Welcome to another edition of Maximum PC Theater. For our main attraction this evening, we’re featuring a play by Vigor Gaming entitled Force Recon QXN. There’s a scene in act 1 in which the computer utterly fails to run in any useful capacity… it brings tears to our eyes. Be sure you don’t miss it.
Or, rather, do miss the Force Recon QXN. As has become an unfortunate tradition at Maximum PC, we again find ourselves with a system that looks sweet on paper but utterly fails the quality assurance part of the benchmarking process. In layman’s terms, it does not work. It fails to boot consistently. It fails benchmark runs.
We blame overly aggressive overclocking for this electronic disaster. Like those who came before it, Vigor cranked an Intel QX6700 quad-core processor from the stock speed of 2.66GHz to a mighty 3.46GHz. But we certainly don’t blame the company for doing so; in today’s extreme-computing (and non-multicore-supported) environment, a stock-clocked quad-core processor simply can’t hold up to dual-core clock speeds.
See that wiring job? Now that’s quality work. At least your new footrest will look great.
If only Vigor had spent as much time testing the machine as it put into its appearance, we might have had an actual working computer. This system is loaded with more tweaks than any of the similarly configured quad-core machines we’ve reviewed, so we were a bit surprised to see lower frame rates in all of our gaming tests (when they ran). Our quad-champion Maingear F131 (reviewed in our January 2007 issue) destroyed the poor Force Recon by almost 15fps in FEAR and 20fps in Quake 4.
Application testing painfully highlighted the Force Recon’s stability problems, particularly our standard video encoding test, in which we use Nero Recode to transform a DVD-quality rip of Terminator 2 into an H.264-based video iPod file. It’s as if the Force Recon took one look at the project and decided to head out for a smoke break. The process took nearly 40 minutes to complete, almost double the 22-minute score the Maingear laid down.
We were beginning to wonder if we should just take this sick machine out back and shoot it, but the Force Recon didn’t even make it out the door. The machine officially died during our Premiere encoding test. No blue screen, just random restarts.
When SYSmark caused the same problems, we set all the components back to stock clock speeds, but the system got progressively worse. After Force Recon started to reboot spontaneously, we gave Vigor a call, and the company sent us a recovery-disc image.
Said recovery disk ended up destroying what was left of the system. Windows barely made it to the loading screen before blue-screening.
The final nail in the Force Recon’s coffin is that it actually ran slower than all of the other nonworking systems we’ve tested, at least in the benchmarks we got to run. That’s certainly not something to be proud of.
The case looks great, the front panel looks great, even the little lit-up feet look great.
Even when it “works,” it’s worse than any other quad-core rig we’ve tested.
Force Recon QXN
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 (OC’d to 3.46GHz)
Asus P5N32-E-SLI Nvidia nForce 680i SLI
2GB Corsair DDR2 OC’d to 933MHz (two 1GB sticks)
Dual Gigabit LAN (Nvidia)
Two 150GB WD Raptors in RAID-0, one 500GB WD (7,200rpm)
NEC 16X dual-layer DVDRW/ 24x CDRW)
Two GeForce 8800 GTXs in SLI (576MHz core/900MHz RAM)
Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic Platinum
Force Recon QXN
Premiere Pro 2.0
Our current desktop test bed is a Windows XP SP2 machine, using a dual-core 2.6GHz Athlon 64 FX-60, 2GB of Corsair DDR400 RAM on an Asus A8N32-SLI motherboard, two GeForce 7900 GTX videocards in SLI mode, a Western Digital 4000KD hard drive, a Sound Blaster X-Fi soundcard, and a PC Power and Cooling Turbo Cool 850 PSU.