GAM­ING PC PC Spe­cial­ist Ig­nis

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Custom PC - - REVIEWS / NEW KIT -

C Spe­cial­ist’s Ig­nis stands out with its use of a Parvum case, made from 5mm acrylic rather than metal. There are ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ences be­tween the Parvum Veer 1.0 and more con­ven­tional cases de­ployed in other mini-ITX chas­sis. The matt black ma­te­rial through­out is di­vided by red acrylic that looks es­pe­cially im­pres­sive when it catches sun­light and its smart, lay­ered de­sign is aug­mented by good-look­ing touches.

The red layer be­hind the front panel is vis­i­ble through a Parvum logo cutout and sleek banded ar­eas, while in­dents on both sides re­veal more red acrylic. Mean­while, a huge win­dow along one side gives a great view of the com­po­nents, al­though it also at­tracts dust and fin­ger­prints.

The ma­chine is well put to­gether on the in­side too. The moth­er­board sits on a raised sec­tion that al­lows the PSU and its ca­bles to stay hid­den, and the GPU and Cor­sair H100i GTX liq­uid cooler sit in par­al­lel above the board. It’s con­sis­tently tidy, which helps show off the red in­te­rior pan­els.

The Parvum chas­sis looks great, but it also has some down­sides. When you lift the sys­tem you no­tice more give in the Parvum’s acrylic pan­els than in most metal cases. The chas­sis creaks as the plas­tic rubs, and the ma­te­rial be­neath the PSU bends to ac­com­mo­date the ca­bles. The Ig­nis never feels weak, but there’s no deny­ing that metal feels stronger. The Chill­blast Fu­sion Fury Nano (see Is­sue 147, p56), for ex­am­ple, uses a smaller Rai­jin­tek Metis mini-ITX chas­sis, which feels stur­dier. Like most mini-ITX cases, the Parvum case doesn’t ex­cel in the up­grade depart­ment ei­ther, with just one 2.5in slot spare.

How­ever, PC Spe­cial­ist has kit­ted out the Ig­nis with an im­pres­sive spec­i­fi­ca­tion. The most po­tent part is a Zo­tac GeForce GTX 980. It isn’t an over­clocked model, but the GPU’s 2,048 stream pro­ces­sors and 1,126MHz core clock will make it for­mi­da­ble in games. It’s paired with a quad-core Core i5-6600K pro­ces­sor, al­though its stock speed of 3.5GHz hasn’t been over­clocked, de­spite be­ing cooled by a dual-ra­di­a­tor liq­uid cooler. That’s un­usual for a ma­chine in Cus­tom PC, but it’s PC Spe­cial­ist’s choice – we’re told the firm doesn’t tweak its mini-ITX ma­chines.

Mean­while, the 16GB of DDR4 RAM is plenty, and the Ig­nis fore­goes plat­ter-based stor­age for a Kingston HyperX Sav­age 960GB SSD. That ca­pac­ity is as large as many hard disks and the drive will beat any hard drive for speed too.

3.5GHz In­tel Core i5-6600K

PA­sus Max­imus

VIII Im­pact

16GB 2133MHz Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4

Zo­tac GeForce GTX 980 4GB

960GB Kingston HyperX Sav­age SSD Parvum Veer 1.0

CPU: Cor­sair Hy­dro H100i GTX with 2 x 120mm fans; GPU: 1 x 90mm fan

Cor­sair CS650

Front: 2 x USB 3; rear: 4 x USB 3, 1 x USB 3.1 type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 type-C, 1 x op­ti­cal S/PDIF, start and re­set but­tons, Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net, 3 x au­dio


10 Home 64-bit

One year parts and labour, plus two years labour only, one month col­lect and re­turn, then re­turn to base

PC Spe­cial­ist has in­stalled one of the mar­ket’s best miniITX moth­er­boards too. The Asus Max­imus VIII Im­pact sits right at the top of the firm’s range of tiny PCBs, and it’s im­pres­sively fea­ture-packed, with dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a dis­crete sound card be­neath the rear I/O panel. That rear panel is busy too, with four USB 3 ports along­side USB 3.1 ports in type A and C flavours. The board also sports on-board power and re­set but­tons, and a dual-fig­ure POST. As with any mini-ITX moth­er­board, though, there’s not much in­ter­nal up­grade room, with the two mem­ory slots and sin­gle 16x PCI-E slot al­ready oc­cu­pied.

Fi­nally, the PC Spe­cial­ist’s three-year war­ranty is rea­son­able, if a lit­tle mea­gre. It has the es­sen­tial year of parts and labour cov­er­age, plus two years labour only, but there’s only a month of col­lect and re­turn cover be­fore it re­verts to a re­turn-to-base deal.


The Ig­nis didn’t have any trou­ble with 1080p games, and it played ev­ery game at 2,560 x 1,440 with­out drop­ping be­low 35fps. How­ever, it isn’t quite ca­pa­ble of 4K gam­ing, only man­ag­ing a playable frame rate in Shadow of Mor­dor.

The Ig­nis fell a lit­tle be­hind in ap­pli­ca­tions, though, be­cause of that stock-speed pro­ces­sor. For ex­am­ple, we’ve seen an en­cod­ing score of 259,334 from an over­clocked i5-6600K be­fore, but the Ig­nis only scored 222,556. It’s dou­bly frus­trat­ing when you see the huge liq­uid-cool­ing sys­tem and know that the CPU’s un­locked mul­ti­plier would make it ca­pa­ble of so much more.

The stock-speed Core i5 sil­i­con won’t be a sig­nif­i­cant bot­tle­neck in games and it has enough power for most ap­pli­ca­tions, but there’s definitely more po­ten­tial here. There’s scope for over­clock­ing the PC Spe­cial­ist’s K-edi­tion pro­ces­sor, at least. We’ve pre­vi­ously tweaked this part to 4.6GHz and be­yond, and the huge Cor­sair Hy­dro H100i GTX cooler means there’s am­ple head­room in this PC – the

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