Aria Gladiator Fraction Review – If there was ever an over-compensating PC, this might be it. Aria’s Gladiator Fraction brings the cutting edge of AMD technology to the forefront of your wallet. Featuring an FX-8350 eight-core CPU clocked at a gentle 4GHz, 8GB of DDR3 1,600MHz and an XFX R9 390X, this is a rig that begs to be ran moderately hard (no, seriously).
Okay, so maybe the RAM is a little lacklustre. After all, you can easily grab yourself 16GB of DDR3 for less than a good meal out at Nando’s. With the family. And we’re letting you know now that we won’t be getting into the debate as to whether the 390X is a new GPU or a simple rebrand. However, it’s nothing if not a powerful card, and it’s readily available in the marketplace today, as opposed to the upper echelon of AMD graphical horsepower.
The chassis is stunning. It does look somewhat familiar, something from a fevered dream perhaps. Either way, it’s huge. The case measures 577mm long by 525mm high, which, when you consider it’s only housing an ATX-sized motherboard, seems a tad excessive. If you were building this rig from the ground up, you’d have found yourself buried in a cornucopia of cooling options. The front supports three 120mm fans, three 140mm fans or two 200mm fans. Yes, two! Simply put, we can’t think of another chassis that features this kind of cooling support, short of the £400 behemoths from CaseLabs.
Value over victory
You’d think that with access to such a variety of options, this lumbering giant would be cooled by a magnitude of stratospheric compressors – no doubt beneficial for an AMD system running a GPU you could fry an egg off. Sadly, this isn’t the case. For intake, you’re given a single 200mm fan and two extra 120mm fans for exhaust at the top of the chassis. CPU cooling is handled by a Thermaltake Water 3.0 single rad, running in push pull at the back of the case. It’s a little underwhelming. But it’s hardly surprising when you realise the CPU is running at stock frequencies. It’s more for looks than actual cooling capacity.
It performs just about as well as you’d expect from an AMD eight-core CPU. Falling short of Intel in computational rendering tasks, yet keeping pace when it comes to gaming. The XFX 390X remains cool and quiet, even when you push its nose to the grindstone. And the extra 4GB of GDDR5 ensures the 390X pulls ahead of the GTX 980 in a few 4K titles. But 1080p is another story entirely. The 390X drops behind in average and minimum frame rates. It still performs admirably, just not as well as the other side of the fence does.
Ultimately, despite this build’s many caveats, you’re not being let down where it counts – the price. You’d be hard-pushed to buy this rig any cheaper. We specced it up as cheaply as we could find, and Aria’s price was still £15 cheaper. And if you consider it comes pre-built and with a two-year warranty, it makes the Gladiator incredibly good value. But is it worth buying? We’re unsure. If you went with Intel, you’d most definitely get better bang for your buck. Even Intel’s quad-core Core i5 would run rings around it. And that’s the big one for us.
- Great price
- Solid performance
- Looks good
- Fan controller
- Gaming only
- Huge chassis
- AMD’s outdated core
- Struggles with post-processing
Aria Gladiator Fraction Specifications
- CPU AMD FX-8350 @ 4GHz
- Motherboard Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3
- Memory Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR3 8GB (2x 4GB) @1,600MHz
- Graphics XFX Radeon R9 390X
- Storage Samsung 850 EVO 120GB SSD; 1TB 7,200RPM HDD
- Case Thermaltake F51 Suppressor
- Power supply Thermaltake Smart SE 730W PSU (Bronze)
- Warranty Two years