Yoyotech’s Warbird Dark Iron CS has made a very pleasing splash in our Gaming PCs chart, combining a balanced diet of capable components with lashings of value. The Warbird XTi is cooked from a similar recipe book, although it does add one or two additional spices that turn this into a very up-to-the-minute concoction. Visit Group test: what's the best gaming PC?
Taking pride of place is the days-old Intel Core i5-3570K quad-core processor.
New CPUs haven’t always been unveiled to the same fanfare as fresh graphics chips, but Intel’s new Ivy Bridge family has had countless processor enthusiasts salivating for months. See also Intel Ivy Bridge review.
The successor to Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge makes the move from a 32nm to a 22nm manufacturing process, resulting in a slimmer set of processors that should generate less heat. Add the allure of significantly improved integrated graphics and you have a set of chips that represent Intel’s fiercest assault yet on more mobile-focused markets like tablets and ultraportables.
So how does that aid those buying desktop PCs? Good question. Firstly we’ll tackle the issue of power. The Yoyotech is good but not amazing on power consumption. When idling it would generally hover around the 98 watt mark. This is a barely lower than the 100 watt of the Warbird Dark Iron, and still more than the 96 watt of the Chillblast Fusion Talisman. See also: Intel Ivy Bridge 7-series motherboards tested.
This falls to around 5.6 watts when in Windows standby mode, and climbs to 272 watt when pushed by the Crysis benchmark. The Yoyotech isn’t particularly power hungry, then, although neither was it amazingly low on consumption.
The Yoyotech’s noise levels are reasonable for a gaming system. In-room noise levels were typically 10dB higher when the PC was in operation. Playing an intense game like Crysis added little more than 2dB extra. The likes of the Quiet PC Serenity remain a better choice where low sound levels are a must, but the Yoyotech will serve most purposes extremely well.
Where the Yoyotech is quite astonishing is on heat generated. Even when the Yoyotech Warbird XTi had been running two days without a break, the amount of heat radiating from the system was minimal, and components remained relatively cold to the touch. This is a big feather in the cap for the Ivy Bridge CPU, and bodes well for its suitability in mobile and portable devices.
Some credit certainly goes to the wealth of cooling aids in the case as well. The Yoyotech’s Gigabyte Luxo X10 case is relatively discreet, and the mainly black coat is broken up by the occasional flash of red.
Three sizeable 12cm fans line the top and side, and the bulky but remarkably effective Enermax cooler closely protects the CPU. You also have a convenient dust filter situated at the base of the case.
The PSU is from OCZ’s ZS range, and is specified up to 550W. This is far from the most powerful PSU we’ve seen, and could prove wanting should you put in a substantial graphics card. For the components supplied with the Yoyotech, however, it’s ample.
What with all of these accessories, there isn’t a huge amount of room inside the PC, although you can just about reach the two slithers of RAM – 8GB of Geil Enhance Corsa PC3-12800 is provided, memory that achieves strong stability without the higher price tags of the heavier duty Evo range.
Of the two spare memory slots, one is obscured by the CPU cooler, so upgrading the RAM may prove tricky.
The Ivy Bridge processors use the same LGA1155 socket as their predecessors, so Sandy Bridge owners can drop one of the new CPUs straight into their existing system. However, with Intel’s new Z77 chipset delivering mainstream PCI 3.0 and USB 3.0 support, it makes the most sense to pair the Ivy Bridge with a suitably enhanced motherboard.
The Yoyotech opts for Asus’s new P8Z77-V Pro, a sound choice that benefits from a versatile user interface and a healthy features set that includes Asus’ Wi-Fi Go and improved control over network traffic.
Four USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports are situated at the rear, with another two USB 3.0 connectors built into the front. In addition, the PC comes with HDMI and Display Port, while the graphics card comes with DVIs and Mini HDMI.
As is becoming increasingly common, the Yoyotech comes with two storage drives, one of which is an SSD - an Intel SSD 520, indeed, which comes with a usable 60GB on board. More ample storage comes in the shape of the 500GB 7200rpm Seagate Barracuda drive. This isn’t an amazing amount of storage, and a 1TB hard drive is more common at this level.
The drives are rounded off by a Samsung SH-222AB DVD writer. Specified up to 22x DVD±R and 12x DVD-R DL and 16x DVD+R DL, there’s little wrong with the performance of this drive. However, Blu-ray is off the menu for this model.
Overall, then, the Yoyotech has a very capable set of components and accessories. However, what of the performance?
Yoyotech Warbird XTi: Perfomance
With the very latest Ivy Bridge i5-3570K CPU on board, the PC has to be capable of hitting some significant heights, right? Well, not exactly.
While the Intel Core i5-3570K is undoubtedly an excellent chip in terms of heat generation, and seems to fare no worse in power consumption than Sandy Bridge, it offers relatively little that’s new on speed.
In our WorldBench tests, it notched up a score of 201. On the face of it that’s pretty swift. However, the Warbird Dark Iron CS achieved a score of 199, so this Yoyotech isn’t paticularly far ahead.
The Cinebench figure of 7.49 was more like it, but even this isn’t show-stopping.
So why does the new chip not blow away its predecessors? Well, in terms of overclocking capabilities, the i5-3570K takes a bit of a hit in relation to the older i5-2500K.
The latter chip runs at a base speed of 3.3GHz, but we’ve seen it overclocked to 4.9GHz. The Core i5-3570K, in contrast, kicks off at 3.4GHz, while the version seen here was overclocked to 4.4GHz. Truthfully, there’s not much more to come from this chip, and its thin size is probably the significant factor in it being a processor that you won’t want to push much beyond 4.5GHz.
Given that the Warbird XTi’s i5-3570K has been pushed up to just 4.4GHz while the Dark Iron’s i5-2500K runs at a comfortable 4.6GHz, this is one small reason why the i5-3570K isn’t that much faster.
The main reason, though, is that, frankly, Ivy Bridge was never meant to produce sensational speed increases on desktop PCs.
Its emphasis is towards opening up the more portable markets instead. The Intel Core i5-3570K is a better chip than the older i5s, but not by an awful lot. If you want to use integrated graphics, you should find the onboard capabilities of Ivy Bridge are much enhanced. The typical gaming system, though, will have no truck with onboard graphics.
The Warbird XTi doesn’t have the fanciest graphics card – its Asus GTX 560 Ti is no more than a mid-range gaming solution. However, it still delivers far more performance than you’ll get using the onboard alternative.
In Crysis, the Yoyotech Warbird XTi hit a frame rate of 72fps at 1080p with Low detail settings.
At Very High it was reaching 42fps. This amounts to a 3-5fps increase on the Core i5-2500K-powered Dark Iron system.
In Stalker: Call of Pripyat, it achieved a score of 71fps. Again this was only a few frames ahead of the Dark Iron, despite that system having a similar graphics card. The Core i5-3570K, then, provides an improvement in performance – just not a radical one. Intel Core i5-2500K users shouldn’t be feeling the need to upgrade simply for the sake of added speed.