In our last system review, we saw some outstanding numbers from the ABS Ultimate 9 gaming system, with its Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor overclocked to 3.67 GHz, and a pair of ATI Radeon X1900 graphics cards configured in CrossFire dual graphics mode. We wanted to show the comparison of ATI’s CrossFire to Nvidia’s Quad SLI, and what better way to do it than to get a pair of systems with the same core configuration but different graphics subsystems ? iBuypower sent us two systems with identical specs to see how the two compare in terms of gaming performance.
Today we take a look at the first of the two systems : the iBuyPower Dream 2006 system, equipped with an Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor. Unlike the overclocked ABS gaming system, the CPU of the Dream 2006 came to us clocked at the stock frequency of 2.93 GHz. The first system to hit the test bench was the Quad SLI system. Apart from the core graphics setup differing and a slower clock speed on the CPU, the system is fast. However, this quad system did come up a little short, as the results will show.
The Quad SLI Dream 2006
The iBuyPower system comes inside a NZXT Lexa Gaming tower chassis, the design of which is intended for enthusiasts and gamers. It has a blue cold cathode to light up the large side panel window, and an on/off switch located on the back of the case. The light also has a sound sensor that allows the light to pulse with the beat of music or to the sounds of games.
The front right corner of the case has input ports for audio and output for a headset, as well as a Firewire port and two USB ports for gaming peripherals. The back of the case has a special cage design that keeps the back of the case free from obstructions. This helps the cables stay untangled and ensures that there is enough space for air to flow out the back of the case.
The case is also designed to stay cool. There is a single 120 mm fan located in the bottom front of the case that draws air in over the four 3.5" drive bays, including a pair of 150 GB Western Digital Raptors configured in RAID 0 mode. There is a space for an additional fan on the bottom of the case, but it was left open with a dust screen over it. To pull air in over the pair of GeForce 7950GX2 graphics cards, another 120 mm fan with blue LED lights is mounted on the door.
To move the hot air out of the case, an 80 mm fan is located at the top of the case, as well as a space for an 80 mm or 120 mm fan on the back of the case. Normally, a 120 mm blue LED fan comes standard on the case, but here it was replaced with the radiator for a Cooler Master AQUAGATE Mini R80 water cooling system. This CPU cooler is a self-contained unit with the pump and heatsink located together on top of the processor.
Rounding out the rest of the system is a matching pair of Corsair Twin2X-1024-6400C5 memory modules, providing 2 GB of RAM operating at a base frequency of 800 MHz DDR speed (with latency timing of 5-5-5-18-2T CAS, RCD, RP, RAS, CMD). For multimedia reading and writing, an LG 16x DVD-ROM drive and a BenQ DW1650 dual layer DVD burner make sure that not only can you play movies, you can back them up as well. You can also use the 7-in-1 Flash memory reader in the floppy to take pictures off your camera and burn them to disk.
Last on the list of features is iBuyPower’s warranty. If you are not satisfied with the system, you can return it within 30 days for a refund, less any shipping and rush handling fees. Beyond that, iBuyPower has a 3-year warranty on all labor with 1 year on the parts on all systems.
|iBuyPower Dream 2006|
|Power Supply||Thermaltake Toughpower 750 W|
|Processor(s)||Intel Core 2 Extreme Edition
2.93 GHz, FSB1066 Bus Speed, 4 MB L2 cache
|Motherboard||Nvidia Reference Design 775|
2 x 1 GB @ DDR2-800 (CL5.0-5-5-18)
|Hard Drive||2 x Western Digital WD1500ADFD Raptor
150 GB, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB cache, SATA/150 (in RAID 0)
|Graphics Cards||Nvidia GeForce 7950GX2
500 MHz Core
600 MHz Memory (1.20 GHz DDR)
|Sound Card||Onboard ADI AD1988B 8 Channel Audio|
|Networking||2 x On-Board Nvidia Gigabit Ethernet|
|Optical Drives||LG 16x DVD-ROM
BenQ DW1650 w/ Solid Burn 18X DVD±R, 8X -DL, 4X +DL
|Floppy Drive||Mitsumi 1.44 MB FA404M BLK with USB 2.0 7-1 Flash Reader|
|CPU Cooler||Cooler Master AQUAGATE Mini R80 - RL-MUA-E8U1|