iBuyPower Gaming RDY SLMBG218 three quater shot on red.
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iBuyPower Gaming RDY SLMBG218

The CPU focus will appeal to a niche but gamers would benefit more from a better GPU.

(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Focusing on the processor makes for an interesting build, but there are simply better gaming machines out there for the same cash. If you like to marry serious productivity with a little gaming though, there's plenty to like here.

For

  • Powerful Core i7 processor
  • Strong overall performance
  • Cool and quiet running

Against

  • Needs a better GPU for the cash
  • Case styling isn't for everyone

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System builder iBuyPower is an old hand at putting together gaming PCs. So it's well aware that not all gamers are the same and some want a gaming machine that can also handle more serious tasks. Thus, the Gaming RDY SLMBG218 (opens in new tab) (really trips off the tongue that one) bucks the trend of focusing on the graphics card, and instead goes big on processing power, electing to give Intel's Core i7 12700F room to show off. 

If you're not bang up to date with your Intel processor generations, then it's worth highlighting what the Core i7 12700F actually is. As the naming suggests, this is a 12th-generation Intel processor, which utilizes Intel's Alder Lake hybrid architecture (opens in new tab). You're looking at eight Performance cores working alongside four Efficient cores for a total of 20 threads. 

The Core i7 12700F is a bit of a beast when it comes to serious work basically. Throw in the fact that it has a Max Turbo of 4.9GHz and you're looking at an impressive chip for gaming too.

As I said in the introduction, if you're looking for a gaming machine that is a cut above the norm when it comes to raw processing power, then this is certainly the kind of system that should pique your interest. The fact that iBuyPower has coupled this with 16GB of DDR4-3200 and a healthy 1TB NVMe SSD gives you a strong base for plenty of applications. Admittedly, the WD_Blue SN570 is only a PCIe 3.0 drive, but I'd rather have a slightly slower 1TB SSD than a faster 500GB model, just because so many games are massive these days. 

iBuyPower Gaming RDY SLMBG218 Specs

CPU: Intel Core i7 12700F
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
RAM: 16GB XPG Gammix D10 DDR4-3200
Motherboard: Gigabyte B660 DS3H
Storage: 1TB WD_Blue SN570
Cooling: iBuyPower 120mm RGB all-in-one
Front I/O: 2x USB 3.0, 1x audio
Rear I/O: 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C, 4x USB 2.0, 3x audio
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 5, ethernet
PSU: 600W 80 Plus Gold
Case: iBuyPower Slate Mono MR
OS: Windows 11 Home
Warranty: 3 years labor + 1 year parts
Price: $1,499 (opens in new tab)

This machine is definitely capable when it comes to gaming as well, although not quite to the same level as some similar-priced systems. The far more performant RTX 3060 Ti (opens in new tab) is generally available at this sort of price, and if you're prepared to put in a bit of time and effort, then you can grab the NZXT BLD Kit with an RTX 3070 (opens in new tab) for as much as this. 

It's worth noting that you won't get quite as powerful a CPU for your money from such machines, just be aware of the sacrifice you're making. 

iBuyPower agreed to ship the machine over to the UK for testing, and there's an obvious fear here of the PC being damaged in transit though. In order to mitigate this it elected to not install the graphics card for delivery—a reasonable thing to allow given that graphics cards are getting heavier and shipping them can be a worrying experience. You don't want a graphics card to come loose in transit and bounce around the inside of your case. 

(Image credit: Future)

Actually installing the RTX 3060 (opens in new tab) isn't difficult, anyways, and even if you've never done this yourself, you wouldn't have too much trouble here. The retaining screws for the graphics card are in place and you'll need to take these out before slotting the card into place. In other words, this isn't a tool-free job, and maybe not what you'd expect when buying a new machine, but honestly, you'd have trouble really getting this wrong if iBuyPower decided to do this across the US, too. 

Even with internal packing in the machine itself, one of the RAM sticks had still managed to shift in transit, however, meaning that at first boot only 8GB was visible. A quick reseat sorted this out though and once done the full 16GB was visible to Windows. You have the option of upgrading this to 32GB if you're into some serious number crunching, but 16GB really should be enough for most normal work, and certainly enough for gaming.

Gaming benchmarks

As I previously mentioned the RTX 3060 is fine for 1080p gaming, but at this sort of price point, you'd expect 1440p to be a realistic focus. Unfortunately, you're going to struggle with plenty of games at this resolution, particularly if you want to just ramp everything to the top settings. You can game on this machine, don't get me wrong, but there are better options if that's your main focus.

Metro Exodus Enhanced, for instance, averages out at 40fps, which isn't really smooth enough for my tastes and won't let you make the most of a high refresh rate monitor. Given the ABS Master (opens in new tab) and Build Redux 'Good' cost about the same but come packing RTX 3060 Ti graphics cards, and that will offer much smoother frame rates up into the mid-50s. 

F1 22 manages just 34fps in ultra settings, too. You'll hit smoother frame rates in the likes of Hitman 3 and Far Cry 6, but overall I'd much prefer a faster GPU than a super meaty CPU at this price point. The 3DMark Time Spy Extreme benchmark shows that there is power there for the games that are CPU bound, but the vast majority of titles thrash your graphics card more than your processor.

System performance

The real standout performance from this machine compared to similarly priced systems is the Cinebench R23 multithreaded score. It's almost double what you'll usually find at this price point, at 20,740 points. The likes of the Build Redux 'Good' and ABS Master both use the 12th Gen Core i5, scoring just over 12,000 by comparison. 

This raw processor performance translates into higher memory throughput as well, with the AIDA 64 posting nearly 47GB/s. Again that's notably better than those two Core i5 machines, despite ostensibly using the same DDR4-3200 RAM. The drive performance is also better, with this machine posts a better result from the 3DMark Storage Benchmark than even the NZXT Streaming Plus BLD Kit, which has the exact same SN570 SSD. Ah, the power of a good CPU.

(Image credit: Future)

Still, iBuyPower has put together a solid machine here, and it clearly knows what it is doing. Component selection is good, and the build quality is reliable. It also comes with a keyboard and mouse, although to be honest, neither is particularly good.

The case isn't going to be for everyone either, with glass front panels feeling a bit dated as the industry moves over to mesh-fronted systems for their better airflow. This machine does have three front fans to help drive air through the system, and a rear exhaust too, resulting in the Core i7 topping out at just 73°C, which is impressive given how powerful it is.

If you need some serious processing grunt with a side interest in gaming, then the iBuyPower Gaming RDY is certainly worth considering. Most gamers would be better served by a switch in focus though, or for the machine to ship with an RTX 3060 Ti at least. The good news is that iBuyPower does let you build your perfect machine from scratch, so if you do want a more powerful GPU alongside your CPU, then it can absolutely build just that (for a little extra cash).

The Verdict
iBuyPower Gaming RDY SLMBG218

Focusing on the processor makes for an interesting build, but there are simply better gaming machines out there for the same cash. If you like to marry serious productivity with a little gaming though, there's plenty to like here.

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.