-2500K, though, instead loading its system with the rarer Core i7-3820. It’s a Sandy Bridge-E part, but unlike its six-core stablemates it makes do with four Hyper-Threaded cores and barely any more cache than cheaper processors.

PC Specialist Vortex Destroyer

Overclocking makes all the difference, however. The CPU’s stock speed of 3.6GHz has been clocked up to 4.6GHz, and that helped the PC Specialist to a benchmark score of 1.16. That’s more than enough power to scythe through everyday applications, and only a whisker behind the A-Listed Chillblast Fusion Flash, which scored 1.17.

The Vortex Destroyer’s graphics hardware is altogether more cutting edge. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 is a gaming powerhouse, and it motored through our gaming tests, scoring 75fps in Crysis at Very High quality and 1,920 x 1,080. It’s here where the PC Specialist trumps the Chillblast: the Chillblast’s Radeon HD 6970 graphics card only managed 53fps in the same test.

Neither CPU nor graphics card caused headaches when it came to heat. The processor’s peak temperature of 87˚C is reasonable considering the overclock, and the graphics card runs a little cooler, hitting a top temperature of 83˚C. Peak power consumption of 472W is higher than expected, though; most systems duck under 400W, with the Sandy Bridge-E chip largely responsible for the higher figure.

The installed copy of Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit nips along thanks to Kingston’s HyperX 3K SSD, and it’s partnered with a capacious 2TB hard disk. There’s also the small matter of a mighty 16GB of RAM and a Blu-ray drive.

It’s all housed in the familiar Fractal Design Define R3 chassis. This is a firm PC Pro favourite thanks to its keen balance of cooling and noise reduction. Sound-absorbing foam lines both side panels and the roof, and the Intel watercooling loop isn’t exactly loud. It makes for a system that’s very quiet when idle and only a little louder at peak.


Warranty3 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity2,120GB
RAM capacity16.00GB
Screen size27.0in


CPU familyIntel Core i7
CPU nominal frequency3.60GHz
CPU overclocked frequency4.60GHz
Processor socketLGA 2011
HSF (heatsink-fan)Intel water-cooling


MotherboardAsus P9X79
Motherboard chipsetIntel X79
Conventional PCI slots free1
Conventional PCI slots total1
PCI-E x16 slots free2
PCI-E x16 slots total3
PCI-E x8 slots free0
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots free0
PCI-E x4 slots total0
PCI-E x1 slots free1
PCI-E x1 slots total1
Internal SATA connectors6
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory typeDDR3
Memory sockets free4
Memory sockets total8

Graphics card

Graphics cardNvidia GeForce GTX 680
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingHigh
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce GTX 680
Graphics card RAM2.00GB
Number of graphics cards1

Hard disk

Hard diskKingston HyperX 3K
Hard disk usable capacity111GB
Internal disk interfaceSATA/600
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity2,000GB
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity1,810


Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader/DVD writer combo


Monitor make and modelIiyama E2773HDS
Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,080
Resolution1920 x 1080
Pixel response time1ms
Contrast ratio1,145:1
Screen brightness332cd/m2
DVI inputs1
HDMI inputs1
VGA inputs1

Additional Peripherals

SpeakersCreative A520
Speaker type5.1


ChassisFractal Design Define R3
Case formatFull tower
Dimensions207 x 521 x 442mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supplyCorsair TX850
Power supply rating850W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays1

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)6
FireWire ports1
PS/2 mouse portyes
3.5mm audio jacks6

Front ports

Front panel USB ports2
Front panel memory card readerno

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboardRazer DeathAdder mouse, Razer Arctosa keyboard

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 7

Noise and power

Idle power consumption130W
Peak power consumption472W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings110fps
3D performance settingHigh
Overall Real World Benchmark score1.16
Responsiveness score1.01
Media score1.26
Multitasking score1.21

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