Amazingly quiet gaming performance.
Spooled-up optical drive gets too loud.
In our world, performance and silence go together about as well as Aliens and Predators. Each one has its appeal, but put them together, and you generally get a turd.
That’s a fact AVADirect has set out to disprove with a PC apparently named by U.S. Army logistics command: Custom Gaming PC, Silent PC, Low-Noise Custom Computer System. Despite its funktastic name, the AVADirect PC doesn’t disappoint and seems capable of creating its own alternate reality where performance commingles harmoniously with peace and quiet.
Sure, Puget System’s virtually silent Serenity Mini that we reviewed in our August issue was certainly fast with its 3.3GHz Core i5-2500K overclocked to 4.5GHz, but its Radeon HD 5750 didn’t have the ponies for heavy gaming tasks at high resolutions.
AVADirect took gaming to heart with its silent PC. Besides overclocking its 3.3GHz Core i5-2500K to 4.7GHz using a Prolimatech Megahalems cooler, AVADirect matches that chip with Asus’s three-slot ENGTX580 card. With its beefy build and giant fans, the yuge ENGTX580 is generally intended for overclocking, but if you don’t overclock, you can run the card quietly. So damn quiet, in fact, that the fans on the ENGTX580 don’t spool up to any noticeable level.
There’s something cool about running tri-SLI or quad-SLI, but it’s also pretty cool—nay, way cool—to run the Unigine Heaven benchmark at 2560x1600 and not hear the GPU make a peep. We’re so used to noise, either very loud or low-level system noise, during gaming tests that the AVADirect’s silence is a bit unnerving, in the way hybrid cars can sneak up on you at the crosswalk.
The rest of the machine’s specs are laid bare in our spec chart, but the highlights include an Asus P8Z68-V Pro board, 8GB of G.Skill DDR3/1600, a 120GB OCZ Vertex 3, and a 2TB WD Caviar Green. The Caviar Green is already silent, but to make sure you can’t hear the HDD at all, AVADirect seals it up in an enclosure for extra measure. The NZXT H2 itself is an interesting take on the standard bearer of quiet cases: Antec’s P180 series. One thing we like is the three-position fan controller that lets you toggle the speeds without having to reach in back. The NZXT case doesn’t have the fancy baffles of the P180, but it will take a full-size ATX board while still being almost as small as the microATX Mini P180 case.
In performance, the AVADirect doesn’t break any records; in fact, many of the small form factor boxes we reviewed in August (including AVADirect’s shriektastic entry) are faster. But none of them are as quiet, either. And a Core i5-2500K at 4.7GHz with a GTX 580 is certainly no slouch, no matter how you cut it.
OK, so the AVADirect won’t take any records, but it wins in the one area the company was shooting for. So brew yourself a cup of organic herbal tea, burn some incense, and start grenade spamming and sniping away in blissful serenity.
|Processor||3.3GHz Core i5-2500K (overclocked to 4.7GHz)|
|Mobo ||Asus P8Z8-V Pro|
|RAM||8GB G.Skill DDR3/1600|
|Videocard ||Asus ENGTX580|
|Storage||OCZ 120GB Vertex 3 SSD, WD 2TB Caviar Green|
|Optical ||LG WH12LS30 BD Burner|
|Case/PSU ||NZXT H2 Classic / Seasonic X-660|
|Zero Point ||AVADirect Custom Gaming PC|
|Vegas Pro 9 (sec)||3,049||2,611 (+17%)|
|Lightroom 2.6 (sec) ||356 ||280 (+27%)|
|ProShow 4 (sec) ||1,112 ||774 (+44%)|
|Reference 1.6 (sec) ||2,113||1,717 (+23%)|
|STALKER: CoP (fps) ||42 ||43.9 (+5%)|
|Far Cry 2 (fps)||114.4||109 (-5%)|
Our current desktop test bed consists of a quad-core 2.66GHz Core i7-920 overclocked to 3.5GHz, 6GB of Corsair DDR3/1333 overclocked to 1750MHz, on a Gigabyte X58 motherboard. We are running an ATI Radeon HD 5970 graphics card, a 160GB Intel X25-M SSD, and the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate.