Custom PC

PC Specialist Magnus Supreme Review

By Mike Jennings. Posted

This article appears in the latest issue of Custom PC magazine.

This PC costs just £1,499, but amazingly includes an Intel Alder Lake processor and GeForce RTX 3070 Ti graphics card. That’s spectacular value – the graphics card alone often goes for around £900 the market at the moment, and the Gigabyte card used here overclocks the reference clock from 1770MHz to 1830MHz. The Core i5-12600KF CPU is great too – it has six P-Cores with a 4.9GHz boost frequency, alongside four power-efficient E-Cores that peak at 3.6GHz.

Those core components are partnered with 16GB of Corsair RGB DDR4 memory clocked to a decent 3600MHz, and the Magnus features a 1TB M.2 SSD and a semi-modular Corsair TX650M PSU with an 80 Plus Gold efficiency rating.

It’s all plugged into an Asus Prime Z690-P D4 motherboard, which has two spare memory slots and three M.2 connectors that support PCI-E 4. It also has four 16x PCI-E slots, including one with PCI-E 5 support, but the graphics card blocks one and another slot is used for a Wi-Fi card. On the plus side, the board has 2.5Gbps Ethernet, and it has a high-speed USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C port on the rear.

Otherwise, the board is a little basic and plain-looking. The rear I/O panel has only has five Type-A USB ports, for example, and two of them use the aging USB 2 standard. You only get four SATA ports, and just one of the M.2 sockets has a heatsink.

There are some specification compromises elsewhere too. The Wi-Fi card is a weedy, single-band 802.11n unit, for example, rather than a dual-band 802.11ax card. The own-brand SSD also disappointed, with read and write speeds of 2,309MB/sec and 675MB/sec. That read speed if perfectly fine for everyday use, but the write speed isn’t much faster than a SATA drive.

PC Specialist has built this PC inside its own-brand Prism-X chassis. It’s a conventional mid-tower, with a mix of mesh and plastic on the front, and a tempered glass side panel. Three RGB LEDs act as air intakes, and on the inside, you’ll find a PSU shroud and a bracket to support the bulky 1.36kg graphics card.

However, it’s not too hard to move this system from one place to another, especially as there’s no liquid cooling – instead, PC Specialist’s own-brand FrostFlow air cooler does the honours. The Prism-X has no big problems, but its build quality isn’t awe-inspiring – the side panel, PSU shroud and front panel could be stronger, for example.

But then you have to expect compromises at this price, especially in the current climate, and none of the issues is terminal. That price is also amazing – the last rig we saw at this price, the CCL Horizon 5, used an RTX 3060 Ti, but that machine now costs north of £1,800. None of the other big UK firms supplies this Alder Lake CPU with an RTX 3070 Ti GPU at this price. The Magnus has a reasonable warranty too, with three years of labour coverage and one year for parts.

Performance

The RTX 3070 Ti’s 99th percentile result at 2,560 x 1,440 snuck beyond 60fps in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and hit a solid 53fps with a 61fps average in Cyberpunk 2077 too. You can even enable Medium ray tracing with DLSS at this resolution. You’ll be able to play the latest games with decent settings at 2,560 x 1,440 on this cut-price machine.

Drop down to 1080p and you’ll get even faster scores, with averages between 90-110fps in three of our test games, and an amazing average of 379fps in Doom Eternal. You’ll have no problem running undemanding games at high refresh rates with this machine.

Meanwhile, the Core i5-12600KF delivered superb scores in all of our benchmarks, being miles ahead of the Ryzen 5 5600X – the other chip you’ll see in PCs at this price. Alder Lake remains your best option for games, mainstream content creation and general-purpose workloads.

The PC Specialist delivers sensational performance for £1,499, but our system was extremely loud out of the box. Internal investigation revealed that one of the exhaust fans was attached to the motherboard’s all-in-one pump header, which is the only header that doesn’t hook up with Asus Q-Fan, meaning it couldn’t be PWM-controlled.

Connecting the fan to a PWM-enabled header solved the problem. The system’s fan noise reduced to modest levels, even during demanding tasks, and the CPU and GPU delta Ts of 55°C and 43°C were fine. Thankfully, PC Specialist has assured us that the machine definitely wasn’t intended to be set up with the fan hooked up to the pump header, and that this has been flagged with the production team, so machines bought by customers won’t be set up in this way.

Conclusion

The fan noise, sluggish wireless card and underwhelming SSD all mean that the PC Specialist is rough around the edges. It’s still worth considering this rig though. The Intel processor delivers the best performance you’ll find from any mid-range CPU, and the overclocked RTX 3070 Ti will handle any gaming task at a sub-4K resolution. This PC isn’t perfect, but it is the best mid-range gaming rig we’ve seen for ages.

Verdict
Superb performance for the money. There are some compromises around the edges, but the core spec is fantastic.

Price
£1,499 inc VAT

Scores
PERFORMANCE 22/25 | DESIGN 19/25 | HARDWARE 19/25 | VALUE 25/25 | OVERALL 85%

Ultra Magnus
+Superb gaming ability
+Fast, versatile CPU
+Impressively affordable
+Neat and tidy case

Megatron
-Disappointing Wi-Fi
-Mediocre SSD
-Entry-level motherboard

SPEC
CPU 3.7GHz Intel Core i5-12600KF
Motherboard Asus Prime Z690-P D4
Memory 16GB Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 3600MHz DDR4
Graphics Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3070 Ti 8GB
Storage 1TB PC Specialist M.2 SSD
Networking 2.5Gbps Ethernet, single-band 802.11n Wi-Fi
Case PC Specialist Prism-X
Cooling CPU: PC Specialist FrostFlow 150 with 2 x 120mm fans; GPU: 3 x 90mm fans; front: 3 x 120mm fans; rear: 1 x 120mm fan; roof: 1 x 120mm fan
Ports Front: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 2 x USB 2, 2 x audio; rear: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 2 x USB 2, 1 x PS/2, 1 x optical S/PDIF, 5 x audio
Operating system Windows 11 Home 64-bit
Warranty One year parts and labour, plus two years labour only. One month collect and return, then return to base

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