Serenity Z68 Gamer Xtreme certainly isn’t a visual representation of peace and quiet. Its hulking frame dwarfs the rest of the group while its bright orange details seem to warn of the dangerous materials within. Dare to venture inside and it’s a world of flaming orange that hits you in the face like a huge weaponised Jaffa Cake. See also Group test: what's the best desktop PC?

This is the effect of the fearsome AeroCool X-Predator Evil Black system case and we say if you’re going to spend the money on a top of the line AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card and overclock your Core i5 2500K processor to 4.7GHz, you may as well have a case that’s correspondingly intimidating. Visit Group test: What's the best £1,000 PC?

However, it’s also rather practical. The extra size allows for excellent air-flow and the many rubberised cable ports keep all internal wires tucked well out of sight making the whole case incredibly tidy and easy to work inside. Obviously there’s heaps of room for expansion too.

The processor is cooled by a Zalman pre-built liquid-cooler fitted to a quiet fan and radiator at the rear. Fitted into the roof of the case is a massive 230mm fan matched to another similarly-sized orange version at the front. These keep the whole system cool with minimal noise. As you would expect from Quiet PC, this PC runs extremely quietly, despite its powerful components. This is aided by the inclusion of two fan-speed control knobs at the front which allow you to perfectly balance fan speed and performance against system noise.

The system performs very well, with 203 points recorded from WorldBench 6. This is a very good score for a PC featuring only 8GB or RAM and would undoubtedly increase significantly were another 8GB to be added.

Gaming performance is as good as it gets, the Radeon 7970 trouncing any GeForce 560 Ti or GeForce 570 cards found in less expensive systems. The Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 motherboard supports both ATI CrossFireX and nVidia SLI technologies so you’re set for future expansion.

A one-terabyte hard drive is complemented by a Zalman SSD configured as a discrete boot drive. While this boosts performance, its 60GB capacity is rather small and may cause problems in Windows down the line as it starts to fill up. You could get around this issue by installing it instead as a cache drive using the features of the motherboard’s Z68-Express chipset.

The system is supplied without a monitor or keyboard and mouse, so you’ll need to add the cost of those to your total price. It also lacks a Blu-ray drive, offering a DVD writer instead.

Quiet PC Serenity Z68 Gamer Xtreme: Specs

  • Processor type: Intel Core i5 2500K
  • Processor speed: 4.7 GHz overclocked
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • Hard disk capacity: 60GB Zalman SSD 1TB Samsung HDD
  • Motherboard Make and model: Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3
  • External USB 2.0 ports (rear / front / other): (4 / 3 / 0)
  • External USB 3.0 ports (rear / front / other): (2 / 1 / 0)
  • Graphics card: Sapphire AMD Radeon HD7970 3GB GDDR5 PCI-E
  • Sound card (or on-board chipset): Onboard HD 7.1-channel
  • Optical Drive Type and model: Samsung SH-S222 DVD rewriter
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Network connectivity: Gigabit x 1
  • I/O ports (audio): Optical S/PDIF, 6 x audio jacks
  • I/O ports (video): VGA, HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort
  • 234 x 555 x 600 mm
  • Processor type: Intel Core i5 2500K
  • Processor speed: 4.7 GHz overclocked
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • Hard disk capacity: 60GB Zalman SSD 1TB Samsung HDD
  • Motherboard Make and model: Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3
  • External USB 2.0 ports (rear / front / other): (4 / 3 / 0)
  • External USB 3.0 ports (rear / front / other): (2 / 1 / 0)
  • Graphics card: Sapphire AMD Radeon HD7970 3GB GDDR5 PCI-E
  • Sound card (or on-board chipset): Onboard HD 7.1-channel
  • Optical Drive Type and model: Samsung SH-S222 DVD rewriter
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Network connectivity: Gigabit x 1
  • I/O ports (audio): Optical S/PDIF, 6 x audio jacks
  • I/O ports (video): VGA, HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort
  • 234 x 555 x 600 mm

OUR VERDICT

This is a truly impressive gaming PC. It’s fast, well-constructed and quiet in operation. The Zalman liquid cooler is a sensible compromise between a standard air-cooler and a full-strength water-cooling system, and although you’ll have to factor in the cost of peripherals, it costs less than you might imagine for such a beast of a PC.

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