The Fractal Design Node 304 case was a big hit when it appeared in the Mesh Elite Mini Gaming PC. And it’s another hit here, even if more modestly clothed. If it’s the last word in gaming power that you hanker after, this machine clearly isn’t for you. However, it offers very capable frame rates, and does so while putting out very little noise or drawing much power, and itself consumes little space. As an overall system for people who like to play games in comfort, this Computer Planet machine stands out.
The Computer Planet GX 760 may not be the most devastating gaming PC on the market – but it is one of the more affordable. It also benefits from a form that almost redefines the compact PC. See what’s the best gaming PC?
Much of the credit for the latter goes to the superlative case, a Fractal Design Node 304 that’s tiny yet devastatingly effective. With a footprint of just 250 x 374 mm, and a height that barely touches the 210 mm mark, this is a truly compact little PC.
But where once ‘small’ meant ‘shocking specifications’ – shockingly bad, that is – that’s not true for the Node 304.
Sure, Computer Planet has had to jettison the optical drive – if you want to work with DVD or Blu-ray media, you’ll need to invest in an external USB model – and the lack of a reset button (or, for that matter, any buttons at all bar a power switch) takes some getting used to. But the rest of the Node is breathtaking.
The noise levels are tiny, and yet the case is very well aired, with plenty of ventilation where it matters. You probably won’t want to block up the airflow by filling this case with the full complement of six drives, but Computer Planet has gone for the rather tidier but effective pairing of a 2 TB Seagate disk with a 120 GB Kingston V300S37A SSD drive. This makes for fast plus copious quantities of storage space.
The Node 304 isn’t the tidiest of cases internally, but the strings of cables can’t really be helped in a case this size. The lid isn’t the easiest to get on or off, but otherwise we’re very satisfied with the cleverly designed layout.
One small limitation is the modular PSU. A Corsair 450 watt power supply has been included here. This doesn’t offer immense capacity for graphics card upgrades, but is more than fine for powering the Zotac GeForce GTX 760 already installed by Computer Planet.
The nVidia GTX 760 is relatively modest, and doesn’t offer the same frame rates as many of the Compact Gaming PCs from our recent group test. Nonetheless, the framerates from real-world tests were highly playable.
We saw 103 fps in AvP, for instance, a very proficient figure at 720p. Even at 1080p, 54 fps remains a viable proposition. And in Sniper Elite V2, it managed a high of 261 fps at 720p with detail settings at Low. Detail bumped up, and 119 fps was still possible. Only at 1080p, and with all settings pushed to max, did it falter, with an average framerate of 29 fps.
The Computer Planet doesn’t have quite the same base specs as many of the last group test models. The Intel Core i5-4670K is run at factory speeds, a sensible choice when you’re trying to make a PC lounge-friendly, and while the memory comes from the esteemed Corsair stable, there is only 8 GB of it. Fear not though, that’s ample of any gaming.
These slight constrictions may account for the slightly lower PCMark 7 score of 5508 points. Such restraint does help create a system that’s low on power though. Drawing just 53 watt while idling, the system never consumed more than 271 watt, even when subjected to fierce games and the FurMark test.
The motherboard is a fine Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI version, that allows for two gigabit ethernet connections, and has built-in Wi-Fi. The latter, though, didn’t seem to work very well for us, and we ended up using a USB adaptor in order to forge an internet connection. We don’t know whether this was down to a system/motherboard fault or not.
Computer Planet GX 760: Specs
- 3.4 GHz Intel Core i5-4670K
- Corsair Hydro Series H60 2013 (Advanced Liquid Cooling)
- 8 GB DDR3 1600MHz
- 120 GB Kingston V300S37A SSD
- 2 TB Seagate hard disk (7200 rpm)
- Corsair 450W PSU
- Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI motherboard
- Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
- Zotac GeForce GTX 760 (2 GB) 993 (1059 Boost)/6008
- on-board sound
- 2x gigabit ethernet, 802.11b/g/n
- 6 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0
- 2 x DVI, 3 x HDMI, 1 x DP
- 6 x audio
- Fractal Design Node 304 case
- 16 GB USB drive
- 3 year return-to-base warranty