PROS / The Recon's NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 graphics card provides excellent gaming performance.
CONS / XOTIC PC only includes a midrange Intel Core i5-6500 on the Recon's stock configuration.
VERDICT / The XOTIC PC Recon is an excellent gaming PC for mainstream users.
For entry-level gamers, the gaming PC buying process can sometimes be less than clear. On one end, preconfigured systems are easy to pick up or order from most retailers, but the lack of customizable options means that you have limited avenues for hardware upgrades. On the other end, custom-built systems often feature a litany of customization options that fly over the heads of most beginning PC gamers.
The XOTIC PC Recon has a variety of features designed to appeal to beginning and high-end PC gamers. Thanks to its combination of competitive specifications and value, the XOTIC PC Recon earns the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
Graphics & Performance
For gamers, the XOTIC PC Recon has components with impressive performance ceilings. On the inside, the midrange configuration is built on an EVGA SuperClocked NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 graphics card. While performance data for this exact card model was unavailable from our colleagues at Anandtech, its benchmarking for a comparably built EVGA GTX 970 highlights the configuration's lofty performance ceiling.
Playing Battlefield 4 at Ultra graphics settings and a resolution of 1920 x 1080, the overclocked GTX 970 averaged 82.5 frames per second (fps). The card's performance mark of 88.6 fps at comparable graphics settings in Crysis 3 was equally exceptional. Games typically need a frame rate of at least 30 fps in order to be playable without visual skipping.
In practice, the GTX 970 is a stellar graphics card model that is more than capable of handling current-generation PC games without missing a step. But if you want additional graphics processing overhead, XOTIC PC features a slate of upgrade options. These include support for multiple graphics card setups and RAM upgrades of up to 64GB. In addition, the company includes a full catalog of graphics card options, including the higher-end NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 and the enterprise-level NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Z.
Processor & Storage
The 3.2GHz Intel Core i5-6500 used in the Recon provides similarly consistent performance, though it's not without its blind spots. In processor test Geekbench 3, the Core i5-6500 had a score of 11,248 points.
While the Core i5 is still a reliable performer and doesn't significantly bottleneck components like the Recon's graphics card, the midrange processor is a slight step behind the premium processor models used in comparable gaming PCs. Most series rely on the Intel Core i7-6700, which produced a score of 15,527 points in Geekbench 3 and is available for the Recon during the checkout process. In daily usage, the Core i5 can handle basic system tasks easily, but it doesn't provide top-in-class performance for processor-intensive tasks like video or image editing.
In other areas, XOTIC PC includes a standard slate of upgrade options. As with most gaming PCs, you can install multiple hard drives in the Recon during the checkout process for additional storage. Respective hard-disk and solid-state drive limits clock in at 6TB and 2TB, and hard drives can be configured into a RAID array for faster data transfer performance. The system is also built with an ASUS Z170 Pro motherboard with similarly flexible upgrade options. Along with higher-end motherboards, alternative Recon configurations can be built with AMD-friendly components.
Design & Connectivity
Visually, the Recon's Corsair case design leaves room for ample upgrades. With dimensions of 22.2 x 9.7 x 22.4 inches, the gaming desktop computer has space for add-ons such as a Blu-ray drive and a liquid cooling rig. In addition, XOTIC PC offers several alternative full-size case designs from third-party manufacturers to house the Recon, and custom finishes or graphics can be added on during the checkout process.
By default, the Recon comes with a 750-watt power supply that provides ample headroom for the stock configuration. For custom configurators, the supply can be upgraded up to a 1,500-watt unit. During the checkout process, you can also add on standard accessories like monitors and keyboards to make the Recon playable out of the box.
Help & Support
By default, XOTIC PC includes a one-year warranty on this custom gaming PC. The company also offers additional tech support through channels such as live chat, email, phone and an online troubleshooting hub. Its support page includes resources like driver downloads, a FAQs section and user forums.
As fluid as PC gaming configuring can be, XOTIC PC's focus on the basics places the Recon among the best gaming PCs. While its basic configuration can benefit from slight tweaks, the Recon still possesses ample strengths thanks to an excellent base graphics card and flexible upgrade options. Whether you're in search of a fully fleshed-out gaming PC or a basic gaming rig, the Recon has the versatility needed for enthusiast gamers.