The SkyTech Shadow (ST-SHADOW-GTX1050TI-V1) is a budget gaming desktop that will floor you in both performance and price. When dressed for the tasks its meant to do –entry-level gaming, this rig can absolutely steamroll though any task or games thrown its way.
PROS: Inexpensive gaming rig. Subtle and attractive design
CONS: More memory and SSD would be better.
When buying a gaming PC like the SkyTech Shadow (ST-SHADOW-GTX1050TI-V1), it’s like you’re building one on your own. However, it’s not easy to beat the price of components like SkyTech does in this entry-level rig. Either way, you’ve got to be familiar enough with PC components and decide for yourself what goes into the system and how much money you’re willing to spend. So, of course, our only real thumbs up for the Shadow is that you can’t build a similar model for cheaper.
For the subtle and clean design, we’re willing to bet that you better get a boutique built one. If you go that direction, you might as well have a money left for a gaming monitor.
The new Shadow is much more streamlined than last year’s Archangel, which was clad in a white chassis; contrasted by the black chassis with blue vents on the newer model. There has been more and more use of tempered glass in all modern gaming PCs, but SkyTech is little to the game here. Instead of a full tempered glass side panel, you have a partial, well-crafted glass panel than gives you a view of interior components.
The front upper deck is bent towards the front, with a thin strip of lighting cutting through the vertical axis, all the way to the middle. On the lower front panel, there a pair of lazy-glass covers through which blue angel lights breathe life into the design, and beneath them is a black vent. Overall, the design is much more elegant than majority of PC cases out here.
Measuring 20.2 by 8.5 by 18.2 inches (HWD), this tower design isn’t one of the ultimate space savers, but it’s fairly small than a couple of gaming behemoths we’ve tested before. Outwardly, the system looks imposing and has the mean looks of any gaming rig, although it comes with a single LED theme, which to some can be limiting, while for some it’s a much welcome cue from excessively-lit gaming PCs. If you need something smaller, but still game your way to the top, the ASUS GR8 II-T069Z is something you can squeeze into the smallest of spaces on your desk.
Since you can now download your games from services like Steam and Origin, most manufacturers aren’t including optical drives, but SkyTech still have it on their systems. In addition, there are more useful ports: two USB 3.0, seven 2.0, 7-in-1 audio, Ethernet port and an included wireless receiver. The now popular USB-C is missing, but we’re aren’t complaining considering how much you’re paying for the machine. You can easily extend your display via the DL-DVI, HDMI, VGA and DisplayPort on the graphics card.
Storage comes in way of a 1TB 7200RPM hard drive, acceptable for an entry-level PC. If it were in the midrange category, we’d expect to have a solid state drive (SSD) option alongside the primary hard drive storage. However, we’ve seen gaming desktops in the same category that manage to fuse an SSD and hard drive for around the same price. For instance, the CyberPowerPC Gamer GXiVR8060A5 has a 120GB SSD for Windows and apps, and an additional 1TB hard drive for storage.
With an AMD FX-4300 3.80GHz (Quad-Core) processor, Intel GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB) graphics card and 8GB RAM with heat spreader, and factoring how much you’re paying for the system, how can it fail to impress? More memory would be useful, but you can still upgrade it down the road to a maximum of 32GB, as needed. For now, we’re satisfied with the speeds. Its stablemate, the SkyTech Archangel features the same components, save for a six-core AMD FX-6300 processor and a white chassis, but the price range remains the same.
The AMD FX-4300 is an entry-level processor in the same ballpark with Intel’s Core i3 processor, which explains the Shadow’s impressive price range. It gets 4674 points on CPU Mark test, which is lower than the AMD FX-6300 (6382 points) outfitted in the SkyTech ArchAngel. On paper, that looks like a major feat, but practically it doesn’t make much of a difference on both systems.
However, if you need a system that can pretty perform on media projects as it does gaming, our Editors’ Choice, the CYBERPOWERPC Gamer GXiVR8060A5 is worth a long look. This VR-Ready gaming desktop feature an 8th Gen. Intel Core i5-8400 processor, a GTX 1060 GPU and 8GB memory. Impressive indeed, but you’ll spend a couple of bucks more for the refreshed configuration.
For a budget gaming PC, the GTX 1050 Ti excels as expected. This graphics card isn’t at the top of Intel’s chip offering, in fact it doesn’t even meet the threshold for VR gaming (GTX 1060 and above required), but it does a nice job as it was meant to. It supports smooth playability on modern titles at 1080p resolutions, averaging 69 FPS on Titanfall 2, 68 FPS on Battlefield 1 and 47 FPS on Fallout 4. This is roughly the same (if not better) scores we’ve got on competing systems outfitted with the same graphics card.
The SkyTech Shadow (ST-SHADOW-GTX1050TI-V1) is a budget gaming desktop that will floor you in both performance and price. When dressed for the tasks its meant to do –entry-level gaming, this rig can absolutely steamroll though any task or games thrown its way. That said, on a component vs. price perspective, we were at first tempted to rather just build the PC on our own, but realized it would cost almost double and lots of time. For that, the Shadow is a big step up in looks and build quality, and it’s still a gaming rig meant for those who want a desktop built by experts that doesn’t cost too much.