For anyone wishing to buy a system from PC Specialist the place to start is their website (www.pcspecialist.co.uk). Here we are able to look at the products on offer and begin configuring our system. Like many manufacturers we are presented with a list of dropdown options, one for each component, and there are plenty of products listed in each. This allows us to really tailor a system to our needs but there is one issue with the current system (which we feel is a rather major usability problem). The only way to find out the price of a build is to submit the chosen options at which point the total is generated. This is fine if money is no object but if working to a specific budget configuring a PC can be very frustrating and time consuming. A running total or estimate would be really beneficial at this stage.
Provided the consumer has the time to complete the configuration of a system the process should be reasonably smooth from there on in. An estimated build time is available on the website and when the system ships it is very well packaged even including the fabric protective bag which originally ships from Cooler Master with the Cosmos S. The inclusion of bundled extras continues with each component and tidily packed in a separate box we find all of the original items for each product, even down to the heatsink manual.
The packaging and bundle provided by PC Specialist really does create a good first impression and upon un-boxing the main tower it becomes clear that a lot of care has gone into the build. Externally we have various sections of protective material and internally every wire is routed and secured perfectly. The software build is not quite as perfect as the hardware side of things but with a little tweaking this could be improved. For example, installation of the extra Creative software should be left to the consumer and we always like to see systems ship with UAC disabled, left enabled it is much too intrusive. We understand it is a much debated security feature, but with a good anti virus client installed (such as the free Avast) it really is not needed.
The performance of a PC Specialist build will be entirely down to the components ordered and with so many options available it is possible to build a system to suit almost any task. In the case of the Q9550, 8GB of DDR2 and dual 4870 system that we received we cannot fault it for performance it was exactly as it should be creating great results in productivity tasks and gaming.
For anyone who lacks the knowledge or time to assemble their own system a build from PC Specialist should receive serious consideration. The order process is a little time consuming and the operating system could do with a little tweaking but the overall bundle, build and performance are first class.
Prices: From £296
System as reviewed approx £2079