You want to know a secret? Building a high-end PC on an unlimited budget ain’t that hard. You just click the "Bestest" button and add to cart.
What’s hard is building a PC on a strict budget. Do you sacrifice CPU, GPU, or storage? Do you cheap out on the case or the PSU?
So when WarFactory decided to ship us its Immortal budget box instead of the usual shoot-for-the-moon rigs we test, we thought it would be interesting to see how the more modest PC would measure up.
The Immortal can't win any benchmark battles but it's a decent PC for the price.
The Immortal is wrapped in Cooler Master’s Storm Enforcer case. Some of the staff thought the Enforcer was fugly, while others thought it was surprisingly good-looking and well-constructed for a budget enclosure. Inside the Enforcer is a 3.3GHz Core i5-2500K and 8GB of G.Skill DDR3/1600 RAM on an Asus P8Z68-V Pro board. Graphics come courtesy of a Radeon HD 6950 card and storage consists of Corsair’s new 120GB Force Series 3, a WD 1TB Caviar Black, and an Asus DVD burner. In the PSU department, WarFactory didn’t cut corners and used a Corsair TX650 unit.
As we’ve observed with our own budget builds, everyone has an opinion about how they’d do it differently, and we’re no exception. We have no quarrel with the 2500K part, as it’s an awesome chip for the price. However, why go with a stock heatsink and not overclock it? Few vendors offer budget overclocks, and we suspect it’s because there’s simply no money in it. Overclocking is far safer than ever before, but when things do break, someone has to make good on it, and the cost of a budget box wouldn’t support that. Still, we do think the rig could be improved by going with, say, a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus cooler, so the machine is at least overclock-ready should the buyer want that.
A little overclocking would have helped the Immortal in our benchmarks, where the PC had a tough time against our zero-point rig, which sports an overclocked 3.5GHz Core i7-920 part and a Radeon HD 5970 card. The Immortal lost in gaming and in two of our four application tests. It also took a back seat to the diminutive CyberPower LAN Party Evo box that we reviewed in July 2011. That small form factor rig packed a 2600K part and a GeForce GTX 580, so its performance is no surprise. The CyberPower machine also costs about 25 percent more. The Immortal also lost the applications battle to the silent Puget that we reviewed in August. That machine is also more expensive by $1,000, but dead silent.
Overall, the War Factory Immortal is a decent machine for the money. It’s quite capable of playing today’s games at 1920x1080 resolutions and its 2500K does an admirable, but not exceptional, job of cutting through applications. Is it the best machine for the price?
Probably not. But as we said, when you’re working in this price range, everyone has an opinion about what alternative gear you should be running in your box.
Our current desktop test bed consists of a quad-core 2.66GHz Core i7-920 overclocked to 3.5GHz, 6GB of Corsair DDR3/1333 overclocked to 1750MHz, on a Gigabyte X58 motherboard. We are running an ATI Radeon HD 5970 graphics card, a 160GB Intel X25-M SSD, and the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate.