Got £600? Current PC collecting more dust than Peter Andre's little black book? You could pop into a local electrical superstore and peruse endless rubbish computers, bracing yourself against the barrage of cheap coffee breath, plaque and misinformation spewing forth from a furtive salesman standing two inches away from your face.
Or, you could entrust your budget with a respected system builder, who knows how to put performance parts into a £600 PC. It's no easy task, after all. Powerful components don't come cheap, and £600 is a small outlay in PC terms, performance expectations are higher than a 'three-figure Facebook checker.'
So what exactly does one expect of a machine like YOYOTech's Dragon F-58? To our minds, we should be able to play the majority of current games at high settings, and have plenty of storage space.
Crucially, the base components should be easily upgradeable down the line and have no old generation, redundant technology. Good news. The Dragon F-58 does this.
It might look like a futuristic bin to the untrained eye, but inside the SilverStone Fortress case lies an AMD Radeon HD 5850 GPU. It's a DX11 card, albeit first generation, and despite its age, the HD 5850 can still chomp through current DX11 titles at playable frame rates and 1080p.
Likewise, the Phenom II X6 1055T is no spring chicken technologically, but it is more than capable. That capability's boosted further with some YOYOTech overclocking – boosted up to 3.6GHz. It's hex-core, so multi-threaded apps perform particularly well.
Not too RAM-ed
The 4GB of DDR3 memory supplied is all you'll realistically need too. We've seen OEMs cram in RAM lately and it hikes up the price for a barely noticeable increase in performance.
Likewise, a single 1TB HDD and DVD-RW keeps the cost down over SSD+HDD and Blu-ray drive setups that are luxuries rather than necessities at this price. It's a well thought out build then, but there are niggles. There are always niggles.
For one, the HD 5850 is outclassed by Nvidia's first gen DX11 GTX 460 card, but then it's around £20 cheaper. That's only a slight taint to the value offered here.
CPU rendering performance
Cinebench R11.5: Index: Higher is better
Dragon F-58: 4.86
Fusion Rocket: 7.12
Shuttle SH67H3: 5.14
DirectX 11 tessellation performance
Heaven 2.5: Frames per second: Higher is better
Dragon F-58: 11.1
Fusion Rocket: 21.7
Shuttle SH67H3: 18.21
DirectX 10 gaming performance
Just Cause 2: Frames per second: Higher is better
Dragon F-58: 24.15
Fusion Rocket: 39.69
Shuttle SH67H3: 26.45
Two – the case is an odd-shaped mini-ATX that doesn't have the space to bung in another of those HD 5850s should one require more grunt, and fan positioning could be much better inside, particularly if a water cooler was attached to the CPU and the fan mounted to the top of the case. Still, things aren't bad enough to drive the budget purchaser down those neon-lit aisles of the PC superstore.
YOYOTech has produced a competent rig with visual appeal that's hampered but far from ruined by a less than ideal GPU and case. What's more, it offers good value for money at the hardest price point to do so.
Future-proofing isn't top of the agenda at this price; you might not be playing next year's games at high settings on the Dragon F-58. But today, it's money well spent.
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