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PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen – PC Review

PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen – PC Review

PC Specialist Vanquish Striker ZenThe PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen is an affordable gaming system full of AMD hardware – and, these days, that makes this £799 rig pretty rare.

We’re used to seeing AMD Ryzen processors, of course, but this machine also uses a Radeon graphics chip. The RX 570 is a mid-range graphics card designed for 1080p gaming, and we’re intrigued to see how it performs.

PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen PC Review – Design

The PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen is a good-looking machine that plays into its AMD theme. The Corsair Carbide Spec-04 mid-tower case has an eye-catching front panel that divides solid metal and meshed areas with angled red plastic. Trendy RGB LEDs are installed along the base of the enclosure and in the front fan to give the machine a healthy crimson glow.

The Corsair doesn’t just look good. PC Specialist has done a good job keeping the interior tidy, with wires held down with cable ties throughout the case. That means the components look better through the side window, and it also means that it’s easier to work inside this chassis.

That’s good, because there’s certainly room to grow. The hard disk cage that faces the side of the system has two spare bays that can hold 3.5in and 2.5in drives. There are pairs of empty memory slots and PCI-Express x16 sockets, and two more 2.5in mounts at the rear.

The Corsair case has several dust filters, USB 3 ports on its front panel and solid build quality. The metal used isn’t particularly thick, but it’s strong enough to sit in a bedroom and be taken to the occasional LAN event.

The PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen certainly compares well to its rivals. The interior is more attractive and neater than the messy metal inside the Asus ROG G11CD. It’s a little smaller than the Wired2Fire Pyro Ultima, with more lighting – although that rig did have a smarter PSU shroud.

PC Specialist Vanquish Striker ZenPC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen PC Review – Components

This is the first time we’ve seen an AMD Ryzen 3 processor. The Ryzen 3 1200 is AMD’s most affordable processor based on the Zen architecture, and there’s still plenty to like.

It’s got four cores without any multi-threading, so in that respect it’s like the last generation of Core i5 chips, and its 3.1GHz base speed can dynamically improve to 3.4GHz using AMD’s Boosting tech – or 3.45GHz with the extra boosting abilities of XFR.

The lack of hyper-threading means that this machine won’t be as adept with multi-tasking as some other rigs, and the middling stock speed will impact on single-threaded performance. But the PC Specialist will never feel slow, especially when browsing the web or handling general office tasks. It won’t have any gaming issues, either – current titles won’t be bottlenecked.

We’re intrigued to see how the entry-level Ryzen chip competes. The Wired2Fire had an AMD Ryzen 5 1500X that supports eight CPU threads and has a slightly higher speed, but that rig now costs around £100 more than the PC Specialist. The Asus ROG G11CD, meanwhile, had an Intel Core i5 with a similar spec to the Ryzen 3 silicon.

PC Specialist has paired the Ryzen 3 chip with 8GB of memory. That’s enough for 1080p gaming and daily usage, and its 2,666MHz speed and dual-channel installation give it a leg-up on the competition. The Vanquish returned a multi-threaded memory bandwidth speed of 32GB/s – while those other machines only ran at about 13GB/s.

PC Specialist Vanquish Striker ZenThe storage is solid, too. Windows 10 is installed on a 120GB Western Digital Green SSD, and there’s a 1TB hard disk. That’s a good balance: the Wired2Fire had a larger SSD but no hard disk, while the Asus just had a hard disk.

The AMD Radeon RX 570 is another component debut in this rig. It’s a solid mid-range chip from the 500 series, and it’s got 2,048 stream processors and a solid overclock – the PowerColor Red Devil card used in this machine improves the original 1,168MHz speed to 1,320MHz.

The Asus ROG Strix B350-F Gaming motherboard is great, too. It’s got RGB LEDs, Intel Ethernet that’s boosted for gaming, and SupremeFX audio – so the sound output will be improved. There’s a discreet wireless card, too, which is a welcome addition.

It has a spare M.2 socket for super-fast storage, and its backplate has USB 3.1 connectivity – although no USB 3.1 Type-C.

It’s a full-size ATX board, which gives it an immediate advantage over the micro-ATX board in the Wired2Fire machine. It has better networking and audio hardware, and it has two PCI-Express x16 slots, so dual-graphics is achievable .

One note, though: the second PCI-Express x16 slot runs at 4x speed. That’s enough for adding a second RX 570, but Nvidia’s SLI dual-graphics system is not supported by this motherboard.

The PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen comes with a three-year warranty that has a year of parts protection. That’s a better deal than the Asus, but Wired2Fire includes two years of parts coverage.

PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen PC Review – Performance

PC Specialist Vanquish Striker ZenPC Specialist Vanquish Striker ZenPC Specialist Vanquish Striker ZenPC Specialist Vanquish Striker ZenThe Radeon RX 570 is designed to nail games at Full HD, and it didn’t disappoint. Its weakest minimum of 34fps in Crysis 3 is still easily playable, and its best 1080p minimum was a 67fps result in Battlefield 1. It averaged 50fps or more in every test title at a Full HD resolution.

Its averages beat the Wired2Fire machine in two of our games, although it could never overhaul that machine’s GTX 1060 in minimum framerate tests. It was miles ahead of the Asus, which only had a GTX 1050.

Theoretical tests illustrate the relative positions of these machines. The PC Specialist scored 9,329 points in 3D Mark Fire Strike. That’s almost 3,500 points ahead of the Asus ROG G11CD, but about 1,500 points slower than the Wired2Fire.

The PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen will play any game at 1080p, and it’ll handle some at tougher resolutions, too. It ran Battlefield 1 with a minimum of 56fps at 2,560 x 1,440, and it averaged 35fps or better in other games. Some tweaks may be necessary to get games running smoothly, but it’s certainly possible.

The processor is fine, too. The Ryzen 3 chip scored 3,757 and 9,887 points in Geekbench’s single- and multi-threaded tests. The former result is virtually identical to the scores recorded by its rivals, but it’s a little behind those chips in the multi-threaded test.

That’s no surprise: Intel’s Core i5 chips have better multi-threaded performance, and the Ryzen 5 has multi-threading.

Those machines will be better in some multi-threaded applications, but the impact won’t be felt on a day-to-day basis. The Ryzen 3 chip won’t bottleneck games, either.

The Ryzen 3 chip benefits from better memory and solid storage, too. We prefer systems with dual-channel memory, and the SSD’s read and write speeds of 552MB/s and 222MB/s are fine. The former score equals the Wired2Fire machine’s SSD, and both results beat the Asus’ hard disk.

The components in the PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen are relatively modest, and that meant solid performance in stress-testing. The CPU and GPU peak temperatures of 54°C and 78°C are good, with the former figure miles better than the Wired2Fire. The PC Specialist hardly made any noise, even in the toughest system-wide stress-test. That’s similar to the Wired2Fire, and loads better than the loud Asus.

PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen PC Review – Conclusion

PC Specialist Vanquish Striker ZenThe PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen is a good-value rig that serves up solid performance and features in all key departments.

The case is tidy, attractive and has good scope for upgrades. The motherboard is an ATX model that has more features than the boards in both rival machines. It’s cool and quiet, it’s got dual-channel memory – unlike its competitors – and its SSD is solid.

The downsides aren’t disastrous. The AMD Radeon RX 570 isn’t as quick as the Wired2Fire’s GTX 1060, but it’s got ample speed for 1080p gaming. The processor occupies a similar position –easily good enough for this machine’s key tasks.

The Wired2Fire Pyro Ultima is good if you prize raw power and if you’re willing to pay around £100 more, but the PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen is a more balanced rig thanks to its dual-channel memory, better motherboard and lower price. The PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen is a great option if you need a versatile PC that won’t break the bank.

Fancy getting your hands on this machine? It’s available from Ebuyer for £799. Want to tell us your thoughts about the PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen? Easy: head to our Facebook and Twitter pages.

The GoodRecommended Award

  • Consistent, fast 1080p speeds
  • Fully-featured ATX motherboard
  • Cool, quiet design with RGB LEDs
  • Dual-channel memory

The Bad

  • A little slower than rivals in gaming and application benchmarks

The Specs

CPU: 3.1GHz AMD Ryzen 3 1200
Memory: 8GB 2,666MHz DDR4
Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 570
Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix B350-F Gaming
Hard disk: 120GB Western Digital Green SSD; 1TB Seagate Barracuda HDD
Warranty: 3yr labour w/ 1yr parts, 1mth C&R




Review Date
Reviewed Item
PC Specialist Vanquish Striker Zen

About Author

Mike Jennings

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