Excellent PC and Service..highly recommend PCS | PCSPECIALIST

Excellent PC and Service..highly recommend PCS

Nursemorph

Big Poster
Had been thinking about getting a new PC for a while, lurking on the forums, absorbing the advice given to others...then my old PC started acting up and so, after a few days of getting advice (big thanks to those who advised me), I ordered a new tower via the 5 day fast track service.

The order process was simple and easy to use....the order updates in my account were good so I could see what was going on. PCS got my new PC to me within the time frame (ordered on Sunday, arrived on Thursday).

The first thing I noticed was how light the new PC was....I would not be lying if I said it was almost half the weight of my previous one (built in 2013). The case itself isn't much smaller than my old one in terms of height and width, but is noticeabley shorter...here's a side-byside comparison of the 2 cases (Zalman Z11+ vs Fractal Focus G Black Gaming Case):

2.jpg


Inside the case is where PCS have shown their quality.....the cable management is vastly superior to the builders of my previous system (not PCS), even in non-viewable areas (behind the motherboard etc). Here is a picture showing the differences (some of that mess in my old system is my doing with adding more SATA cables etc but the difference is still noticeable, especially from the GPU and PSU:

4.jpg


I have been inside that case a few times in the past week and I am still amazed at how spacious it looks, partly due to the fewer 5.25" bays and smaller HDD enclosure and partly due to components being smaller....clearly 6 years makes a big difference!

Here is a close-up of inside the case to better appreciate the hard work done:

1.jpg


Onto the system, here are the specs for it:

Case
FRACTAL FOCUS G BLACK GAMING CASE (Window)
Processor (CPU)
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Six Core CPU (3.6GHz-4.2GHz/36MB CACHE/AM4)

Get 3 Months of XBOX Game Pass for PC w/ select AMD Ryzen CPUs
Motherboard
ASUS® PRIME B450-PLUS (DDR4, USB 3.1, 6Gb/s) - RGB Ready!
Memory (RAM)
16GB Corsair VENGEANCE DDR4 3200MHz (2 x 8GB)
Graphics Card
8GB NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2060 SUPER - HDMI, DP - VR Ready!
1st M.2 SSD Drive
512GB ADATA SX6000 Pro PCIe M.2 2280 (2100 MB/R, 1500 MB/W)
Power Supply
CORSAIR 550W TXm SERIES™ SEMI-MODULAR 80 PLUS® GOLD, ULTRA QUIET
Power Cable
1 x 1 Metre UK Power Cable (Kettle Lead)
Processor Cooling
STANDARD AMD CPU COOLER
Thermal Paste
STANDARD THERMAL PASTE FOR SUFFICIENT COOLING
Sound Card
ONBOARD 6 CHANNEL (5.1) HIGH DEF AUDIO (AS STANDARD)
Wireless/Wired Networking
10/100/1000 GIGABIT LAN PORT (Wi-Fi NOT INCLUDED)
USB/Thunderbolt Options
MIN. 2 x USB 3.0 & 2 x USB 2.0 PORTS @ BACK PANEL + MIN. 2 FRONT PORTS
Operating System
Windows 10 Home 64 Bit - inc. Single Licence
Operating System Language
United Kingdom - English Language
Windows Recovery Media
NO RECOVERY MEDIA REQUIRED
Office Software
FREE 30 Day Trial of Microsoft® Office® 365 (Operating System Required)
Anti-Virus
NO ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE
Browser
Firefox™
Warranty
3 Year Platinum Warranty (3 Year Collect & Return, 3 Year Parts, 3 Year labour)
Delivery
STANDARD INSURED DELIVERY TO UK MAINLAND (MON-FRI)
Build Time
FAST TRACK 5 WORKING DAY DISPATCH
Welcome Book
PCSpecialist Welcome Book - United Kingdom & Republic of Ireland
Logo Branding
PCSpecialist Logo
Price: £1183.00 including VAT and Delivery
Unique URL to re-configure: https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/saved-configurations/amd-am4-gen3-pc/P8hwvGH97Q/

The PC was packaged well enough with solid polystyrene inlays to keep it still in transit and a gel pack thing inside the case to protect the components. Every component was included, though it did take me a while to deduce which component was the M2 drive. I was surprised there was no paperwork with the computer, such as confirming all the parts were included or anything about the warranty but it can all be accessed from the website so no biggie.

The computer, when set-up, started as it should and the update process went smoothly. The first thing I noticed was that the computer was noisier than I expected, to the point where I could hear it over my TV programs...not enough to be annoying but still noticeable. However, having downloaded AI Suite 3 from the ASUS website, I found the fan utility which, once run gave me 4 fan settings (Silent, Standard, Turbo and Full) and I have found that the fans on Standard setting are virtually silent (not much noisier than the Silent option)..it seems the fans were running somewhere between Turbo and Full at the start. I would recommend everyone with an ASUS MOBO to download AI Suite if they don't have it as standard..it is a useful program to have.

2 other noticeable things to mention:

- The cooling on the case as standard is fantastic. While I don't truly trust the temperatures shown by AI Suite (it will display say 37C and then it refreshes a few seconds later and is showing 51C then, 45C, back to mid-30s, even when the system is idling), I would say everything is remaining cool enough as there is a good flow fro
 

Nursemorph

Big Poster
Continued (system is having an issue allowing me to edit!!)......


from the exhaust fan and, even with the PC on for 15-17 hours and in use the whole time (running older NFS games, web surfing and watching films and TV using PowerDVD), the whole case is as cool to the touch as when I first turned it on (my old PC would get quite warm and exhaust air flow was almost non-existent). Maybe things will change if I start playing more demanding games etc...still, I am impressed, especiallys considering this system has less fans than my old one (3 fans+ the CPU fan vs 5+Coolermaster CPU AIO water cooler).


- The speed of the M2 drive is extraordinary (and the whole system in general). WIndows boot-up seems to be the same speed but programs do open quicker. The biggest surprise was that transferring 90GB of data from a Samsung Evo SSD vis USB 3.0 took less than 5 minutes to complete!! Unbelieveable!


- If you are ordering a system without an opical drive or a hard drive (as I did), be aware that you will need to plug the power leads and SATA leads in yourself. Not a big issue and I shouldn't have been surprised but, for some reason, I at least expected the power wires to be installed ready. However, as they are plug n play, it's easy to sort out.


So, to summarise:


POSITIVES:


- Fast, efficient service from PCS

- Excellent cable management

- System has excellent airflow

- Very fast

- Quiet once fan speeds sorted out

- Very light for a full-ish size tower


NEGATIVES:


- A bit too noisy out of the box but easily rectified with ASUS AI Suite

- Lack of power leads installed for SATA devices but, again, easily rectified

- NVIDIA display optimisation isn't as good as AMDs (maybe needs extra software or settings I haven't found yet). I was able to scale the display on my old AMD system to fill my screen with no blank spaces, whereas I can't with NVIDIA (there is a black bar around the whole screen...eliminating the bar means I lose part of the task bar etc)


In conclusion:


I would highly recommend this system to anyone looking for a good all-round system for a reasonable price.


As I am upgrading my screen from a 720p television to a proper monitor, I may revise this review if anything is different. Hope this helps anyone thinking of buying from PCS...I could not recommend them any higher
 

ubuysa

Moderator
Moderator
Many thanks for this thoughtful and detailed review.

These do help prospective purchasers get an idea of the PCS quality. The edit issue you probably had was because there is a limit to the number of characters per post (though I can't recall what the number is).

Thanks again.

Sent using Tapatalk
 

Nursemorph

Big Poster
Set-up my new monitor this morning..it is an AOCQ3279WFD8 31.5" IPS LED monitor. It works very well with my new PC...and it has eliminated the border around my screen so clearly I needed a monitor rather than a TV as a screen. WOuld definitely recommend the monitor with a PC like this, even despite the annoying location of the buttons on the monitor!!
 

Nursemorph

Big Poster
Update:

Having had my new PC for 2 weeks, thought I'd post an update. So far everything has been excellent....the only issue is that the ASUS CPU temperature monitor is woefully innacurate...AI Suite shows temps all over the place and, consequently, the fans are constantly up and down in speeds (the whining of the fans spinning up gets a bit annoying). The noise has been solved by changing the setting from Standard to Silent as this has reduced the fan speeds....it does mean there is heat coming from the exhaust fan but the rest of the case if cold so not too concerned.

I haven't really tested the system to even close to it's limit yet as I am still playing older Need For Speed games (circa 2005-2010) and even running 2 separate browsers and PowerDVD barely uses 15% of CPU capacity. I did, however, run 3DMark this morning and the display was brilliant...it gave a score of just over 8200..no idea if it's good or bad compared to other systems (though an i9-9900 and a 2080 scores around a 15-16000 according to the website).

All in all I would highly recommend this system to anyone looking for a good all-round system
 

Oussebon

Multiverse Poster
AI Suite is generally best not used if possible. Better than it used to be (!), still not really the go-to.

I did, however, run 3DMark this morning and the display was brilliant...it gave a score of just over 8200
Which benchmark did you run? Was it called Timespy or Firestrike?
 

Nursemorph

Big Poster
AI Suite is generally best not used if possible. Better than it used to be (!), still not really the go-to.

Which benchmark did you run? Was it called Timespy or Firestrike?

For 3DMark, the one run was TimeSpy (the normal one, not the extreme version)...maybe those used to high-res game graphics wouldn't have been so impressed but I have been playing older NFS games soooo.... If I recall it was showing just under 60fps for GPU and just under 30 for CPU

If you remove the inability of AI Suite to monitor CPU temperatures properly, then I would have no complaints....I agree it is better than it used to be except for the CPU temp monitor which is getting worse (I saw a lot of comments about it all over the web). What would you recommend to use instead of AI Suite? Or did you mean it's better to use nothing and just rely on the standard settings? Standard settings would be fine if the fans were a tad quieter.....quiet enough to not be overpowering but loud enough to be distracting at times
 

Oussebon

Multiverse Poster
A timespy result of 8200 sounds low.

If you had freesync / gsync enabled while you ran it, that would probably explain the ~10% lower score

Timespy tests give multiple results for the different components of the test, and you can link to the results.
e.g. one of mine from a while ago: https://www.3dmark.com/3dm/37629212?

To control CPU fans and case fans (assuming they can be controlled and are connected to the mobo), set a custom profile in the BIOS. Or use speedfan if you can get your head around it.
As for software, to control GPU fans MSI afterburner or EVGA "Precision X1" - not to be confused with all the other "Precision" software that are for different generations of GPU...
For general monitoring, MSI Afterburner has all you need I think.
 

Nursemorph

Big Poster
Thank you for the reply and the advice

G-Sync was probably enabled (didn't know I was supposed to deactivate it for the run) as it is ticked under the "setup G-sync" in the NVIDIA control panel....Here is the link to one of the runs I did: https://www.3dmark.com/spy/10414781

I was worried you were going to say the only real solution is via the BIOS (had a look at the Speedfan site and I have no clue what half of the screenshots were showing!).....I really have no confidence in doing anything with the BIOS, other than Boot drive options as I am always worried I'll break something. I think I'll leave things as they are and see how it goes, maybe use MSI from time to time to see where things are temp wise.

I might revisit things when I start taxing the system more with more powerful games etc...though that may be a while as I am currently only up to 2008 in the Need For Speed series!!
 

Oussebon

Multiverse Poster
Worth running again with gsync disabled. Score seems like it might be a little low. Perhaps monitor CPU and GPU temps during the run too.

The BIOS might sound intimidating but it was a similar GUI for the fans last I looked at the BIOS and AI suite. if it's working, great, but when AI Suite breaks at least you have a fallback :)
 

Nursemorph

Big Poster
Tried running 3DMark again but the result was the same....I had G-Sync disabled in NVIDIA settings (interestingly, there is a note in the settings that says "selected display is not validated as G-Sync compatible" so not sure what's going on there as surely that would mean there shouldn't be a G-Synce enable box). Just had a look around the 'net and have seen CPU scores of between 6700-7200 vs mine of 6500 so, you are right, it is a little low but, no doubt, it is something I have done somewhere!! :rolleyes:

Regarding temperatures, I have now run 3 separate programs (making sure the others are closed before running): MSI Afterburner, AI Suite and HWInfo64....they all report that CPU temperatures are 40-45C when idling and 45-60C when under load (load in this case having Chrome and Firefox open). When running 3DMark, MSI reported a peak temp of 75C for the GPU and 83C for the CPU whihc, I understand, are both within normal limits?
 

Oussebon

Multiverse Poster
interestingly, there is a note in the settings that says "selected display is not validated as G-Sync compatible" so not sure what's going on there as surely that would mean there shouldn't be a G-Synce enable box).

The key word there is validated.

i.e. the monitor is not on Nvidia's official list of gsync compatible monitors and therefore it will not enable gsync by default, which it would for an officially validated monitor. But you can still turn on adaptive sync anyway.

GSC.png


So you need to both enable gsync compatible in step 1, enable it for Windowed and Full Screen mode (or else it doesn't work in borderless windowed games) and the tick the box in 3, and apply. Even though the monitor isn't validated it should then work.

You can use Pendulum to make sure. If it stutters or you see tearing, it's not working.
 

Nursemorph

Big Poster
Thanks...I have done what you recommended. Ran Pendulum and it is not 100% smooth....when it swings back towards the middle, there are a few bits of something (helpful!!)...jagged lines which resolve when on the upswing...reminds me a lot of old games when you moved a character too quick and the game took a second to catch up. Can't tell if it's working when I'm playing games as the one I'm playing isn't the best graphically to begin with"!
 

Oussebon

Multiverse Poster
Sounds like tearing, which means gsync / freesync isn't active.

The monitor's freesync range is 48-75hz, so it should be tear-free within that window of FPS. Pendulum lets you adjust the FPS.

60hz and 144hz are very specific numbers. Your framerate usually won’t be either. Where your PC’s framerate doesn’t match your monitor’s refresh rate, you can get stutter and/or tearing. Tearing is where the screen is showing parts of 2 frames at once.






https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/forums/threads/gaming-monitors-guide.65464/#post-452121

On my PC I had to make some adjustments in CRU:
The net result was that not only does it work within the normal 48-75Hz range. but it extends the range from 48-75hz to 36-76hz, enabling Low Framerate Compensation. So no tearing at any framerate. It is technically a monitor overclock, although everyone with this monitor who wants to use freesync seems to do it.

I do have to use Rivatuner Statistics Server (RTSS - which is included in MSI afterburner) to cap FPS to ~72fps.
If frames aren't capped and the FPS goes over the refresh rate, freesync is disabled and you can get tearing. Sometimes games seem to blip over the cap, so capping them to below the monitor's refresh rate is quite common with freesync / gsync (e.g. 141hz for a 144hz monitor). More of an issue for some titles than others.
 

Nursemorph

Big Poster
Thank you for posting all that...yes, you are correct that it was tearing. Had a look at that Overclock topic and I basically understood "turn the monitor off and on again"!! So I did that, changed the Pendulum setting to highest resolution (2560x1440 vs 1920x1440)ran Pendulum again and it is running without any tearing now...tried the various fps simulations and they are all good. Will see how it goes and, if I have any issues in future, I will revisit that topic and see if I can understand more
 

Nursemorph

Big Poster
1 Month Update:

Thought I would come back and give an update as I have now had this sytem for just over a month. Everything is as I would expect and have not had any issues with the system at all.

Graphically, I had not been really testing my system much given I was playing pre-2015 Need For Speed games. However, for the past week, I have been playing Forza Horizon 4 (I finally see what all the fuss has been about all these years....having been a Playstation person, I only ever played Gran Turismo) and I am blown away by the quality of the graphics and the system's ability to handle the game. I am running the highest settings possible in the game and the system is running it really smoothly and the system fans hardly make any more noise than normal web surfing etc. At maximum settings, it is giving a steady 55-60fps which, if I'm honest, looks no different to me than the 150fps I get on Medium settings!

The only thing I have had to look into was the fans (not helped by AI Suite being less than accurate)....hearing them wind up every few seconds was getting a bit tedious as it wasn't exactly quiet (even on SIlent profile)...however, I found "auto fan switch off" (or something to that effect) on the setting for the front case fans...unticked that and now the case fans run constantly rather than stopping and starting all the time. The system isn't silent but it is not noticeable most of the time. The exhaust fan is pushing out cold air all the time now (apart from when I run FH4 and even then it's not hot air, just a bit warm) where, prior to that, it was warm all the time (due to the fans stopping all the time).

So, all in all, I am still delighted with my system and would still highly recommend it to anyone looking for a similar system.
 

Nursemorph

Big Poster
9 Month Update:

So, up until 2 days ago my system had performed flawlessly with no issues asides from those noted above (which are minor). Was happily watching a video when monitor, PC and stereo all turned off, along with most things plugged into sockets. Figured it was a powercut but, nope...turns out my socket breaker had tripped. Figured my surge protector had broken but it worked fine until I tried plugging the PC in...tripped the breaker....tried again and luckily was in a position to notice a bright flash from the PSU (not good!).

Phoned PCS yesterday morning at 9am....finally got through to someone at 10am (luckily I was only 15th in the queue!). After explaining what had happened, what I had tested and the flash, he agreed it was the PSU..and voiced his surprise at it breaking. The new PSU arrived today at 12:45pm and was fitted and the system running again by 13:30pm. It actually took me longer to try and replicate (appallingly I might add!) PCS's cable management.

So:

Negatives:

- PSU inexplicably deciding it's had enough after 8 months of flawless running...it's not as if I was taxing it when it failed. Just one of those things I guess
- Not noticing that semi-modular still has a big bundle of wires direct into the PSU rather than via a connector...no clue how I missed that. Totally my own lack of seeing things so not really a negative

Positives:

- PSU was easy to re-install
- PCS customer service: Would rate it as outstanding (even though it cost me about £6 in phone charges!)....the person I spoke to was professional, courteous and very helpful...didn't quibble about whether it actually was a broken PSU or not.

All in all an unfortunate situation made much more bearable by excellent service
 

Nursemorph

Big Poster
Windows Re-Install Update:

Bear with me..there is a reason for this update beyond updating Windows! So, decided to reinstall Windows today as have been having a few niggles: Had issues with Major Updates since August (namely wouldn't install them) and the last few weeks minor things like my Recycle Bin doing it's best Invisible Man impersonation :rolleyes: (could still click on it, just not see the icon on the desktop), the progress bar across the top of a folder when opening it would take forever to move across. Little niggles. Just decided best thing to do was reinstall.

Everything went fine with it, borrowed a USB with the Windows thingy on it (Mum's laptop needed a reinstall 2 weeks ago), reinstalled Windows etc. No fuss, no issues and now running smoothly, Update is up-to-date. All good.

So the reason for the update: Downloaded AI Suite 3 to sort out my fans (still too loud for my liking when on standard settings), let it run through it's Fan Setup mode, set it to SIlent as before...and it is actually silent now!!!! Prior to now I could always hear the CPU fan ramping up and down constantly, albeit background noise....I can barely even hear it now even though it's the same setting. Very weird...will keep an eye on temps but everything is looking as it was before.

Very weird....but now I finally understand it when people say "oh, the CPU fan on the 3600 is really quiet"...as opposed to the, up till now of "what on earth are they on about? That fan is anything but quiet!". :)
 

Nursemorph

Big Poster
Why is it there is always something? Can't just reinstall Windows and have everything perfect :rolleyes:

So, WIndows is working fine since the reinstall...however, I am starting to get rather perturbed by the yellow exclamation marks in Device Manager. As you will see from the attached screenshot, they are by PCI Device x2 and PCI Encryption/Decryption Controller. I have tried clicking Update Driver but it says Windows could not find any drivers for any of the 3 entries....I installed the Chipset Drivers from my motherboard disk as I thought it was a chipset issue but it has not resolved it.

Can anyone tell me what my sleep deprived brain is missing please? Do I need to try downloading chipset drivers from the ASUS website (the board is the ASUS Prime B450-Plus)? Just click uninstall device? Near as I can tell it's not affecting anything....but a clean Windows install should not have yellow exclamation marks! Thank you

Missing PCI Drivers.jpg
 
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