Wired2Fire HAL 4000 review

Price when reviewed

We’ve come across many powerful, full-sized desktop PCs from Wired2Fire in the past, but this is the first small-form-factor system to emerge from its factory in Surrey – and the HAL 4000 is a barnstormer.

It gets off to a great start thanks to the Fractal Design Node 304, which is one of the best small-form-factor enclosures we’ve laid eyes on. The brushed aluminium panels make for a classy, understated PC, and the sturdy build quality is a cut above budget cases. If we were to be picky, there’s a little flex in the side panels, but it’s no worse than we’ve experienced on other high-end PCs; the HAL 4000 will easily survive regular trips to gaming events and LAN parties.

Wired2Fire HAL 4000

The removal of two screws is all it takes to access the PC’s insides, and while the interior is cramped, it’s sensibly organised. The front half of the machine houses the Xigmatek Tauro power supply, and its cables cluster around the Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 graphics card, which extends along one side of the chassis.

The back of the case is dominated by the Antec Kuhler H20 water-cooling unit, which is clamped between two 120mm fans and is attached to the rear exhaust mount. Its liquid-filled cables spiral down towards the Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe motherboard, which is so tiny that many of its VRMs, capacitors and heatsinks are deployed to a daughterboard that lies perpendicular to the black PCB.

Wired2Fire HAL 4000

Accessing the board is tricky – you’ll have to remove the cooler at the very least – but there will be little need to delve into the Wired2Fire’s innards. The single PCI Express slot is home to the graphics card; both memory sockets are occupied; and the one empty SATA socket runs at the slower SATA/300 speed, so it’s suitable for only a mechanical hard disk. There’s limited room for additional storage: while the Node 304 includes a trio of removable hard disk caddies, one contains two SSDs, another houses a hard disk, and the third is used for keeping extra cables out of the way.

Small-form-factor machines used to lack the power of their full-sized counterparts, but this is no longer the case. Wired2Fire has crammed in an overclocked Intel Core i7-3770K CPU, boosting it from 3.4GHz to 4.4GHz. That’s enough to push the Wired2Fire’s application benchmark score up to 1.25, a result that trounces our A-List machine – the PC Specialist Vortex Destroyer’s Sandy Bridge-E chip scored 1.16.


Warranty2 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity1,240GB
RAM capacity8.00GB


CPU familyIntel Core i7
CPU nominal frequency3.40GHz
CPU overclocked frequency4.40GHz
Processor socketLGA 1155
HSF (heatsink-fan)Antec Kuhler H20


MotherboardAsus P8Z77-I Deluxe
Motherboard chipsetIntel Z77
Conventional PCI slots free0
Conventional PCI slots total0
PCI-E x16 slots free0
PCI-E x16 slots total1
PCI-E x1 slots free0
PCI-E x1 slots total0
Internal SATA connectors4
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory typeDDR3
Memory sockets free0
Memory sockets total2

Graphics card

Graphics cardEVGA GeForce GTX 680
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?no
3D performance settingLow
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce GTX 680
Graphics card RAM2.00GB
DVI-I outputs2
DisplayPort outputs1
Number of graphics cards1

Hard disk

Hard diskKingston HyperX 3K SSD
Hard disk usable capacity111GB
Internal disk interfaceSATA/600
Hard disk 2 make and modelKingston HyperX 3K SSD
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity120GB
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity111
Hard disk 3 make and modelHitachi Deskstar 7K1000.B
Hard disk 3 nominal capacity1,000GB


ChassisFractal Design Node 304
Case formatSmall form-factor
Dimensions250 x 374 x 210mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supplyXigmatek Tauro
Power supply rating600W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)4
eSATA ports2
PS/2 mouse portyes
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
3.5mm audio jacks3

Front ports

Front panel USB ports2

Operating system and software

OS familyWindows 8

Noise and power

Idle power consumption85W
Peak power consumption393W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings198fps
3D performance settingLow
Overall Real World Benchmark score1.25
Responsiveness score1.16
Media score1.32
Multitasking score1.27

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