PC World Test rig 2017

The monster computer that PC World and Good Gear Guide uses for testing and reviewing PC components and peripherals

The PC World 2017 Test Rig. It looks messy because it's not in a case. But this allows for easy swapping of components.

The PC World 2017 Test Rig. It looks messy because it's not in a case. But this allows for easy swapping of components.

The past months have seen us building a test rig to test components and peripherals. It is very high spec in order to remove as much latency and as many bottlenecks from the system as possible.

Below we list the components and key benchmark scores that we’ll be using to compare with other components as they appear. But first…

PC World Test Rig components:-

Motherboard : Gigabyte Designare Z170X (Homepage | Review)

Gigabyte Z170X Designare
Gigabyte Z170X Designare

We chose the Designare because it has everything – even flashing lights. It’s got a full complement of connectors including U.2 and M.2 for hard drives, USB-C ports, toughened ports to help with frequent component and peripheral swapping and powerful-yet-practical overclocking options that anyone can use. Our core benchmarks used the F21 BIOS.

Processor: 4GHz Intel Skylake Core i7-6700K (Homepage | Review)

4GHz Intel Skylake Core i7-6700K
4GHz Intel Skylake Core i7-6700K

The 6th Generation Skylake flagship might recently have been superceded by the slightly-tweaked 7th-Generation Kaby Lake but it’s still a fine performer and comparable to the latest chips when overclocked. The Designare motherboard happily boosts it from 4GHz to 4.6GHz where it runs stably.

Read more: ​How to set up new computer RAM memory after installing it 2017

RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM (Homepage | Review)

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 2400MHz C16 Memory Kit
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 2400MHz C16 Memory Kit

We wanted bombproof reliable RAM and Corsair Vengeance suited us fine. You can get faster, thoroughbred kits but they’re for super-tweaked competitively-overclocked machines – overkill for what we have here. The code for our system is: (Code: CMK16GX4M2A2400C16).

Hard drive: Samsung NVMe SSD 960 Pro M.2 (Homepage | Review)

Samsung NVMe SSD 960 Pro M.2
Samsung NVMe SSD 960 Pro M.2

One of the most important components. Samsung’s 960 Pro is the fastest consumer hard drive you can buy which is essential when testing other storage devices and components.

CPU Cooler: Corsair H80i v2 Hydro Series (Homepage)

Corsair H80i v2 Hydro Series
Corsair H80i v2 Hydro Series

One of the most efficient and easy to use coolers is also one of the easiest to install and uninstall.

PSU: Corsair Platinum Series AX1200i 1200W Digital ATX Power Supply (Homepage)

Corsair Platinum Series AX1200i 1200W Digital ATX Power Supply
Corsair Platinum Series AX1200i 1200W Digital ATX Power Supply

When using top-end , power-hungry components to run lengthy, power-intensive benchmarks, having reliable power is a must. This is overkill for the rig’s day-to-day operations but we know if there’s a problem it won’t be down to the PSU.

Read more: ​Gigabyte Z170X Designare motherboard review

Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (Homepage)

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070

We could have used our top-end 1080 but that would be a waste in a rig used primarily for component testing. The 1070 is fast enough for any kind of gaming and is a fine cherry to sit atop this super sundae. The driver used for our core benchmarks was version 368.39.

Windows 10 (Homepage)

Read more: ​Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2400 RAM review
Windows 10 is the logical choice for a test rig OS right now.
Windows 10 is the logical choice for a test rig OS right now.

It's only natural that we used the latest Operating System from Microsoft. At the time of running our core benchmarks, everything was fully updated to the 1607 Cumulative Update.


We won’t be running extreme overclocking benchmarks here. Our reviews are designed to gauge the general performance that everyday buyers can expect. As such we’ll be focusing on the common PCMark 8 and 3DMark benchmarks. We’ll also use CrystalDiskMark for hard disks.

Read more: ​Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4-3000 RAM review

We’ll be running benchmarks in stock mode and/or overclocked mode. With overclocked mode we’ll simply be using the easy-to-use, automatic, built-in overclocking function in the motherboard BIOS. In the case of the Gigabyte Designare there are settings which pushed our stock 4GHz CPU to a stable 4.6GHz in just one click.

We’ll be adding performance results as they come in.

[Related: Which CPU is best: Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen?]
[Related: Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen motherboard review]

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags ssdsbenchmarkprocessortestingMotherboardstesting labramcpugpugraphics cardshsfFuturemarkmotherboardprocessorsbenchmarkingbenchmarksTestlabmemorycoolerSSDprocessor cooler

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Nick Ross
Show Comments


Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >


Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >


Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >


Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?