AVADirect’s Mini Cube Gaming PC: Good Looks, Price, And Performance

AVADirect Does Overclocking

AVADirect doesn’t specify an overclocking option in its Web-based configuration tool, but the company's techs will overclock your system if you ask them to. In light of the custom cooling and drive configuration only available via phone call, this configuration necessitates talking to a representative anyway. Might as well request a tune-up at the same time.

The company didn’t force a manual voltage increase, but instead set a fixed 42x multiplier and let the motherboard manage voltage levels. The result is a mild speed-up that persists under multi-core loads rather than clocking down—as specified by Intel—with a core voltage ranging from 1.15 to 1.25 volts.

We’ve found that 1.25 V is roughly the voltage limit for the Core i7-4770K (at least in our motherboard reviews). Additional voltage leads to increasingly quicker thermal throttling. Then again, when we're evaluating platforms, we aren't using a closed system with an internally-venting graphics card either. Although AVADirect’s overclock is consistent through most of our benchmarks, eight threads of Prime95, compiled with AVX support, quickly cause it to throttle back.

There aren’t any special settings tied to the mild overclock, but AVADirect does save a copy of its changes to one of the motherboard’s overclocking profile registers.

GPU overclocking is often more difficult to manage, so the company leaves Asus’s original GeForce GTX 780 frequencies alone. Though it contributes to CPU heat and occasional thermal throttling, the internally-vented graphics card also is largely responsible for a sub-32 dB full-load noise level and 22 dB of idle noise, both calculated to one meter.

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  • Someone Somewhere
    Page four. The ASRock system has an i7-4770K. How is the CPU cooler an 'AMD Boxed Cooler"?

    Also, many of those seem somewhat unbalanced, especially for a gaming system.

    EDIT: Toss an R9 290X or 780 in the M8 and drop to a 4670K, and you'd have a real value winner.
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  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Page four. The ASRock system has an i7-4770K. How is the CPU cooler an 'AMD Boxed Cooler"?

    Also, many of those seem somewhat unbalanced, especially for a gaming system.

    EDIT: Toss an R9 290X or 780 in the M8 and drop to a 4670K, and you'd have a real value winner.
    Thanks for catching the pasting errors, it helped me fix two articles :) As for the rest of the ASRock build, I used what was available. Remember that A WHOPPING 1/3 of the benchmark set does benefit from the i7's added cache and/or HT, and that ONLY 1/3 of the benchmarks benefit from a higher-model graphics card :p
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  • bemused_fred
    Anonymous said:
    Page four. The ASRock system has an i7-4770K. How is the CPU cooler an 'AMD Boxed Cooler"?

    Also, many of those seem somewhat unbalanced, especially for a gaming system.

    EDIT: Toss an R9 290X or 780 in the M8 and drop to a 4670K, and you'd have a real value winner.


    A 290-X in a mini-ITX case?!? He wants a P.C., not a space heater!
    2
  • Menigmand
    "Good looks" are highly subjective... I would say that case is not pretty. If the AVA sticker can be removed, and there's an option without the optical drive, then it would be better.
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  • vaughn2k
    We'll.. this is another good example of implementing modular cables. But I really don't like the idea of blocking the inside of the computer with a power supply, unless it is designed the way like Thermaltake Elite 120 does...
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  • vertexx
    Nice article. I'm not for the fake chrome vinyl wrap look, and I would question how long that would last.

    Overall though, it's good to see these guys putting together a nice compact, high performing PC.
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  • vertexx
    The same parts plus OS can be purchased for ~$1,900. Still, for someone who doesn't want to mess with building a system, it looks like a decent value.
    2
  • Steveymoo
    So expensive >< Jesus Christ.
    0
  • MooseMuffin
    These guys seem pretty price competitive actually. I just ran through their configurator with a system I put together for myself recently and it came within $150. Not bad considering you get the warranty, and that every other boutique seems to mark up way more with fewer part options.
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  • g-unit1111
    Love that case. The polished aluminum look should be on all high end builds regardless of chassis size, in my opinion.
    0
  • ta152h
    Just looked at the first page, saw the picture, and realized this ugly rubbish wouldn't have any place in my home.

    Ugly things don't sell well. PC makers, and case makers need to make attractive designs instead of wanting people to put these eyesores in their houses. Efficiency is great, but it's secondary to appearance.

    How many people go to the car dealership and base their decision mainly on the aerodynamics of the car? Next to none? Appearance? Lots, even if they refuse to admit it? Efficiency in a case matters even less, but they keep making these ugly monstrosities that we're supposed to pollute our workspace with.
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  • Adroid
    Not bad. A bit more money than I would spend on a PC, but it's a higher end model. Probably a good buy if you took it and adjusted the OC a bit.
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  • mouse24
    Anonymous said:
    Just looked at the first page, saw the picture, and realized this ugly rubbish wouldn't have any place in my home.

    Ugly things don't sell well. PC makers, and case makers need to make attractive designs instead of wanting people to put these eyesores in their houses. Efficiency is great, but it's secondary to appearance.

    How many people go to the car dealership and base their decision mainly on the aerodynamics of the car? Next to none? Appearance? Lots, even if they refuse to admit it? Efficiency in a case matters even less, but they keep making these ugly monstrosities that we're supposed to pollute our workspace with.


    See thats the thing about opinions, everyones got them. I quite like the case. Also I couldn't care less what my PC looks like as long as it runs. How often do you even look at your PC? Maybe once or twice a day when you turn it on and off.
    0
  • Someone Somewhere
    Anonymous said:
    Love that case. The polished aluminum look should be on all high end builds regardless of chassis size, in my opinion.


    Anonymous said:
    Just looked at the first page, saw the picture, and realized this ugly rubbish wouldn't have any place in my home.


    And this is why the choice of looks in cases is so varied.
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  • g-unit1111
    Anonymous said:

    And this is why the choice of looks in cases is so varied.


    What's that saying "one man's trash is another man's treasure"? :lol:
    0
  • dennphill
    Very nice build. Great review, Tom. I like the case - and for reasons others might pooh-pooh - the size and form factor is just right for me. Don't quite need the performance here though, and just spent an hour or so trying to find a configurator on AVADirect that gets me to this case and mobo combo to configure at a slightly lower price and performance levels. Can't find the case available on any of their configurators, though they do list the Lian case as an available part. Schade. Guess I'll just have to contact them, but you'd think with this exposure and such a favorable review, they'd get ahead of the power curve. (Like, for example, an ad with link to the particular configurator on their site!)
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  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    "Good looks" are highly subjective... I would say that case is not pretty. If the AVA sticker can be removed, and there's an option without the optical drive, then it would be better.


    Anonymous said:
    Very nice build. Great review, Tom. I like the case - and for reasons others might pooh-pooh - the size and form factor is just right for me. Don't quite need the performance here though, and just spent an hour or so trying to find a configurator on AVADirect that gets me to this case and mobo combo to configure at a slightly lower price and performance levels. Can't find the case available on any of their configurators, though they do list the Lian case as an available part. Schade. Guess I'll just have to contact them, but you'd think with this exposure and such a favorable review, they'd get ahead of the power curve. (Like, for example, an ad with link to the particular configurator on their site!)


    Yeh, it's a PITA to copy a configuration on their site, you just start out with the "LGA 1150 Mini Cube" or whatever they're calling it that day, pick the black version of the case and if you want the simulated chrome you add that, etc.
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