Let me tell you a story: Back in 2020 the world shut down, and a confluence of supply and demand issues, a chip shortage, surging cryptocurrencies and a global pandemic made a number of tech-related products difficult to impossible to buy. Flash forward to today and things are still sort of that way–at least when it comes to graphics cards.
These ongoing issues continue to drive the sales of pre-built systems, including those on our list of the best gaming PCs. With the launch of Intel’s 12th Gen “Alder Lake” chips, which are particularly impressive when it comes to gaming, iBuypower has released its “iBuypower Intel 12th Gen Z690 i7 DDR4 Gaming” PC. The name is definitely a mouthful, but it’s more of a configurator for numerous Intel-based PCs than anything else. And there’s a fair bit to like when it comes to performance.
The iBuypower model we reviewed sports an Intel Core i7-12700K, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 and one of iBuypower’s own cases. And in our testing, it held up against and/or surpassed last year’s models, though there is some room for improvement.
Design of the iBuypower 12th Gen Z690 i7 Gaming PC
This PC was built in iBuypower’s own Slate Hako MR case, which is a pretty standard case with a dash of attitude.
It’s hard not to notice the very front of the case, which is a bit unusual. It’s tempered glass, which shows off three 240 mm case fans in their RGB glory. It’s a dark glass, however, which makes it highly reflective and only shows the most lit-up parts. If you don’t have a lot of RGB, you won’t be able to see your parts well. Whether or not that’s a pro or a con is a matter of personal taste.
There’s a bit of venting on the right side of the case to let in some air, but there’s also some smack dab in the middle of the front. The effect kind of looks like a lightning bolt, but with a space in the middle to allow for a bit of airflow. Both edges of the bolt overlap to create a layered effect. Between the lightning and the pattern, my wife referred to it as “very David Bowie,” which I’m told was a compliment. But if you don’t like the look, iBuypower offers a staggering 19 other options, although some add significantly to the price of the system.
The left side of the desktop features more tempered glass, letting you see into the case. For our review unit, that featured a smattering of RGB on the four case fans and on the pump for the CPU cooler. I’m of the opinion that this is a tasteful amount of lights. The right side panel, like on many cases, is an aluminum door that slides off.
There are a few dust filters around the case, including at the top over the radiator, which can be removed by taking out a thumb screw and separating a section of the top of the case to clean it. There are also filters in front of the three intake fans and at the bottom, where the power supply sits. That last one is the easiest to remove, and is held in with a set of clips. I wish iBuypower would have gone with magnetic, easy-to-remove filters for faster, simpler cleaning.
For cooling, there’s room for three 120 mm fans in the front and another in the back. Ours used a 240 mm all-in-one water cooler mounted on top, but it can be configured with larger 280 mm or 360 mm AIOs as well.
Out of the box, the RGB lighting was stuck on a subtle blue and purple combination. I actually quite liked it, but was surprised to see no software had been installed to adjust it (not even a remote in the box!). I went to the driver and utilities page for the Asus Prime Z690-P D4 motherboard and got the latest version of Aura Sync, which gave me more control over the lighting on the fans and cooler pump. If you have a motherboard from a different vendor, like MSI or Gigabyte, you will need different software, so check accordingly.
The mod-tower ATX case measures 19.3 x 18.8 x 8.66 inches (491 x 478 x 220 mm), which I could fit on my desk, though I think many will want to place it on their floor. It’s a bit bigger than some other desktops we reviewed in the past year, like the NZXT Streaming Plus (18.11 x 16.85 x 8.27 inches), MSI Aegis RS 11th (17.72 x 16.93 x 8.46 inches) and Zotac Mek Hero (a comparably small 17.4 x 16.2 x 8.7 inches.)
iBuypower 12th Gen Z690 Gaming PC Specifications
|Processor||Intel Core i7-12700KF|
|Motherboard||Asus Prime Z690-P D4|
|Memory||16GB TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan Z DDR4-3200|
|Graphics||MSI RTX 3070 Ventus 3X LHR (8GB GDDR6)|
|Storage||1TB WD Blue SN550 NVMe Internal SSD|
|Networking||RealTek 2.5Gb Ethernet|
|Front Ports||2x USB 3 Type-A ports, headphone jack, microphone jack|
|Rear Ports (Motherboard)||2x USB 2.0 ports, DisplayPort, HDMI, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C, 2x. USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, Ethernet, 5x audio jacks, Optical S/PDIF out|
|Video Output (GPU)||3x DisplayPort 1.4a, HDMI|
|Power Supply||700W High Power HP1-J700GD-F12S 80 Plus Gold|
|Cooling||iBuypower 240 mm Addressable RGB liquid cooler, 4x 240 mm case fans|
|Case||iBuypower Slate Hako MR|
|Operating System||Windows 11 Home|
|Dimensions||19.3 x 18.8 x 8.66 inches / 491 x 478 x 220 mm|
|Price as Configured||~ $2,452|
Ports and Upgradeability on the iBuypower 12th Gen Z690 Gaming PC
iBuypower’s port selection is pretty standard. On the top of the case, there are two USB 3 Type-A ports alongside separate headphone and microphone jacks. This is a pretty common setup, but I’d like to see iBuypower add a USB Type-C port to the case for the increasing number of external drives and other peripherals that are switching to the newer port.
The rest of the ports are going to depend entirely on the motherboard and GPU you get. In our case, the Asus Prime Z690-P D4 motherboard has an additional six USB ports (two USB 2.0 Type-A, a pair of of USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port and a single USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C), as well as DisplayPort and HDMI if your CPU has integrated graphics (ours did not), an Ethernet jack, S/PDIF out and five audio jacks. Our GPU, the MSII RTX 3070 Ventus 3X, has three DisplayPorts and an HDMI output.
Getting inside is easy and requires no tools. The tempered glass left side panel is held in by two thumb screws and can be carefully slid from the chassis, giving you access to most of the components, including the motherboard, CPU, GPU, RAM, SSD and cooler. There’s room add two SATA SSDs in the main case compartment.
The right side panel comes off in a similar fashion, with two thumb screws. From there, you can see the power supply, which is under a shroud, as well as an RGB controller. There’s room to add a lot more storage in the back, including hard drives in a caddy next to the power supply, as well as two SATA drives that can be vertically mounted on a panel and wired to the PSU and motherboard.
The cable management in the rear is fine. It’s not the nicest I’ve ever seen, but it’s about as good as I could do with a non-modular power supply, which adds unnecessary cable mess to any PC. The case has plenty of passthroughs between the front and back, and I can already see which ones I would use if I added more storage.
Gaming and Graphics on the iBuypower 12th Gen Z690 Gaming PC
Intel’s latest, in the form of the Core i7-12700KF, paired with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 in our iBuypower review configuration, proved to be a powerful combination for mainstream gaming.
I took the iBuypower through its paces by playing Deathloop, one of my favorite games from last year. The RTX 3070 didn’t have enough VRAM to play at 4K on medium or high settings without throwing up warning flags, so I settled for 1440p on ultra settings, which was still pretty great. As I played as Colt, trading fire with Eternalists in the Karl’s Bay area, I found that the game typically ran between 75 and 84 frames per second on these settings, though I did see it get as high as 92 fps a few times.
On Shadow of the Tomb Raider‘s benchmark (very high settings), the iBuypower system ran at 119 fps at 1080p and 40 fps at 4K. That’s in striking distance of both the NZXT Streaming Plus PC and Zotac Mek Hero, which differed by just a couple of frames. But the MSI Aegis RS 11th with a more powerful RTX 3080, unsurprisingly outperformed the rest with 147 fps at FHD and 57 fps for 4K.
There was a similar trend for Grand Theft Auto V (very high settings), where iBuypower’s rig ran at 119 fps at 1080p and 40 fps at 4K. The NZXT was almost tied and the Zotac edged a couple frames higher, but it was the Aegis, again, with the performance edge, at 147 fps at 1080p and 57 fps at 4K.
On Far Cry New Dawn (ultra settings) the iBuypower was the best of the group in 1080p at 128 fps, even beating the Aegis (134 fps). The Zotac was the next closest at 111 fps at full HD. Meanwhile, at 4K, the iBuypower reached 74 fps, tying with the NZXT but falling 40 frames behind the MSI.
The iBuypower ran the Red Dead Redemption 2 benchmark (medium settings) at 88 fps at 1080p and 36 fps at 4K. It was slightly ahead of the NZXT and Zotac (82 and 80 fps, respectively), but behind the MSI (113 fps). At 4K, the iBuypower hit 36 fps, close to its RTX 3070-based competitors but behind the MSI’s 50 fps.
The three RTX 3070 machines effectively held hands and crossed the finish line together on the Borderlands 3 benchmark (badass settings). At 1080p, both the iBuypower and Zotac Mek Hero hit 108 fps (the NZXT reached 106 fps) and all three of them averaged 44 fps at 4K. The MSI Aegis RS 11th ran at 136 fps at 1080p and 58 fps at 4K.
We also ran the iBuypower PC through our gaming stress test, in which we ran the Metro Exodus benchmark 15 times at RTX settings, simulating roughly half an hour of gaming. The game ran at an average of 84.33 fps across the runs and was pretty stable throughout.
During the test, the CPU’s performance cores measured an average of 4.49 GHz, while the efficiency cores measured an average of 3.41 GHz. The CPU package measured an average of 59.11 degrees Celsius (120.39 degrees Fahrenheit). On the GPU side of things, the RTX 3070 ran at an average clock speed of 1.65 GHz and measured 63.4 degrees Celsius (146.12 degrees Fahrenheit).
Productivity Performance on the iBuypower 12th Gen Z690 Gaming PC
Between Intel’s Core i7-12700KF, with eight performance cores and four efficiency cores, as well as 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, this gaming desktop is primed to do some serious office work on the side. Its biggest weakness, in the configuration we tested, was an entry-level SSD that fell behind faster, more expensive options.
On Geekbench 5, an overall performance test, the iBuypower notched a single-core score of 1,955 and a multi-core score of 3,502. That handily defeated the competitors running last year’s chips, the best of which was the MSI Aegis RS 11th with 1,676/10,102 with an Intel Core i7-11700K. The Mek Hero and NZXT Streaming Plus, with Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 5 5600X processors respectively, trailed further behind.
The script was flipped in our next test, where the iBuypower PC transferred 25GB of files at a rate of 474.06 MBps. That was behind the NZXT (712.67 MBps) Zotac Mek Hero (700 MBps) and MSI Aegis (635.3 MBPs).
On Handbrake, in which we have computers transcode a 4K video to 1080p, the iBuypower needed 3 minutes and 57 seconds to complete the task. That’s far ahead of the next closest, the MSI AEgis (5:19), as well as the Zotac Mek Hero (5:32) and the NZXT Streaming Plus (6:33).
Software and Warranty on the iBuypower 12th Gen Z690 Gaming PC
iBuypower delivers a fairly clean build of Windows 11 with its PC’s. Our unit came with an installation of Windows 11 Home that was light on bloatware, minus some of the usual Microsoft Store bloat like Amazon Prime, tikTok, Spotify and Disney Plus.
In fact, iBuypower’s only addition is a link to a website detailing Chimera Core, its community on Discord. This link is pinned to the taskbar, in the Start Menu and also bookmarked in the Edge browser.
The default iBuypower warranty is three years of service and one year of parts. The configurator clarifies that the Three Year Standard Warranty “…protects the system and its parts against defects in materials or workmanship for three years labor and one year parts from the original date of invoice. During this period, we will replace or repair any defective parts without charge to you.”
For some, this is easier because if one part fails, it’s all covered under warranty, though I’m sure there are some who prefer managing their own warranties, especially for long-term warranties on certain power supplies.
iBuypower 12th Gen Z690 Gaming PC Configurations
We tested the iBuypower 12th Gen Z690 i7 DDR4 Gaming PC with an Intel Core i7-12700KF processor, 16GB of TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan Z RAM, an MSI RTX 3070 Ventus 3X GPU and a 1TB WD Blue SN50 NVMe SSD. An Asus Prime Z690-P D4 motherboard ties it all together. As of press time, this specific configuration wasn’t available, but the closest options would run you $2,452.
Because iBuypower isn’t currently offering this combination of parts as one of its “RDY” ready-to-ship builds, this means that our review unit is really just one of many permutations that could come out of iBuypower’s configurator.
You can config this system can with processors from a Core i3-12100F up to a Core i9-12900K, with AIO water coolers up to 360mm. RAM goes up to 64GB DDR5 3600 or 16GB DDR4-4000 (dependant on your motherboard choice), and you can pick from a number of brands including Corsair, G.Skill, Adata and more.
GPUs, too, include all of the latest from AMD and Nvidia, from budget options (even an Nvidia GeForce GT 1030) up to a GeForce RTX 3090 or Radeon RX 6900 XT.
There are also choices for motherboards, power supplies and several different cases. If you get one of these, it could be an entirely different computer from what we saw. As of this writing, the motherboard we tested the PC with isn’t available, likely a casualty of component shortages and other supply chain issues.
At its cheapest, you can get a very entry-level build for just over $1,300, but that would include a mechanical hard drive and other major steps down from what we tested.
It is 2022, and it’s still hard to get all of the components you want, let alone at a fair price. For better or worse, buying a prebuilt gaming PC is a fairly surefire way of getting them.
The iBuypower 12th Gen Z690 i7 DDR4 Gaming puts a series of competent components together in a chassis. That’s a broad statement, but with so many configuration options to choose from, yours could come out totally different from our review unit.
There are only a handful of 12th Gen Intel prebuilts out now, with more surely to come soon, especially since the chipmaker announced a slew of new processors at CES. But the new silicon certainly offers a bump over 11th Gen Intel processors and AMD’s current chips.
If you’re looking to be able to buy a fixed system in a store, this might be a bit much for you. But for those who want to pick every part, iBuypower’s 12th Gen Z690 i7 DDR4 Gaming is definitely an option when you’re looking to get the parts you want but can’t find them on their own.