AMD FNATIC eSports SFF Gaming PC Hands On

AMD FNATIC eSports SFF Gaming PC Hands On

PC enthusiasts and hardcore gamers are passionate about their hardware. We all lust after expensive, high-performance CPUs, GPUs, monstrous RAM kits, and ultra-fast solid state storage devices. But for many of us, top of the line PC components may be overkill, and in some situations, a more mainstream rig will do just fine.

That’s the crux of the message AMD has been trying to get across for quite some time with its mainstream APU line-up. Sure, you could build a high-performance rig with a top of the line processor and beefy discrete GPU, but why spend the money if you don’t have to? To that end, the company has been reaching out to some eSports teams and pro gamers in an effort to show that for many games, high-end hardware isn’t always necessary for a good gaming experience.
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We were recently asked if we wanted to take a look at one of the more modest systems AMD recommended for the FNATIC eSports team, built around the AMD A10-7860K APU. Boxed A10-7860K APUs are currently available for around $110, and feature quad CPU cores (that can Turbo up to 4GHz) and on-processor Radeon R7 series graphics. Pair an AMD A10-7860K to some fast DDR3 memory, a compatible motherboard, and some storage and you’ve got the foundation of an affordable system, that’s compatible with DirectX 12, Vulkan, and all other modern graphics APIs. It won’t have the horsepower to crank out smooth framerates in the latest titles like Doom or Overwatch, at high resolutions with all of the in-game details cranked up, but if your game of choice is CS:GO or League of Legends – or something along those lines – and all you’ve got is a 1080P monitor, an APU with Radeon R7 series graphics may do just fine.

The proof is in the pudding, however. We’ve been playing with the AMD-powered FNATIC system for a little while now and want to actually show you what it can do on video. Here’s a hands on-look at the system so you can see exactly what we were working with here...

The completely parts breakdown for the build is as follows:
The total cost for the hardware for a system like this one hover around $520, give or take a few bucks due to typical market fluctuations. That’s less than the price of a high-end graphics card alone, yet it’s a full PC. In addition, the mini-ITX nature of the rig means it’s compact and easy to carry around – this thing is barely 3.5” tall and about 9” square.

The system is tightly packed, and has an understated aesthetic. The In Win case can be stood up like a mini-tower or laid flat. There are vents on four sides, one of which encompasses an entire panel, and allows for easy viewing of the cooling fan. Speaking of the fan, the ID-Cooling IS40 cooler is super-quiet under most conditions. While idling and poking around on-line, the fan barely spins up and is essentially inaudible. When the system is loaded – like when gaming, for example – the fan does spin up to audible levels, but we’d still consider it quiet.

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Our experience with the system was good overall. Installing Windows 10 was about as painless as could be. Microsoft includes the drivers for the networking components on the motherboard and a single installer from AMD takes care of the rest of the graphics and platform drivers. Going from a blank SSD to a fully-functional Windows 10 installation took less than 40 minutes.

amd e sports logoTooling around on the desktop, doing office-type tasks, and browsing the web was obviously no problem for the rig. With a quad-core processor, Radeon graphics, 16GB of RAM, and an SSD, the general computing experience is good. A machine like this is meant for eSports gamers, though. So we also spent some time gaming on the system. As you can see in the video posted above, the system scores just under 6,000 points in 3DMark Skydiver and is capable of running Counter Strike: Global Offensive at a good clip – framerates hovered in the 60 – 75 FPS (ish) range most of the time, with the game running at 1080P with high settings and 2x MSAA and 8x Aniso. It’s no barn burner, of course, but for less demanding games this little rig just does just fine.

Of course, we love our high-end, insanely-configured gaming machines in these here parts. But we also dig compact, and capable, small form factor systems. The AMD FNATIC eSports system isn’t going to break any benchmark records, but if you play the type of games its designed for, you can have some real fun without breaking the bank.

Tags:  AMD, SFF, Gaming, APU, fnatic

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