We’ve come to expect Quiet PC to submit something a little different from the norm whenever they take part in our reviews. The Serenity Z77 Gamer is no exception. See also Group test: what's the best desktop PC?
You may feel that Serenity and gaming aren’t two concepts which usually go hand-in-hand, but even gamers spend some of their time doing more peaceful stuff with their PCs and this system’s low-noise design means the minimum of distractions when you’re not busy blowing stuff up. Visit Group test: what's the best graphics card?
The system is still overclocked – it is a gaming PC after all – but Quiet PC has pushed the 3.4GHz Core i5-3570K to a more modest 4.2GHz. Ivy Bridge processors heat up a lot when you feed them the extra voltage they need to reach higher speeds, so this approach means you can go for a quieter, less enthusiastic cooling system. Quiet PC has opted for a Gelid Tranquillo cooler, designed specifically to make the minimum noise.
The DarkForce system case is also made by Gelid and incorporates a pair ultra-quiet fans with room for up to eight, which can be hooked up to a pair of built-in fan extension printed circuit boards.
It also incorporates intelligent cable management and this, combined with the use of a power supply with modular cabling, keeps the inside of the case tidy and improves air-flow.
The graphics card is also a quiet model, in the form of the MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC, which uses a pair of cooling fans and custom designed heatpipes to allow faster operation than the standard version of the GeForce GTX560 Ti.
Although it’s quieter than either a GTX 680 or a GT 670 it’s also nowhere near as fast. It will cope with many games at 1080p resolution, but unlike the faster cards mentioned above, it won’t run challenging games like Crysis above 60fps at this level of definition with the quality settings set to “Very High”.
The asking price of £1149 is lower than the rest, but keep in mind that it doesn’t come with a monitor, keyboard, mouse or Blu–ray drive. Most surprising of all is the lack of a hard drive: only a 128GB SSD is installed as standard. However, you do get dual-band 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 included with the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB WIFI motherboard. Overall build quality is also very high.