Designed as a quiet and compact gaming PC, the Warbird Dark Iron CS is a complete system delivering strong performance and balance features without breaking the £1000 barrier. See also Group test: what's the best desktop PC?
Based on an Intel Core i5-2500K processor overclocked to 4.6GHz, the Warbird Dark Iron CS has plenty of power for even the most demanding tasks. WorldBench 6 recorded a score of 199 points. This is good for a PC with 8GB of installed RAM, but competitors with steeper overclocks have turned in better results. Those with 16GB are considerably faster still. Visit Group test: What's the best £1,000 PC?
YoYo Tech has selected an nVidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics card for the PC, which is a very popular choice for a sub-£1000 gaming system due to its superior price/performance characteristics. Gaming results are, as you would expect, very similar to other PCs based on the same card, making YoYo Tech’s low-cost PC a great value-for-money option for gamers.
Costs have also been saved by using a 500GB hard drive rather than the more usual 1TB option found in the remaining PCs. It’s augmented by a 60GB OCZ Agility 3 solid-state drive which is configured as a discrete boot volume. You also get a DVD writer rather than a Blu-ray combo drive.
Fractal Design’s Arc system case sports a brushed aluminium finish with mesh covering at the front and top assisting ventilation upwards out of the case. This is aided by one of three white cooling fans. The removable drive bays and card blanking plates are also white, contrasting nicely with the internal matt black paint job. The processor is cooled by a large Enermax heatpipe cooler. We were pleased to see dust filters installed in the case to help maintain good air flow over time.
The Asus P8Z68M-PRO motherboard is a micro-ATX variant of the popular P8Z68 found the majority of gaming PCs we’ve tested here. Its smaller size sees the removal of the PCIe 2.0 x1 slots but the addition of an extra pair of SATA 6Gb/s ports, one of which is presented externally as eSATA.
A high-quality 24in Viewsonic LED monitor is included, but note that this doesn’t include an HDMI port.
Keyboard and mouse duties are fulfilled by a Microsoft Wireless Desktop 800 combo. This may be handy for general use but it's not ideal for gaming where the added responsiveness of a wired set would have helped. It also lacks the added precision of a high-resolution mouse and offers no programmable keys.