The prevailing wisdom is that pre-built systems are always the best way to get an up-to-date graphics card. As graphics card prices normalize, that may not be the case in the not-too-distant future, but for now, it’s still our recommendation for the most wanted cards. Cards like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 (opens in a new tab) you will find inside this new Wired2Fire Reaper Gaming PC (opens in a new tab).
Wired2Fire set out to put together a machine that offers good value for money, balancing the specs to hit its £1,649 price tag. So while it uses one of Intel’s latest Alder Lake processors, it’s not the top-end model, but the more affordable Core i5 12600KF. (opens in a new tab).
Don’t let that put you off, this is a phenomenal chip and is indeed our top recommendation for gaming CPUs. (opens in a new tab) at present. Sure, there are faster chips, but this hits that bang for the buck better than any other when it comes to gaming in 2022.
With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to learn that the Reaper comes with DDR4 memory as opposed to the newer DDR5. While it would have been great to have DDR5 here, just because it’s the latest standard and fully supported by this processor, that move means the machine comes with 32GB of DDR4 for less than it would have cost to ship it with 16GB of DDR5. . It is a compromise that I can certainly accept.
CPU: Intel Core i7 12600KF
GPUs: Nvidia RTX 3070 8GB
RAM: 32 GB DDR4-3600
Motherboard : MSI Z690-A Pro WiFi DDR4
CPU cooler: Arctic II 240 Liquid Freezer
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Power supply : MSI MAG A650BN 650W 80 Plus Bronze
Connectivity: 6x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB Type-C, RJ45, 6x Audio, Wi-Fi 6, PS/2 keyboard/mouse, HDMI, DisplayPort, front audio
SE: Windows 11 Home
Guarantee: 5 years
Price: £1,649 (opens in a new tab)
Along with a quality graphics card in the form of the RTX 3070, an impressive processor and a whopping 32GB of DDR4 memory, you also get a quality motherboard in the form of the MSI Z690-A DDR4 WIFI , a 1TB NVMe SSD and a quality CPU cooler. All of this is neatly integrated into a Lian Li Lancool II Mesh case.
As the name suggests, this is a mesh-fronted case with plenty of airflow, and thanks to the three RGB fans behind that mesh, it also allows for a pretty big light show. It’s annoying that the front panel USB Type-C port has been covered up, especially since there’s a connector on the motherboard. At least there’s a USB Type-C port on the back IO.
The only real mark against the Reaper is that the SSD installed is a PCIe 3.0 model. When you’re wasting that much money on a system, you want more than just competent, you want something special, and the 1TB Lexar SSD you’ll find inside this machine falls short on that front.
This player produced one of the slowest loading times in Final Fantasy XIV at over 11 seconds. PCMark 10’s storage index also turned its nose up at the drive, with an index of 966 (where many modern systems hit around 3,000). In terms of throughput, AS SSD rated the drive at just 1,871MB/s in sequential reads and 1,347MB/s in writes, less than half that of even affordable PCIe 4.0 SSDs.
You can upgrade the storage at the time of purchase to a 1TB Samsung 980 Pro for an extra £75, which seems a bit steep, but you’ll almost triple the throughput if you do. And while you might say storage isn’t that important, the imminent release of DirectStorage (opens in a new tab) might come back to bite your ass here.
We don’t know the full requirements for DirectStorage at this point, but around 5000MB/s seems likely, and it’s significantly lower than that.
Of course, gaming performance is what matters most and the Wired2Fire Reaper performs well on that front. At 1080p, you get smooth frame rates in pretty much any game you can throw at it. Of course, the RTX 3070 is a card that was designed with 1440p in mind, and of course you’re also looking for very high frame rates in our gaming tests there.
I compared this machine to the Novatech Reign Sentry (opens in a new tab), which costs the same as the Wired2Fire Reaper but includes a Radeon RX 6700 XT and a Ryzen 5 5600X (and a WD_Black SN850 SSD). CyberpowerPC Infinity X125 at £1,055 (opens in a new tab) is also included in these graphics so you can see what the extra £600 gets you – silky smooth 1440p performance.
Playing at 4K is a bit more of a challenge, and while there are games where you’ll see well over 60fps, it’s a different matter when you start ray-tracing. Cyberpunk 2077, for example, is still playable at 1440p, with ray tracing pushed to Ultra and DLSS set to Balanced, you’re looking at 59 frames per second.
At 4K you’re looking at a much less pleasing 32fps. Metro Exodus with ray tracing tells a similar story, and while 51fps is still playable, you’re better off enjoying anything maxed out at 1440p with smoother frame rates.
If you’re considering less gaming-focused workloads, there’s a lot to like here too. The Cinebench R23 result of 17,227 shows that this machine will handle 3D rendering well, as will x264 video encoding at 52fps. Although there are faster machines, you will have to pay a lot more for this privilege.
There’s nothing wrong with the cable management in this machine, but Wired2Fire also offers an ‘Extreme Cable Management’ option for an extra £60 which apparently will ‘make sure your system is the best it can be’, this which looks wonderful if a bit pricey. He recommends switching to a modular power supply in order to get the most out of this service, but you know, I’m sure the system builders at Wired2Fire like a challenge anyway.
One of the benefits of better cable management is improved airflow, though it’s hard to gauge the difference a slightly tidier set of cables will make. As it stands, the Reaper has absolutely no issues on that front. In testing, the CPU peaked at 69°C and the graphics card never exceeded 63°C. Both are cool and well below what could be considered a problem.
This is also the reason why this machine is so quiet.
It is worth drawing attention to the impressive warranty offered by Wired2Fire for its machines too – 5 years in total, with 2 years collection and return and 5 years labor. Obviously, you shouldn’t have any issues with any machine you buy, but it does give you great peace of mind should something go wrong.
Wired2Fire has produced a tempting and affordable gaming machine with the Reaper. The central pairing of the Alder Lake processor with an Nvidia RTX 3070 makes it a powerful gaming machine at 1440p, and with 32GB of RAM to use it should last you years of gaming without needing to open the case without tools.
The fact that it runs so cool and quiet should also not be overlooked. Also factor in the sound guarantee and there’s a lot to like here. It’s just a shame that the SSD is such a slow beast.