Gladiator Computers BATTALION 800 Gaming PC Review

Introduction


Gladiator Computers is the name given to Aria’s custom PC division and provides consumers with a wide range of options to suit various budgets. Just in case you’re unfamiliar with Aria, they’re one of the leading PC hardware stores and have an excellent reputation among customers. Currently, the company’s TrustPilot rating is scored at nine out of ten which evokes a sense of confidence when investing in a pre-configured PC. Of course, you can customize each model and select between various cases, memory configurations, CPU coolers and lots more! As a result, it’s incredibly easy to make savings on various components if you’re not overly concerned about colour coordination. On the other hand, consumers who demand a visually appealing system can add LED lighting or other extravagant extras.

Today, we’re taking a detailed look at the BATTALION 800 featuring an Intel i5-6500 processor, 16GB DDR4 2133MHz memory, Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3 motherboard, 120GB Samsung 850 Evo boot drive and the Zotac GTX 970 Gaming Edition graphics card. Furthermore, Gladiator Computers have employed a very reputable air cooler to find a great balance between thermal dissipation and noise output. There’s also a quality non-modular power supply with an efficiency rating of 80+ White. I’m interested to see how this will impact on cable management especially given the budget chassis in the basic bundle. Priced at £889.99, the system is targeted towards mainstream consumers utilizing a single 1920×1080 display. Let’s see how it performs compared to other machines sporting a similar specification.

Specifications

  • Name: Gladiator Computers BATTALION 800
  • Case: Game Max Destroyer Windowed
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Processor: Intel i5 6500 3.20GHz Base, 3.60GHz Turbo Quad Core CPU
  • Processor Cooler: Raijintek Aidos Direct Contact CPU Cooler
  • System Memory: Corsair 16GB DDR4 Vengeance LPX 2133MHz
  • Main Boot Drive: 120GB Samsung 850 EVO Series Solid State Drive
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): 1TB Seagate Barracuda Hard Drive 3.5″ SATA III
  • Graphics card: Zotac GeForce® GTX 970 Gaming Edition 4GB
  • Power Supply: Corsair VS550 550 Watt 80+ White Rated ATX
  • Peripherals: N/A
  • Monitor: N/A
  • Optical Drive24x LiteOn Internal DVD-RW Drive
  • Wireless: N/A
  • OS: N/A
  • Warranty: 4 Year Standard Warranty (2 Month Collect/Returns, 1 Year Parts, 4 Year Labour)
  • Price: £889.99

Packing and Accessories

The system is dispatched in an extremely large outer box which offers superb protection against damage during delivery. On the top, fragile tape has been used to instruct the courier about the item’s delicate nature. This should reduce the possibility of the delivery driver throwing the package around. I do think there needs to be side handles because the box’s large surface area is difficult to lift from an angle.

Inside the package is a huge collection of packing peanuts to prevent the chassis box from moving around. While these inserts can be irritating if they manage to scatter all over the floor, this is a small price to pay for the superb level of protection.

The chassis box utilizes thick cardboard which feels pretty sturdy and provides an additional layer of cushioning.

Despite the case’s budget focus, there’s been a great deal of attention paid to the packaging including durable foam supports. The top cover also ensures that there’s very little chance of cosmetic damage occurring during the unboxing processing.

Gladiator Computers have positioned a sticker over the power supply’s AC connector to prevent you from booting up the system with the foam pack still installed.

The foam insert is absolutely essential because it prevents each component from becoming dislodged. Furthermore the cushioning should allow fan headers and other cables to remain in their optimal position. When it comes to packaging, foam packs are possibly the most important safety aspect and it’s great to see them used in this custom configuration.

In terms of accessories, the system is bundled with a thank you note, installation guide, driver/software disks, a funky door hanger and loads of documentation.

Other notable mentions include a power adapter, retail component packaging, CPU cover (required for warranty purposes), front bay cover where the optical drive is positioned, tasty Haribo sweets, various adapters and an assortment of fittings.

 

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Gladiator Computers APOCALYPSE Gaming PC Review

Introduction


Aria is one of the leading technology retailers in the UK and stocks a huge range of components from luxury 21:9 3440×1440 monitors to extremely affordable pre-assembled gaming PCs. Their custom PC range falls under the GLADIATOR brand and aims to provide an enthralling gaming experience while offering superb customer satisfaction. Clearly, any system is a considered purchase, and it’s vital to have your initial investment backed by a comprehensive warranty. Thankfully, Gladiator supports their builds with a 4-year labour and 1-year parts guarantee. This level of service is often a key selling point for consumers without any hardware experience and feel overwhelmed by the almost endless combination of component choices.

Today, we’re taking a look at the GLADIATOR APOCALYPSE which targets a very reasonable price of £749.99. I’d describe this as a mid-range system and caters to someone with expectations of a fluid framerate at 1920×1080. Around the £800 mark, it’s essential to prioritize the graphics card and make concessions on the CPU without it becoming a bottleneck. This is because the majority of modern game engines are GPU bound, and the benefits from enhanced CPU performance is fairly minimal in comparison. NVIDIA’s GTX 970 is currently the most popular graphics card among Steam users, and for good reasons. For example, the GPU offers a fantastic price to performance ratio and remains exceptionally cool under extreme load. As a result, I’m pleased to see this particular graphics card in the GLADIATOR APOCALYPSE and expect it to perform superbly on a 1080P display.

Specifications

  • Name: GLADIATOR APOCALYPSE
  • Case: AeroCool Aero-800 Windowed Midi Tower
  • Motherboard: ASUS Z170-E
  • Processor: Intel i5-6400 2.70GHz Quad Core Skylake CPU
  • Processor Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3 Evo
  • System Memory: 8GB DDR4 3000MHz – Corsair Vengeance LPX
  • Main Boot Drive: 1TB Seagate Barracuda SATA III Hard Drive
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): N/A
  • Graphics card: ASUS STRIX NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB GDDR5
  • Power Supply: Thermaltake TR2 Challenger 600W 80+ Certified
  • Peripherals: N/A
  • Monitor: N/A
  • Optical Drive24x LiteOn DVD Re-Writer
  • Wireless: N/A
  • OS: Not Included
  • Warranty: 4 Years Labour, 1 Year Parts
  • Price: £749.99

Packing and Accessories

The system is delivered in a humongous outer box which offers outstanding protection against accidental damage. On the top, some durable fragile tape is used to instruct the courier to adopt a gentle approach when handling the item. One slight area for improvement revolves around the lack of side handles. This makes it quite difficult to lift especially in tight spaces.

Once opened, there’s an ample supply of packing peanuts to cushion the chassis box and prevent it from moving around during shipment. I was thoroughly impressed with the quantity of packaging materials, as it emphasizes the company’s attentive approach.

Here we can see the main chassis box containing a plastic cover and two thick polystyrene supports. As a result, the chance of cosmetic damage occurring is exponentially reduced.

The secure foam insert surrounds key components and keeps them firmly in position. I cannot emphasize enough how important these foam packs are because without them it’s possible for cables to become dislodged. Furthermore, it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities that a heavy GPU could droop and snap during transit. Thankfully, the foam pack holds up it upright and adds a great deal of structural support.

In terms of accessories, the system comes with the original packaging and documentation for each component. There’s also driver disks, a setup leaflet, attractive lanyard and UK power cable. The setup leaflet is fantastic and instructs beginners to remove the supportive foam before connecting the power cord.

That’s not all though because the package includes a CPU installation tool, spare parts, and screws to connect an M.2 SSD.

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More Retailers Down – Another Round of DDoS Attacks?

It seems that the DDoS attacks which took down major UK retailers such as Scan, Aria and Novatech are far from over. We’ve seen reports and experienced issues first hand with sites like CCL Computers, Overclockers UK (and their Forums) and Chillblast all being hit last night and today with the sites being unaccessible.

You can try the sites yourself, but popular up-time checker Down for Everyone is showing similar reports. We’ve even seen Chillblast reporting on Twitter that their services have been down, but seem to be back up at the moment.

What’s weird about this attack is that its specifically PC system integrators and retail websites in the UK, so it seems someone has picked this market as flavour of the week. Scan have reported that they received an email asking for Bitcoins if they want their service restored, but it seems that none of the sites hit so far as stupid enough to pay, as that would open the door for further attacks, nor guarantee their recovery in the first place.

Could this be the same? It certainly seems so and we’ll be keeping an eye on the situation as it develops.

Have you noticed any major UK tech websites down today? Let us know in the comments section below.

UK E-tailers Taken Offline by DDoS Attacks

Yesterday, UK based e-tailers were the apparent victims of a DDoS attack that took Aria Technology, Novatech, and Scan Computers websites offline. Channelweb reported that Aria Taheri, the owner of Aria Technology said that after the business’s website was down for a few hours in the afternoon they received an email demanding a payment of 16.66 Bitcoins (£2,871.43). In the email, it stated that if they did not pay up that the culprits would try to take down the site for the entire Wednesday. Taheri also said that he understands that the problems being experienced by the companies are from the same DDoS attack, and that the other companies had received ransom emails as well.

Elan Raja III, the director of Scan said, “Scan are aware there has been some disruption in traffic and is investigating the cause”. Interestingly enough, today if you are trying to connect to Scan’s website you will notice that it is now protected by CloudFlare DDoS protection.

Back in February 2013 Aria website was hacked but they caught the people responsible by putting up a reward. Now they are hoping that the tactic will work again and are posting up a £15,000 bounty. So if you know who did the attack it is your time to cash in. The day that the culprits are threatening to attack Aria is their “prime day” where low prices normally drive a lot of business on its site. There will be no ransom paid as that will be sending the wrong message to nefarious parties.

Taheri went on to say, “These kinds of attacks are only designed to affect our website and make it inaccessible. However, [our customers’] information is 100 percent secure as we are PCI DSS compliant which is quite a strict web-security protocol. Also, the website unavailability will last for only a short period – a matter of hours – so the customers can always come back at a later time. We are not going to encourage more of these hackers by giving them Bitcoins, because that would only encourage others to come to us and blackmail us more. The message to the hackers is that I will spend a significant amount of money to bring them to justice. Our track record shows that we have done that before, and based on that track record I am fairly confident we can do that [again].”

MSI Referred to Watchdog by Aria

Earlier this year MSI released their 980 GPUs, when doing so they did a special launch offer and priced them at £424. Once this offer was over, MSI requested that its prices were raised to £449 .99 which is £10 under what the minimum suggested price was. One company, Aria, refused to increase its prices in line with MSI’s suggested retail prices despite numerous requests. Other companies then followed Aria as they would lose out on sales if they did not; which is fairly understandable.

This sounds like it’s a win – win for us consumers, right? Not really. The MSRP is there for a reason, one is to ensure that pricing is competitive and also it ensures that the company releasing the product keeps the equity.

“When demand is high and stock is in constraint, around a major launch, we will notice if resellers appear to be selling way below MSRP, which affects the product launch structure and results in the consumer losing faith in the product. We would naturally flag that to the reseller to make sure they have not made a mistake. That’s just good service for the mutual customer.” said MSI in a recent statement “Thinking that they may have mispriced the product, we made contact and tried to solve the situation, which seems to be misunderstood under pressure, and we are working closely to resolve this amicably.” They added.

With Aria refusing to drop the prices, MSI understandably stopped the supply to them and Aria was forced to use alternative products. This doesn’t reflect well on Aria at all as MSI is a very big name in the industry. With Aria being a reasonably small retailer, in comparison to OverclockersUK and Scan for example, it’s hard to see why they would be throwing their weight around.  Hopefully, the issue will be resolved soon and they can start restocking products that they wish to sell.

Source: CRN.