Overclockers UK Kinetic H3 Review – Besides the new graphics card – famed for its superb price-to-performance ratio – this Kinetic H3 also packs an Intel Core i5-6400, 8GB of 2,400MHz DDR4 RAM, a 1TB hard disk and a 240GB SSD; pretty much everything a budding or budget-conscious enthusiast could want, hardware-wise.
It’s particularly good for gaming: in Dirt Showdown, the Kinetic H3 averaged 100fps at 1,920×1,080 at Ultra quality, which is better than any other $870-$995 system we’ve tested (granted that these have all used previous-generation graphics cards, such as the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 960). It did well at higher resolutions too, producing 93fps at 2,560×1,440 and even 55fps at 3,840×2,160.
Running higher-fidelity games might still require a bit of tweaking, but relatively this PC still performs great. At 1,920×1,080 and Very High quality, the Kinetic H3 scored 45fps in Metro: Last Light Redux; dropping down to High quality boosted this right up to 59fps. At 2,560×1,440, we got only 26fps at Very High, so switched to High quality and disabled SSAA to get a smooth 66fps.
It wasn’t until we reached 3,840×2,160 resolution that it started to struggle; after managing only 10fps on Very High, we had to drop to High quality, turn off SSAA and advanced PhysX, reduce texture filtering to AF 4X, and tone down tessellation effects from Very High to High for a playable 33fps. This is still a capable machine, but you’ll need to spend more if you want to play 4K games.
That said, it will run VR games without much fuss, achieving an overall score of 6.6 and ‘VR Ready’ status from the SteamVR Performance Test benchmark. The former might sound low compared to top-end systems that score around 10 or 11, but is still indicative of a PC that can handle existing VR games while maintaining smooth frame rates.
As for 2D applications, a little bit of expectation-tempering is necessary. The Core i5-6400 and Team Group Elite RAM sticks aren’t ground-breaking bargains of the same sort as the RX 480. Nonetheless, we’re not complaining; in our 4K benchmarks, the Kinetic H3 managed 97 in the image test, 97 in the video test and 95 in the multitasking test, producing a very satisfactory 96 overall.
In fact, that’s just a hair’s breadth below the $1,554 CCL RavenVR, which scored four points higher overall despite both the enormous price difference and the RavenVR’s 3.2GHz quad-core Core i5-6500 (the Core i5-6400’s four cores run at 2.7GHz).
Sadly, you can’t expect to improve on this performance via CPU overclocking – the Core i5-6400’s multiplier isn’t unlocked, which severely limits its tuning potential. This might not be much of an issue to many potential users, but it is also one of the Kinetic H3’s less upgrade-friendly aspects. Others include the lack of spare RAM slots – if you want more, you’ll have to ditch the sticks that are already installed instead of adding to them – and there’s no second PCI-E x16 slot, so you won’t be able to add a secondary GPU. The 500W PSU is fine for now, but it could be that you’ll need more capacity if you do end up making multiple power-hungry additions.
To be fair, it’s a pretty customisable system otherwise. Besides a few easily accessible PCI-E x1 and PCI slots, this is mainly thanks to the lovely Kolink Refractor case. It provides plenty of room to work, up to seven dual 2.5in/3.5in drive bays – though you’ll need to buy your own mounting brackets for most of them – and up to three 5.25in drive bays. It’s also fitted with two front intake fans and one rear exhaust fan by default – a rarity for budget cases. These are also lit with blue LEDs, adding a pleasant glow through the transparent front and side panels.
JACKS OF ALL TRADES
The case offers a generous four USB ports (two USB2 and two USB3) at the front, complementing the two USB2 and two USB3 ports at the back. There’s no USB Type-C or S/PDIF, but you do get all the basics on this I/O panel, including Ethernet, VGA and DVI-D outputs and the standard three 3.5mm audio jacks, while the graphics card offers one HDMI output and three DisplayPorts.
Of the two Kinetic H3s, this one definitely looks like the better deal – and that’s no small feat considering it costs around $311 more. We’d have preferred a slightly more feature-rich motherboard, but otherwise Overclockers UK has staked an extremely convincing claim on the PC middle ground.
Overclockers UK Kinetic H3 Specifications
- PROCESSOR Quad-core 2.7GHz Intel Core i5-6400
- RAM 8GB DDR4
- FRONT USB PORTS 2x USB2, 2x USB3
- REAR USB PORTS 2x USB2, 2x USB3
- TOTAL STORAGE 240GB SSD, 1TB hard disk
- GRAPHICS CARD 8GB AMD RX 480
- DISPLAY None
- OPERATING SYSTEM Windows 10
- WARRANTY Two years collect and return, one year labour
- DETAILS www.overclockers.co.uk
- PART CODE FS-18B-OG