We've gone through the hard numbers and have been left pretty disappointed at the performance, but should we really? Considering the price, I'd have to start leaning towards no. Let's talk about some of the upgrades that are highly recommended and then move on to the system as received.
The single most important upgrade you can do is an SSD. For $54 more, you can go from the 500GB drive to a 120GB Samsung 840 Evo. This would be a massive upgrade and make your system feel much, much faster. The 840 Evo isn't the best performing SSD on the market, but it's no slouch either.
Selecting the Minion locks you into an AMD Radeon R7 250X from Ironside, so a GPU upgrade would need to be performed at home. It's an easy task, and as demonstrated by installing in the ASUS Radeon R9 290X, can boost gaming performance significantly at a later date. We probably wouldn't go as high as a 290X as we would be somewhat CPU bound, but an AMD Radeon 280 or 280X isn't out of the question. And, you could always upgrade the CPU and motherboard at an even later date.
The final recommendation can be take care of at home or from the factory. We'd really like to see matched sticks of DDR3 to allow dual-channel memory performance increases.
With those recommendations aside, how does the system stack up as shipped? It's really a mixed bag. If you want to play the latest and greatest games at high detail and resolutions, you'll need to increase your budget, it's as simple as that.
As always, it's a bit cheaper to build your own system, but sometimes that's not always ideal. Included in the $606.99 price tag is the PC, a three-year parts and three-year labor warranty from a single entity, and lifetime US-based support. It's difficult to put a value on these, but we feel the reasons given previously, plus the assembly, installation, driver installation, and the rest make up the difference between purchasing and building yourself versus buying a Minion from Ironside.
As long as you realize you won't be setting world records with the Minion, it makes a good budget choice that allows for future upgradeability through its large chassis and decent performing CPU. We do, however, recommend equipping an SSD from the factory.
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- Page 1 [Introduction & Specifications, Configurations and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging, Bundle & System Pictures]
- Page 3 [Testing Methodology]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks - CPU Tests]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - Storage Tests]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - System Tests]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - Gaming Tests]
- Page 8 [Temperatures and Noise & Power Consumption]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]
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