Utopia Pandora Gaming PC Review

Written by Antony Leather

May 27, 2015 // 9:01 a.m.

Tags: #best-gaming-pc #core-i7-pc #gaming-pc #rog

Companies: #asus #in-win #utopia

Utopia Pandora Gaming PC Review

Manufacturer: Utopia Computers
UK price (as reviewed):
£1,912.68 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): N/A

As you dip below £2,000 on a complete system price, the extra pizazz you get from a more extreme, customised system starts to ebb away. Eventually you reach a point where you could easily build the system in question yourself and here the make or break argument is just how much are you paying to have a complete and warranty-backed system arriving at your door. Utopia is one of a handful of system builders in the UK that offers a true customisation service for its PCs and despite costing less than two grand, the Pandora has some unique touches too.

Firstly, though, what do you get for your money? At first glance, the Pandora appears to be missing a case, but those up to date with the latest products in the PC tech industry will recognise that Utopia has opted for In Win's D-Frame Mini. This is an open-air chassis and that obviously raises a mumber of issues.

Utopia Pandora Gaming PC Review
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Firstly, you probably won't want to drink anywhere near the Pandora as spills could potentially be lethal. Secondly, dust - there's no getting away from the fact that you'll need to clean the system regularly as the PSU, radiator and graphics card will all get clogged up and with no dust filters, there's no getting away from this.

Utopia Pandora Gaming PC Review
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So why would you want a PC built into the D-Frame Mini? It certainly looks different - perhaps that's your main goal and we're pretty sure that your friends probably won't have one - the Pandora is also guaranteed to turn heads at any LAN party. In addition, there's also the ease with which you can tinker and swap out hardware - that might seem a little crazy if you've just bought a new system, but if you're anything like us, having what is essentially a glorifed test bench as your PC case can have its advantages.

Utopia Pandora Gaming PC Review
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Other than In-Win's eye-catching case, there's plenty more to get excited about. In fact, if we were to spend two grand on a mini-ITX system, Utopia has pretty much read out minds. It's picked Asus's Maximus Impact VII to sit at the heart of the system and carried on a distinctly red and black theme throughout the case. To power its way through games, there's an EVGA GTX 980 Superclocked ACX, although this isn't red by default. As such, Utopia has sprayed the graphics card's housing Ferrari Enzo red, plus it has added a red braided cable kit to the Corsair AX760 modular PSU too.

Utopia Pandora Gaming PC Review
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There's 16GB of 2,133MHz Kingston HyperX Savage DDR3 memory - we'd maybe liked to have seen something a little faster here, not that it would make a huge deal of difference in our benchmarks. For the all-important CPU, Utopia has picked the current fastest option for an Intel Z97 motherboard - the Core i7-4790K, which has been overclocked to 4.6GHz and should provide plenty of grunt.

Utopia Pandora Gaming PC Review
Click to enlarge

To cool this, there's a Corsair H100i GTX all-in-one liquid cooler, which is installed somewhat strangely at the bottom of the case. thankfully, as the case features rubber protective points on the outer frame, upending the case to clean the radiator should be pretty easy. For storage, there's a single 480GB Kingston HyperX Savage SSD plus a 3TB Toshiba DT01ACA300 hard disk - maybe not our first choice, but it's 3TB of storage nonetheless. Finally, the system comes with Windows 8.1 64-bit pre-installed.

Utopia's warranty is touted as one of the longest in Europe and extends to a sizeable 10 years. This breaks down to two years parts and 10 years labour, with a free 30-day collect and return service. If the system suffers a hardware fault in the first 30 days, Utopia will collect the system, build you a new one and deliver it back to you free of charge and provides lifetime free technical support too.

Specifications

  • CPU Intel Core i7-4790K (overclocked to 4.6GHz)
  • CPU cores Four physical, four logical (quad core, eight threads)
  • Memory 16GB Kingston HyperX Savage (2 x 8GB) DDR3 2,133MHz
  • Graphics EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Superclocked ACX 4GB
  • Storage 1 x 480GB Kingston HyperX Savage, 1 x 3TB 7,200rpm Toshiba hard disk
  • Motherboard Asus Maximus VII Impact
  • PSU Corsair AX760 with red cable kit
  • Optical Drive None
  • Cooling Corsair H100i GTX
  • Case / Dimensions (mm) In Win D-Frame Mini / 230 x 501 x 405 (W x D x H)
  • Networking Intel Gigabit LAN
  • Audio SupremeFX Impact II 8-channel Realtek ALC1150 Codec (on-board)
  • Operating system Windows 8.1
  • Audio and USB Ports 6 x USB 3.0 (2 x via header), 6 x USB 2.0 ( 2 x via header), 1 x audio out, line in, mic, Optical S/PDIF out,
  • Warranty 10 years: 2 years parts, 10 years labour, 30 day collect and return and free system replacement following hardware failure in first 30 days

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