The market for pre-built gaming PCs can be a bit overwhelming for those who care less about what's under the hood, and more about the games themselves, particularly if you're on a budget. Sure, you can pop down to JB Hi-Fi or look at a website, but many 'gaming PCs' can be a bit unbalanced or come from a soulless production line. If you are after a new gaming PC, Allied is a well-established and growing Australian-based PC maker that should definitely not be overlooked. The company has also just opened up operations in New Zealand.
For review we have Allied's Stinger-A gaming PC (NZ shop link here). It arrives double-boxed with a dedicated set of accessories and easy to follow setup instructions. The accessories include a Shuriken mouse, backpack, large stickers and a lanyard. The PC itself has a lot of internal air pillows to protect against damage during transit.
At a glance, it's obvious this is a well built and attractive gaming PC. It's a compact white themed rig featuring white cable sleeving. It's decked out with no less than seven RGB fans, and it comes with RGB memory too. It really looks like a classy PC with excellent cable management and attention to detail. Allied includes an RGB controller which can be adjusted via a button on the case.
Good looks are one thing, but a good spec is another. Allied chose to equip the Stinger-A with an RTX 4060 Ti 8GB graphics card. That's generally a step up from what you would expect from a prebuilt gaming PC in the $2,399 price range. It is worth mentioning that Allied is running a pre-Black Friday special, bringing the price down to a very decent $1,899 / NZD$2,199. If the $2,399 price is a bit high for your liking, at $1,899 / NZD$2,199 it becomes a very compelling option indeed. Whether it stays at that kind of price is unknown, but it's likely that periodic discounts will continue to be offered into the future. Hopefully, anyway.
The Stinger-A is customisable too, so if you want more RAM, a better processor or more storage, you can choose to upgrade them. The motherboard and graphics card cannot be changed, but then Allied do offer a whole range of alternative PCs if you decide you want a more powerful GPU, or perhaps you wish to choose an Intel option.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600
Cooling: Allied Sidewinder ARGB 120mm Air Cooler
Motherboard chipset: B550
Memory: 16GB (2x 8GB) DDR4-3200
Graphics: GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 8GB
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Warranty: 2 years RTB
If you want to buy an affordable gaming PC, the number one most important component is the graphics card. The Stinger-A's PNY RTX 4060 Ti is a solid choice for a PC in this price range. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600 six-core processor isn't the most powerful chip by 2023 standards, but given the choice between a faster CPU or a faster GPU, a faster GPU wins every time. You could pair the Stinger-A's RTX 4060 Ti with a flagship Ryzen 9 5950X and the gaming performance gains would be negligible at best.
The system comes with 2x8GB of DDR4-3200 memory. That's the baseline for a 2023 system but its easy enough to swap that out if you feel as though 16GB isn’t enough. It comes in a lovely white finish with RGB highlights, perfectly matching the theme of the Stinger-A.
The motherboard is a basic B550 model. The rear I/O is on the light side, featuring just six USB ports made up of four USB 2.0 ports and a pair of USB 3.0 ports. For a pure gamer looking to use undemanding devices like a keyboard, mouse and headset and perhaps an external HDD you should be fine, but 10Gbps+ USB is missing, as are Type-C ports.
The system comes with Gigabit LAN and a USB Wi-Fi adapter. Other than that, you get a pair of ancient PS/2 ports, HDMI and surprisingly a VGA port. That's something you're only likely to find on entry level motherboards these days, if at all. The motherboard is definitely the weakest point of the system, if only for its lack of high-speed connectivity options. You don’t need a high-end motherboard for a CPU as undemanding as the Ryzen 5 5600.
The case itself features plenty of airflow potential with dust protection. Its three intake fans are matched by three outtake fans. That's the kind of set up we like to see for gaming rigs during hot Australian summers. Tempered glass side panels allow you to ogle the system. The white cable sleeving and cooler really do stand out.
If the rear I/O of the system is underwhelming, the front makes up for it a bit. You get three Type-A USB ports, one of which supports USB 3.0. Power and reset buttons are joined by a headphone and mic ports.
Other key components include a welcome 1TB NVMe SSD capable of holding several large games, a 750W power supply and Allied's 120mm ARGB air cooler. It looks great and it is easily capable of keeping the Ryzen 5 5600 cool.
The Allied Stinger-A's RTX 4060 Ti is a solid option for 1080p gamers. It'll happily perform at higher resolutions but you'll have to give up some image quality in demanding ray traced games in order to run them smoothly. Alternatively, you can enable Nvidia's DLSS and frame generation technologies in supporting games for healthy FPS boost. Any of the popular multiplayer games like CS:GO, PUBG or Fortnite will run on the Stinger-A with ease.
Comparing gaming PCs with one another really is like comparing apples and oranges. I have used a 2022 Thermaltake Sub Zero for comparison. It came with an Intel i5-12400 processor and RTX 3060 graphics card for a retail price of AU$2,499. The extra performance of the Stinger-A's RTX 4060 Ti over the RTX 3060 make for a good comparison.
Synthetic and 1080p gaming performance
1440p gaming performance
The Ryzen 5 5600 of the Stinger-A isn't one you'd use if you plan to perform encoding or rendering tasks all day, but having said that, if you just dabble, it'll do fine. This type of chip will be a big step up from almost anything from a few years ago, allowing you to multitask better than an old dual- or quad-core ever could.
The SSD performance really stood out compared to the year-old comparison system. An SSD is one of those unheralded devices that makes a system feel snappy and responsive, so this is good to see.
CPU and GPU temperatures remained well under control at all times. That allows both to reach higher turbo limits for longer, adding to overall system performance. The case fans were definitely audible, but they can be controlled if you don't mind the trade-off of a few extra degrees in preference for quietness. Note the low CPU temp of the Thermaltake comparison system. That's because it was equipped with a 360mm AIO liquid cooler. That's very much overkill for that system and an outlier.
Now we come to gaming performance. The RTX 4060 Ti is a third generation RTX card, and its ray tracing performance is improved compared to previous generations. That really shows up in the Port Royal and Cyberpunk 2077 tests, where the RTX 3060 gets left in the dust.
It's nice to see more demanding titles like Metro Exodus Enhanced hit 100 FPS. Only brutally demanding games with ray tracing slip under 60 FPS at 1080p, in which case you can enable DLSS to smooth things out.
The 2560 x 1440 resolution knocks the difficulty up. The Stinger-A will still handle 1440p gaming, but ray tracing details will have to be dialed down or turned off. Less demanding or older titles will still run perfectly well though.
The Allied Stinger-A is a great example of a well-balanced system that emphasises gaming performance over CPU performance. It's Ryzen 5 5600 is hardly a slouch though, and it’s a good choice to feed a card like an RTX 4060 Ti if you're on a budget.
Speaking of budget, the Stinger-A's full list price of $2,399 / NZD$2,499 isn’t stunning, but its not bad. It'll be important to keep an eye out for discounts, as it is/was during the weeks leading up to Black Friday. At its discounted $1,899 /NZD$2,199 price, the Stinger-A is a real bargain.
The biggest weakness of the system is its relatively weak I/O, but that’s more of a feature checklist thing. If you don’t have a gazillion USB plasma balls and you don't care for rapid external SSD transfers, you'll get along just fine.
This is a system built for gaming performance, and if you're on a $2,000 to $2,500 budget, the Stinger-A is absolutely worth a look. Add to that Allied's well established history, local support and assembly and you've got good reasons to consider Allied for a future pre-built PC.