In the recent years, gaming laptops have become very popular. The technology has advanced and even though notebooks require powerful components, manufacturers have still managed to cram everything in. But, laptops are not the only options for players. There are also gaming desktops which in all honesty offer better price-performance ratio for the gaming hungry folks. A popular example is iBUYPOWER AM720FX which has received a lot of attention (mostly positive) in the recent months. Here’s my take on the subject!
Undoubtedly you can expect some good gaming performance from iBUYPOWER AM720FX, after all it’s marketed as a desktop for players, yeah? Well, that is true, you can play most games on this rig. But you really have to be mindful, very mindful with the settings if you plan to run a newer game, or a game that has high graphics demand. You see, this desktop’s graphics card is a mere GeForce GT730 (2GB) which is just tad better than integrated chips. Some examples include:
– The Witcher 3, low and 1080p, ~10FPS (not playable)
– Battlefield 4, low and 1080p, ~20FPS (somewhat playable)
– Counter-Strike: Go, high and 1080p, +60FPS (very playable)
– League of Legends, high and 1080p, +100FPS (very playable)
As you can see, if your game is older you are golden with whatever settings. Newer games however require low settings and even decrease in resolution. If this bothers you, there’s always the possibility to upgrade the graphics card. Pretty much all cards fit in, such as GTX 1070. You just need to remember to upgrade the power supply as well.
Dual cards are not supported as the mainboard has just one PCI-e x16 slot.
Performance in general
The components inside iBUYPOWER AM720FX are fine for casual use as well as more advanced stuff, which includes photo editing and video streaming. The processor is AMD FX-4300 that runs on four cores and on 3.8GHz clock speed. There’s also a slight increase in the clock frequency due to 4.0GHz turbo boost. The processor is rather old, dates back in 2012, so its CPU Mark score is just 4600 – pretty average in today’s standards. But it’s still a decent processor unit for most people. And since the desktop is fully upgradeable, you can change the processor too.
Some people have criticized the desktop for low memory. Well, there is 8GB DDR3 installed. I think it’s just fine for most occasions. Some gamers might perhaps want more. Installing extra RAM is effortless since there are three empty sockets on the mainboard. The system will accept a maximum 32GB DDR3 memory.
As you can guess, there is nothing spectacular in the storage drive section for this price. You’ll find a “cookie cutter” 1TB 7200RPM hard drive there. At least you will never run out of space with that one, I’d guess. If I recall correctly, there is one 3.5″ bay inside for adding a secondary drive. It can also be a solid-state drive but you probably need an adapter for that.
Ports and connections
For a desktop, iBUYPOWER AM720FX doesn’t have too many ports available. However I’d still say the basics are well covered for gamers and casual users. For your USB peripherals, the desktop offers six ports. The division is half and half between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 – there are three of each available. The USB 3.0 is best used with devices that actually require more bandwidth, a good example being USB stick or external drive.
There has been some confusion about wireless support. But I can say with full certainty that this exact model, with GT 730 graphics card and AMD FX-4300 processor, includes a built-in 802.11ac WiFi. So you are free to use that or opt for the Gigabit RJ-45 port in the back panel.
The three common video outputs (VGA, DVI and HDMI) are available on the graphics card. I heard it supports a dual monitor configuration. Hook up a couple of displays to this if you want.
In the lower front panel there are jacks for headphone and microphone. DVD burner is there too, behind the big black panel.
Obviously, monitor is not included in this price. Gaming keyboard and mouse are included, both wired.
It seems the power supply isn’t that heavy-duty unit, the wattage is just 350W. For the current setup it’s all you need. But if you’re upgrading the graphics card, you probably need to do the same trick for PSU as well!
It is a reasonable verdict to call iBUYPOWER AM720FX a proper budget gaming desktop. Yes, budget, because it’s not too expensive which you might regards as a good thing. However, this means the desktop’s component are not heavy-duty ones: the graphics card, for example, is a low-end GeForce GT 730. What you will need is lower settings and resolutions on new games to achieve playable frame rates. If you have no problem with that look no further – you have a perfect rig for your gaming sessions. But if you’re only satisfied with maximum settings and high frame rates, prepare to shell out more money than this budget iBUYPOWER costs!