You have spoken, dear readers, and you have voted up your three favorite systems in our Intel Haswell-E Builder Sweepstakes roundup.
We had eleven drool-worthy systems from the usual boutique builders (check out all the rigs here) rocking Intel Haswell-E chips and associated components, but the ones that you loved the best were from Digital Storm, Maingear and CyberPowerPC -- in that order.
It's not hard to see why the Digital Storm Aventum II took the top spot, if only by making assumptions based on the price tag; at $12,286, it was by far the costliest system in the field. (Try not to think about it, you'll just get dizzy.) We're guessing many of you got sucked in by the Aventum II's yellow cooling loop design, which matches the chassis and is highlighted by blue LEDs on the inside of the case.
The specs are ridiculous and include four Nvidia GTX Titan Black GPUs (6 GB GDDR5 each), an overclocked Core i7-5960X (4.5-4.8 GHz) and 32 GB of Corsair Vengeance LPX RAM. For storage, Digital Storm went with a pair of 512 GB Samsung 840 Pros in RAID 0 with a 4 TB WD Black hard drive for extra capacity. All the above connects to an Asus X99 Rampage V Extreme motherboard.
The next most-expensive build, the Maingear Force, took the number two spot in voting. For $10,586, you too can have a system comprised of an eight-core Intel Core i7-5960X (overclocked to 4.4 GHz), two Radeon R9 295X2 GPUs for four-way CrossFire and 16 GB of Corsair Vengeance PLX DDR4-2800 RAM. Maingear opted for the same Asus Rampage V Extreme motherboard as Digital Storm, as well as two 500 GB Samsung 840 EVO SSDs in RAID 0 and a 3 TB Seagate Barracuda XT HDD.
It's all wrapped in a Corsair Obsidian 900D chassis with an Epic Superstock liquid cooling system inside that eschews loopy tubes in favor of crisp-looking straight-line tubing with red coolant.
If you think the most expensive builds predictably garner predictable results, though, think again; you voted in the $2,299 CyberPowerPC Gamer Infinity 8000, which is one of the least expensive systems in the group. Only AVADirect's entry, at $1,937, costs less.
So how did CyberPowerPC pull off a lower-cost upset? We'd wager that partly it had to do with the use of the less-expensive six-core Intel Core i7-5820K (which we picked as our favorite bang-for-your-buck Haswell-E chip in our full review), but the system is definitely a looker, too; it's wrapped in the beautiful NZXT Source 340 chassis. CyberPowerPC used slightly unconventional purplish and pink LEDs to set off the white exterior color of the case, which masks the simpler (read: less colorful) NZXT Kraken X61 cooling loop.
CyberPowerPC opted to build the system on the Gigabyte X99-UD4 motherboard, which plays host to a pair of AMD Radeon 295X2 (Hawaii) graphics cards, a 256 GB Adata SSD plus 1 TB HDD storage combo and 16 GB of G.Skill DDR4-2400 RAM. You also get a keyboard and mouse with the Gamer Infinity 8000.
If you haven't yet, head here to see the complete roundup of our entrants in all their respective glory, including systems from CybertronPC, Falcon Northwest, NCIX PC, Origin PC, Puget Systems (holy lucite, Batman), Velocity Micro and Xotic PC.
Congrats to Digital Storm, Maingear and CyberPowerPC for winning the vote count, and thanks to all of these builders for showing off all the great work they can do.
Don't forget -- a few lucky readers will be taking home prize packages from voting on this sweepstakes. Stay tuned to find out who gets the goods.