Well I've added up the prices for the parts that compose this item and I don't believe you could build it yourself for any cheaper. The Windows Experience Index is one to two points off maximum for processor and memory. The lowest score is 5.6 for Aero. Hard drive is 5.9. Installation - well you connect up the keyboard, etc and switch it on. Fast boot to desktop. Great to have Windows disk. Four stars because there is no external SATA but you can get a back plate cheaply. Good to have so many USB3's. Obviously there is not much room for expansion due to small mainboard.
This review is for the specific Ankermann computer (their Art. Nr: 28392, EAN: 4260219658713) that I purchased in January 2014 to replace my old Windows XP computer that had quite a bit of software installed in it which I was hoping to carry across. This Ankermann computer has a very good specification for the price (1TB, 16GB RAM, GT630 graphics card, i7-3770 processor, Windows 7 Professional 64-bit), enough to make your mouth water. It arrived very well packed in a close fitting cardboard box that was inside a much larger cardboard box (without hand-holes which was good). There was at least 50mm of polystyrene beans between the two boxes giving excellent protection during transit. It arrived with the DVD's and manuals for the graphics card and the motherboard, and a DELL OEM Re-installation DVD for The Windows 7 Professional saying that it was for the "Operating System Already Installed On Your Computer" which was a comfort to know. I went for the Windows 7 Professional 64-bit because it was advertised as being much more tolerant of older software running on XP than is the Home and Student Edition.
So with my new `super' computer I set about installing my older software of which I probably had about 20 different programs. That was my first Mistake: Do not install a program without creating a restore point first. My second mistake was thinking that the Windows 7 Professional version would throw up warning if any incompatible software was about to be loaded, it doesn't.
As a result the computer became progressively slower as I added more of the older software until it started freezing up requiring restarts. I thought this was not good so I thought I would insert the DELL Re-installation DVD that came with the computer. It offered me the choice of either a `repair' of Windows (which would keep my files and loaded programs) or a `custom' re-installation of the whole Windows 7 (which would delete all files and programs). I chose the `repair' option hoping that would cure the slowness and freezing up of the computer. It didn't as it froze up before the repair operation was completed. I had to force a shutdown. I restarted the computer and a message appeared to the effect that the repair was unsuccessful and that the computer had been returned to its previous state (still slow with the occasional freezing up).
My next action was to do a complete re-install of Windows 7 using the DELL OEM Re-installation DVD for The Windows 7 Professional because it said that it was the "Operating System Already Installed On Your Computer". When the computer had completed the re-install of Windows the computer was unusable as all the drivers had also been deleted. My third mistake was to innocently believe that the re-installation DVD would take the computer back to its "as delivered" state so that I could start again as if I had just received it.
So this computer does not have any sensible recovery system which will enable you to return it back to a good state if you have problems. To me this is a huge disadvantage of this computer. Unless you are a computer expert and can reload all the drivers yourself back into the computer yourself, and make whatever other adjustments and settings that may be necessary, the re-installation disc is useless (although it does have a card with it that has the Product ID and Product Key printed on it for that version of Windows which you might need in the future and must keep safe).
As it was beyond my capability to rectify the computer's problems I took it to a Microsoft registered engineer to get it back into its "as delivered" state so that I could start again. He found that the Product Key for the software had already been used on another computer so it could not be re-installed onto my computer. This was a very bad situation and one that should not have occurred with a new computer from a reputable supplier. He was able to explain to Microsoft that the fault was not mine and that I had definitely NOT installed that software on another computer. They eventually understood the situation and permitted him to install a new installation of the full Windows 7 Professional 64-bit software using the Product Key that came with the DELL disc. I also got him to fit a second new CD/DVD recorder that I had available while he was at it.
Strangely, a note on the DELL disc says "Use this DVD only to reinstall the operating system on a DELL PC". Well I haven't got a DELL PC, I have an Ankermann PC so explain that one to me.
I purchased the computer from Amazon in January 2014 for £672 with an additional £29 for delivery and handling from Ankermann in Germany to me here in Greece, and a further £50 for a Microsoft registered engineer to sort out all the problems I had before he returned the computer back to me in its "as delivered" state.
So what of the computer itself? It is relatively small with case dimensions of 390 (D) x 175 (W) x 350 (H). It is nicely finished in black steel (a bit on the thin side but it does its job) with a plastic front panel that has a cheap feel about it, but again it does the job. There are 3 USB 2.0 (one of these being in the card reader which is not shown in its photograph on Amazon although it is in the description) and 2 USB 3.0 ports on the front, and 4 USB 2.0 and 2 USB 3.0 ports at the rear, along with all the other various ports you would expect to find.
The computer engineer that put the computer right for me said that for long-term reliability he would have used a Western Digital hard drive and not a Toshiba, Kingston RAM instead of Crucial, the NVIDIA GeForce 630 graphic card was OK, and the 16GB of RAM and i7-3770 processor were good choices. He thought the Corsair power supply was decent quality but at only 350W he felt it was too small and he would have used a much larger one - I have checked the total power load when recording a DVD at high speed with two small WD Elements external hard drives also running it was hovering between 75-100W, when playing Microsoft Flight Simulator X SP1 & SP2 I have seen the power consumption go up as high as 140W, but for normal browsing it never goes above 100W so I am happy with that. Overall he thought the case was a bit too small to provide adequate cooling for all the components squeezed onto the relatively small motherboard and in hot weather that could be a problem. I am not too bothered about that now as the computer has a two year warranty so the manufacturer does not think that will be a problem, but time will tell.
I have now installed most of my required software, being careful to ensure it was all compatible with 64-bit and with restore points created before each one. As an experiment, to see how good this games computer is, I have just tried Flight Simulator X with Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2 with every setting turned up to "ultra high" and the performance was amazing. There was no flicker or judder at all. Although it opens in a separate window, the normal graphics are restored when the program is closed. One point to note is that on startup it does clunk a bit for the first second until the internal hard drive comes to life, but after that it only has a slight hum from the various fans which I personally do not find distracting.
The Windows Experience Index rating is 5.6, this being made up of: Processor (7.7), Memory RAM (7.8), Graphics (5.6), Gaming Graphics (6.6) and Primary Hard drive (5.9). These are more than enough for me.
How do I rate this computer? I will give it 5 stars for its performance now it is running, but I must take off 2 stars for:
a) all the trouble and unnecessary expense the DELL re-installation DVD has caused me, due to the fact that it did not restore the computer back into the usable condition it was when I received it which I expected it would have (unlike the recovery partition on all of my previous HP computers which did),
b) the fact that my copy of Windows 7 had been reported by Microsoft as having been previously installed on another machine prior to it being sold as part of my package (I only have my computer engineer's word for that as I was not there when he rang Microsoft but I have no reason to doubt him). The moral of this is to get Ankermann to confirm that your copy of Windows will definitely NOT have been installed on another computer before you get it.
Would I buy the same again if I knew then what potential problems I would get in connection with the re-installation DVD? Definitely not.
What do I think of the computer now it is running? Forgetting the problems and extra expense I have incurred, now it is working properly it is brilliant. Time will tell how reliable it really is in the long term.