At the more budget end of the scale of best gaming PCs, the AMD Abyss from UK PC builder Palicomp has a simple and sleek design with an attractive configuration and pricing. While those at the higher end of the prebuilt spectrum get more attention, the entry-level space has some exceptional value and considered builds that can be found from reliable builders. But is Palicomp’s AMD Abyss one of those?
GPU: AMD RX 570 8GB
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
Motherboard: Asus TUF B-450 Plus
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR4 2400MHz
Storage: 2TB M.2 2280 Intel 660p Nvme SSD & 1TB Seagate SATA HDD
PSU: FSP 80+ High Efficiency 450W PSU
Dimensions: 20.1 cm x 43.5 cm x 43.5 cm
Warranty: Three years (return to base)
Straight out of the box, its KOLINK Stronghold case stands out. A slick black box with a glass side panel allowing clear sight—and access via four thumb screws—into the guts of the machine. These are all neat and tidy, with a pleasant, subtle glow from the Asus TUF motherboard inside. The front has a brushed-metal-esque finish to it so it looks nice on its own but also simple enough to be absorbed into any office or gaming room setup.
Front-facing ports can be found on the top of the case, with the usual suspects on show: two USB 2.0s, a mic and a headphone jack, and one USB 3.0. Along with the incredibly satisfying-to-push power button and reset buttons, there’s also a designated RGB button, though the case lacks lights from the start. To complete the rounds, on the back you’ll have plenty to play with, as the GPU offers a DVI, one HDMI and three DisplayPorts for your convenience and the motherboard furthers the count by providing six USBs, and an HDMI and DVI of its own.
As is customary with prebuilts, we first check the components and compare to the price of building a similarly-specced PC yourself. After chalking up the shopping list that the Abyss’s build would demand, on current prices with a few discounts included, the results were promising. Including a copy of Windows 10, the whole build from case to cards came in around the £770 mark. Thus, the Abyss—given it’ll include construction, delivery to mainland UK and a three-year, return-to-base warranty—offers great value.
The headline acts are well considered, overall: an AMD Ryzen 5 2600X CPU; an 8GB AMD RX 570 GPU; 8GB of Crucial Ballistix RAM; an ASUS TUF B450-plus motherboard; and a 512GB Intel 660p M.2 SSD teamed with a 1TB Seagate HDD. A pretty wholesome collection, particularly as this is the Abyss’s standard build. As with most configurations, you can add to or augment the Abyss, such as asking for the CPU to be overclocked for an extra 25 quid to squeeze some extra juice out of it, to swapping out parts wholesale to other brands’ items.
Putting it through our usual suite of tests, I really started to get a handle on the Abyss’s level and stature as a gaming PC. I started with 3DMark Firestrike’s normal 1080p test. It punched out a very credible score of 10902, which, while not stratospheric, put it around the level I was expecting, and providing a first indication of the 1080p-ness of the Abyss. For reference, Firestrike Extreme—the 1440p test—gave out a score of 5336 indicating a, well, less-good result, and another indicator to its position as a 1080p machine.
The gaming tests helped to simultaneously flesh these numbers out a bit and confirm their initial findings. Just for reference, I tested the Abyss on a BenQ 4K monitor but, naturally, results for tests and games at a couple of resolutions occurred and are defined below. Ghost Recon Wildlands provided a solid test and immediately confirmed this as a not-4K machine. At these higher echelons, the system really struggled and it seemed much more at home once the resolution, mainly, was brought down. The Abyss could ‘manage’ 1440p and at Very High quality graphics settings, it maintained a 38 fps rate that was improved to 43 (ish) fps when brought down to High. So, almost there for 1440p, and perhaps just about tolerable if you really value the extra bits of detail, but not ideal by any means.
I could almost feel it getting closer to comfort as the resolution and graphics settings were toned down and it performed consistently at its best in Wildlands when on a 1080p resolution and at Meidum to High settings’; More than 60 fps at Medium; basically bang on 60 fps on High; while Very High came out at 53 fps. Similar were the findings in Total War: Warhammer II with it struggling with the busy battles at high graphics settings and resolutions—hovering around 30 fps when pushed to Ultra and at 1080p or 1440p—but being a much more competent and smooth operator at 1080p on High (50 fps) or Medium (64 fps).
While it may seem a little underwhelming to not be able to set everything to mega-high settings and really go for it in games, it's worth remembering that the Abyss just isn’t that machine and you can’t expect that for its price. It’s a consistent performer at 1080p on medium-to-high settings, and almost—almost—capable at 1440p too. It’s almost a little frustrating that it hovers in between 1080p and 1440p; just a bit more oomph and it’d be a great 1440p machine too, though that could be achieved with a bit of tinkering in the configurator at purchase.
Sidestepping gaming-centric tests for a moment, and to consider the Abyss’s more everyday capabilities, PCMark 10 gave out a score of 5549 putting it in the top brackets, concreting the concept that this is a capable gaming PC that can excel in home and professional use too. This was backed up when running the CPU and storage memory tests: CrystalDisk showed the HDD had a 219 MB/s read speed and a 207 MB/s write speed, and the SSD banked numbers of 1837 MB/s read and 987 MB/s write speeds. Cinebench averaged out a reasonable 3041cb.
Overall, the Abyss definitely offers an attractive balance of build, quality, components, performance, and value. It runs quiet, performs excellently at 1080p, has brilliant storage, and does well generally for a 'budget' build. Calling it budget makes it feel like a build that’s thrown together out of cheap gear, and that would be doing it a disservice. A 'considered entry-level AMD build' is much more of an appropriate label, if you will. Given the scale of prebuilts and their usual prices, at 700 quid, the Abyss is an entry-level model offering great value. It’s not brilliantly future-proof, but it does a lot of things well at a price that won’t break the bank.