All-round Deluxe PC - January 2015
The all-round Deluxe PC will last you a few years without requiring any upgrades. It is a bit more expensive, but is very complete as well. Using the internet, gaming, business applications, photo and video editing - all of these are possible on a good all-round PC, and you should never feel that you are lacking in performance for any of those activities.
This means a good processor and graphics card from the upper mid-range segment. Fast, yet affordable. You also need enough RAM and storage space, not to mention an attractive chassis and reliable power supply that can last several years. Of course you need a quality monitor, mouse and keyboard, as these are used very frequently.
This PC will cost more than the standard all-round PC, but it is also more powerful and has higher-end components. If this exceeds your budget somewhat, then you can have a look at out standard All-round PC instead.
Please note: the PC Buyer’s Guide is compiled based on independent component tests performed by Hardware.Info. If no new, superior products are released that should replace one or more of the components, then the component(s) will remain the same as the previous month.
If you want to know more about how we compile our PC Buying guides, have a look at this article.
A Deluxe all-round desktop PC should of course have state-of-the-art hardware, and for processors that means the Haswell refresh from Intel.
Since the refresh, VT-d I/O is supported by the models with an unlocked multiplier. Overclocking has limited added value for an all-round PC, but the price difference isn't that big. That's why we choose the i5 4690K.
If you are buying a new PC, at the moment we recommend 8GB RAM. That goes double for a DeLuxe PC. DDR3-1600 is sufficient for our chosen platform, faster memory does not add a lot and with the current high prices, we would advise the cheaper option. As we write this, Crucial's set (which we tested with good results) is relatively affordable, but do consult our price comparison engine. As long as you look at the bigger brands, it matters little which kit you buy if price is the main concern.
The Gigabyte Z97-D3H was one of the test winners in our comparison of 19 Intel Z97 and H97 motherboards. It's almost as complete as more expensive boards like the MSI Z97 Gaming 5: a Realtek ALC1150 audio codec, a good ethernet chip, M.2, SATA-Express, it's all aboard the D3H. Only if you want to keep the possibility of putting in a second card in Nvidia SLI, you have to buy a board like the Gaming 5.
It goes without saying on occasion you'll want to play a game on your DeLuxe PC, of course in Full HD. A great card for gaming at that resolution is de AMD Radeon R9 270X, which always performs great at medium quality settings and frequently can even manage high quality without difficulty. It has a great price performance ratio and that goes double for MSI's offering, which is also pretty quiet.
It may be clear: the Crucial MX100 is the SSD you want to have. The consumer brand of Micron doesn't only offer good performance with this SSD, but also sets a new bar in terms of price/performance. At extremely low costs per GB, you now get 512 GB of speedy storage in your system: perfect for this All-round Deluxe PC.
The data disk doesn't need to be fast: quiet, efficient and affordable are key. Based on those criteria, Western Digital's Green series is according to our latest comparison test the best choice. We opt for the 3TB version, which has plenty of space for the future.
For the DeLuxe PC we choose a combo drive, so you can watch Blu-ray films if you want. The LG CH10 we tested has gone end-of-life, so we go for the CH12, which is a bit faster.
The Define series from Fractal Design are famous for their high-quality finished and whisper quiet cases. The Define R5 is no exception and is able to accommodate up to eight 3.5" disks. In general, this case is a bit more solid than the Corsair 330R, by example.
For the current configuration a 500-watt power supply is enough. This power supply from Cooler Master has an exceptionally high efficiency at low loads - important, 'cause your components won't be fully loaded during simple tasks. We don't have anything to complain about the noise production, too. All this didn't only result in a Gold Award in our review, but also in a place in this advice.
From our recent test of desktop sets, we learned that there is quite a bit of variety in quality in the currently sold models, even with similarly priced competitors.
However, Microsoft's Wireless Desktop 2000 is affordable as well as solidly built, with a decent keyboard and mouse. Both connect wirelesly and respond fast to commands. A nice extra is the encryption for the wireless connection, a comforting thought these days.
Unless you're a gamer or frequently watch movies, it's best to get a 2.1 (stereo and subwoofer) rather than 5.1. The design won't appeal to anyone, but in its price class the Logitech Z553 performs excellent, as we found out in our test. The sound quality approximates that of the more expensive Z623.
The Iiyama ProLite XB2483HSU proved to be an excellent display with a very competitive price in our review. There's a very good AMVA+ panel inside, which has a much richer contrast than IPS panels. The color fidelity is outstanding and the response times are nevertheless reasonable. That's why we overlook the little imperfections, like the lack of a DisplayPort connector, and give it a place in this advice next to the Silver Award.
|Processors||Intel Core i5 4690K Boxed||£239.99|
|Memory modules||Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR3-1600 CL9 kit||£66.69|
|CPU coolers||Cooler Master Hyper 412S||£40.43|
|Graphics cards||MSI Radeon R9 270X Gaming 2GB||–|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Crucial MX100 512GB||–|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Western Digital Green 3TB||£82.99|
|Optical drives||LG CH12NS30||£67.85|
|Cases||Fractal Design Define R5 Black||£99.98|
|Power supplies||Cooler Master V-Series Semi-Modular 550W||–|
|Keyboards||Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000||–|
|PC speaker sets||Logitech Z553||–|
|Monitors||Iiyama ProLite XB2483HSU-B1||–|
|Save as your own wish list||Average total price:||£597.93|