Top positive review
16 people found this helpful
Excellent PC - just a few reservations
on 13 September 2013
Review for Vibox
I bought this Vibox because I wanted a gaming computer that would do justice to Skyrim, Saints Row 3, Tomb raider and a few other games, as well as simply be up to date for routine computing tasks, Internet and MS Office. Buying off Amazon also assures a level of customer service.
Rest assured, Vibox are a good team to deal with. Visit their web site and you will see strong customer support. They specialise in building machines to order, or selling boxes like these and their prices are good. I know you can assemble your own for cheaper, but I didn't want the hassle of building my own stuff as I'm not into PC building any more. Ordered Sunday, delivered the next Friday - don't forget Vibox assemble and test on order before posting.
It does not come with any peripherals so you need to budget for those. The Vibox start-up help card is clear and you can't really go wrong in putting the system together. I chose Windows 7 as my operating system as it has better games compatibility and 3D flip for swapping between applications. In retrospect I think I would ask Vibox to install the chosen operating system. Whilst it was easy, there is a lot of sitting around waiting for updates to load up and I would rather have had the installed system off the shelf! (Just a personal choice). NB - watch which version of Windows 7/8 you buy. The cheaper OEM versions will become permanently wedded to the motherboard; spend a bit more so you can upgrade without pain.
This rig is getting on for a year old, so claims of "cutting edge" are outdated now. NB! The AMD-friendly Motherboard actually has only SATA 2 outputs so a flashy SATA 3 SSD is going to be a bit crippled unless you forgo 2GB of RAM and enable RAPID. However, the ATI 7850 Graphics Card with a very nice 2GB RAM is a pretty sharp player, but the newer 7900 series now outmatches it (ditto for newer rival cards). The four core chip is fine. Note that you will have to unpark the cores so the extra ones are used.
I got Tomb Raider and Far Cry with this - had to download it via Steam. Bioshock Infinite took a while to be made available to me as promised. No sign of a fourth game - these games offers are all dependent on the current ATI offers so be warned.
Game playing! Now, I use an oddish screen of 1680x1050, 1080p HD, with a 2ms response time (yes, 2ms!), and running at 60MHz. With this ATI 7850 card, a higher level wider screen may start dragging on frame rates in Ultra settings. 3D will also be slower. So you may prefer a 7900 series (or rival) card. But I can play Tomb Raider on Ultimate Settings (above Ultra). And it is as smooth as cinema film. A total joy to watch and play. I'm also an Oblivion fan and I have that maxed to everything complete with Qarl's Texture Packs and it is gorgeous. I'm modding Skyrim to the ENB levels and I will update on how I get on. [UPDATE: playing Skyrim heavily modded including Project ENB, the system copes to a reasonable playing level but not smooth as silk; it suffers more from the infamous Bethesda 'stutter'. However, I find it still pretty good and playable for me. Vanilla Skyrim is totally smooth. So get a beefier graphics card and an SSD if you are heavily modding games.]
As for fan noise, I must disagree with those complaining about lots of fan noise. I have the PC down on the lower part of a regular computer desk. Yes it has fan noise, but in my workplace I have some bog-standard PCs made by a certain Irish company that sound like storm force 10 compare to this. I don't really notice this Vibox fan at all. My son's laptop fan is way louder! I suppose if you stick the base unit on the desk beside your ear then yes, you'll get fan noise. Just put it down below and you'll be fine; don't let issues over fan noise put you off.
Build quality seems pretty solid. I like the front opening DVD reveal - smooth firm action. The base is lit up like a Christmas tree and looks like the photo - watch your electricity bill go up!
So, I am very happy with this new PC. You can always buy cheaper, I know, but this is a very satisfying bit of kit and judging by playing results so far, impressive. An alternative would be to buy direct from Vibox and up the graphics to 7900 series, but personally I'd say don't bother with the 6 core chips. Just be aware this box is a year old now, so you may wish to pop over to Vibox's site and check out their current kit. Modding games users, consider the same but with a new, beefier graphics card.