A powerful AMD-based PC that’s an affordable alternative to ‘Intel Inside’
Most new PCs use Intel's new ‘Ivy Bridge' processors, but there are alternatives. The affordable new E-5800K from PC Specialist uses one of AMD's new ‘Trinity' chips instead.
This desktop PC isn't particularly exciting to look at with its bland, black design. It's more interesting on the inside, though, as it runs Windows 8 and is equipped with AMD's new A10-5800K processor. This powerful quad-core processor runs at 3.8GHz, but can temporarily boost its speed to 4.2GHz when necessary. Combined with 8GB of memory it is more than fast enough for demanding tasks such as photo-or video-editing. However, similarly priced Ivy Bridge-based PCs can be even faster, completing our demanding benchmarks in half the time.
The 1TB hard drive for storing all your music, photos and videos is complimented by a separate 120GB solid-state drive (SSD) which helps improve start up and wake-up times. There's also a Blu-ray drive for playing high-definition films on disc. However, the E-5800K doesn't include a keyboard, mouse or monitor, so you'll need to provide those yourself.
Like Intel's Core processors, the A10-5800K has its own integrated graphics processor – in this case a Radeon HD7660D. This won't be fast enough to satisfy hardcore gamers, as it only managed a score of 20 frames per second when running Batman: Arkham City at 1,920x1,080 pixels with the highest graphics settings enabled. Even so, that's not bad for a PC in this price range. Adjusting the settings and settling for a lower screen resolution produced a more playable 28fps, so the A10 is fine for a spot of casual gaming every now and then.
The case provides plenty of room for a graphics card upgrade with two easily accessible PCI slots. There are also three spare drive bays for adding extra internal storage, as well as seven USB2 ports and two USB3 ports. The internal fan emits a low, steady hum when the PC is running, but it's not too obtrusive so you won't need to hide it away under your desk in order to try and reduce the noise.
The PC Specialist E-5800K is a fine PC, but if you want the fastest possible performance on a budget then the identically-priced Intel-based Palicomp Alpha Phase is better value.
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A fast, affordable PC with plenty of room for future upgrades
Fast quad-core processor; easily accessible expansion slots; reasonably quiet
Doesn't include mouse, keyboard or monitor; faster and similarly priced PCs available
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