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Solaris Computer Systems PCs: A New OEM Emerges

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November 14, 2007 10:16:30 AM

We put two PCs from newcomer Solaris Computer Systems through the paces to see if the Nebula XL and Photon XLX have what it takes to deliver performance and value.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/11/14/solaris_computer_systems_pc/index.html
November 14, 2007 11:50:00 AM

If you are going to do articles on companies like this then you should look into Outside Loop in Colorado. They have been doing this very thing for about 10 yrs now otherwise this just looks like a paid article.

November 14, 2007 12:13:08 PM

On their website (which is up now) it appears that the company has already responded to the article with slightly better hard drive specs. Ill be watching this company closely!

And ahnilated...ah nevermind
Related resources
November 14, 2007 12:29:50 PM

Tom's:
The article page links are broken. It's difficult to navigate through the article.
November 14, 2007 1:18:37 PM

double post :S
November 14, 2007 1:23:14 PM

Why is Tomshardware.com reviewing an OEM product from a company that isn't even a year old yet, look at their ?

I appreciate articles more when they target big companies like Dell and Apple, rather than a start-up (which is what they are) that is still green behind the ears.

If you want to focus on an OEM company like this, try Supermicro. They are an OEM business that makes both desktops and server equipment for resale through a variety of retailers.
November 14, 2007 2:02:01 PM

I hope they don't make all the $$$ for the lawyers. Lawyers alway find something to make $$$.

Solaris computer systems

VS

Sun Solaris Computer Systems
OR

Solaris 10 Computer Systems (x86)


November 14, 2007 2:34:26 PM

ahnilated said:
If you are going to do articles on companies like this then you should look into Outside Loop in Colorado. They have been doing this very thing for about 10 yrs now otherwise this just looks like a paid article.


In what way does it look like a paid article?

They submitted test PCs to us, and in good faith we tested them and formed a conclusion. If I thought they sucked, I would have said they sucked.

As it was, the price/performance surprised me and they didn't suck. So it looks like a paid article because I called it like I see it? That's ridiculous, dude.

If Outside Loop and Supermicro want to submit boxes for us to test and assess, we'll be more than happy to do so. But the fact that they've been in business longer somehow makes an article seem less like it's an advertisement to you?

I get paid the same $$ per article whether or not the hardware sucked, and I certainly didn't get to keep the Solaris PCs as a bonus. I explained the problems we had, and I made it clear that they are an unproven company.

In fact, some people have even found it interesting to read about a start-up, which is a bit of a change from the same-old same-old.

So please, guys, explain to me how it looks like I've been paid off after I did a fair comparison... :sarcastic: 
November 14, 2007 3:26:27 PM

cleeve said:
In what way does it look like a paid article?

They submitted test PCs to us, and in good faith we tested them and formed a conclusion. If I thought they sucked, I would have said they sucked.

As it was, the price/performance surprised me and they didn't suck. So it looks like a paid article because I called it like I see it? That's ridiculous, dude.

If Outside Loop and Supermicro want to submit boxes for us to test and assess, we'll be more than happy to do so. But the fact that they've been in business longer somehow makes an article seem less like it's an advertisement to you?

I get paid the same $$ per article whether or not the hardware sucked, and I certainly didn't get to keep the Solaris PCs as a bonus. I explained the problems we had, and I made it clear that they are an unproven company.

In fact, some people have even found it interesting to read about a start-up, which is a bit of a change from the same-old same-old.

So please, guys, explain to me how it looks like I've been paid off after I did a fair comparison... :sarcastic: 


Nice response man!

I appreciate the diversity, and I enjoyed the article. One thing I appreciate about Tom's Hardware is that it always tried to be fair and give every company a chance.

Im sure that if you only reviewed equipment from the big names, people would complain that Tom's Hardware only caters to the big firms with lots of money, and leaves out the little guys struggling to find their place.

So to all the whiners, lighten up! We arent paying a dime for these reviews, try a bit harder to appreciate the hard work Tom's Group is putting in to creating good content for PC enthusiasts.
November 14, 2007 4:16:23 PM

Can we please have a link to their website? I didn't see one in the article.

By the way thanks to the guys who brought up the other companies in this thread.

Oh, I also enjoyed reading the article. A favorable review on this website is worth more than paid advertising for these companies, you should know this before you speak here. The only thing to question is whether they hand picked the systems they sent for review, but this happens all the time with almost anything which is sent for review to websites such as this one so always keep that in the back of your mind.
November 14, 2007 4:18:50 PM

Wow it says I jioned on Tuesday Jan 1 1970!

I wasn't even born then, I guess they rehosted the forum and it didn't copy the old join dates haha.
November 14, 2007 4:27:35 PM

Niva said:
Can we please have a link to their website? I didn't see one in the article.

By the way thanks to the guys who brought up the other companies in this thread.

Oh, I also enjoyed reading the article. A favorable review on this website is worth more than paid advertising for these companies, you should know this before you speak here. The only thing to question is whether they hand picked the systems they sent for review, but this happens all the time with almost anything which is sent for review to websites such as this one so always keep that in the back of your mind.


solaris-cs.com <--- it as in the article, first page. The site really isn't up and running right now.

November 14, 2007 4:48:06 PM

Hi Cleeve,

Ahnilated may be charging you with being paid off, but I am not. Yes, my point is that they have been around less than a year, they have no proven track record, no one to back up a history of this company to confirm that yes, they live up to what they state as their goals. even you state that in your article. Yet here you are, willing to passively accept any kit from any start-up and say whether its a diamond in the rough, a polished piece of rock, or a cow pattie. As far as I'm concerned, they lucked out on the fact you liked what was presented overall. If you had decided in your opinion that potential customers, who base their purchasing decisions on sites like Toms, are better off with another company than these guys, they'd suffer in sales.

You exposed something rather interesting though. You just came across as though you don't actively seek out companies and request kit from them, rather you wait for them to come to you. Why is this?

I'm sure there are small-builder companies that may be preying on unsuspecting people that won't submit kit to you, yet we'll never know. There may be kick ass builders out there that may or may not be a deal, but we'll never know, because you wait for these companies to come to you. Whether you want to admit it or not, The kit you wait to be sent to you and other reviewers Have become advertising instruments, whether its for better or for worse. Tomshardware.com revenues come from somewhere, and its not from your readers, the government welfare office, but from companies who pay to put their pretty little flash and linkable ads on your pages.

How IS Solaris PC different than any other 'white-box' OEM builder?? They can acquire and install parts that aren't normally available? I call that Customization - which OEMs I have dealt with (at least in Canada) were/are willing to do. Do they have a lower cost than other white-box companies of an identical or near identical kit builds, even if its only 3%? What about level of warranty service? Did you go through typical channels your readers would have to, or did you have a direct line to a rep? did you personally run the tests, or did you just gather the reults from your techies?

You called a problem with the heatsinks an issue that, from what the article seems to suggest, is S-Pcs responsibility - Intel OEM heatsink assembly on a brandname mobo using a manufacturer-low cost solution; plastic clips. I have seen other PCs that have been shipped with similar problems occur, although not in great numbers, but enough to make me ponder and feel concerned about the design. Several years ago, it was the AGP slot not possessing a method in which to prevent video cards from vibrating loose during shipping. I'm sure Solaris isn't alone in this issue. I am glad the company decided to circumvent the issue in future, but lets not forget that they were responsive because they want to look good in hopes of driving their sales up. I question whether or not they would make that direction call if a customer had the same issue. Usually, the upper management of a company won't hear about those issues unless the problems are significant enough.

Perhaps you may want to investigate the heatsink retention issue problem morseo than a build from a brand new company, that quite frankly, anyone who pays attention to the instructions publicly available how-tos can build. THAT would be an article worth reading on this site. Another article would be to investigate deeper into the smaller OEM-builders and see if they can live up to reputations they state in a blind test.

I and ahnilated never said or hinted you get to keep the tested equipment. Your article, although seemed thorough, is pre-mature imho, as you yourself said they haven't gotten off the ground yet.


At any rate, cleeve, adding :sarcastic:  in your post? Not professional.
November 14, 2007 5:09:43 PM

blueeyesm said:
Hi Cleeve,
Yet here you are, willing to passively accept any kit from any start-up and say whether its a diamond in the rough, a polished piece of rock, or a cow pattie.


Dude... what's your point? We accept kit from many companies on good faith. I can think of times we've gotten stuff from big-name builders like Dell that ended up being different from the final product after a little investigation was done. Graphics card makers like Nvidia and Ati have on more than one occasion changed clockspeeds after preview cards were sent out.

What are you suggesting? That we shouldn't preview products anymore?

Personally, I'd prefer to see product previews with a few mentioned caveats, rather than just not do previews at all anymore. And I think most of our readers like previews, too.

In any case, I don't see how your problem with 'previews' in general applies specifically to this article. Yes, previews aren't always perfect, but why do you have a problem specifically with this Solaris article, rather than a general loathing of all previews that involve ANY brands - big OR small?


blueeyesm said:
You exposed something rather interesting though. You just came across as though you don't actively seek out companies and request kit from them, rather you wait for them to come to you. Why is this?


Because we accept emails and phone calls I guess. (?)

Seriously though, you assume a lot here. We request a whole lot of hardware for review. However, there are also times when new hardware is brought to our attention as well. Why is that a problem?

I'm not sure what your suggesting, that we close all channels of communication to vendors who have a new product that people might be interested in seeing?

We review hardware that we think our readers will find interesting, that means sometimes we ask for it and sometimes it's volunteered. I'm not sure where you're seeing a conflict of interest here... are you suggesting that, say, a Radeon 3870 preview is only valid if I call up Ati, but if the Ati PR rep calls me to tell me about the Radeon 3870 the review will somehow be tainted?


blueeyesm said:
At any rate, cleeve, adding :sarcastic:  in your post? Not professional.


Lucky for me then, that I don't base my professional self-esteem on your opinion, which allows me to insert the following emoticons in perfectly clean professional conscience: :sol:  :kaola:  :bounce: 
November 14, 2007 6:29:03 PM

@Cleeve:

Don't let the hippie get you down man. I've met many so called "Indy" people or "non-conformist" people like Blueyesm who think that any positive review of any companies product for any reason is selling out. Little does Blueyesm know he himself has conformed to non-conformity, he's just an adult emo-kid.

I think its great Toms is willing to just take products shipped to you and review them. I had no idea, I thought there were established channels and that small companies just kinda got bunked, but seeing that anyone can submit a system, thats kind of cool. Maybe the builders Blueyesm mentions should send you guys some hardware to review?

As for your article, I think if we tried we could build those systems cheaper than you said (we'd have to use different parts as parts fall in prices dis-proportionate to each other), but I to am amazed at the value of these builds. For just a tad bit more money you get a warranty on all of it, where as if you build yourself, you have a hassle on your hands of getting hardware makers to honor warranties. And sometimes, in my experience, some hardware makers won't honor a warranty for using another part that is unrelated to theirs: for instance, I once had a power supply maker tell me they would not honor their warranty because I used a certain graphics card from a certain maker. I contacted other PSU companies just to see if they had a similar edict, and they did not. Huh.

I'm good for PC hardware now, hopefully Solaris will survive the next two years so that I might order one then.
November 14, 2007 7:04:27 PM

Yes, manufacturers and vendors are always encouraged to let us know when they have something new. I kind of like the arrangement, too, because there's alot of new stuff out there and it helps.

Now don't get me wrong, there are alot of times companies will submit stuff for review and, depending on our schedules and how interested we feel our readers will be, we might accept it or we might not.

In this case though, I think it was interesting to see what an upstart company is willing to provide for the dollar, and what will make it more interesting is to revisit the story in 6 months or a year... will Solaris be successful? If so, will their margins increase or stay the same? And what do their customers say about them and their warranty fulfillment? Etc.

As far as looking for more stories in this vein, I'm all for that. Outside Loop and Supermicro sound like a good place to start, as a reporter these kinds of suggestions are great and keep the juices going. Maybe I'll look into a system builder value comparison in the future, there are a lot of possibilities.

On the other hand, suggestions that an article I wrote reads like a paid advertisement probably aren't going to sit well with me when I've demonstrated the value of their systems to the best of my ability. Of course I'm going to defend myself from shallow allegations like that, I take that sort of thing seriously because I spend a lot of effort to do the best I can to stay objective and focussed.
November 14, 2007 7:51:03 PM

Thank you Cleeve for the great article! I log onto THG everyday when I get home from work as well as read through the forums. I am a PC Gamer and am always excited to read your articals and all of the PC related previews and reviews. Keep up the great work! ( You and all the writers for THG )
November 14, 2007 8:14:12 PM

Well thanks to Lyonheart & the rest of the positive folks on the board, it's kind of you guys to say so and we appreciate your support. :) 
November 14, 2007 9:14:08 PM

I am highly supportive of startups. But personally I would never buy something off the 'net from a startup.... just too big of risk of sending $ down a sewer hole never to be seen from again. I will, however, do business with a local startup as I can physically visit their facility and determine their suitability (and survivability) to my projects. I hope every startup keeps that in mind and trys to build a local cliental before trying to go national.

At the same time, it is nice to see a startup sending out samples of their work. However, in the world of my Q6600 is better than your Q6600, it is hard for a reviewer (such as Tom's) to judge a company based upon an assembled computer other than build quality and cosmetic issues.

I really like to see a startup that does something different, but considering the fact that everybody has equall access to the same parts, it is going to be hard for a company to distinguish themselves from the competition.

November 14, 2007 10:23:24 PM

cleeve said:
Well thanks to Lyonheart & the rest of the positive folks on the board, it's kind of you guys to say so and we appreciate your support. :) 


We do appreciate it.

All you can do is make information available.
If others don't want to trust a startup, that's fine.
If others would rather read only about Dell's, that is their choice. Don't read this article.
Heaven forbid every article Tom's will publish is only what YOU want to read.

Sigh.............
November 14, 2007 11:26:03 PM

I think it is a good review. The profit margins that major companies make off gaming systems is ridiculous. People need more choices to help drive these prices down (even though most of us on the forums build our own). The way I see it, Solaris took a risk sending out two computers to be reviewed, and yes, of course it is like an advertisement, but it is an advertisement that could say it sucked. Why else would a company give them the computers?
November 14, 2007 11:29:52 PM

Good article.

I get very tired of these selfrighteous posters always finding some reason to bytch about the articles. :pfff: 

Ahnilated et al., you were all pwned by cleeve. :lol:  :kaola: 

November 16, 2007 5:38:20 PM

I dont see this any different than when Intel sends Toms Hardware a brand new engineering sample of a 45nm Extreme Quad processor that they hand picked and sent in. Asus does the same thing when they send new motherboards to Toms Hardware.

Just take it with a grain of salt. Maybe Dell and HP should also send in some samples as comparison. It is not like they cant use a little free advertising. I think it might be useful to compare such systems to get a baseline for the average OEM System and the average OEM Price. It would make for a more realistic comparison.

Always keep in mind that when an OEM or retailer sends in samples that they picked the samples out themselves and that those samples may not represent a random samples pulled off a retail shelf that is not handpicked by the company. I have found some motherboard articles somewhat misleading at times when I purchased a product that was recommended by comparison article.

Looking at a reseller rating is also a good idea if you buy things online. I actually found the article kind of interesting because I was just looking at that cube case online.

I was also looking at another website called www.directron.com. It seemed to be a nice site highly rated (Yahoo Reseller) and located in Texas. They sell parts and makes systems too.

Maybe what you need for Christmas is an OEM Roundup. Yahoo. Get the lasso twirling and round up the chuckwagon.
November 16, 2007 8:39:57 PM

What I would love to see is Tom's actually buy the computer off the website just like any of us would do, and review that system! Another site used to do that and I miss it.
November 19, 2007 3:37:39 AM

What a lot of party poopers for this review. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

I appreciated reading about a new company and their efforts to break into the market. My computers have been home built for a while now but I realize that not everyone is into that. The fact that this company claims to offer a product at virtually the same price as what you could do it for yourself is amazing. Hopefully they will allow the buyer a range of different options for the parts since I am sure that not everyone would want the exact configuration that they presented. And it would have been nice in the article to see some pictures of the insides of the cases to check out the wiring.

All in all this was a great break from the same ol' reviews of the same ol' products that you can find on 10 different web sites. Good job.
November 23, 2007 2:12:33 AM

OEM = Original Equipment Manufacturer

These guys assemble components made by others - they don't manufacture anything original.
December 3, 2007 1:15:12 AM

What's the deal with the ram [Supertalent T800UX2GC4]? Various websites show the timings as 4-4-3-8; is that even possible without data corruption?
December 18, 2007 1:10:36 PM

Has anyone actually made a purchase from them? I'm thinking of doing so.
December 20, 2007 12:39:19 PM

Well, I just placed an order. We'll see how it goes.

LIAN-LI PC61

Thermaltake Toughpower W0106RU 700W Modular, SLI/Crossfire Capable

Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q6600 @ 3.0GHz (overclocked by them)
MASSCOOL 8WA741
GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS4
Super Talent DDR2-800 4GB (2x2GB)
Super Talent DDR2-800 4GB (2x2GB)
Seagate ST3500630AS 500GB SATA2 7200rpm 16MB
LG Electronics GSA-H62NK 18X Dual Layer DVD+/-RW SATA Drive
LG Electronics GSA-H62NK 18X Dual Layer DVD+/-RW SATA Drive
XFX nVidia GeForce 8800GTX 768MB
EVGA nVidia GeForce 8600GT 512MB
Creative Labs Audigy SE 7.1
Microsoft Vista Home Premium 64-bit

$2184 + $40 shipping
February 12, 2008 5:59:34 PM

Just an update. My system from Solaris arrived and seems to be rock solid. I don't think I could have built it myself for less. So far, I'm very please with my experience with Solaris.
!