IT Pro Verdict
Fantastic expansion potential
Limited graphics horsepower
Wired2Fire may not be the biggest name in the desktop PC space, but this Dorking-based company’s results speak for themselves. Its Apollo WS Video Editing Workstation was a standout for affordability and performance, and this more general-purpose machine promises similar value for day-to-day computing tasks.
Buyers can also take assurance from a five-year warranty, the first two years of which include parts, labour and courier costs. We’re less convinced by this PC’s “Ultima” moniker though, because it isn’t stuffed to the brim with components. It’s based around AMD’s Ryzen 7 5700G, with the “G” signifying the presence of integrated graphics. As a result, its graphical ability is limited, despite Wired2Fire overclocking the graphics chip.
It’s day to day where this PC will truly shine, though. With an overall score of 383 in our performance benchmarks, this machine is more than capable of handling strenuous multi-tasking, all but equalling the mighty Asus ROG Zephyrus M16’s score of 388.
If anything, the Ryzen 7’s eight cores and 16 threads will be underutilised for office tasks, but this has the advantage of keeping power demands low – in general, it hovered between 22W and 25W – and noise levels down. And lack of noise is one of our favourite things about the Ultima WS Home Office. It only has two fans, one 120mm unit at the rear that stays on and one variable speed fan on the Be Quiet air cooler. You can hear them gently whirr if you press your ear close to the chassis, but this is one inoffensive computer.
Its Cougar MG120-G chassis is also compact and light; its stats may not sound much smaller than rivals at 400mm deep and 415mm high, but you see the difference on a desk. Combined with the tempered glass side and brown front window (which is actually plastic, but you’ll only notice that if you touch it), this is arguably the most attractive tower PC we’ve seen in a while.
What you don’t get is any form of RGB lighting. Even MSI, a brand that’s never shy of adding bling, keeps the B550M Pro-VDH Wifi motherboard clean. This microATX board doesn’t have much room for connectors, but thanks to the integrated Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth (albeit version 4.2) Wired2Fire hasn’t needed to add in any expansion boards, so both PCIe x1 slots lie vacant along with the graphics card slot.
There’s also one M.2 slot free, but we’re pleased that Wired2Fire finds room in its budget for a 1TB Lexar drive. It isn’t the fastest PCIe 3 drive around, but the M.2 slot it’s in supports PCIe 4 drives so when these become more affordable you can upgrade easily. Or you can expand the storage by slipping a 2.5in drive into one of the two caddies at the base of the case, with a further two 3.5in bays ready for hard disks if you care to remove the right-hand side of the chassis.
If you want to add fast external drives it makes sense to fill one of the PCIe slots with an expansion card, as the fastest standard supported by the provided ports is USB 3.2 Gen 1. That limits you to 5Gbits/sec, compared to 10Gbits/sec for USB 3.2 Gen 2 and 20Gbits/sec for USB 3.2 Gen 2x2. It’s a shame there’s no USB-C port, either.
A final potential bottleneck is the 550W power supply, but as supplied this system peaked at 124W. Even if you fitted a GeForce RTX 3070, which sucks over 200W at its peak, that leaves plenty of spare wattage to feed any extra drives and PCIe cards you add.
We like this PC, and it deservedly wins an Editor’s Choice award. We won’t deny that the £416 Acer Aspire XC-1660 is tempting, as it delivers all the speed most people need at an even more affordable price, but if you need some additional horsepower, the Ultima WS Home Office delivers today, and holds undoubted potential for future expansion, making it an excellent buy.
Wired2Fire Ultima WS Home Office PC specifications
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 7 5700G 3.8GHz/4.6GHz|
|RAM||16GB XPG Gammix D10 3,600MHz DDR4|
|Graphics adapter||RX Vega 8|
|Storage||1TB Lexar NM610 M.2 NVMe PCI-E 3|
|Storage expansion||1x M.2, 2x 2.5in, 2x 3.5in|
|Graphics outputs||DisplayPort, D-SUB, HDMI|
|Other ports||2 x USB-A 2, 4 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, Gigabit Ethernet|
|Dimensions, mm (WDH)||210 x 400 x 415mm|
|Operating system||Windows 11 Home|
Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro, the UK's biggest selling IT monthly magazine. He specialises in reviews of laptops, desktop PCs and monitors, and is also author of a book called The Computers That Made Britain.
You can contact Tim directly at email@example.com.