Computer Planet may be a new name to PCA, but the company isn’t without ambition. Its website allows you to build custom-made PCs and tweak almost every aspect, and it claims to be able to get you next-day delivery on customised PCs as long as you order by 4pm.
See more reviews of desktop PCs up to £1000.
We weren’t able to test that claim, although the Computer Planet Elite 2000 did give us a taster of what the company’s products can do.
The Computer Planet Elite 2000 is powered by the increasingly trusty 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K, an unlocked Ivy Bridge CPU beloved of performance enthusiasts. These chips may not be a huge step forwards in terms of performance compared to last year’s Sandy Bridge series, but they deliver capable speed while consuming relatively little power.
Memory comes in the form of Corsair’s XMS3 DDR3 RAM, chips that deliver plenty of performance for the money. The system’s 8GB is perfectly acceptable for any home application. Add to this the capacious 1TB Seagate Barracuda hard disk (2GB of online backup is also offerd), and this makes for a relatively polished system, producing a commendable WorldBench score of 168 points.
The Computer Planet Elite 2000 employs a 2GB version of the new nVidia GTX 650 Ti graphics card. This isn’t a pricey graphics card, and it offered capable gaming frame rates. Crysis produced figures of 156.5, 106.9 and 85.3fps across PC Advisor’s three different quality modes.
In Stalker: Call of Pripyat, it produced a score of 174.5fps using easy settings (1280x720, Medium detail), tumbling to 91fps at more difficult settings. These figures obviously won’t be troubling those of the specialist gaming PCs, but for general use, they stand up extremely well, placing the Elite near the top of family PCs we’ve seen recently.
The market currently plays host to all manner of weird and wonderful case designs, but the dark and relatively plain casing of the Cooler Master Elite 343 is rather modest in comparison. The subtle bump in the front vent and the glowing light under the power button are the only slight concessions to quirky design. Fairly small in size, this mini tower case isn’t particularly roomy inside.
Luckily there’s very little in the way of large fans to obstruct access. The CPU cooler is a fairly standard model, and the modest Xigmatek unit on the rear of the case is the only other notable fan – although there is further cooling hidden towards the front of the case. This means that, despite the limited space, both the CPU and the four RAM slots (two of which are occupied) are easy to access. There isn’t a great deal of length though, so you’ll need to check dimensions carefully should you be looking to upgrade the graphics card.
The 600 watt Cooler Master PSU offers a fair degree of power, given some of the specifications on the PC. The PC is reasonably light on power, consuming 108 watt when idling along, and moving up to 181 watt when being put through its paces in Crysis. However, it is reasonably loud, and typically adds a not insignificant 23dB to the sound in the room. If you’re going to have this PC in the living room, you will certainly notice it when it’s on.
The LG CH10LS38 optical drive is well above par. This offers smooth 10x Blu-Ray playback alongside 10x BD-R and 16x DVD-R writing. Combining good storage with strong multimedia features, this drive is an excellent addition. A flash memory card reader is built into the front of the case, offering support for a string of popular formats.
Two USB 3.0 ports are included at the rear, alongside four USB 2.0, plus another three at the front (one of part of the card reader). You also get audio sockets at the front. Computer Planet adds a 2.1-channel Logitech S220 speaker set and a software bundle that includes 12 months of Webroot antivirus, plus CyberLink PowerDVD HD and Microsoft Office Starter.
The PC base system is available for £827. However, for £1013 you also get a flat-panel and a keyboard and mouse. The display offered is an Asus VS293H, a 23in IPS flat-panel that offers above par colour depth and viewing angles. The Logitech MK260 keyboard set makes for a very efficient wireless keyboard/mouse combo, although the keys are a little spongy.