October 12, 2017 | 13:30
The GTX 1070 here certainly isn't the fastest on the market, but that doesn't mean it can't handle itself well. At 1080p and 1440p, it will achieve smooth frame rates even with the settings at full, and with 12 threads running at 4.8GHz, you'll never need to worry about the CPU being a bottleneck. This system is also suitable for current VR hardware.
In our three CPU-limited workloads, the Elite 109 is neck and neck with the more expensive Z370 systems we've seen thus far, both of which were running 4.8GHz overclocks as well – no surprises. If you are primarily a gamer but also have some semi-frequent workloads that are multi-threaded, the Core i7-8700K looks to be a excellent choice, and it's put to good use here. The PCMark 10 result is lower than the others since we leave OpenCL on, which offloads work to the GPU, and a GTX 1070 is of course no match for the GTX 1080 Ti in the other systems.
The other two systems also had a 960 Evo that was double the capacity, but evidently this makes no difference to its speed other than slightly lower random results in CrystalDiskMark. It even manages to nab the top spot in the Photoshop workload, though the differences are marginal.
The Elite 109 has impressively low power consumption, shaving over 100W off the results of the other systems thanks to its less power-hungry GPU. Idling at under 60W, you shouldn't have many concerns regarding your electricity bill.
The cooling setup proved competent as well. Under full load, the CPU peaked at 95°C, but then settled at around 90°C once the fan speed ramped up a little in response. Ideally it would be a little lower, but unless you have the CPU at full whack for hours at a time on a very hot day, throttling shouldn't be a concern. Mileage may vary depending on the CPU you get, but that works both ways. As to the GPU, the single fan was spinning at around 1,500 RPM after sustained load. The core was boosting to a solid 1,800MHz with no sign of throttling. Thankfully, noise with this system is also well handled, both at idle and under load.
You might be surprised to learn that building this same system yourself could actually cost you a little more than what Novatech is offering it for. Sure, you might be able to save money in certain areas by really shopping around or by choosing cheaper variants of the products here, but the cost of this hardware plus Windows on a popular retailer's website came to over £1,715 at the time of writing. And that, of course, doesn't take into consideration the time need to build and overclock it, nor would you have a system-wide warranty with decent terms.
So, what's the catch? As far as we can see, not much. The warranty is bettered by some competitors like OCUK, and the CPU is a tad hot, but performance never falters. The size of the graphics card did worry us, but noise from the fan proved not to be an issue. A Core i7-8700K could also be considered overkill, but thread count is becoming more important as people take to game-streaming and content creation, for example. Besides, if you wanted a quieter GTX 1070 and a Core i5-8600K, the customiser allows for this.
The overclock is stable, the system is professionally assembled, and it even looks the part too thanks to unified, single-colour lighting across the motherboard, which is easily changed if you want. In fact, we can't really think of anything we'd change here in terms of how this set of hardware is put together other than perhaps having the HDMI cable routed properly and saving the OC profile. Nonetheless, with six cores and 12 threads running at 4.8GHz, a GTX 1070 capable of smooth ultra-detail 1440p gameplay, and an SSD that can transfer at over 3GB/s, the Elite 109 is a great system at a fantastic price.
June 13 2019 | 09:59