We’ll be the first to admit that system benchmarking has gotten downright boring in the last couple of years. It’s been a solid year and a half of Core i7-980X/990X procs followed by a year of Core i7-2600K rigs. Yawn, seen it.
We certainly can’t say that about Digital Storm’s latest Black Ops HailStorm. It’s the first machine to grace our Lab with Intel’s Core i7-3960X, so we were anxious to see if the new chip could actually walk the walk. We know from our testing of the chip in a controlled environment that it’s a bad mother, but what about when it’s in a high-end system and it’s being run against a slew of other super-fast rigs?
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
Every year, Maximum PC does outreach at the annual nerdathon known as Comic-Con. For the 2011 convention, we wanted to make a big splash by combining two subjects dear to our hearts: Star Trek and PCs.
But just how do you do that? We decided to enlist the aid of MaximumPC.com columnist and former Star Trek writer David Gerrold, creator of the beloved episode "The Trouble with Tribbles." Gerrold's vision of the ultimate PC served as the foundation for our Comic-Con creation.
Crafting such a PC wasn't something we could do entirely in-house, though, so we tasked legendary Star Trek designer Michael Okuda with creating a blueprint for the custom case, and we had MNPCTech.com fabricate a machine worthy of representing the best TV series of all time. Read on to learn how it all came together.
What sets a boutique builder apart from a huge OEM? Taking risks with hardware, that’s what.
Unfortunately, taking risks doesn’t always pan out. Take AVADirect’s Custom PC. Hot on the heels of numerous Core i7 rigs tipping the 4GHz and 4.2GHz range, AVADirect went a step further by clocking its Custom PC gaming rig at 4.4GHz. The company even goes so far as to include a custom profile for 4.7GHz—a speed the company had originally promised it would hit out of box, until cooler heads prevailed.
The bad news is that even at 4.4GHz, we were able to break the AVADirect machine with our stress test. The good news is that the machine remained stable in our benchmarking runs. Still, if we could stress it enough to reboot in two hours, someone else could, too. Working with AVADirect, we were able to get the machine to rock-solid levels at 4.4GHz, but it took several days of testing and more than 25 different BIOS combinations—which somewhat tarnishes the feat.
Any fool can spec out the ultimate Dream Machine. Just open up your wallet, pull out the Visa card, and tell the web store to overnight its most expensive parts to you. Voila! You’ve got the makings of a badass rig.