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Testing Configuration

AIO DRN-STN Review: A Gaming All-In-One With A 120 Hz Display
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AIO Corporation’s DRN-STN sets exemplary standards with its double-walled plastic housing, and even includes a 24” panel that’s high-end by the low-latency standards understood by gamers. On the other hand, 11.2 pounds of steel doesn’t get the company much structure for the internal ATX chassis, and cost cutting can be seen right through to the knock-out-style slot covers. From the performance standpoint, do we even have anything to compare?

Putting aside the display that exists in none of our other cases, triple fans on both sides and dual fans on top put the DRN-STN solidly into our highest range of gaming case comparisons. On the other hand, the internal chassis is a complete low-cost case within a case, and falls within our lowest category of reviewed products. Lacking further direction, I decided to compare it to the top three performers from our recent mainstream gaming case comparison.

Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E): 3.3 GHz, Six Cores
O/C to 4.25 GHz (34 x 125 MHz) at 1.35 V Core
CPU CoolerCoolink Corator DS 120 mm Tower
MotherboardAsus P9X79 Pro: LGA 2011, Intel X79 Express, Firmware 3501 (03/14/2013)
O/C at 125 MHz BCLK
RAMG.Skill F3-17600CL9Q-16GBXLD 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-2200
Benchmarked at DDR3-1666 CAS 9 defaults
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 580: 772 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-4008
Maximum fan for thermal tests, SLI
Hard DrivesSamsung 840 Series MZ-7PD256, 256 GB SSD 
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated GbE
PowerSeaSonic X760 SS-760KM
ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 8 Pro x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 314.22
ChipsetIntel INF 9.2.3.1020

Our hardware was picked long ago for its high heat and noise, but has since been found to keep a better temperature-to-cooling profile than some subsequent parts (such as CPUs based on the Haswell architecture). For the sake of consistency, though, I’m even using the same drive image and graphics drivers, which give me access to several generations of testing.

Benchmark Configuration
Prime95 v25.864-bit executable, Small FFTs, 11 threads
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.3.0, Extreme Preset: Graphics Test 1, Looped
Real Temp 3.40Average of maximum core readings at full CPU load
Galaxy CM-140 SPL MeterTested at 1/2 m, corrected to 1 m (-6 dB), dBA weighting

But there is a difference in the way the DRN-STN is going to be tested today, and that difference doesn’t show up in the configuration tables. In each of my case round-ups, I place my sound meter at a 45° angle from the front-left corner of the case, except when the case opens from the right. Even then, the 45° measurement is consistent.

Nobody will game on the DRN-STN at a 45° angle because this case has a display that they’ll sit in front of. And that display is on a side that has no vents. That’s equivalent to noise testing a normal case from the closed-off motherboard tray side with a monitor placed between the case and the meter. This advantage is in addition to the case’s built-in double-walled external plastic housing, which also helps.

I make my own rules and I don’t suffer fools concerning case evaluations. Practicality demands that I break my own rules on this one, since anyone using the DRN-STN is positioned differently in respect to case fans. Whether or not that’s fair is an argument of theory versus practice, and I favor practice.

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Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    Crashman , February 17, 2014 12:15 AM
    Quote:
    What does this retro looking gaming box have over an established gaming notebook say an Alienware or Asus? Thanks for the choice though.
    Up to 20x the graphics power and 2x the CPU performance? I guess it depends on what you plan to do with all that extra space.

    I also didn't get a chance to note in the article that "Full Sized" power supply means PS/2 form factor (and extended versions thereof). ATX power standard does not include a form factor, because form factors designate "form". This is, in spite of what Yahoo Answers might tell you. So "Full ATX" is a misnomer concerning power supplies.

Other Comments
  • 15 Hide
    Crashman , February 17, 2014 12:15 AM
    Quote:
    What does this retro looking gaming box have over an established gaming notebook say an Alienware or Asus? Thanks for the choice though.
    Up to 20x the graphics power and 2x the CPU performance? I guess it depends on what you plan to do with all that extra space.

    I also didn't get a chance to note in the article that "Full Sized" power supply means PS/2 form factor (and extended versions thereof). ATX power standard does not include a form factor, because form factors designate "form". This is, in spite of what Yahoo Answers might tell you. So "Full ATX" is a misnomer concerning power supplies.

  • -5 Hide
    Xsolarise , February 17, 2014 12:53 AM
    This is just a stupid and ugly..
  • 0 Hide
    bloody llama , February 17, 2014 12:57 AM
    The internal case appears to be made by NZXT. The 3.5" rails and the PCI toolless latch are exactly the same as my NZXT case from 2005.
  • 1 Hide
    Crashman , February 17, 2014 1:05 AM
    Quote:
    The internal case appears to be made by NZXT. The 3.5" rails and the PCI toolless latch are exactly the same as my NZXT case from 2005.
    NZXT doesn't manufacture its own cases though, or at least it didn't in 2005 :) 
  • 4 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , February 17, 2014 2:14 AM
    I'd give it 2 foldout screens for eyefinity.
  • 1 Hide
    Marcopolo123 , February 17, 2014 2:18 AM
    reminds me of fallout
  • 0 Hide
    Nossy , February 17, 2014 6:10 AM
    wow,..$700 for a case, and people are complaining about a $700 video card? WTF are people smoking these days?
  • 0 Hide
    Au_equus , February 17, 2014 6:28 AM
    Is it oversimplification to say that the system looks like a monitor and a case held together by a shroud? I agree with Trutherizer, especially at that price, but, to go a little bit further, it needs a docking station for a keyboard and mouse.
  • 0 Hide
    huilun02 , February 17, 2014 6:29 AM
    Because hauling what seems to be a CRT monitor makes you a more popular guy.
  • -2 Hide
    eriko , February 17, 2014 6:53 AM
    Quote:What does this retro looking gaming box have over an established gaming notebook say an Alienware or Asus? Thanks for the choice though.Up to 20x the graphics power and 2x the CPU performance? I guess it depends on what you plan to do with all that extra space.I also didn't get a chance to note in the article that "Full Sized" power supply means PS/2 form factor (and extended versions thereof). ATX power standard does not include a form factor, because form factors designate "form". This is, in spite of what Yahoo Answers might tell you. So "Full ATX" is a misnomer concerning power supplies.> I seriously doubt 20x graphics and 2x cpu power.I saw no 3dMark11 numbers, just that they were intending to test it.My M18xR2, can get 11,500 3DMark11.I have dual RAID 250GB Evo's, i7 Extreme @ 4.6GHz, 16GB RAM CAS9 @25,500GB/s throughput, and I too can upgrade my GPUs also, unlike some laptops.32lbs?Mine is 11.8lbs. Good luck with your carry-on at the check-in desk.
  • 0 Hide
    rolli59 , February 17, 2014 7:17 AM
    I really do not see this selling well or have a market segment.
  • 0 Hide
    mikeangs2004 , February 17, 2014 7:30 AM
    Is a built-in TV tuner necessary? The other PCI-E slots could be for SB-ZxR.
  • 3 Hide
    Xavier Corraya , February 17, 2014 8:00 AM
    Honestly I liked the design!
  • 3 Hide
    razzb3d , February 17, 2014 8:01 AM
    Quote:
    What does this retro looking gaming box have over an established gaming notebook say an Alienware or Asus? Thanks for the choice though.
    The fact that you can stick desktop parts in it, and build a high end PC at half the price of an alienware or asus gaming notebook? Use your brain for a second... the best alienware notebook comes with an 18" screen, one or two GTX 780m cards (witch are about half the power of a desktop GTX 780) and are NOT easily upgradeable. Notebook graphics and CPUs are 2-4 times more expensive then desktop counterparts, and half the performance. Also, I personally find laptop gaming very uncomfortable. Screens are too small, keyboard is too close to the screen, screen is too low, I have to keep looking down witch is very uncomfortable after a few hours... I've been waiting for something like this for a while now. Sure, they could have made it smaller... a micro-ATX or even micro-ITX mainboard would have been enough... a built in closed loop water cooling system for the CPU, and a PCI-E riser for the GPU would have made it a lot more compact.
  • 2 Hide
    razzb3d , February 17, 2014 8:07 AM
    I also love the retro military/industrial design. I just wish some manufacturer would come up with a standardized AIO enclosure with a 24 or 27" screen, small form factor mainboard, closed loop watercooler for the CPU, GPU mountable next to the maiboard using a riser card, and a battery that would provide about 1 hour of usage in windows desktop for a 300-450w cfg. Basically, I want a laptop with no keyboard or touchpad that I can upgrade using widely available desktop parts... The only portability I need is the ability to carry the thing with me and easily set it up at a hotel or a friends house, without the hassle of carrying two separate units (display and computer) + cables...
  • -1 Hide
    CaptainTom , February 17, 2014 10:01 AM
    Make it half as thick and WAYYYYY more attractive, and I could see this being an awesome option...
  • -3 Hide
    coolitic , February 17, 2014 11:03 AM
    I thought they stopped making such low color panels.
  • -1 Hide
    chargeit , February 17, 2014 11:19 AM
    Yea, no thanks. Thing looks like it belongs in some bad 1990's sci-fi movie.
  • 1 Hide
    Christopher Shaffer , February 17, 2014 11:41 AM
    Same panel as the VG248QE? So it can use a G-Sync module, then. Which would be great if I wanted flawless gaming in what looks like a giant Panasonic Toughbook. This would be great for gaming in the back of a HUM-V.
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