The Vibox Defcon 3 comes in a number of colour schemes and provides the benefits of Intel’s Skylake architecture without breaking the bank. As always, the only fair means of judging value is to complete a comprehensive price list of each component and determine the build cost. Then we can properly gauge how much Vibox is charging for the design, manufacturing and after-sales service.
- Case: Corsair Carbide Spec-01 Red LED = £39.99
- Motherboard: MSI Z170A PC Mate Motherboard = £79.99
- Processor: Intel Core i5 6500 Quad Core CPU @ 3.2GHz = £162.99
- Processor Cooler: Thermaltake Water 3.0 Performer = £43.99
- System Memory: 8GB Patriot Viper Xtreme DDR4 2800MHz = £95.59*
- Main Boot Drive: 120GB Patriot Blast SSD = £38.02
- Additional Storage Drive(s): ): 1TB Seagate ST1000DM003 Barracuda SATA 6Gb/s 7200rpm 64MB Cache 8ms = £34.99
- Graphics card: MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming 2GB = £140.62
- Power Supply: Aerocool Integrator 500W = £28.99
- Optical Drive: 24x DVD-RW = £9.38
- OS: Windows 10 64-bit = £74.99
- Extras: LED Strips = £6.99
- Extras: 2x Bitfenix Spectre Pro Red LED Fans = £23.98
*Memory is currently unavailable in an identical configuration, so a 3000MHZ quad channel alternative was taken as a baseline with 60% knocked off the price. This is due to the reduced memory size, and frequency. While it’s not the most precise figure, the memory’s cost should be within a £5-15 range.
Once totaled up, a self-build costs £780.51 at the time of writing which makes it £81.51 more expensive than the Vibox Defcon 3. Also, when you factor in the generous warranty service, it’s clear that the Defcon 3 offers superb value-for-money.
When compared to the previous Vibox system we received, the Defcon 3 evokes a more luxurious feel due to the magnificent chassis and sophisticated LED lighting. It’s fair to say the Corsair Spec-01 is of a much higher quality in terms of aesthetic design and features, which helps accentuate the system’s appeal despite reporting worse gaming performance than the Element X. Clearly, the chassis is still on the lower-end spectrum, but it’s possibly the best budget offering I’ve encountered thus far.
Intel’s Skylake architecture incurs a much higher cost than AMD alternatives and produces massive performance gains in CPU workloads. The data illustrates how much of a gap there is between the FX-6300 and i5-6500 in single threaded applications or tasks with large multi-core utilization. This means if you’re intending to upgrade to a high-end graphics card in the future, or require the additional power in software applications, then the Defcon 3 might just be the better option. For example, the FX-6300 could become a bottleneck when combined with a top-end graphics solution. Furthermore, many users now engage in streaming which requires a capable processor. In an ideal world, an i7 with its hyperthreaded cores would help in this area, but there’s still many valid reasons why the Intel route is worth paying a premium for.
Unfortunately, Vibox had to make concessions with the included graphics card otherwise the system would have cost at least £100-£200 more! That’s not to say the GTX 950 isn’t powerful enough and manages to cope with high detail 1920×1080 gaming extraordinary well. Even at 2560×1440, the GPU reported excellent numbers and can easily obtain 60 frames-per-second with reduced settings. Obviously, it’s intended to be paired with a 1080P display considering the price point. However, during the testing procedure, I didn’t detect any major mishaps at 2560×1440 in terms of stuttering or wild frame drops. Sadly, the graphics card’s 2GB of video memory is a cause for concern as modern game engines begin to utilize large amounts of VRAM. On another note, the GTX 950 struggles to keep up with the Element X Green’s R9 380 while costing more! This means it isn’t ideal for someone who only cares about gaming performance in current titles and doesn’t have a clear upgrade path in the future.
Easily the system’s greatest attribute is the noise to performance ratio, which almost defies belief. This is the quietest PC I’ve tested under £1500 and I cannot believe the silent operation in both load and idle conditions. The closed-looped-cooler doesn’t make any noise from the pump or high-pitched whine which many liquid coolers can suffer from. Additionally, the fan remains within a low RPM range which is almost impossible to detect. Also, when the fan values increase, it’s done in such a subtle way that makes your ears naturally ignore the slight tonal changes. Given the system’s impeccable noise output, you might expect poor thermals. However, under extreme stress, the CPU didn’t exceed 50C and performed within its thermal limitations. Evidently, this is helped by the chip’s stock frequency and lack of any voltage changes via a hefty overclock. Nevertheless, it’s a fantastic result and deserves recognition. Similarity, the GPU’s low power consumption results in very low temperatures and reduced running costs.
The system’s SSD is just large enough to use as a boot drive and store essential applications. For a budget drive, the performance is astonishing and reaches speeds fairly close to high-end models from Samsung. The 1TB data drive achieved good data transfer speeds and contains enough storage for modern games, HD movies, and other common file types.
- Attractive design
- Completely silent
- Fantastic SSD read/write speeds for the price point
- Good gaming performance
- Incredibly low CPU and GPU temperatures
- Resilient packaging
- Very low power consumption
- Wonderful after-sales service
- Vibox Element X Green is a better value proposition for gaming purposes
“The Vibox Defcon 3 is a surprisingly affordable entry to into Intel’s latest enthusiast platform. Even though it’s not the best value package for pure gaming performance, there is a great scope for upgradeability in the future and provides a more well-rounded experience compared to cheaper options on the market.”
Vibox Defcon 3 Red Gaming PC Review
Thank you Vibox for providing us with this sample.