Aria Gladiator Sabre review

Aria PC review

Aria has long used the Gladiator name for its gaming systems, and its latest rig – the Sabre – aims to provide enough power to play the latest games at top settings for the reasonable price of £860. Here's our Aria Gladiator Sabre review. (See all Gaming PC reviews)

The Haswell processor is a superb start. The Core i5-4670K has a tempting stock speed of 3.4GHz and a Turbo peak of 3.8GHz, but Aria beats both of these figures by overclocking the chip to a meatier 4.4GHz. (See also Group test: What's the best gaming PC?)

It's a potent tweak. The Sabre whizzed through our PCMark 7 benchmark to score 7,096 points, which easily bests the 5,501 points from the AMD-powered Braebo Annihilator – and it's even quicker than the 7,045 points scored by the Chillblast Fusion Uzi, which is almost £400 more expensive.

The processor is chilled by a Corsair H80i water-cooling unit. It's a single-fan kit that attaches to the exhaust mount at the back of the chassis, and it does a good job: during our tests, the overclocked processor never rose above 57°C.

The nVidia GeForce GTX 760 2GB VRAM graphics card in this particular machine is an MSI-made Twin FrozR Dragon Edition, which means it's been given a helping hand with some factory overclocking: the original 915MHz speed has risen to 1,085MHz, and it'll hit a huge 1,150MHz when it uses nVidia's GPU Boost option.

The overclocked graphics card has enough power to handle modern games at top settings across one screen. We ran the Stalker: Call of Pripyat benchmark with every option turned to maximum at 1,920 x 1,080 and the Sabre averaged 70.3fps – and at Bioshock Infinite's top settings this machine averaged 66fps.

The Samsung Evo Series is the firm's latest SSD, and the 120GB model used as here as a boot drive returned sequential read and write results of 517MB/s and 396MB/s in AS SSD. The former score is one of the best we've seen, although the latter is mid-range.

The rest of the specification comprises 8GB of DDR3 RAM, a 1TB hard disk and a DVD writer.   

The Sabre's exterior impressed, too. The BitFenix Shinobi a budget case, but you wouldn't know it: it's built from black matte plastic, its stylish logo gleams, and the 460mm-tall facade is bordered by parallel meshed bands. Build quality is good: the sturdy front panel is paired with two solid side-panels that barely flex.

The matte black finish continues to the inside, and Aria has partnered the dark colouring with similar components. The Gigabyte GA-Z87-HD3 motherboard has a black PCB, and the power supply has black cables that look far classier than the coloured cables on cheaper units. It's tidy throughout.

The Gigabyte motherboard has vacant PCI Express x16 and x1 slots, and legacy expansion cards are supported by two PCI sockets. Two spare memory sockets each support 8GB of RAM, and they're not blocked by the Corsair heatsink.

Storage expansion is handled by six tool-free 3.5in bays that sadly don't face the side of the chassis – rather, they point towards the motherboard – and there are two free 5.25in bays. The front has pairs of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports and two audio jacks, and the rear provides four more USB 3.0 sockets, two USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 jack, an ethernet plug and six audio jacks.

Our only issue is noise. The Sabre churned out a low hum when idling, but this increased during intense gameplay. A good set of speakers will drown it out, but it's worth remembering if you're searching for a quiet PC.

Aria Gladiator Sabre: Specs

  • 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-4670K overclocked to 4.4GHz
  • Windows 7 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR3 memory
  • 120GB SSD
  • 1TB hard drive (7200rpm)
  • nVidia GeForce GTX 760 2GB VRAM graphics
  • Gigabyte GA-Z87-HD3 motherboard
  • DVD writer
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 2 x DVI-I, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort
  • 6 x USB 3.0
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 8 x audio jacks
  • Corsair CX500M PSU
  • BitFenix Shinobi case
  • Dimensions - 205 x 460 x 490mm
  • 1yr Collect & Return warranty
  • 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-4670K overclocked to 4.4GHz
  • Windows 7 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR3 memory
  • 120GB SSD
  • 1TB hard drive (7200rpm)
  • nVidia GeForce GTX 760 2GB VRAM graphics
  • Gigabyte GA-Z87-HD3 motherboard
  • DVD writer
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 2 x DVI-I, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort
  • 6 x USB 3.0
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 8 x audio jacks
  • Corsair CX500M PSU
  • BitFenix Shinobi case
  • Dimensions - 205 x 460 x 490mm
  • 1yr Collect & Return warranty

OUR VERDICT

Aria's latest PC is excellent in almost all areas: the overclocked processor is a top-end part that won't balk at any task, and its tweaked graphics card has enough power to handle every modern title on a single monitor. The rest of the specification is good, and it's built inside a good-looking, organised and sturdy chassis. Our only issue is with noise, but high-octane gameplay will drown that out.