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Ironside Computers Minion Budget Gaming PC Review

By: Trace Hagan | Gaming Desktop PCs in Computer Systems | Posted: Sep 2, 2014 5:17 am
TweakTown Rating: 89%Manufacturer: Ironside Computers

3DMark Vantage


Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1.0



3DMark Vantage tests both processor and graphics performance and is a good indication of how systems compare. The results are generally more repeatable and consistent than other forms of benchmarking. Vantage uses DirectX 10 and can handle multi-core CPUs.




Moving to the gaming benchmarks, we can see that the Minion is just that: a budget performer. It produces an overall score of just 6,477.


Adding in the 290X causes the GPU score to go from 6,372 to 17,814, a massive increase. This causes the overall score to jump to 17,072, again a massive increase. The ASUS Radeon 290X is held back by the CPU, though not by too much.



3DMark 11


Version and / or Patch Used:



3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.




3DMark 11 shows the same results as above: a rather underwhelming gaming machine, in terms of performance. Adding in the ASUS 290X does help, boosting the GPU score from 1,089 to 4,201 and the overall score from 1,196 to 3,922.


With the 290X upgrade, the system outperforms the SFF Bolt and Revolt as well as the Vanquish II level 4 in terms of overall score.



3DMark - Fire Strike Extreme


Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0



Fire Strike is a new test that is designed for powerful gaming desktops. We have checked the "Extreme" test option to make it that much more torturing on the system. Overall, CPU, and GPU scores are reported.




We continue to see the underwhelming performance of the Minion, much like the minions in the movie. At stock, we see a GPU score of just 941 and an overall score of 932. These scores are boosted massively by the ASUS 290X, increasing to 5,095 and 4,179, respectively.


With the $500 or so upgrade (total price ~$1100), we find we have a system that beats out the similarly priced Vanquish and the SFF Revolt and Bolt systems.



Battlefield 4


Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Origin Update


Battlefield 4 is the latest installation in the Battlefield franchise. We benchmark BF4 with a custom 60 second run played in a similar manner each time. Settings are 1080p and 4K for the resolution with the "Graphics Quality" set to Ultra.




As a budget machine, it would be crazy to think that it would be able to play systems at Ultra presets, especially at 4K. In this benchmark, the stock 4K results are practically useless. However, at Ultra presets, Battlefield 4 does see 18FPS at 1080p resolution. A large detail drop will boost the FPS significantly, and make it playable.


After adding in the ASUS 290X, we find ourselves with a system capable of playing BF4 at 1080p resolution and Ultra graphics. We would recommend a small detail drop and feel that a CPU upgrade would boost the performance some. 4K is still out of the question with just 21FPS being seen.



Crysis 3


Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Origin Update



Crysis 3 is run at 1080p and 4K resolution with the graphics specifications set to "Very High." No anti-aliasing is used. See picture above for full details, aside from resolution. FRAPS is used to record 60 seconds worth of FPS data and recording starts at the start of the campaign and finishes most of the way up the tower. The game is played in a similar manner each time.




Again, we weren't expecting this system to be able to manage our demanding benchmarks, and it certainly doesn't. At stock, 1080p resolutions sees just 14.4FPS and would require a large detail drop-and possibly a resolution drop-to reach playable numbers. 4K is completely out of the question.


With the ASUS 290X added, we find ourselves getting 41.1FPS at 1080p, which is almost playable in Crysis. It might not be the smoothest, and a detail drop is recommended, but it certainly is playable at 1080p. 4K is still out of the question at Very High presets.

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