Aria tries to set the world of gaming alight with its Gladiator Inferno.
• Price: f 1,380
• Manufacturer: Aria PC
• Website: wvuw.aria.co.uk
• Required spec: Monitor, mouse and
Very occasionally I get to review complete systems created by system builders from parts you can get yourself. The Aria Gladiator Inferno falls precisely into that category, being a distillation of some of the best parts you can get from a range of sources.
This is unashamedly an AMD gaming system, built around the 990FX chipset and Piledriver octo-cored FX-9590 CPU. While Intel makes chips that outperform this CPU, in terms of value for money, its right up there.
In this configuration Aria has used the Asus Sabertooth 990FX R2 motherboard as the foundation for an impressive rig, mounting on it 16GB of Corsair’s Vengeance Pro memory and the even more impressive Radeon R9 280X video card.
That last part is the centrepiece of this spread and actually dictates some of the other parts by definition, such as the 850W XFX PSU. While the R9 280X might be rehashing an older GPU design, the performance levels are exceptionally good even in multi-screen Eyefinity modes.
However, it’s no use having a monster CPU and GPU if the storage isn’t up to the same spec, and Aria covered that base by including both a high-performance SSD and a decent capacity hard drive. In this case the SSD is a 256GB Samsung 840 EVO Series, and that’s ably supported by a 1TB Seagate Barracuda.
Windows 8 comes preinstalled on the SSD, and from this drive, boot speed is as rapid as you might reasonably expect. I was marginally disappointed that it didn’t have 8.1 in place, but the test system could easily be upgraded once I’d connected it to the internet. Benchmarking then proved that this is a fantastic gaming platform, which, given the hardware that’s in it, isn’t a huge surprise.
I do have a minor reservation about it, though, and that’s the Corsair Carbide Series Air 540 case used to contain all this silicon muscle. Saying it’s huge is like calling the Airbus A380 ‘plus sized’ or Buckingham Palace ‘roomy’. If, like me, you have drawers down one side, then this case is so big that it wouldn’t allow any practical place for your legs under the desk.
That’s something of a shame, because the clear side panel and the entirely unobscured motherboard side of the case displays wonderfully the hardware in the Inferno. The red BitFenix LED strips bathe the interior in red light, and the illuminated Corsair logo on the Hydro H10Oi water cooling head presents a stylish focal point.
Along with the case through which you can easily travel to Narnia, the other issue here is cost. I’ve priced up the items in this package, and you can buy them from Aria for slightly more than this pre-assembled price.
That seems good, considering that these systems are put together professionally and comprehensively tested before they arrive at your door. They also come with a one-year collect-and-return warranty, should anything break unexpectedly.
You will need to factor in that this system comes without a keyboard, mouse or display, if you don’t own those already.
Aria does make a large range of Gladiator gaming systems, many of them in more practical enclosures than this one, and many that are cheaper. But the in-your-face nature of this one will turn heads and deliver a great gaming experience, if you’ve got the room and budget to experience it.