Braebo Annihilator review

Braebo strikes out for something a little different with the Annihilator, arming its system with the latest FX9590 processor from AMD. This ambitious eight-core CPU has a base speed of 4.7 GHz, and can exceed 5 GHz in use – Braebo cagily rates it as 5 GHz+, and we measured it at 5.09 GHz at its very fastest. See all Gaming PC reviews.

Such a clock speed looks quite astonishing, but the PC isn't fast enough to allow AMD to bridge the gap to its competition from Intel. PCMark 7 rated the whole system at 5501 points, which makes it a pretty nippy chip, but certainly no match for the likes of an Intel Core i7-4770K. In fact we have laptops that measure faster by this metric. See also: What's the best gaming PC?

It's not without a stellar treatment from Braebo, and the CPU is given support by 16 GB of 1600MHz Crucial RAM. The drives are recent-spec too, combining the capacious storage of a 2 TB Hitachi Deskstar disk with a speedy 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO SSD.

The AMD isn't a cheap processor, and it left Braebo having to settle for a AMD Radeon 7950 graphics card where a 7970 would be more fitting for gaming. Nonetheless, this Sapphire version still makes a nice addition, and its 3GB of RAM gives it memory to drive more than one high-resolution screen.

Figures of 112 and 64 fps (720p/1080p) in Aliens vs Predator are testament to the extra lick of speed that the Braebo extracts from this card, while Sniper Elite V2 generated similarly sharp scores of 104 and 27 fps (720p/1080p). However, there are better gaming machines available for this £1300 PC-only price tag.

The Cooler Master Silencio RC-650 is a large imposing case that proves a smart choice. The top panel slides away to reveal matching pairs of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, and some cunning switches that give you the possible option of booting from two drives, or turning down the fans for a quieter life. The case is strong on internal space too, and the neat arrangement means that all components can be accessed with ease.

A Corsair Hydro H55 unit allows for great liquid cooling, and doesn't hog space like many a cooler option we've seen. The 600W Corsair CX600M isn't the largest power supply we've seen packaged with a PC of this type, but it does the job. An array of ports and connectors at the back includes eight USB 2.0, four USB 3.0, and a brace of eSATA connectors. It consumed around 84 watt when idling, and and topped over 300 watt at its most intensive, so it's not especially economical in power consumption. It's perhaps to be expected given the AMD CPU and performance components.

Our system came with a 12x Lite-On Blu-ray writer (BD-RE/DVD±RW), although were told the PC will sell with a 16x LG optical drive instead. Either way, you're getting useful Blu-ray playback and recording facilities here. The onboard sound is more than adequate, and the price includes the cost of delivery.

All systems will have three games included, from a choice that includes Far Cry 3 and Hitman Absolution.

Braebo Annihilator review: Specs

  • 4.7 GHz AMD FX-9590 8-core (overclocked to 5.09 GHz)
  • Asus Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 motherboard
  • 16 GB DDR3 RAM
  • Windows 8 (64-bit)
  • 2 TB Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 HDD (7200 rpm)
  • 250 GB Samsung 840 Evo SSD
  • Cooler Master Silencio RC-650 case
  • 600W Corsair CX600M PSU
  • Corsair Hydro H55 liquid CPU cooler
  • Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 7950 with 3GB memory
  • 6x USB 3.0
  • 10x USB 2.0
  • 2x eSATA
  • DVI
  • DisplayPort
  • 16x LG Blu-ray BD-RE optical drive
  • 2-year return-to-base warranty
  • 4.7 GHz AMD FX-9590 8-core (overclocked to 5.09 GHz)
  • Asus Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 motherboard
  • 16 GB DDR3 RAM
  • Windows 8 (64-bit)
  • 2 TB Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 HDD (7200 rpm)
  • 250 GB Samsung 840 Evo SSD
  • Cooler Master Silencio RC-650 case
  • 600W Corsair CX600M PSU
  • Corsair Hydro H55 liquid CPU cooler
  • Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 7950 with 3GB memory
  • 6x USB 3.0
  • 10x USB 2.0
  • 2x eSATA
  • DVI
  • DisplayPort
  • 16x LG Blu-ray BD-RE optical drive
  • 2-year return-to-base warranty

OUR VERDICT

The Braebo Annihilator is a smartly attired gaming PC which is let down in performance and economy by the AMD processor. The FX9590 isn't without ambition, but it doesn't pack the raw processing power of today’s Intel PC. Consequently, even a nice selection of components from Braebo isn't enough to qualify this machine as one of the top deals on the market.

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