Vibox Power FXS - New System Packs A Punch

8/19/2013 9:05:37 AM

Vibox makes its debut with an AMD-based machine, but can it compete against more established competition?

Vibox is a new name, but it's new system packs a punch: while it costs just $960, but it's underpinned by the most powerful processor that AMD has to offer.

The chip used here is the FX-8350, and it's a four-core processor that runs at 4GHz. It's got 8MB of L2 and L3 cache, and each core can address two concurrent threads - so eight in total. The chip can automatically overclock by an additional 100MHz when extra power is required, but Vibox hasn't gone any further with tweaks - this chip runs at its stock speeds.

Vibox Power FXS

Vibox Power FXS

The stock-speed AMD chip returned a score of 0.95 in our application benchmarks -around 10% less pace than we expect to see from stock-speed Intel Core i5 chips, and about 20% behind the speed we expect from overclocked Intel machines. That said, it's enough to power the most intensive applications, and multitasking is a strong point.

This $960 machine makes do with an AMD Radeon HD 7790, a mid-range card. However, the XFX-made model here comes with a boost: the 1,000MHz stock speed has been tweaked to a more impressive 1,075MHz. The card scored a reasonable 41 fps in the Very High quality Crysis benchmark when run at 1,920 x 1,080 - showing enough grunt to power top-end titles across a single screen, but not enough to handle triplescreen gaming unless you're willing to compromise drastically on quality.

The Cooler Master Elite 430 chassis won't exactly win any prizes for its aesthetics - it's plain, and its meshed facade ensures it looks like dozens of other enclosures. It's not the strongest either, thanks to its flimsy front and weak metal side-panels.

It's a better story on the inside. The matte black finish carries over to the interior, which looks smart, and Vibox has done a reasonable job of keeping cables tidy. There's no motherboard tray for them to hide behind, but cables are lashed together and held out of the way, which helps improve ease of access as well as airflow.

It's a better story on the inside

Three of the four memory sockets are free for expansion, and expansion room is decent elsewhere. There's a single PCI-Express x16 slot alongside pairs of PCI-Express x1 and PCI slots. Four SATA ports are free, and four 3.5" bays are also empty, and can be filled without using tools - although they're not side-facing, which makes access a little trickier.

Heat was never an issue, with the processor hitting a top temperature of 52°C when we stress-tested the system.

Noise, though, was more troubling. While the stock AMD cooler was reasonably quiet when idling, it churned out a high-pitched whine when the processor was running at full capacity. It didn't effect gaming - the graphics card is whisper-quiet - but it's a concern if you're going to be doing a lot of processor-intensive work.

The noise will be an issue for some, and the lack of finesse on the outside will be an issue for others - this isn't a system that's tough enough to lug to LAN parties, nor it is a machine for showing off your style. That said, it's a good price for a machine that's capable with work and single-screen gaming and worth a look if you can't afford a more expensive machine.


·         4GHz AMD FX-8350

·         8GB RAM

·         1TB hard disk

·         AMD Radeon HD 7790 graphics

·         DVD writer

·         Cooler Master Elite 430 case

·         Windows 8 64-bit

·         1-year RTB warranty


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