Evetech has built up a solid reputation as a vendor of custom computers built to your specification, and they’ve been one of the most prominent boutique PC retailers in South Africa for some time. Not only do their partnerships with the various vendors enable them to offer some drool-worthy stuff, their attention to detail offers consumers a plug-and-play experience, assuming they’ve elected to ship their rig across the country with an operating system pre-installed.
What we’ve got here is the attractive NZXT S340 chassis in black and red trim, with an Intel Core i7 4790 processor, MSI’s Z97 GAMING 3 motherboard, 8GB of DDR3-1866 Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer memory, MSI’s GeForce GTX 970 GAMING 4G graphics card, a SanDisk 256GB X110 solid state drive, Cooler Master’s Hyper 212X CPU cooler, and an Antec EDGE 750W power supply to keep everything running happily. When I booted up the machine, a Windows 7 Professional trial was already pre-installed and tweaked for testing. Currently you can specify Windows 8.1 to be pre-installed for you, and in the future Windows 10 will be the default, presumably.
Booting up is ever-so-quick thanks to the speedy SSD installed, and I saw read and write speeds of just over 440MB/s and 340MB/s respectively. Mind you, this was after I had filled up the drive nearly to capacity with games and software for benchmarking, as Marvell-based drive controllers typically see slightly reduced speeds as the drive begins to fills up.
At idle, the rig is whisper-quiet, and the CPU cooler’s fan is barely audible even at load. MSI’s GTX 970 features the new Twin Frozr cooler design, which switches off the fans as the GPU drops below a certain temperature, so most of the time the fans aren’t spinning. Both the GPU and the memory feature cutomisable LED lights, adjustable through the MSI GAMING app and the Crucial MOD app respectively. The S340 chassis doesn’t feature a 5.25-inch drive bay for DVD drives, but it does have extra space for another SSD and two 3.5-inch hard drives. It’s not a very flexible arrangement, but it’s enough for most people.
Our synthetic benchmark run indicated that almost everything up to and including gaming at 1440p was going to be easily playable on this machine. The 1080p Catzilla result gives us the best idea of real-world gaming performance – at 1080p, the GTX 970 should breeze through anything you throw at it with the highest settings.
Not surprisingly, our benchmark scores reflect that. Only three games in our suite fell under the 60fps mark, and even then I’d put Tomb Raider’s score down to a margin of error. Metro: Last Light Redux’s average score is playable enough, but I saw some dips into the 25fps range, which produced some noticeable choppiness. I wouldn’t advise playing Redux with PhysX enabled, that’s for sure.
Overall power consumption on the desktop after five minutes idling drops to just 50 watts from the wall, and under a gaming load we measured an average of 261 watts drawn. Seeing that kind of power consumption with the performance on offer really puts things into perspective – even a well-designed 350W power supply would be more than enough here.
Although this rig is a bit more expensive than the R18,000 system I have in my System Builder’s Guide, the benefit here is that it is pre-assembled and tested for you, and you can make use of Evetech’s customer support for any issues you encounter during the warranty period.
The only things I’d change now, looking at it in hindsight, would be to add in a 512GB SSD instead, as well as opt for two intake fans on the front of the chassis with red LEDs in them. That’s more for aesthetic purposes than anything else, but I’m a sucker for colour coding and themes, and the red-and-black theme that MSI has going for them is really well done.