iBUYPOWER Slate2 070i Review
The allure of the iBUYPOWER Slate2 070i isn’t all about power. You can certainly find better levels of class-leading performance elsewhere, and likely at more affordable prices. The Elite Slate2 is about style.
As the Ferrari of gaming PCs, the Slate2 070i delivers peppy performance in a package that highlights the forward-looking components inside as it does the exterior design. Packed with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card, a hexa-core Intel Core i7 8700 processor and a custom Corsair H60 cooling unit, the State 2 070i is an over-engineered rig that tactfully celebrates gamers.
Custom built to meet individual needs, the Slate2 starts at around one grand, but you can get an upgraded configuration, iBUYPOWER Pro Slate 064i with a flagship Nvidia RTX 2060 (6GB) and a 9th-generation Intel Core i7-9700k 8-Core Processor. If you’ve got a few dollars to drop, the Slate 064i delivers unmatched performance that will make you the envy of any gamer.
As the newest member of the iBUYPOWER Slate family, the Slate2 070i is a handsome gaming PC with a style that is both aggressive and minimalist. The Slate2 070i has a simple block-shaped enclosure, the front panel has an LED strip, side air vents that give this gaming PC an edgy vibe. Overall, it’s devoid of the garish LED flourishes on competing gaming desktops.
The combination of a muted front grill and simple side panels add up to a modern design that most gamers will love. Measuring 19.45 x 9.05 x 19.45 (HWD), the Slate2 070i shares a similar footprint to other mid-sized towers, like HP’s Pavilion 790-0020, rival boutique PC manufacturer CyberPowerPC’s Gamer GXiVR8060A5 and Dell’s Alienware Aurora R7. Compared to the Aurora R7, the larger Intel B360 motherboard not only provides ample space to add components, but is roomy enough for easy maneuvers when making upgrades.
The unit’s internals are accessible via a removable tempered side panel, which is secured by thumbscrews to provide a tool-less way to access the insides. Once you remove the tinted glass panel, you gain access to the motherboard, solid-state drive, RAM, and graphics card, while the power supply and hard drive are found behind the metal casing on the opposite side.
Cable management on the system is top-notch and the tinted glass gives it a clean appearance when powered off. When you turn it on, there is plenty of eye candy to relish, from the RGB backlighting throughout the case., to the liquid-cooled processor, with savvy air vents on the sides.
In keeping up with its gaming pedigree, the Slate2 070i ships with tons of ports to connect all your peripherals. The front ports, which are accessible on the top case, include two USB-A 3.0 ports, audio and headphone jacks, and a power button. Around the back, you’ll find an ample array of ports, including two more USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet jack, audio and headphone jacks, and an array of video output ports, including one HDMI, one DVI and one DisplayPort on the graphics card.
However, the Slate2 lacks a USB-C port, making this rig less future-proof even in its upgraded version. Still, it delivers plenty of power to drive virtual reality (VR) headsets on the GTX 1060 GPU, the lack of a USB-C port means that this system might not benefit from the VirtualLink connector. Instead, you’ll have to connect multiple cables to drive your headset.
READY FOR WORK AND PLAY
Though iBUYPOWER bill the Slate2 070i as a gaming PC, it’s not hard to envision small business owners and other home users adopting it for productivity tasks given the system’s configuration of high-end processors and graphics. Our review unit ships with an 8th-generation Intel Core i7 8700 processor (6-core), a chip released last year, but still delivers peppy performance, while keeping the price down. On the other hand, the iBUYPOWER Slate 064i tops up with a 9th-generation Intel Core i7-9700k 8-Core processor, only available in pricey flagship units.
The main difference between these two processors – other than price and clock speeds– is that the Intel Core i7-9700K comes with two extra cores but a lower thread count than the Intel Core i7-8700K. So, the Core i7-9700K gets eight-cores and eight-threads, 12MB cache and a TDP of 95W and a base clock of 3.6GHz which it can boost all the way to 4.9GHz.
Comparatively, the Intel Core i7-8700K starts a tick higher 3.7GHz base frequency and can get as nearly as fast with its maximum 4.7GHz boost clock, alongside six-core and 12 threads, 12MB cache and a 95W TDP. It is in overclocking where the Intel Core i7-9700K really gains over its predecessor, thanks to a soldered integrated heat spreader (IHS) which keeps the chip cool, making room for better overclocks.
All these differences suggest that the main defining factor across the range of Intel processors rests in multi-core workloads, and the Core i7-87ooK does a good job keeping up with the latest flagship Core i7-9900K found on more premium units. In real-world usage, whereby you’ll be using the Slate2 for web browsing, moderate photo-editing, and intense productivity tasks, you’ll not readily notice any performance hit with the Slate2’s Core i7.
Most intense productivity tasks will load quite well, although you might need more time to complete. Our Slate2 unit features 16GB DDR4 memory, a speedy 240GB solid-state drive coupled with a larger 1TB hard drive to house larger files. While 240GB isn’t the largest capacity we’ve seen on a gaming PC, it delivers fast read/write speeds. And, both drives are easily upgradeable should you find yourself needing more space.
Game-ready for 1080p and VR
One thing most people will always want to know about such a relatively inexpensive desktop is whether it can play games. In this case, the answer is YES, especially if you’re talking about 1080p.
Outfitted with a capable Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU with 3GB GDDR5, the unit deliver smooth gaming performance, handling at a steady 60 fps (frames per second) on World of Warcraft and an impressive 118 fps on DOTA 2. It even handles the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt than some of its competitors, averaging 52 fps on High graphics setting, over the CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Ultra GUA883 and the SkyTech Shadow.
With these scores, it’s hard not to be impressed, considering the look of the chassis and the price you’re paying. It continues to outperform its competitors in Overwatch, where it was tested at both Medium and Ultra graphics detail in 1080p. Either way, you’re getting lots of performance out of that GTX 1060, surpassing similarly priced units. Obviously, you’ll get more from a system with a RTX 2080 – or even a GTX 1080 Ti – but we’re quite impressed with how well Slate2 handles game tests in 1080p.
The iBUYPOWER Slate2 isn’t a top-of-the-line gaming PC, but if a respite from the high GPU prices in the market is all you need – or are just looking for an affordable gaming desktop you can buy – then Slate2 070i is among the best you can buy now.
Are there any alternatives?
If you want to save a few dollars and are willing to do with a 120GB SSD instead of the Slate2’s 240GB SSSD, the Core i5-powered CyberPowerPC GXiVR8060A5 isn’t a bad alternative. Similarly, HP’s Pavilion 790-0020 is similarly priced with a stealthier office-friendly design.
Again, you can find solutions by other desktop manufacturers, like the Dell Inspiron 5675 or CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Ultra GUA883, but both are powered by AMD chips and don’t give as much bang for your buck. The upcoming iBUYPOWER Trace 9220 Series offers a strong set of configurations, offering the latest flagship Nvidia RTX 2070 graphics and 9th generation Intel Core i7-9700K (8-core) processor for a few more dollars.
Should you buy it?
Yes. It may not satisfy folks looking for a 4K gaming dynamo, but if you’re looking for some PC on a budget, the iBUYPOWER Slate2 070i is for you.