Zoostorm StormForce Hurricane 340 full review
You wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at it, but the Zoostorm StormForce Hurricane comes in close to the bottom of the price range for a competent VR-ready PC.
See also: The complete guide to virtual reality
Zoostorm StormForce Hurricane 340 review: Price
Priced at £799 from Laptopsdirect.co.uk, it’s at the lower end of what you can expect to pay for a VR-ready PC, yet it passed all of our VR tests without issue.
Since we reviewed the PC, the GTX 1070 has been launched. This particular PC will be sold with the 1070 instead of the outgoing GTX 970, although we're still waiting to get a confirmed price with this new configuration. Unlike most PC vendors, Zoostorm does not sell direct, so pricing is down to retailers such as Laptopsdirect.
Zoostorm StormForce Hurricane 340 review: Design and build
Housed in an attractive NZXT Source S340 mid tower case finished in black and red, it looks like a system that would have cost you rather more. Like most current review PCs, there’s no optical drive included and this system case takes advantage of that fact with its completely flush front panel which trades access to would-be 5.25in drive bays for a cleaner, more stylish look. You can easily add an optical drive when ordering for £20 if you need one.
Through the transparent side window, you can see a KFA2-branded GeForce GTX 970 graphics card, selected to match the minimum graphics specifications require for both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive.
You’ll also find a more than adequate 3.3GHz Intel Core i5-6600 processor, along with 8GB of system RAM, a 1TB SATA hard drive and a 128GB M.2 SATA SSD. These specifications should lift it a little above the performance level of the Overclockers Kinetic VR Gaming PC, which is the least expensive VR-ready PC we've reviewed.
It’s worth bearing in mind that a 128GB SSD may be faster than the 1TB Hybrid Drive found in the Overclockers system, but it will also fill up very quickly, meaning that for much of the time you’ll be waiting for the much slower standard hard drive to serve up your data.
The Zoostorm PC uses an MSI B150 PC Mate motherboard, which is an entry-level business-oriented model that gets the job done, but misses out on the performance and features available from more advanced models, such as upgraded audio or user overclocking functions.
Zoostorm StormForce Hurricane 340 review: Performance
When it comes to VR performance testing, the Zoostorm StormForce Hurricane turned out to be the slowest PC of those we've tested specifically for VR readiness. That’s not to say it’s inadequate – it still receives a rating of ‘High’ from the Steam VR Performance Test, but the average VR Quality rating was measured at 6.5, meaning you'll get noticeably better--quality VR graphics from other, better-equipped PCs. It’s also, understandably, near the bottom of the performance charts in other gaming tests, too.
Don't forget, though, that these results are with the GTX 970. We've already benchmarked the new GTX 1070 and this is a significantly better performer, on a par with the GTX 980Ti. It maxes out the Steam VR benchmark, so this is certainly the card to choose if you're planning on buying (or have bought) an HTC Vive or Oculus.
Zoostorm StormForce Hurricane 340 review: Warranty
In their GTX 970 trims, the Hurricane 340 is £60 more than the Overclockers UK machine. Whether it's worth this comes down to which you prefer – portability or expandability. Zoostorm’s PC offers much more flexibility in the form of upgrade potential due to it’s much larger case. It’s worth noting, though, that the standard warranty lasts for just one year where the competition is often offering at least twice this duration, if not more. Also, you have to pay to return a faulty system to the retailer (or Zoostorm direct) whereas you'll find more convenient collect-and-return services with other vendors.
Zoostorm StormForce Hurricane 340: Specs
- 3.3GHz Intel Core i5-6600 (3.9GHz boost) processor
- Delta Electronics FHSA9025S-1525 CPU cooler
- 8GB DDR4 2133MHz RAM
- 1TB WD HDD, 128GB SanDisk SSD
- FSP 500W PSU
- MSI B150 ATX motherboard
- Windows 10 Home 64-bit
- No monitor included
- KFA2 GeForce GTX 970 4GB
- gigabit ethernet, 2x USB 3.0, 4x USB 3.1, 2x USB 2.0, 1x eSATA
- 1x DVI, 1xVGA, 1x HDMI outputs
- NZXT Source S340 midi tower case
- One-year parts and labour RTB warranty