PLE Achromic GTX970 Review – PLE Computers are another Aussie system builder and IT store, and it’s interesting to see just how similar this machine is to the Scorptec Hulk. They’re both priced within $150 of each other, and the key components used within are all based around the same specs, but with differing brands. Let’s see where they differ.
The most obvious contrast between the two is in the overall aesthetic. To be blunt, we prefer the Scorptec Hulk, but it’s arguably a matter of taste. PLE has gone for Thermaltake’s V51 Black Core tower, which has a much more industrial look to it than the sleek green lines of the NZXT case used in the Hulk. PLE has also included a few LED lights within this case, but they don’t compare to the green LEDs used in the Hulk. However, if you want a case that won’t light up the corner of your gaming den like a blinking Christmas tree, you’ll probably prefer the much subtler lighting scheme of the PLE machine. A nice touch is the inclusion of a powerboard with this system, which includes surge protection.
Looking inside the case we see the same attention to cable hiding exhibited by other top-tier system builders, with nary a wire out of place. PLE has used BitFenix sleeved cables to maintain the black and white interior, and everything is tucked away nicely. The use of an All-in-one CPU water cooler makes a dramatic impact on the amount of space within the case, despite it being the larger NZXT Kraken X61, which has a bigger radiator than the X41 used in the Hulk.
Once again we see MSI’s Z97S SLI Krait Edition motherboard at work, and once again we’re a little disappointed by the onboard audio solution. PLE will upgrade this if you choose a different option; we’d suggest going with the ASUS Xonar 51. for $51.
The exact same CPU as used in the Hulk is found in this system, in the form of the Intel Core i5 4690K. Interestingly, neither PLE nor Scorptec overclocks this for the user, a feature that used to be pretty common in the past. We’re guessing it’s likely due to warranty issues, not to mention the fact that the 4690K’s overclocking potential can be so variable. Still, with an even better cooler than the Hulk, the potential for overclocking the PLE system is even better.
Once again we see a GTX 970 providing the GPU prowess, but this time around it’s Gigabyte’s GTX 970 G1 Gaming model. Choosing between this and the Galax GTX 970 is a case of swings and roundabouts, as they’re both equally good cards. PLE has also stuck with the bare minimum memory we’d recommend in a gaming PC, with an 8GB kit of Geil memory. However, it’s capable of running at 2666MHz, a big speed increase over the memory found in the Scorptec system.
On the other hand high speed storage is populated by a 250GB Samsung 850 EVO drive, which is a value version of the 850 PRO. Again we have to question whether 250GB is enough these days, with games like GTA5 taking up 40 or 50GB of storage space. We’d highly recommend going for the 480GB version instead. Long term storage is handled by a 2TB drive, but this time around it’s a WD Green model.
As expected, performance is neck and neck with the Hulk, but we have to give the Hulk the edge due to its superior external appearance. Having said that, if you prefer a more subtle case appearance, and want to save $150, the PLE is the one for you.
- Excellent build quality
- Better cooler than Hulk
- Balanced specs
- Small SSD
- Not as pretty as the Hulk
PLE Achromic GTX970 Specifications
- CPU Intel Core i5-4690K Devil’s Canyon 3.5GHz 6MB Retail Box
- Motherboard MSI Z97S SLI Krait Edition LGA1150 ATX Motherboard
- Memory GeIL 8GB Kit (2x4GB) DDR3 Evo Potenza White C11 2666MHz
- OS Drive Samsung 850 EVO Series 250GB M.2 SSD
- Storage Drive WD Green WD20EZRX 3.5″ 2TB 64MB Intellipower Desktop HDD
- Graphics Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX970 G1 Gaming 4GB PEAK GDDR5 2xDVI HDMI 3xDisplayPort
- Case Thermaltake V51 Black Core Mid Tower Case w/ Side Panel Window
- Power Supply BitFenix Fury 650W Semi-Modular 80PLUS Gold Power Supply