An earlier customer wanted to update his wife's computer and get one of his own to boot - now that he's retired, he says he'd like to spend some time with her on some of the many MMOs that are available online these days - mainly older stuff, but some ability to play newer titles would be nice, especially if they are upgradable. One other caveat - if it could be purple or mauve, he said, that'd be nice.
This was my response. While initially, for the same budget, I considered building a multiseat single-PC configuration, which would have rendered my user better bang for buck, ultimately I was forced to go with the more traditional configuration seen here. Two entry-level gaming PCs for under $900, windows licenses included. I set the frame buffer for these APUs to 2gb in the UEFI no problem, replaced the front fans with these purple ones (apparently purple doesn't like to show up in pictures?), and made sure the RAM was running at 2133mhz (it initially defaulted to 1600mhz).
Because airflow in this case was not that great, temps run a little high on these APUs at idle, but the fan ramp on the mobo was pretty good; there was no thermal throttling that I could detect after putting the chip through its paces in a game of STALKER: Clear Sky, Mount & Blade, or FarSky. At 1080p, with all settings at "high" or "ultra," I achieved a minimum framerate of 30fps in the starting area of Clear Sky, which is actually one of the most demanding areas of the game. Mount a& Blade stayed above 100fps on maximum settings, and Far Sky was not measurably limited by this system in any way. FPS was likely north of 200.
As they graduate into more modern MMOs, I imagine these machines will need some updating on the graphics front, but this configuration should provide my client with a great platform to get his feet wet in the world of MMOs, and is certainly a massive upgrade from the old dual core Athlon (K8 era) computer his wife seems to have been struggling on before.
This board was easy to use. The UEFI was not necessarily the easiest I've ever used, but it did ultimately do everything I asked it to. Construction was adequate for my needs.
This case was something of a disappointment. Although it sports a nice understated look and a fairly decent layout for components inside, there are many negatives to consider here:
- Extremely flimsy construction. This case bent as I was attempting to pull off the fascia.
- Nonsensical cable routing - they give you holes here and there for this, but since the case features exactly 0 space behind the backplate, it's a useless gesture
- Airflow is not good in this case. The included 80mm rear fan moves very little air, though at least it is quiet.
- The front fascia is extremely hard to remove; do so with caution.
- The PSU mounting holes are not intelligently made. One stuck down directly into the path of my PSU's fairly standard plug, requiring me to modify the case in order to fit everything as needed. See pictures in my Purple Gemini build.
If it weren't for the fact that I knew I was buying a cheap case, I'd have had rated this 2 stars instead of 3, but it gets the job done and none of its cables or buttons had issues, so I feel like I can't rate it less than adequate. Once everything is assembled, it does its job well enough.
Does not move a whole lot of air, but at least they make purple varieties and are cheap. Construction quality is high.