Benchmark breaker; superb attention to detail
Really, not even a single HDD?
Geekbox’s Ego Maniacal system pays homage to Maximum PC’s Dream Machine —but probably not the one you’re thinking of.
Sure, last year’s Dream Machine featured the same Silverstone TJ11 chassis as the Geekbox Ego Maniacal, but we’re told that the actual inspiration for this custom-built box was 2002’s Dream Machine , which was painted to match a classic BMW 2002 Turbo . Except Geekbox has updated its tribute to the car by nodding its head to the more current special edition BMW M3 in “frozen black.”
The Ego might owe its inspiration to that Dream Machine of old, but its internals are a closer match with 2012’s DM. Full details of the Ego’s specs are down below, but the highlights include Intel’s new king, the 3.5GHz Core i7-3970X , a pair of liquid-cooled GeForce GTX 690 cards, two 240GB Corsair Neutron GTX SSDs , 32GB of Corsair DDR3/1866, and a 1,200W Corsair AX1200i PSU. The most impressive part of the Ego may be its liquid cooling, which uses both a quad-rad and dual-rad to keep the parts cool—that includes the voltage regulation modules on the Asus Republic of Gamer board.
That’s probably a good idea, too, because the Ego pushes the new 3.5GHz Core i7-3970X to a very stable 4.8GHz. That’s about 1GHz further than our zero-point’s overclocked six-core, and with its 25 percent higher clocks, the Ego offers that much more of a performance edge. In fact, the six-core Ego gave our zero-point—which is certainly no slouch in specs—a pretty good pummeling in every single benchmark. What about something a bit beefier, such as DM2012?
Geekbox individually sizes and sleeves the cables for each PC it builds.
Between the two, it was a classic battle of cores vs. frequency, with DM2012 sporting eight cores at 3.1GHz vs. the Ego’s six cores at 4.8GHz. In the apps that can’t exploit all the cores of the DM2012 (or even the Ego, for that matter), clock speeds won out, with the Ego pulling up a score 27 percent faster in Stitch.Efx 2.0 and 30 percent faster in ProShow Producer 5.0. When you get into the heavily multithreaded tasks, however, the cores-vs.-frequency argument gets interesting. The Ego was faster than the DM2012 in Premiere Pro CS 5.0 by about 4 percent and about 1 percent faster in the x264 HD 5.0 benchmark. That’s a victory for frequency, but at the same time, we’re talking about a 1.7GHz difference between the six-core and eight-core chips, so the core crowd can claim a moral victory. We also have to acknowledge that the Ego set benchmark records in all six official benchmarks we run. Although not everything was by a large margin, it’s still one hell of an accomplishment for one single system to sweep all six.
The real magic of the Ego is in the phenomenal amount of detail paid to its construction. Geekbox says it spends no less than 40 hours to build its high-end custom machines and it shows, from the washers on the case-door screws that prevent scratches to the paint, to the custom-length cables that are each sleeved and heat-shrunk by hand (nary a zip tie is present). There are other loving details about the case that we just don’t have the space for here, but we must admit we were a bit let down by the decals. Rather than covering them with a clear coat, Geekbox just stuck them atop the matte-black paint job, which is decidedly less impressive—you can feel the decals’ edges when you slide your hand over them.
It’s also odd for the company not to include mass storage, but Geekbox says that’s more of lifestyle statement. In your garage, you’ll have your M3 for weekends and your minivan for weekdays, so why clutter the M3 with baby seats? We understand that rational but we don’t buy it, because while this machine is fast, it’s also expensive at $7,995. Yeah, that’s a deal next to DM2012’s $11,055 but one HDD couldn’t hurt.
Despite the interesting storage configuration and heart-stopping price, we can’t argue with the raw performance and attention to detail that might take custom rigs to the next level.
|Premiere Pro CS6 (sec)||2,000||1,612|
|ProShow Producer 5 (sec)||1,174||1,743|
|Stitch.Efx 2.0 (sec) ||831||709|
|ProShow Producer 5.0 (sec) ||1,446||1,194|
|x264 HD 5.0 (fps)||21.1||25.6|
|Batman: Arkham City (fps)||76||134|
|3DMark 11||5,847||12,090 (107%)|
Our current desktop test bed consists of a hexa-core 3.2GHz Core i7-3930K 3.8GHz, 8GB of Corsair DDR3/1600, on an Asus Sabertooth X79 motherboard. We are running a GeForce GTX 690, an OCZ Vertex 3 SSD, and 64-bit Windows 7 Professional
|Processor ||Intel Core i7-3970X@4.8Ghz|
|Mobo||Asus Rampage IV Extreme|
|RAM ||32GB DDR3/1866|
|Videocard ||Two EVGA GeForce 690 in SLI|
|Storage||Two 240GB Corsair Neutron GTX in RAID 0|
|Case/PSU||Silverstone TJ11/ Corsair AX1200i|