£500 From www.yoyotech.co.uk
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.
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.
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.