PC Specialist Trion 960 Review – Slimmer and prettier may be the tech industry’s current obsessions, but for many of us the perfect PC is one that can tackle anything from web browsing to video editing without stuttering to a halt, and has accessible innards for future upgrades – regardless of whether it looks like the back of a bus.
Not that the PC Specialist Trion 960 is unattractive. Its black monolith of a case, made by Corsair, is inoffensively understated, with neat white LED indicators on the front, along with two of the six USB ports and a DVD drive – often omitted from smaller machines.
Inside is a fast 3.5GHz Intel Core i5 quad-core processor that’s been overclocked to make it even faster. This generates more heat, but building a PC the size of a cupboard rather than a lunchbox gives you room to fix that kind of thing. Here, a Titan Dragonfly processor cooler – a big fancy fan – keeps the temperature under control.
The catch is that this makes one of the four memory slots hard to get at. It’s easy to add a second 8GB module to the existing one for a total of 16GB, which is generally plenty, but doubling up again for the maximum 32GB would take a bit of disassembling. Since PC Specialist builds its own systems, however, it will happily install any amount you want at the start, and without charging three times what it should cost, unlike certain fruit-based computer makers (five letters, beginning with ‘A’).
The Trion 960 made very light work of all our speed tests, and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 graphics card handled 3D apps just as smoothly. You might need to turn down a couple of quality settings in the most demanding games, but this is very much a do-it-all system. And if you insist on doing it all at once, you can connect up to four monitors to the two DVI ports, HDMI and DisplayPort.
Windows 8.1 comes installed on a 120GB SSD, which cuts startup and loading times and avoids the little delays that can make things feel slow. But to give you room for all your photos, videos, music and work, a 1TB hard drive is also built in – the best of both worlds. As with other Windows 8.1 PCs, you can upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge.
If that’s not enough, there’s still a SATA3 port left inside after the SSD, hard drive and DVD writer, so you could install another hard drive, a Blu-ray drive or a memory-card slot. An M.2 port on the motherboard could also be used for a second SSD. For other upgrades that need speed, there’s a PCI Express x1 slot – actually two, but one’s blocked by the impressively large graphics card. And there are two basic PCI slots for simpler additions, such as a TV tuner. If your PC won’t live next to your broadband router, you’ll want to add Wi-Fi, a £15 option when ordering.
The one thing you can’t add is silence. The Trion 960 doesn’t baulk when you throw more ambitious tasks at it, but it does get louder. If you don’t have your headphones on listening to something else, the fan noise could get distracting at times. That’s the trade-off for delivering more megahertz than you’re paying for without melting.
You could pay a bit less for a reasonably capable desktop PC, but £650 plus a monitor, keyboard and mouse gets you excellent performance with no major compromises. The Trion 960 is good value for money and a Great Pick.
- Good price
- Decent performance
- Good cooling system
- Fan noise distracting
PC Specialist Trion 960 Specifications
- Overclocked 3.5GHz Intel Core i5 processor
- 8GB memory
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 graphics card with 2GB video memory
- 120GB SSD
- 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive
- 6x USB 3.0
- 2x USB 2.0
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Windows 8.1
- 497x210mm x430 (HxWxD)
- Three-year warranty