There can be no question that I am enthusiast PC gamer. I buy the top of the line components, go nuts on RGB, and pair all this craziness with an ultrawide high refresh rate Gsync monitor. In short, I am the type of gamer that PC gaming naysayers will point to in order to proclaim just how expensive PC gaming is.
It may come as a surprise, then, when I tell you dear readers that I am actually quite interested in the mid-range of PC gaming. After all, this is where the majority of gamers will game. Crucially, I want to show prospective PC gamers who may be intimidated by building a new PC, or put off by potential high costs, that they do have an alternative. That alternative is a pre-built PC, such as the one I’m reviewing today from boutique builder, iBuyPower.
- Build: Gaming RDY SLIIRG201
- Price:$979 (Promotion)
- Case: iBUYPOWER Slate 2 Pro ARGB
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Processor (6x 3.6HZ/32MB L3 Cache)
- Processor Cooling: ENERMAX 120mm T40FIT CPU Cooler
- Memory: 16GB [8GB x 2] DDR4-3000MHz ADATA XPG
- Storage: 500 GB Western Digital Blue SSD
- Video Card: MSI VENTUS GeForce GTX 1660 Ti - 6GB GDDR6 (VR Ready)
- Motherboard: ASUS PRIME B450M-A
- Power Supply: 500 Watt - Standard 80 PLUS Bronze
- Operating System: Windows 10 Home + Office 365 Trial [FREE 30 Day Trial]
- Keyboard: iBUYPOWER Standard Gaming Keyboard
- Mouse: iBUYPOWER Gaming Optical Mouse
- Warranty: 3 Year Standard Warranty Service
- Monitor: Acer Predator X34p Ultrawide 3440x1440p 120 Hz Gsync (personal monitor)
Right away, the specs are thoroughly mid-range. There are no over the top components here. A Ryzen 3600 paired with a GTX 1660 Ti, 16 GB of ADATA RAM, and a 500 W power supply is about as mid-range as you can get in 2019. A PC like this is geared towards 1080p gaming.
However, I deliberately tested this machine at my native resolution of 3440x1440p. The mindset here was that someone buying a pre built like this would want to simply plug this PC into their existing monitor and play games. And so, I wanted to emulate this mentality somewhat. This is something I touch later on in the gaming section.
The packaging itself was extremely good, with plenty of foam and padding to protect the PC. Instructions to remove all the padding were very clear and concise, leaving no room for any misgivings.
The build quality overall was good, with nothing out of the ordinary jumping out at me as shoddy workmanship. The cable management inside was tidy enough, though I personally would have routed a few things differently for a cleaner look. One example is the GPU power cable from the power supply. I would have routed this to the rear of the case and then have it protrude from the cable management area to the right alongside the motherboard 24-pin connector to have it connect with the GPU. Overall though, it was clean.
Unfortunately, the included mouse didn’t work. I tried all USB ports, and it was never recognized even though its lights turned on. I ended up using my personal Logitech G502 Spectrum mouse. I reached out to iBuyPower about the mouse and they offered to replace it. They also let me know that, “if an end user contacted us and let us know the keyboard and mouse weren’t working we would send them a new one and not request the old one back.” So that’s good.
The included keyboard feels very mushy after switching from my Corsair K70 RapidFire. I immediately missed my personal Corsair keyboard. In fact, I wrote most of this review on the included keyboard. It does not come with a wrist rest -- something I need -- and typing after more than 10 minutes caused fatigue.
However, if this is your first gaming PC, the iBuyPower keyboard isn’t want for features. It includes a full number pad, function keys, media keys, volume buttons, and even dedicated keys for email, search, and opening a new browser tab. It isn’t RGB, but again, if you’re new to PC gaming and this is your first keyboard, you’re not necessarily looking for the RBG flair. You want something which works and doesn’t break the bank.
The case itself includes two exhaust fans and one intake fan. This setup means this is a negative pressure system, meaning you may see more dust accumulation over time compared to a positive pressure system. A positive pressure system has more air going into the system than going out. My personal rig is a positive pressure system.
The front air gap for the front intake fan isn’t that large, and features slits which aren’t terribly wide. I worry that not much air will reach the intake fan which is obviously bad for air flow.
I was informed my drivers were out of date and so installed the newest Nvidia drivers, 436.30, and encountered no issues. I then updated Windows to the latest version. This was necessary in order to play Gears 5 via the Xbox (Beta) app. Again, under the mentality of a new PC gamer, I followed instructions and let Windows update.
This took approximately 20 minutes. As a seasoned PC gamer, I’m accustomed to this. But I can see how this may be off-putting to a new PC gamer. However, Windows updates are something you’ll have to deal with regardless if you’re using a pre-built PC like an iBuyPower, or if you built your own. Therefore, I can’t fault the iBuyPower PC for this Windows update. Keep in mind, however, that consoles go through firmware updates constantly, and can take just as long. This is just the nature of playing on connected, dynamic platforms.
Finally, I set about installing games. I tried out Gears 5 for a shooter, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey as my open world game, and ESO for my MMORPG. Here was the first test. How would the system cope with installing four clients (Xbox app, Steam, Uplay, ESO client), and installing multiple games to boot? Surprisingly, it went perfectly fine. I thought the SSD would be stressed here, but everything went refreshingly smoothly.
I let the game decide on my visual settings for each game based on my hardware, while keeping the resolution at my native 3440x1440p. My reasoning here was that someone buying a pre built would simply want to plug in their PC into their monitor and just play the game. For additional data, however, I also cranked all the visuals to the max because this is a PC and going bonkers is half the fun. Therefore, for Gears 5 and AC Odyssey, I ran the benchmark at both default settings and fully maxed out. For ESO, I performed a run around Murkmire city and into the wilderness to shift strain from the CPU to the GPU.
Finally, I played all three games just normally on default settings to gauge what the in-game experience would be for a gamer looking to buy such a pre-built PC. See the full details below.
Gears 5 default settings were a mix of medium, high, and very few ultra options. I disabled vsync, as well as the minimum frame rate value. AC Odyssey defaulted to the Very High preset. ESO defaulted to a mix of ultra high and high. Default and Maxed performance numbers are below:
During gameplay, Gears 5 fluctuated between 45-50fps during firefights -- impressive indeed. However, because the game has a Minimum Framerate option, I recommend gamers looking at a mid-range PC like this iBuyPower to leave it at 60fps so that the game can scale effects and resolution to maintain that smooth framerate.
AC Odyssey held around 42fps whilst during normal gameplay on the starter island. Again, as with Gears 5, I was surprised by how well it ran at this ultrawide resolution for the hardware on hand.
ESO is unquestionably the odd man out here due to the high dependency on server latency and general variability within MMOs. However, the iBuyPower managed good performance here too.
In games, while not being anywhere near as responsive as my Corsair K70, the iBuyPower keyboard gets the job done, even if it took me more force than to which I am accustomed. Here again, as with typing, I seriously missed the wrist rest of my Corsair K70 as its exclusion caused me fatigue. Additionally, in tense situations, I found the keyboard would move around on my mouse mat, causing me to readjust. In more casual experiences, this may be fine, but in Gears 5, this was a downright annoyance.
I was very surprised by just how quiet the iBuyPower remained throughout gaming. I could hear the fans ramp up when under load, but the system overall was never intrusive. Frankly, with headphones on, I didn’t hear it. And when I did take my headphones off to gauge noise, it was never loud.
I’ll reiterate that I tested all these games in my “normal” environment with my ultrawide 3440x1440p monitor. As I mentioned at the top, the mindset here was that someone buying a pre-built would simply want to plug in their PC into their existing monitor and just play games. Keep in mind that the components in this iBuyPower are really geared towards 1080p gaming. Once you take this into account, the performance I discussed above at my higher native 3440x1440p resolution is admirable indeed. So while the iBuyPower Gaming RDY SLIIRG201 can play games at this ultrawide resolution, it’s absolutely meant for 1080p gaming.
To round things out, I configured a PC with the exact same components of this iBuyPower (sans the PSU because iBuyPower simply lists “500 W Standard 80 Plus Bronze”) with Windows 10 Home. The price came to around $900 at the time of this writing. When you factor in that you’re getting a keyboard, mouse, plus a warranty on the entire system should anything go wrong, the extra $80 premium is worth it in my opinion. This service in addition to the surprisingly good performance in these relatively demanding games really impressed me.
Because of this, the iBuyPower Gaming RDY SLIIRG201 is something I have no problem recommending to anyone who may be hesitant about building his own PC, or is interested in getting into PC gaming for the first time. It’s a great mid-range build.
Full disclosure: Hardware discussed in this review were provided by iBuyPower unless otherwise indicated.