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Test Systems & Configurations

MaxForce Reviewed: 3-Way SLI and 4 GHz+

First of all, we wanted to compare the MaxForce to the high-end machine from our last System Builder Marathon in March. Then, that machine retailed for $3,400 ; today the retail price is more like $2970 with two comparable GeForce 9800 GTX+ cards instead of obsolete 8800 GTXs and Windows Vista Ultimate for a fair price comparison.

To be fair, according to MaxForce’s Web site, the Revolution would only cost $3,144 if it sported a pair of GeForce 9800 GTX+ cards, so the pricing of the MaxForce looks very fair for a pre-overclocked machine with a good warranty.

High-End System Builder Marathon PC – March 2008
CPU Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 o/c to 4.35 GHz
CPU Cooler Swiftech H20—120 Compact Cooler Kit
Motherboard Asus Striker II Formula
RAM Crucial Ballistix DDR2 800 PC2-6400—4 GB
Graphics 2x Gigabyte GeForce 8800GTX—GV-NX88X768H-RH
Hard Drives 2x Western Digital Caviar WD7500AAKS
Sound Asus SupremeFX II Riser Card
Case Silverstone Temjin TJ09BW
Power Coolermaster RS850-EMBA 850W
Optical Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology SH-203B
OS Windows Vista Professional 32 bit

The only real beef we have with the Revolution GTX3 compared to our System Builder Marathon machine is that MaxForce does not offer an option for liquid cooling. In our opinion, air cooling is stretching it when you’re running quad-core CPUs at 4 GHz, even with an excellent cooler like the Tuniq Tower 120. We have reservations about the long-term effects of running these CPUs at 4 GHz on air, but with the warranty MaxForce offers, it’s the firm’s prerogative we suppose.

Because the graphics world has moved on since the last System Builder Marathon, it’s unfair to compare the MaxForce against the high-end SBM machine when it comes to gaming, so we’re going to limit its comparison to synthetic and application benchmarks.

For the game benchmarks, we’ll compare the MaxForce PC against some current high-end gaming rigs : The first is HP’s Blackbird 002 LC with two GeForce GTX 280 cards in SLI. Comparing against this machine will give us an opportunity to see the advantage of running three GeForce GTX 280 cards instead of two. We will also compare the triple-SLI MaxForce against the Falcon Northwest Mach 5 system, which sports a pair of Radeon 4870 X2 cards. This will let us see how quad-CrossFire compares against 3-way SLI.

Since all of these systems have quad-core CPUs clocked in the 4 GHz range, this should make for an interesting comparison. Do note, however, that both the HP and Falcon Northwest systems use liquid cooling to tame the CPU heat—Asetek’s LCLC system.

High-End Gaming System Configurations
System HP Blackbird 002 LC Falcon Northwest Mach 5
CPU Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770
3.20 GHz, FSB-1600, 12 MB Cache
Overclocked to 3.60 GHz, Stock FSB
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650
3.00 GHz, FSB-1333, 12 MB Cache
Overclocked to 4.00 GHz, FSB-1776
CPU Cooler Asetek LCLC with Dual 120 mm Fans Asetek LCLC with Single 120 mm Fan
Motherboard EVGA nForce 790i Ultra SLI
790i Ultra SLI, BIOS P05 (05/16/2008)
Asus P5E3 Premium WiFi-AP
Intel X48, BIOS 0505 (06/11/2008)
RAM 4x Corsair CM3X1G1600C8D4
4x 1024 MB, DDR3-1600, CL 8-8-8-24
Underclocked to DDR3-1333 9-9-9-24
4x Kingston KHX14400D3/1 G
4x 1024 MB, DDR3-1800, CL 8-8-8-24
Underclocked to DDR3-1333 6-6-6-15
Graphics 2x EVGA 01G-P3-1282-AR (SLI)
Nvidia GTX-280 GPU (621 MHz)
1024 MB GDDR3-2268 (Per Card)
2x Radeon HD 4870 X2 (Crossfire)
2x ATI 4870 GPU (Per Card) 750 MHz
2x 1024 MB GDDR5-3600 (Per Card)
Hard Drives Western Digital Raptor WD1600ADFS
160 GB, 10000 RPM, 16 MB Cache
2x WD WD3000GLFS (RAID 0)
300 GB, 10000 RPM, 16 MB Cache
Sound Integrated Realtek ALC888S Codec Integrated ADI 1988B Codec
Network Integrated Gigabit Networking Integrated Gigabit Networking
Power Topower 1100W Modularized Silverstone SST-ST1200 Modularized
Optical TSST DVD-R/RW TS-T632L
6x BD-R, 2x BD-RE, 16x DVD±R
Keyboard Not Included (Optional) Not Included (Optional)
Mouse Not Included (Optional) Not Included (Optional)
OS Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit
Warranty One Year Three Years (One Year Overnight Ship)
Support One Year Lifetime
Price $5,869 $6,097
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