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The First sub-$1,000 Water-cooled PC

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 13 comments

Considered a water-cooled gaming rig, but haven’t had the nerve to mix electronics and liquids? Visionman Computers has just announced a new gaming PC that features a water-cooled dual-core CPU, 2GB of memory, and a 500GB hard drive that sells for just under $1,000.

The machine, dubbed the Red Blizzard, will be marketed under Visionman’s WidowPC label and will sell for $999.99. Visionman selected CoolIT’s PURE CPU water-cooling system, which—based on retail prices—would account for a larger percentage of the rig’s total bill of materials than any other single component.

Indeed, the remaining elements that comprise the Red Blizzard are fairly pedestrian in comparison—particularly for a machine that’s being marketed as a gaming rig. The company mated an Intel E5200 CPU (a 2.5GHz dual-core Pentium) to an Asus P5N73-AM motherboard (an odd choice, considering that it’s based on Nvidia’s nForce 610i chipset, which features integrated graphics). Each of the motherboard’s two RAM slots is occupied by a 1GB stick of DDR2-800 memory (manufactured by Visionman’s parent company, Silicon Mountain Memory).

Graphics are handled by an Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT with a 512MB frame buffer (there’s no upgrade path to SLI, because the motherboard has just one x16 PCI Express slot). There’s no sound card, but the motherboard does feature Intel’s HD Audio.

The system comes with a 500GB Western Digital SATA II hard drive, a LiteOn 20x DVD-RW burner with Litescribe technology, and a 22-in-1 flash media reader (a feature most gamers would readily trade for gigabit NIC, the one integrated into the motherboard is limited to 100 Mb/sec). The motherboard has just four USB ports, so perhaps it’s fortunate that the mouse and multimedia keyboard rely on PS/2 interfaces.

Just for fun, we decided to build out our own water-cooled Red Blizzard, using the same components where they were identified (and making educated guesses where they weren’t, including for the case, power supply, and a few smaller items). Based on street prices, the factory-built machine costs only $110 more than the collection of parts that comprise it (although Visionman undoubtedly pays much less than retail for its components).

While that premium doesn’t seem unreasonable, we think most gamers would choose different components for their home-brew rigs.

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  • 0 Hide
    grieve , October 2, 2008 4:42 PM
    9600 GT gameing rig... Yah....
  • 0 Hide
    noobe1981 , October 2, 2008 4:48 PM
    Its not to awfully bad, but I sure wouldn't buy. This is just a gimmik to get people that don't know to much. "hey water cooled this must be leet" lol.
  • 0 Hide
    Shadow703793 , October 2, 2008 4:49 PM
    ^ :lol:  It's not too bad. But there is no point in putting water cooling on a set up that won't OC (unless you want to build a quiet PC). The motherboard (610i chipset) isn't meant for OCing. P45 would have been a better choice along with a 4850. Also that water cooling kit isn't even close to a Swiftech.
  • Display all 13 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    megamanx00 , October 2, 2008 4:57 PM
    Does the CPU come factory overclocked? I mean if not then what's the point? I think they could have at least used an SLi board. Oh well, I guess it's a good start for those whom are unable, or just to lazy, to build their own water cooled rig but still want one.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 2, 2008 6:15 PM
    Not bad for a low-cost gamer. P45 with a 4850 can't be done under $1000. 9600GT is a decent mid-range video card.
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    ravenware , October 2, 2008 6:37 PM
    E5200, what a beast! Good thing it's got the cooling to keep it in place.

    The computer sucks ass. The RAM choice is poor, the motherboard is out dated and the vid card is under powered.
  • 0 Hide
    ravenware , October 2, 2008 7:07 PM
    I just configured a similar system for 673.99 at the egg and I still don't want it. Had to guess on the PSU an OS but given the poor choices from the other hardware it wasn't too difficult to find pieces that fit.
    I had to use a different mobo due too lack of stock, because the board is out dated.
  • 0 Hide
    Dekasav , October 2, 2008 7:08 PM
    Seems very expensive for what it is, unless it comes with a monitor, too. But still, a P45, E7200, 4Gb of RAM and an HD4850 would blow this thing out of the water (catch the pun?). Watercooling must be expensive.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 2, 2008 8:47 PM
    Looks like a good rig for playing WoW. Not sure about Crysis.
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    Anonymous , October 2, 2008 8:49 PM
    Great price. I might buy one and swap the CPU for an E8400. Maybe Widow offers custom options or a barebones?
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    jaragon13 , October 3, 2008 11:39 AM

    9600 GT for a gaming rig? I thought the ballpark for "gaming rigs" was the 9800 GTX and ATi Radeon HD 4850.
    Infact,I know a guy who JUST made a 9800 GTX/E8400 rig...for only 400 dollars with some of his older parts.
  • 0 Hide
    jaragon13 , October 3, 2008 11:47 AM
    Jimmy9090Not bad for a low-cost gamer. P45 with a 4850 can't be done under $1000. 9600GT is a decent mid-range video card.

    Yes it can.
    I can do one easily for under 1000.Unless you have like a cooler master stacker 830 and 2 1TB HD-D's.
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    jwl3 , October 3, 2008 8:01 PM
    For the same price, I can get a much more powerful system (stock cooled) than you can OC an E5200. Defeats the entire purpose of water cooling.