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Braebo Hercules Review (AMD A10-7800)

Braebo Hercules Review (AMD A10-7800)

For some users buying a pre-built system means heading into the nearest electronics store and picking up a mass produced, big brand PC. Those can be fine, but there is rarely any support for upgrades due to the PSUs and motherboards used by these systems. The alternate route, other than building yourself, is to go to a specialist retailer and have them use retail components to create a full system and send to us. That’s the benefits of a custom system without any of the effort. Today we review one such system in our Braebo Hercules Review.

Braebo Hercules Review – The System

braebo-hercules-review

The Hercules arrives from Braebo in an Aerocool Dead Silence RED chassis. It has a nice, soft touch/rubber coating on the red areas and thinking back to that upgrade potential we mentioned, it allows addition of extra fans in the top, several hard drives and even small liquid cooling radiators.

braebo-hercules-review-inside

Inside the build is tidy and as is shown above there is space for a tower cooler, m-atx motherboard and standard size PSU. Braebo go with two case fans, one 12cm at the rear and a larger model at the front to ensure good airflow towards the Silverstone cooler and the exhausting out the back.

Braebo Hercules Review – Components

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Looking at the key components of the build, that starts with the AMD A10-7800 APU. What is that? This is a Kaveri APU which contains four cores with a 3.5GHz stock speed and 3.9GHz Turbo. It also contains a GPU with 8 cores from the GCN/Hawaii branch of AMD graphics which are found in their latest R9-290 GPUs. These cores are clocked at 720MHz. With this product being Hawaii based we get the same TrueAudio technology found in those GPUs so get advanced audio with the GPU taking processing away from the CPU. Then of course there is Mantle support. With Mantle AMD are removing the “inefficient” DirectX layer from supported games. Battlefield 4 was the first title to get this tech via a free patch and any supported AMD GPU or APU should received a performance boost when playing. These APUs are of course 64bit compatible, the GPU portion supports DirectX11.2, we have PCIE Gen 3 support also (with Dual graphics using R7 cards) and 4K outputs are no issue for the new Kaveri Chips.

Next up is 2x4GB of AMD Radeon 2133MHz memory, a 1TB Seagate Hard drive and 500w FSP PSU. All of those sit on a fully featured Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H. It supports multiple graphics cards, 4 sticks of DDR3 (up to 64GB) and includes a 7.1 audio controller as well as multiple USB 3.0 ports and GB LAN.

Braebo Hercules Review – Performance

Comparison: i5-4460, z97 based mATX, 2x4GB DDR3-2133, Seagate 4TB HD. NOTE: All testing, other than the SATA speed below, shown using the 4TB drive on both systems. Windows 8.1 was the OS and all drivers/software were up to date.

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Braebo Hercules Review – Conclusion

Starting with the experience of using Braebo as a retailer, having looked at their site we have a few notes. Firstly the site design could do with a bit of work. It is fairly easy to naviagte but images do pop out in an awkward way and are often sized badly/incorrectly. Not a huge issue however this should be aspects which are issue free on any retailer. Moving on to the system configuration there are plenty of options available, for example we can add peripherals or change the main components, for example change the case,  or up the memory. Some areas are very non-specific though, for example the cooler options are listed as “standard, “copper”, Arctic Cooling “water”… we really need more info than that to make an informed decision. In a way we could get away with this on the cooler, Braebo probably know what they are doing but not giving specific issue on the SSD brand/model being offered or the Wi-Fi too… that is an issue for us. Who knows what arrives.

As far as the build itself goes the sample we received has a quality motherboard, good memory, well known drive and of course the AMD APU. All fine. Our major concern was that the system shipped to us without any sort of internal padding. This is an issue if something comes loose in shipping as that component could rattle about inside causing damage. Padding also minimises the risk of items becoming loose as it offers support too. If Braebo added some air pockets as standard it would really be a plus. It was nice to see tidy wiring though.

Pricing wise, at £449 for the standard build we have no complaints. That is good value for the components used and that it is pre-built. Changing components doesn’t add unreasonable cost and we do get some free online storage bundled as well as  a 3-year warranty. Build time is 10 days however at an extra cost, this can be reduced.

So that brings us to performance where the Hercules does exactly as it should. Performance for the key components was exactly as we would expect if we built the system ourselves. The overall summary being that the AMD APU and the components Breabo build around it offers good value/mainstream performance which is easily enough for media use, light gaming and any productivity tasks.

Value Award

Available from Braebo for £449.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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