AVADirect Mini Gaming PC Review: Ivy Bridge, GTX 680 in a Mini-ITX Package
Software, Performance, Pricing and Conclusions
One of the first things we do with a full system review is see what kind of software the vendor loads and if we think it is slowing us down any. Admittedly slowing down a rig like this is going to be hard to do with ANY software, but we like our desktops clean and our software inclusions minimal.
While the desktop of the AVADirect Mini Gaming PC is pretty clean there are some links to things like CyberLink and LG applications that add "clutter". No big deal, just something to note.
Looking at the specifications in Windows you see the two drive configuration that AVADirect is using as well as the 7.8 Windows Experience Index that I am sure you all care deeply about (</sarcasm>).
I will admit again here that I don't like the amount of LG installed applications but I know that AVADirect added it in the hopes they would make it easier to use optical media. Many users are so removed from optical media today that it can seem like an anomaly.
Performance Testing - An Overclocked Core i7-3770K
I mentioned that the system is overclocked to 4.4 GHz on the Core i7-3770K and it runs at that speed even when all cores are fully loaded, as you can see here in our CineBench 11.5 testing.
Compared to a Core i7-3770K at default clock speeds we a 19% performance boost with the AVADirect Mini Gaming PC; not a bad jump for an included CPU overclock.
EVGA's GeForce GTX 680 2GB card is able to hold up its end of the bargain as well and with the combined overclocked processor is more than capable of gaming at 1920x1080, 2560x1600 or even into multi-display configurations.
Pricing and Final Thoughts
We'd be a fool to not recognize that most of our readers like to build their own systems and as such there are times when the pre-built system can be criticized for lacking in some areas, pricing being a frequent one. With a price tag of our build at $2,146.46 I have to say I was pretty impressed.
Buying a system with the same components from Newegg.com resulted in an in-cart amount of $1890 plus shipping. The price difference of $256 will net you the overclock of the CPU to 4.4 GHz as well as the 3 year warranty offered by AVADirect. To me, that is totally worth it: you get the system already assembled and built in a clean fashion, its been tested and burned in so your chances of DOA components are pretty minimal and if something goes wrong you have a small business to get in touch with rather than a huge conglomerate.
We also checked out PC Part Picker for the components and got a very similar pricing result. You can see the build out by clicking on this link and view the "price over time" for the entire system!
I realize that won't convince everyone, but I am sure it will appeal to many of our readers!
Obviously then I came away from my time with the AVADirect Mini Gaming PC pretty impressed. The BitFenix chassis is small ENOUGH to be an SFF case while still being big enough to support a full size power supply and GTX 680 graphics card. While you can definitely find small systems, I don't know if you can find them smaller and as powerful.
The sound levels on the system were very reasonable with the FiberFlex legs and the larger fans used in the design. Pricing is also a plus with a surprisingly reasonable markup over current component costs making this kind of build attractive for gamers that have a little bit extra means and a little bit less interest in the building process.