Aria Gladiator Sparta i5 Overclocked Bundle Review
To a large degree our thoughts about the Aria Gladiator Sparta i5 Nano that we wrote at the beginning of the month here, are applicable to the regular Sparta i5.
It's a wise selection of components, put together with the care and attention you'd expect from such a long-standing company such as Aria. There always comes a point in the size of any company that as it increases the personal touch becomes harder to find because of the sheer scale of the operation. Aria perfectly blend the 'large stock at affordable prices' boon of a big company with the attention to detail, knowledge and personal touch you'd expect from a boutique operation.
We were concerned at first that the Gigabyte Z87-HD3 that underpins the Sparta might be a price cut too far, but it performs perfectly well, giving the same overclock that the Sniper M5 attained, at the same voltage, and the benchmark results bore this out. This will be down to temperatures as both the bundles have the same CPU cooler and we are all fully aware now that Haswell CPU are very temperature limited. It's certainly not an aesthetically pleasing motherboard though. It's strange that something as simple as vertical SATA ports can affect your initial impressions so heavily, but they do. Thankfully though it's an all-black affair so at the very least with some careful lighting, or no case window at all, nobody will be any the wiser. Speaking of colours we'd prefer to see black RAM chosen. The white Vengeance, whilst it has its place, is just jarring here against the swathe of black that is the Z87-HD3.
If you're after a gaming system on a budget this could be just the ticket. The money that you save between the Sparta i5 Nano system, and the Sparta i5 up for review today is enough to easily allow you to bridge the gap between a HD7950 and a HD7970. One of the great truisms about the value of each component and distribution therein is that a graphics card will reward you far more for each pound spent than any other hardware choice. You could buy the Sparta and spend the money you save going from, for example, our test HD7950 to a GTX770. Given the choice between a Sniper M5 and a HD7950 or a HD3 and a GTX770, we think it's a no brainer.
If you don't mind the functional appearance, the Aria Gladiator Sparta i5 Overclocked Bundle is exceptional value for money, giving nearly identical real-world performance to their Nano bundle, for a fraction of the cost. As the basis for any system that gets the standard type of usage it's nearly perfect. You're freed from the worries of the silicon lottery and finding the sweet spot for your overclock. It's guaranteed to arrive in mint condition and is only some basic sundry cable insertion away from being up and running. Stupendous value for money and that is why it not only wins our OC3D Gold Award, but our Value for Money too. Shame about the white RAM sticks though.