The veteran PC maker delivers a well-specced system in a conveniently small form factor.
Scorpion Technology has been building PC systems for years, and its experience in finding the right parts for each of its builds comes through in spades with the DragonFly. Like its namesake, this sleek little machine hides a lot of serious performance in a form factor that’s just as comfortable in the loungeroom as it is in your study.
The Cooler Master Elite 120 is a great small form factor case, with an elegant front fascia. Nearly every panel on the case features a mesh cut-out or insert, adding the internal airflow of any system built into it. In a machine this small, this is important, as larger fans – like you’ll find inside full desktop towers – simply don’t fit, so you’ll be relying much more on ambient airflow.
Given the solid performance the DragonFly is capable of – very much in range with a much larger machine – heat might be expected to be a bit of an issue, but this is where ScorpTec’s experience comes into play. When we removed the external cover from the case, we were very pleased with the effort put in to create a clear and open internal space. There’s very little in the way of loose cabling; the PSU cables are bundled together and neatly cable-tied to the chassis support members, the SATA cables have been expertly twisted so they take up less space.
Though this system really is perfect for people who don’t want to tinker too much under the hood, this effort yields results in a number of areas. Firstly, it makes achieving airflow through and over hot components so much easier, while at the same time helping keep the system free of dust. But it also means there are not a lot of loose parts – this is a system that, should you wish it, could easily be moved about the house, and tying down all the cables keeps them nicely out of the way. Finally, with everything tied down, there are fewer parts to pick up vibrations from fans or HDDs, keeping the system very, very quiet in operation – which is essential if you’re using this as a media PC next to your TV.
However, with a good mid-range CPU and 8GB of RAM, as well as a very good mid-range video card, the DragonFly can easily handle pretty much every day-to-day computing task you could throw at it, as well as deliver solid performance should you be looking for a small and portable gaming system.
In our Crysis gaming tests, we found the DragonFly to perform well above its weight, managing to deliver an impressive 39 frames per second even on the game’s very demanding Very High settings. Crysis may well be getting a little long in the tooth, but it’s still a demanding title, proving the DragonFly very capable in the entertainment stakes, as does its 1.01 Media score in our regular array of benchmarks. It’s a little less capable if you’re multitasking or looking for general performance, but overall it’s on a par with what we’d expect from a larger desktop.
But what makes the DragonFly very attractive is its price. The model supplied to us is only $1239, with Windows 7 included, and a one year, return to base warranty. You’re getting a fair slice of computing power for that price. Of course, you can also customise the system to higher specs if you’re looking for something specific. Sadly, a Blu-ray drive is not an available upgrade, which is a shame – that would make this a perfect HTPC, but if you’re getting your HD files from elsewhere, or already have a dedicated player, it’s a moot point.
And, with such a neat internal build, it’s going to be a system that you can easily upgrade yourself for years to come, though for now its specs will suit pretty much every computing task you might want to throw at it. It’s a great choice of parts, all from popular and trusted brands, all very well put together and delivering a solid level of performance in a tiny form factor. If you’re looking for a new PC, and one that is built with care, this is an excellent proposition.
An excellent low-cost, low-footprint solution from ScorpTec.
Intel Core i5 3470 • ASUS P8H77-I motherboard • 8GB Geil RAM • 120GB Sandisk SSD • 2TB Seagate Barracuda • HDD • Cooler Master Elite 120 Mini-ITX case • Pioneer DVD-R • GIGABYTE HD7870 • Antec 520W High Current Gamer PSU • Windows 7 Home • One year RTB warranty
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