Wired2Fire HAL 4000 review

£1399
Price when reviewed

Wired2Fire has partnered its lightning-quick processor with a factory-overclocked EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 graphics card. It’s already one of the most potent cards on the market, but its base and boost clocks of 1,006MHz and 1,058MHz are raised to 1,084MHz and 1,150MHz, and the 2GB of GDDR5 RAM has been tweaked, too, with its speeds inflated from 6,008MHz to 6,208MHz. The overclocking pays modest dividends: a score of 79fps in our Very High quality 1,920 x 1,080 Crysis benchmark puts the Wired2Fire 4fps ahead of the PC Specialist, which used a GTX 680 running at stock speeds.

Wired2Fire HAL 4000

The HAL 4000’s storage is equally uncompromising. A pair of 120GB Kingston HyperX 3K SSDs is arranged in a striped RAID0 array; a combination that recorded a stupendous 818MB/sec in AS SSD’s sequential read benchmark. The performance overhead for running in RAID0 means that the array didn’t keep up this pace elsewhere – sequential file writes dropped to a modest 183MB/sec – but it’s more than enough speed to keep Windows 8 and other applications feeling nippy, and the blazing sequential read speeds are enough for loading games in a flash.

All those components are tightly packed together, but the Wired2Fire didn’t overheat in our thermal benchmarks. The processor’s top temperature of 85°C ducks in just below the level we’d consider dangerous, and the graphics card topped out at 82°C. Noise isn’t an issue, either. The system emits only a low rumble when idling, and while the GPU and cooling fans spin audibly when running tough benchmarks or gaming, it’s nothing too intrusive – even modest speakers will drown it out.

Wired2Fire HAL 4000

Wired2Fire has also equipped the HAL 4000 with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard disk and dual-band 802.11n wireless. We’re particularly pleased by that last addition: since there’s no room for an optical drive, you’ll need to rely on digital download services such as Valve’s Steam, or buy a USB optical drive for loading up older titles.

The HAL 4000’s compact dimensions don’t provide much scope for ambitious upgrade projects but, with such a huge level of power on offer, there’s little reason to fiddle – this pint-sized PC effortlessly trumps our current A-List victor in applications and games. Delivering full-sized performance in a smart, desk-friendly chassis, Wired2Fire’s HAL 4000 is a worthy A-List champion.

Warranty

Warranty 2 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 1,240GB
RAM capacity 8.00GB

Processor

CPU family Intel Core i7
CPU nominal frequency 3.40GHz
CPU overclocked frequency 4.40GHz
Processor socket LGA 1155
HSF (heatsink-fan) Antec Kuhler H20

Motherboard

Motherboard Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe
Motherboard chipset Intel Z77
Conventional PCI slots free 0
Conventional PCI slots total 0
PCI-E x16 slots free 0
PCI-E x16 slots total 1
PCI-E x1 slots free 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 0
Internal SATA connectors 4
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 0
Memory sockets total 2

Graphics card

Graphics card EVGA GeForce GTX 680
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
3D performance setting Low
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce GTX 680
Graphics card RAM 2.00GB
DVI-I outputs 2
DisplayPort outputs 1
Number of graphics cards 1

Hard disk

Hard disk Kingston HyperX 3K SSD
Capacity 120GB
Hard disk usable capacity 111GB
Internal disk interface SATA/600
Hard disk 2 make and model Kingston HyperX 3K SSD
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity 120GB
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity 111
Hard disk 3 make and model Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.B
Hard disk 3 nominal capacity 1,000GB

Case

Chassis Fractal Design Node 304
Case format Small form-factor
Dimensions 250 x 374 x 210mm (WDH)

Power supply

Power supply Xigmatek Tauro
Power supply rating 600W

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 0

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 4
eSATA ports 2
PS/2 mouse port yes
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
3.5mm audio jacks 3

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 2

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 8

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 85W
Peak power consumption 393W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings 198fps
3D performance setting Low
Overall Real World Benchmark score 1.25
Responsiveness score 1.16
Media score 1.32
Multitasking score 1.27

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