YOY­OTECH

War­bird RS11

Computer Shopper - - BUDGET PCS -

£500 From www.yoy­otech.co.uk

VER­DICT

The War­bird RS11 lives up to its pedi­gree with de­pend­able gam­ing per­for­mance

YOY­OTECH IS ON a win­ning streak with its War­bird se­ries. The pre­mium War­bird RS12 (Shop­per 340) is a fine ma­chine for 4K and VR gam­ing, while sea­soned read­ers will recall that the War­bird RS10 was the vic­tor of our last big PC group test (Shop­per 333), de­liv­er­ing a bril­liantly ca­pa­ble sys­tem plus a mouse, key­board and qual­ity mon­i­tor all for £700.

The RS11 is the most bud­get-friendly War­bird we’ve tested yet, and with that comes good news and bad news. The bad news is that this isn’t an ex­cep­tional rig in the vein of the RS10; the good news is that it’s still a re­spectable all-rounder that does pretty much ev­ery­thing you’d want from a £500 PC.

First off, it’s just about the best-look­ing en­trant here. The Ae­ro­cool QS-240 is a nicely com­pact case, cov­ered with near-un­bro­ken (and ven­ti­la­tion-friendly) mesh and fin­ished with chunky raised edges. De­void of any text, the Yoy­otech logo is also one of the more mod­est brand­ing ad­di­tions we’ve seen.

PULLING THE PIN

As ever, the small size does mean re­duced in­ter­nal space; there’s still enough room for large hands to work, but you’ll have to make do with a mi­croATX moth­er­board. This is the same MSI A68HM Grenade board we saw in the Box Cube Cap­tain and, again, it feels a bit too lim­it­ing for our tastes. There’s just one PCI-E x16, PCI-E x1 and PCI ex­pan­sion slot apiece, and the bulk of the MSI GTX 960 graph­ics card makes it im­pos­si­ble to ac­cess the PCI-E x1 slot any­way. Both RAM slots are oc­cu­pied, too, so to up­grade the mem­ory you’ll need to re­place the cur­rent twin 4GB sticks in­stead of sup­ple­ment­ing them.

The case is also miss­ing any 5¼in drive bays, so don’t ex­pect to use the RS11 as a DVD or Blu-ray player. Con­versely, though, there is an al­most sur­pris­ingly de­cent as­sort­ment of two 3½in bays and three 2½in bays. The for­mer are part of a sim­ple rack at the front of the case, with one 2½in bay sit­ting on top; the two re­main­ing bays, if you could ac­tu­ally call them that, re­quire you to af­fix the drives di­rectly on to the chas­sis with screws. Still, you’ll have no trou­ble adding to the RS11’s ba­sic 1TB hard disk drive with an ad­di­tional high-speed SSD or hy­brid SSHD.

This is one po­ten­tial fu­ture up­grade we’d def­i­nitely rec­om­mend you keep in mind. 1TB is plenty of space and the HDD does run at 7,200rpm, but the RS11 does take no­tice­ably longer to get go­ing than its SSD- and even SSHD-equipped ri­vals.

COM­PET­I­TIVE IN­STINCT

Luck­ily, its ap­pli­ca­tion per­for­mance is much more com­pet­i­tive. Armed with a 4GHz quad-core pro­ces­sor, the AMD Athlon 880K, as well as the afore­men­tioned 2GB GTX 960 graph­ics card, the RS11 achieved a high av­er­age of 68fps in our Ul­tra-qual­ity Dirt Show­down bench­mark, with the game run­ning at 1,920x1,080p. It dropped to 50fps dur­ing ef­fects-heavy mo­ments, mak­ing it a lit­tle less con­sis­tent than, say, the Palicomp AMD Avenger, but even that felt silky-smooth.

As usual, Metro: Last Light Re­dux put up a much greater chal­lenge. Here, at Very High qual­ity and with SSAA en­abled, the RS11 av­er­aged 28fps – hardly the most playable frame rate imag­in­able. Turn­ing off SSAA pushed this up to 43fps, but we found the best ex­pe­ri­ence was at­tained by go­ing one fur­ther and drop­ping the graphic qual­ity pre­set down to High as well; this pro­duced 49fps.

Af­ter be­ing sub­jected to our own 4K bench­mark tests, the RS11 emerged with an im­ageed­it­ing score of 68, a videoen­cod­ing score of 60, a mul­ti­task­ing score of 42 and an over­all score of 52. The mul­ti­task­ing score is a bit dis­ap­point­ing, and it does drag down the over­all num­ber sig­nif­i­cantly, which is a shame as we never had any prob­lems with Win­dows on the whole. Apps and web pages load quickly enough, and there wasn’t much of a no­tice­able per­for­mance hit when we had mul­ti­ple win­dows open at once. You should be able to browse the web and even use ba­sic me­dia edit­ing soft­ware with­out any trou­ble.

For con­nec­tiv­ity, the rear panel in­cludes four USB2 ports, two USB2 ports, an Eth­er­net socket, two PS/2 in­puts, and mic in, line in and line out jacks – enough to cover all the bases for straight­for­ward home use. There’s a great choice of dis­play out­puts, too, rang­ing from three Dis­playPorts and two HDMI ports to sin­gle VGA, dual-link DVI-I and DVI-D out­puts. It’s rare to see so many Dis­playPorts on a cheap rig, as lower-end and mid-range graph­ics cards – which, of course, pro­vide most of the out­puts – tend to lean to­wards bulkier, fid­dlier DVI-I and DVI-D sock­ets.

At the front of the case, we were pleased to find two USB2 ports and one USB3, even if this fell one USB3 in­put short of our per­sonal gold stan­dard. A DVD-RW drive would have been nice, had the case al­lowed it; be pre­pared to go fully dig­i­tal if you plump for the RS11.

AIR PLAY

One up­side of the lack of 5¼in bays is that there’s more free space to add ex­tra fans, if you wish – there’s room for a cou­ple more at the top of the case, too. The RS11’s sole rear out­take fan, com­bined with the CPU air cooler, can make a fair bit of noise un­der load, but not enough to drown out games or videos play­ing over some half-de­cent speak­ers.

Ul­ti­mately, you can get a lit­tle bit more for your money than what the War­bird RS11 of­fers. That said, its com­mend­able gam­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and sim­ple but stylish case en­sure it re­mains a good choice, es­pe­cially if you’re not in­ter­ested in ei­ther phys­i­cal disk me­dia or mak­ing dras­tic ad­di­tions to the moth­er­board.

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