Price Analysis And Conclusion
The AVADirect Avatar packs significant power into an attractive chassis with aesthetic bonuses that include a remote-controlled 20-color LED strip and an etched side window. The case is not overly flashy or gawdy, and it’s extremely accessible for its size. All of the components can be easily reached if you choose to upgrade the Avatar on your own. However, be careful where you grab it. We nearly ripped out all of the front ports and switches by lifting the Avatar off a desk, accidentally freeing the detachable plastic and leather panel (it was an amazing catch, though).
The overclocked Intel Core i7-6700K is stable with all four cores running at 4.7GHz, but the lack of a third party graphics card (it comes with the Founder's Edition GTX 1080) with higher clock speeds keeps the Avatar from commanding a larger lead in GPU-intensive games and tasks. AVADirect can overclock the GPU upon request (for an added fee), but it isn’t standard operating procedure for the company, which leans towards stability over ridiculous memory and GPU clock speeds (the memory is rather mundane at 2400MHz).
The lack of next-gen storage options is also a potential thorn in AVADirect’s side, with the company only offering SATA-based SSDs for all of its configurations. The Avatar can't compete in a storage throughput showdown when compared to systems with PCIe-based storage (see the MSI Titan Pro), but the performance is adequate for everyday gaming and office tasks. Unless you are a stout enthusiast, the absence of NVMe SSD options is forgivable, and sometimes it's easy to forget that an SSD (even SATA) is significantly faster than a traditional HDD in a world where M.2 NVMe storage is finally taking off. Remember too that typical users simply don't need the throughput that PCIe SSDs (and RAID 0 configurations) offer.
Which leads me to my point: AVADirect’s target audience is not the seasoned DIY enthusiasts that often comb our pages searching for the highest-clocked GPUs and memory or how to overclock a CPU by themselves. The company’s hardware selection and services are geared towards hardware novices that want a high-performance gaming PC that they can just plug in and play. A $25 fee for overclocking the CPU to a stable 4.7GHz may seem like a waste of cash to some, but for these non-initiated PC gamers, it offers a way to get increased performance out of their hardware without the need to experiment on their own (and possibly damage their system).
At just over $2,500, the AVADirect Avatar is priced above average for the hardware inside. Our test system, even with an expensive Founder's Edition GTX 1080, hovers around $2,000. Even if you shaved off the Avatar's extras (remote LED strip, overclock service, SSD) you’d still be left with a system housing a water-cooled i7-6700K, 16GB of RAM, and a GTX 1080 for just over $2,300. However, compared to some other vendors (which we will explore in upcoming reviews), AVADirect's performance tweaks and aesthetic extras are inexpensive, and the Avatar is an ideal choice for consumers looking for that combination of performance, simplicity, stability and style. The company’s component selection could be deemed conservative by enthusiast standards, but the Avatar provides exceptional productivity and gaming performance that feels anything but standard.
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