Uberclok takes a mighty gamble with its Fury PC. Instead of burying Intel’s hot, new Core i7 in the heart of its machine, Überclok reaches for something that’s beginning to show its age: Intel’s midrange Core 2 Quad Q9650. Why didn’t the company go with, say, an Intel Core i7 940, which costs the same as the Q9650? We’re not entirely sure, but Überclok makes the most of its choice.
Despite its age, the chip is no slouch. At its stock 3GHz speed, this quad core would make most people happy, but the new E0-step core used in this chip series is a heckuva overclocker. In fact, Überclok ubers the chip a full gigahertz using simple air cooling, which is quite a feat—although the execution isn’t flawless. The machine completed all of our benchmarks without a hitch, but a Prime95 stress test blue-screened the box within a few minutes. A quick call to Überclok provided the solution we expected to hear: Give her more voltage. Three-tenths of a volt later, the Fury was stable in our stress test.
Überclok said the box passed a 24-hour Prime95 burn-in before shipping, but apparently our test blend (developed by Velocity Micro) was more punishing. After being informed of our results, Überclok told us it would reevaluate its burn-in test. We have to note that other machines with similar hardware have passed our stress test without the intervention of tech support.
The box itself is quite striking in a subdued, no-nonsense kind of way. The Fury is built around Cooler Master’s HAF932 enclosure, a Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 board, 4GB of Patriot DDR3 running at 1,500MHz, an X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion, and two ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 cards. Überclok plays it safe with storage, using two WD 300GB VelociRaptors in RAID 0 and Seagate’s uber-huge 1.5TB drive handles bulk storage. The company went with a dual-boot Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit build. Vista 64-bit seems to have finally turned the perception corner; in fact, we haven’t seen a high-end rig ship without the 64-bit OS in months.
But enough about the configuration; you just want to know how it holds up against Core i7 machines, don’tcha? The Fury didn’t fare particularly well against the Velocity Micro Raptor Z90 we reviewed last month. The Raptor Z90’s 3.6GHz Core i7-965 chews up the 4GHz Fury by very healthy margins in Premiere Pro CS2, ProShow, and Main Concept. Only in the mostly single-threaded Photoshop CS2 does the Fury eke out an app win. In gaming, the Fury’s pair of X2 cards puts it in front in Crysis, but the Velocity Micro still won in UT3.
Compared to the Fury, Velocity Micro’s Raptor is a far better general-purpose machine with fairly good gaming chops; the Fury is definitely a great gaming box with its two Radeon X2 cards, but it’s quite obsolete in application performance. Indeed, this striking system would have been far more uber if it had used Intel’s new $500 Core i7 940 chip.
Nicely configured, and we dig the HAF932 case.
VW Type 181
Would you really pay $5K for a machine using Intel’s older CPU?
Premiere Pro CS3
575 sec (+119%)
570 sec (+148%)
Unreal Tournament 3
Our current desktop test bed consists of a quad-core 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700, 2GB of Corsair DDR2/800 RAM on an EVGA 680 SLI motherboard, two EVGA GeForce 8800 GTX cards in SLI mode, a Western Digital 150GB Raptor and 500GB Caviar hard drives, an LG GGC-H20L optical drive, a Sound Blaster X-Fi soundcard, a PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 Quad PSU, and Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit.
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 (3GHz@4GHz)
4GB Patriot DDR3/1333 @ 1,500MHz
Two ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 in CrossFireX mode
X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion
Two WD Velociraptor 300GB in RAID 0,one Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB