There’s no denying the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 is a good graphics card for £200 / $220. Offering 60fps speeds at High or most settings at 1080p, and Medium to High at 1440p, it’s successfully changed the 6GB GTX 1060 as my new best graphics card of alternative for budget-conscious consumers. In phrases of general worth, nonetheless, it faces stiff competitors from the equally nippy AMD Radeon RX 590, which is a fraction dearer than the GTX 1660 however at present comes with three free games to assist sweeten the deal. As a end result, these trying to merely improve their graphics card will nearly actually be capable of make their cash go additional with the RX 590 than the GTX 1660.
If you’re trying to purchase a complete new PC, nonetheless, then GTX 1660 machines such because the Apollo R1 from UK system builder PC Specialist could have the higher hand once more. Priced at simply £699 with a Ryzen 5 2600 CPU and 8GB of RAM inside it, that’s a complete £150 lower than PC Specialist’s in any other case identically-specced RX 590 offering. Yes, you’ll be able to nonetheless offset a few of that value by taking into consideration the free copies of DMC 5, Resident Evil 2 and The Division 2 you’ll get with the RX 590 PC, however £853 remains to be fairly a giant chunk of change to spend unexpectedly. So should you’re on the look-out for a cheap machine and easily can’t face the thought of building a PC your self, then the Apollo R1 is a good place to begin. Let’s have a look.
For starters, that is positively a greater use of £699 than Overclockers UK’s now similarly-priced Kinetic Z1 system that I reviewed on the finish of final 12 months, as that solely comes with a quad-core Intel Core i3-8100 processor, 8GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card for a similar sum of money.
The Apollo R1, however, has AMD’s glorious six-core Ryzen 5 2600 processor beneath its belt, giving it much more oomph on the subject of normal desktop duties in addition to extra demanding duties akin to picture and video enhancing. In Cinebench R15, for instance, its single core results of 158 was 9% sooner than the Core i3, whereas its multi-core rating of 1279 was a whopping 118% sooner, making it significantly better outfitted to cope with no matter you intend to throw it at each now and in a few years time.
The Ryzen 5 2600 can also be a wonderful companion for the Apollo R1’s Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 graphics card as effectively, with the pair of them placing in nearly nearly as good a efficiency as my very own Intel Core i5-8600Okay system. On common, the Apollo R1 was solely a few frames behind my Core i5 gaming outcomes (and solely 4-5fps on the very most), so I’m fairly assured you’ll be capable of apply the identical speeds I’ve detailed in my GTX 1660 review to what you’ll get right here.
In quick, the Apollo R1 is a wonderful 1920×1080 gaming machine, providing between 50-60fps at 1080p on most high quality settings in a variety of right this moment’s huge blockbusters, from Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Monster Hunter: World to The Witcher III and Total War: Warhammer II. It’s additionally simply able to hitting going effectively above 60fps when gaming on High high quality settings, too, making every thing from Final Fantasy XV to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey an absolute breeze to run.
It’s additionally able to taking a good stab at 2560×1440 gaming, too. Those after 60fps will discover it’s most snug on Medium to High high quality settings at this decision, however that’s nonetheless fairly spectacular for a £700 system – and definitely a damned sight higher than what the Kinetic Z1 can handle with only a GTX 1050 Ti.
You additionally get extra storage with the Apollo R1, too. Instead of settling for a 1TB SSHD hybrid drive within the Kinetic Z1, for instance, you get a correct 256GB Adata SU800 NVMe SSD right here (which is nestled neatly behind its GTX 1660 graphics card, in case you had been questioning the place it was within the photos), plus a 1TB Seagate Barracuda HDD.
Admittedly, the Adata SU800 isn’t the nippiest NVMe SSD on the planet. In truth, its random learn and write speeds of 28.9MB/s and 83.7MB/s respectively in AS SSD’s 1GB 4K random check put it extra consistent with what you’d get on an everyday 2.5in SATA III SSD such because the Crucial BX300. Still, at the very least it retains issues neat and tidy contained in the PC and cuts down on the variety of wires popping out of its Asus Prime A320M-Okay motherboard.
Speaking of which, the very fact the Apollo R1 solely has an A320-based motherboard (which is the most basic and entry-level chipset you will get for AMD AM4 mobos) does means it isn’t notably jam-packed with additional options, akin to fancy USB-C ports around the again or AMD Crossfire / Nvidia SLI assist – not that the latter is even bodily attainable on this explicit board, after all, on account of its titchy micro-ATX type issue.
To be trustworthy, I wouldn’t anticipate such issues on an entry-level PC like this – though a bit of additional room for future growth might need been good. Still, I’m positive most individuals might be completely proud of the Apollo R1’s six-rear USB ports (4 of that are USB3), two front-facing USB3 ports and assortment of microphone / headphone / audio line in jacks, plus, there’s nonetheless room for one PCIe card in there so long as you don’t thoughts swapping out its bundled 802.11n wi-fi card and utilizing a wired Ethernet connection as an alternative.
I’m additionally a giant fan of the Apollo R1’s case. It’s PC Specialist’s personal Cyclone design, however you get three followers with it (two on the entrance, one on the again), plus pink LED lighting and a plastic windowed aspect panel. It’s not fairly as stylish because the tempered glass aspect panel on the Kinetic Z1, all informed, nevertheless it nonetheless seems fairly sensible and affords bundles of room to construct in should you fancy making an attempt your hand at upgrading it sooner or later.
Admittedly, I did must ease the aspect panel again into place after I acquired it out of the field, as a number of the metallic clasps had come free in transit. But it was a straightforward repair that took all of two minutes to rectify. PC Specialist’s cable routing was additionally extremely neat and tidy, and there’s house for including extra two 2.5in exhausting drives in addition to mounting two 2.5in SSDs behind the motherboard when you take away the again panel. The solely additional factor you’ll want to purchase are extra SATA cables to attach them to your motherboard, as PC Specialist have tucked all the additional energy cables you’ll want down beneath its predominant HDD – which is nice contemplating its Corsair 450W VS-450 PSU is a non-modular energy provide that doesn’t allow you to add any extra cables.
All in all, the PC Specialist Apollo R1 is a unbelievable GTX 1660 system that gives loads of energy and adaptability with out breaking the financial institution. It’s positively higher worth than Overclockers UK’s Kinetic Z1 system, and I believe you’d be hard-pushed to seek out one other pre-built system this quick for much less. Some should desire to go for PC Specialist’s dearer RX 590 system whereas AMD’s three free games deal remains to be working (which additionally appears to be at the very least £100 lower than different UK system builders I’ve tried spec-ing up), however for these trying to preserve prices down as a lot as attainable, the £699 Apollo R1 comes extremely advisable.