AlphaBeta i5 RTX full review
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The AlphaBeta i5 RTX is a gaming PC from a new company and it’s trying to take a new approach to selling PCs. Instead of relying on buyers who already know plenty about PCs, or blinding people with jargon, AlphaBeta is trying to keep things simple and attract gamers who want to make the switch from consoles – or get involved in esports.
To that end, the AlphaBeta i5 RTX is a small, accessible machine with a sub-£1,000 price tag and plenty of mid-range power.
Price & Availability
The AlphaBeta i5 RTX costs £999 and is based around an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super GPU and a Core i5-9600KF processor with 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD.
The firm also sells Core i5-based Booster and Pro machines – the former has a weaker CPU and an RTX 2060 Super, while the latter has an RTX 2080 Super graphics card and 32GB of memory. There are also specifications available based on Core i7 processors and AMD Ryzen chips.
The PC Specialist Vulcan S2 won awards in the summer, and it was updated by PC Specialist to include an RTX 2070 Super. That precise machine is now no longer available from PC Specialist, but it’s possible to replicate the specification using the firm’s website. That machine now costs £1,482.
Check out our best gaming PC chart for some more options.
Design & Build
AlphaBeta’s system makes a bold start – because the UK firm has taken the unusual step of using its own chassis.
The side, front and top panels are all made from tempered glass, and the front and roof panels show off huge 200mm intake fans with RGB LEDs. The lighting can be altered by remote control, there’s a handle on the roof, and build quality is exceptional – the entire chassis is rock-solid.
It’s not particularly big, either, especially for an ATX machine. The AlphaBeta case is squat – 290mm wide but just 380mm tall.
The design compares well to rivals. It’s more than twice as wide than the MSI, but it’s shorter and it looks better. It’s shorter than the PC Specialist Vulcan S2, which used a more conventional tower case. AlphaBeta’s modest dimensions mean the internal design is different. The motherboard is installed upside-down, for instance, with the graphics card above, with the power supply hidden in the large cavity behind the motherboard tray.
The interior is tidy – AlphaBeta has done a good job routing wires at the front and the cavity at the rear means there’s plenty of space to store cables. It means that all of the components are easy to access which is helpful for upgrading or repairs. There’s also room here for pairs of 2.5in drives and 3.5in hard disks, which is more storage space than either rival offered.
The AlphaBeta machine has two USB 3.0 ports at the front alongside one USB 2.0 port and two audio jacks. The MSI is better for front connectivity: it had a USB 3.1 port and a Type-C connection.
Specs & Performance
The AlphaBeta rig may only cost £999, but this machine still includes an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super. It’s one of Nvidia’s newest GPUs, and it’s virtually impossible to find a PC at this price with that card.
The RTX 2070 Super improver over the original RTX 2070 by increasing the stream processor count to 2,560. The card inside this PC is a Gigabyte-made model that takes the original boost clock of 1,770MHz and improves it by a modest 15MHz and the card retains its original 8GB of memory.
AlphaBeta has paired the GPU with an Intel Core i5-9600KF processor. It’s a solid part for mainstream computing with six cores without Hyper-Threading along with base and boost speeds of 3.7GHz and 4.6GHz.
The specification is rounded out by 16GB of 2,666MHz memory – a fine amount, but it could be faster. There’s a 500GB SSD, but no hard disk. The 600W Aerocool PSU is fine, but it’s not modular and is only rated for entry-level 80Plus efficiency.
The Gigabyte Z390 UD is the same motherboard used by PC Specialist, and it remains basic. There’s only one M.2 connector and it’s already been used, and it doesn’t support dual Nvidia graphics cards. It has entry-level Gigabit Ethernet and basic Realtek audio. At the rear you get six USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, but no USB 3.1 Gen 2 connections and no USB Type-C. The board also only has three audio jacks.
The board does have two spare memory slots, several spare SATA ports and numerous vacant PCI-E x1 sockets. It’s fine for this PC, but it’s not suitable if you want to do upgrading and tinkering in the future.
The MSI’s RTX 2070 Super is easily better than the RTX 2060 included with the MSI, and it’ll match the new PC Specialist. The processor will also outpace the MSI’s weaker Core i5 chip, and even the basic motherboard here is a better option than the ATX board inside the tiny MSI.
PC Specialist’s rig does fight back with better storage and a more powerful Core i7-9700 processor, though, which has multi-threading and is more suitable for work.
Still, there’s no denying that the AlphaBeta PC is fast. In the 3D Mark Sky Diver benchmark, the AlphaBeta scored 42,924 – the same sort of speed as the revised PC Specialist, and nearly ten thousand points ahead of the MSI. In the tougher, ray-traced Port Royal test, the AlphaBeta scored 5,983: nearly 2,000 points beyond the RTX 2060 in the MSI, and nearly 1,000 more than the original RTX 2070.
In Warhammer 2’s Ultra test, run at 1080p, the AlphaBeta averaged 95fps – exactly thirty frames better than the MSI, and four frames faster than the older RTX 2070. It ran Ghost Recon: Wildlands at 70fps at 1080p and Ultra graphics, and zipped through Deus Ex: Mankind divided at 94fps.
There’s enough speed here to play any top-tier, single-player game at beyond 60fps at 1080p, and easily enough pace to handle any esports game 200fps or beyond – key for screens with fast refresh rates. The RTX 2070 Super played our three test games at around 60fps at 1440p, too – so there’s enough power here for gaming on that resolution, and on some widescreen displays.
The RTX 2070 Super isn't flawless at 4K, though: its averages doesn't get beyond 40fps, and its minimums often drop to 30fps. Those framerates mean that games will struggle in tough scenes and the situation will only get worse as tougher titles are released.
You’ll only get playable framerates on 4K screens, on VR headsets and on widescreens with higher resolutions if you dial back the graphics settings – and that’s arguably counter-productive.
In Geekbench 4’s multi-core test, the AlphaBeta scored 21,542. That’s decent– better than the weaker Core i5 part in the MSI. Unsurprisingly, it’s around 6,000 points behind the Core i7 in the PC Specialist, and more powerful Core i7 and AMD Ryzen chips will be faster still.
When it comes to CPU performance, though, a Core i5 chip is no disaster. This chip is fast enough to avoid gaming bottlenecks and it’ll zip through Office applications and browser-based tasks with no problems. The lack of multi-threading is only a problem if you also want a PC for tasks like video-editing, content creation or dealing with large databases. If that’s the case, you’ll have to spend more on a Core i7 or Ryzen 7 system.
The budget bites when it comes to storage. The Crucial SSD’s read and write speeds of 562MB/s and 519MB/s are poor – more akin to an older SATA drive than a futuristic NVMe part. The AlphaBeta doesn’t feel sluggish, but rivals with faster drives will deliver better boot and loading times.
The AlphaBeta was never loud during our tests, no matter the benchmark, and its GPU reached a peak temperature of 71°C – no problem at all.
The CPU stayed cool during gaming, but it hit 99°C during a full-system stress-test with the CPU at 100% load. That’s too high, and it is concerning – but at least it’s unlikely that the processor will ever be subjected to those workloads, even in professional tasks.
AlphaBeta’s debut PC has a lot going for it: there’s no cheaper way to get an RTX 2070 Super, for starters, and it backs up its graphics power with a great case and a solid Core i5 processor.
There’s enough gaming power here for single-player games and esports titles at 1080p, and it’ll also handle 1440p games and some widescreens.
The £999 price does mean compromise. The motherboard is basic, which restricts future upgrades. The SSD is slow, there’s no secondary hard disk, and other PC will have faster memory and better power supplies. The Core i5 processor isn’t great for work due to its lack of multi-threading.
Despite that, though, the affordable AlphaBeta i5 RTX offers huge graphical power inside a great case which is what it aims to do – so it’s a very impressive option if you want immediate, accessible gaming speed.
AlphaBeta i5 RTX: Specs
- Processor: 3.7GHz Intel Core i5-9600KF
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8GB
- Memory: 16GB 2,666MHz DDR4
- Storage: 500GB Crucial MX500 M.2 SSD
- Front ports: 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 2x audio
- Rear ports: 6x USB 3.1, 1x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x PS/2, 3x audio
- Case: AlphaBeta ATX
- Power Supply: Aerocool Integrator 600W
- Dimensions: 290 x 383 x 380mm (WxDxH)
- Warranty: 3yr RTB, 1mth C&R
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