PC World Test rig 2017

The monster computer that PC World and Good Gear Guide uses for testing and reviewing PC components and peripherals

The PC World 2017 Test Rig. It looks messy because it's not in a case. But this allows for easy swapping of components.

The PC World 2017 Test Rig. It looks messy because it's not in a case. But this allows for easy swapping of components.

The past months have seen us building a test rig to test components and peripherals. It is very high spec in order to remove as much latency and as many bottlenecks from the system as possible.

Below we list the components and key benchmark scores that we’ll be using to compare with other components as they appear. But first…

PC World Test Rig components:-

Motherboard : Gigabyte Designare Z170X (Homepage | Review)

Gigabyte Z170X Designare
Gigabyte Z170X Designare

We chose the Designare because it has everything – even flashing lights. It’s got a full complement of connectors including U.2 and M.2 for hard drives, USB-C ports, toughened ports to help with frequent component and peripheral swapping and powerful-yet-practical overclocking options that anyone can use. Our core benchmarks used the F21 BIOS.

Processor: 4GHz Intel Skylake Core i7-6700K (Homepage | Review)

4GHz Intel Skylake Core i7-6700K
4GHz Intel Skylake Core i7-6700K

The 6th Generation Skylake flagship might recently have been superceded by the slightly-tweaked 7th-Generation Kaby Lake but it’s still a fine performer and comparable to the latest chips when overclocked. The Designare motherboard happily boosts it from 4GHz to 4.6GHz where it runs stably.

Read more: ​How to set up new computer RAM memory after installing it 2017

RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM (Homepage | Review)

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 2400MHz C16 Memory Kit
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 2400MHz C16 Memory Kit

We wanted bombproof reliable RAM and Corsair Vengeance suited us fine. You can get faster, thoroughbred kits but they’re for super-tweaked competitively-overclocked machines – overkill for what we have here. The code for our system is: (Code: CMK16GX4M2A2400C16).

Hard drive: Samsung NVMe SSD 960 Pro M.2 (Homepage | Review)

Samsung NVMe SSD 960 Pro M.2
Samsung NVMe SSD 960 Pro M.2

One of the most important components. Samsung’s 960 Pro is the fastest consumer hard drive you can buy which is essential when testing other storage devices and components.

CPU Cooler: Corsair H80i v2 Hydro Series (Homepage)

Corsair H80i v2 Hydro Series
Corsair H80i v2 Hydro Series

One of the most efficient and easy to use coolers is also one of the easiest to install and uninstall.

PSU: Corsair Platinum Series AX1200i 1200W Digital ATX Power Supply (Homepage)

Corsair Platinum Series AX1200i 1200W Digital ATX Power Supply
Corsair Platinum Series AX1200i 1200W Digital ATX Power Supply

When using top-end , power-hungry components to run lengthy, power-intensive benchmarks, having reliable power is a must. This is overkill for the rig’s day-to-day operations but we know if there’s a problem it won’t be down to the PSU.

Read more: ​Gigabyte Z170X Designare motherboard review

Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (Homepage)

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070

We could have used our top-end 1080 but that would be a waste in a rig used primarily for component testing. The 1070 is fast enough for any kind of gaming and is a fine cherry to sit atop this super sundae. The driver used for our core benchmarks was version 368.39.

Windows 10 (Homepage)

Read more: ​Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2400 RAM review
Windows 10 is the logical choice for a test rig OS right now.
Windows 10 is the logical choice for a test rig OS right now.

It's only natural that we used the latest Operating System from Microsoft. At the time of running our core benchmarks, everything was fully updated to the 1607 Cumulative Update.

Performance

We won’t be running extreme overclocking benchmarks here. Our reviews are designed to gauge the general performance that everyday buyers can expect. As such we’ll be focusing on the common PCMark 8 and 3DMark benchmarks. We’ll also use CrystalDiskMark for hard disks.

Read more: ​Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4-3000 RAM review

We’ll be running benchmarks in stock mode and/or overclocked mode. With overclocked mode we’ll simply be using the easy-to-use, automatic, built-in overclocking function in the motherboard BIOS. In the case of the Gigabyte Designare there are settings which pushed our stock 4GHz CPU to a stable 4.6GHz in just one click.

We’ll be adding performance results as they come in.

[Related: Which CPU is best: Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen?]
[Related: Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen motherboard review]

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