Yoyotech Warbird Nightblade 1 review
Yoyotech is known primarily for its pricey yet high-performance desktop PCs: the company’s impressive Warbird RS has worn the PC Pro A-List crown in that category for a while now. So when the Warbird Nightblade 1 arrived at our offices promising serious gaming capability at a significantly lower price, our curiosity was piqued. Read on for our Yoyotech Warbird Nightblade 1 review.
Yoyotech Warbird Nightblade 1 review: build and accessibility
The Nightblade definitely looks like a gaming system, or more accurately, it looks like a games console. Compact at only 174mm wide and 261mm tall, the Nightblade has an attractive, cohesive design that puts one in mind of a PS3 or an Xbox 360 rather than a Windows PC. The unit’s side panels are made of unyielding, black metal and the front panel is black aluminium with Yoyotech’s distinctive logo gleaming forth, and the entire system sits at a slightly tilted back angle, with a bracket raising the system a couple of centimetres by its chin.
There’s no doubt that the Nightblade is an attractive-looking PC, but what you gain in looks you lose in flexibility. Gaining access is easy enough: the left-hand panel is held on by switches, rather than thumbscrews, which make flipping it off a doddle. But inside it’s incredibly cramped; the inevitable downside to such a titchy case. In order to get to the motherboard, one must first get past the enormous CPU fan, which is affixed to a plastic panel that must be unscrewed and removed first.
Once this is done, there still isn’t much room for manoeuvre. A two-bay drive cage at the top and another at the front – plus a veritable jungle of cables – make the micro-ATX motherboard difficult to reach. And while we were impressed with the inclusion of an mSATA adapter (allowing for the possibility of adding up to two mSATA SSDs to the already-installed 128GB Toshiba SSD boot disk), the Nightblade appears to be aimed more at those looking for immediate pick-up-and-play gratification than tinkerers.
Yoyotech Warbird Nightblade 1 review: hardware and performance
Thankfully, the core hardware is generous enough that the Nightblade will remain competitive for a while yet. The 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-4670K is permanently overclocked to 4.3GHz (the overclock button on the front of the machine is redundant here) and, in combination with the single 8GB stick of 1,600MHz DDR3 RAM, achieved an Overall score of 1.18 in our Real World Benchmarks. This lower than the i7-equipped Warbird RS, which scored 1.29, but still highly respectable. The 128GB SSD is quick too, gaining fantastic sequential read and write scores of 510MB/sec and 474MB/sec respectively in AS SSD and keeps things ticking over nicely with a cold boot time of only 12 seconds.
As expected, the Nightblade’s AMD Radeon R9 270X graphics card proved perfectly capable of heavy-duty gaming. In our Crysis test, it delivered an average of 66fps at Very High quality settings at 1,920 x 1,080; it’s some way behind the Warbird RS’s 88fps, but impressive by any other measure.
We were pleased to note that, despite the heavy-duty hardware inside the Nightblade’s chassis, its power output wasn’t overwhelming. It drew 127W while idle, and 300W with both Prime95 and FurMark pushing the CPU and graphics card to the max. The MSI Dragon liquid-cooling system kept the CPU and GPU at a safe 70°C and 79°C respectively during these tests. In all, the Nightblade manages to remain almost as cool and collected as the Warbird RS, the CPU and graphics card of which hit 70°C and 68°C under the same conditions. This is an impressive feat for such a compact machine.
Finally, although there isn’t much room for manoeuvre inside, you do at least get a generous selection of external ports. There are two USB 3, two USB 2 ports, plus 3.5mm audio and microphone jacks at the front. At the rear, on the motherboard backplane, are a four further USB 3 ports, two USB 2, one eSATA, plus Gigabit Ethernet, DisplayPort, HDMI and D-Sub video outputs. The system’s graphics card beneath, sports HDMI, DisplayPort and VGA outputs. A pair of antennas betray the presence of integrated wireless, in the form of a mini-PCI Intel Wireless-AC 7260 adapter mounted on the motherboard.
Yoyotech Warbird Nightblade 1 review: verdict
Overall, we’re impressed with the Yoyotech Warbird Nightblade 1: it competes on almost even terms with the Warbird RS despite being, in effect, £250 cheaper (once you take into account the cost of the RS’s monitor and peripheral bundle). Although it may not have the future-proofing of a larger system, the Nightblade’s fantastic benchmark scores, top-notch gaming capabilities and generous selection of hardware more than make up for it. It’s a very impressive PC.
|Warranty||3 yr return to base|
|CPU nominal frequency||3.40GHz|
|CPU overclocked frequency||4.30GHz|
|Memory sockets total||4|
|Graphics card||AMD Radeon R9 270X|
|3D performance setting||Low|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk||Seagate Barracuda|
|Hard disk 2 make and model||Toshiba SSD|
|Hard disk 2 nominal capacity||128GB|
|Dimensions||174 x 375 x 261mm (WDH)|
|USB ports (downstream)||2|
|Front panel USB ports||4|
Operating system and software
|OS family||Windows 8|
Noise and power
|Idle power consumption||127W|
|Peak power consumption||300W|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||207fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||1.12|
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