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AVADirect Battle Box Ultimate Desktop Review: A Custom-Shop Ryzen Powerhouse

Price Analysis & Conclusion

The AVADirect Battle Box Ultimate is a simple build with high-end components at a reasonable price, especially compared to the DIY approach, which has become less of a value play in 2018 due to the high costs for (and shortages of) powerful discrete graphics cards.

The chassis is plain (the same one is available at retail) compared to some other custom-shop builds we’ve reviewed, but its sleek design, red accents, and easy accessibility make it an ideal case for first-time buyers. The PSU shroud gives the interior a clean look, and aesthetic add-ons including remote-controlled lighting and individually braided PSU power cables give the Battle Box just the right amount of bling for those who want some eye-catching components but don’t need their new PC to light up like a Christmas tree.

The AMD Ryzen 7 1700X processor excels in multi-threaded workloads, and AVADirect’s overclocked Battle Box nets higher average frame rates (sometimes trivially so, sometimes substantial) against our stock-clocked test rig with the same CPU and GPU. The 240mm Corsair liquid CPU cooler easily keeps temperatures in check, and the overclocking service is included when you add the component in the company’s online configurator. The cooling add-on is priced almost identically to what it would cost from a retail outlet, so the overclock doesn’t cost any more money than if you built the PC yourself. This is especially appealing to first-time gaming-PC buyers, who may not have the patience or knowledge to build one themselves.

The Battle Box easily delivers well over 60 FPS in every game we tested with the highest settings at 1080p. You may have to turn down a few details to get playable frame rates at 4K, but the GTX 1080 Ti inside the Battle Box is at the top of the heap when it comes to single-card gaming performance. The 750W EVGA Supernova G3 power supply can easily accommodate the power-hungry components inside, with enough headroom to overclock the GPU if you want to get some more performance by tweaking the core and memory clocks on your own.

Our sample Battle Box tester unit came equipped with a modest total drive capacity of just over a terabyte (the 250GB Samsung SSD, and a 1TB Seagate HDD). The memory capacity is the standard 16GB a gamer looks for, but the memory speed is pedestrian, at 2,400MHz. AVADirect offers other storage and memory options if you want more capacity or speed, so you can opt to get better RAM or a larger SSD if memory performance and storage space is important for your workloads. However, gaming performance isn’t affected by either of these components, and if that’s the primary goal, this particular configuration of the Battle Box offers a great starting point for both.

The AVADirect Battle Box Ultimate lives up to the promise of ultimate gaming performance for a reasonable price: in this case, $2,642 in our test configuration. The DIY approach is slowly taking back its value proposition, as system prices rise to match recommended component MSRPs (the Battle Box went up in price in the middle of our review), especially if you can find a sweet deal on a high-end GPU. However, we find that AVADirect’s easy-to-use configurator, free overclocking (with the purchase of the liquid CPU cooler we got), and high-quality components make it a compelling choice for new gamers and hardware novices who just want a dependable and powerful gaming computer.

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  • alextheblue
    Not a fan of that case. I'm assembling a PC for my nephew and this is the case he picked out... it's what he wanted. But I wouldn't use one myself. First thing I'd have to do is toss all the budget 3-pin fans and cheap fan hub. A good quality PWM fan is definitely better for smooth fan operation at varying RPMs. I don't need/want the LEDs. No optical drive bay doesn't bother me as much but he has really shoddy internet in the sticks so he'll need an external drive for Blu-ray/DVD. If he hadn't got the case a long time ago in preparation for a build, I'd be very tempted to have him return it just for the lack of optical bay.

    The interior layout seems alright. The whole thing feels a bit on the cheap side for the price. The front and top plastic panels just kind of pop off and make me cringe a little. The filters are good though. I can't deal with a case that doesn't have intake filters anymore. Back one is kind of a pain if your PC is tucked away at all. Wish more cases had their bottom filters accessible from the front of the chassis (slide in from the front, in other words). There's halfway decent room for additional cooling (you can add 3 x 120mm exhaust fans to the top or 2 x 140). The HDD mounts I might have to remove a couple for his GPU but that's no big deal, he's gonna have one spinner for secondary storage.

    AVADirect DOES offer a TON of cases which I applaud them for, they even have the Fractal R5 chassis I was thinking about buying. But they're behind on GPU prices... pricing and availability are improving yet they're still asking like $390 for a basic RX 570. Newegg has em in stock for $300 and RX 580 for 340-350. When they launched I never thought I'd be so glad to see entry-level models at those prices... Seems like a bargain hehe...
    Reply
  • AgentLozen
    alextheblue said:
    I don't need/want the LEDs.

    I second that notion.

    The rest of the computer is pretty solid though. If someone handed me this thing, I wouldn't hesitate to replace my current PC with it.
    Reply
  • techy1966
    Great review and seems like a decent system. I know the case is pretty good since I just bought one for the wife's system upgrade. It actually came with two sets of top & front panels one set is pure black and the other has the red trim and black like this case does.

    The top and front panels are actually metal with plastic trim they are pretty heavy by them selves. The only complaint I had with the case was the side panels in the one side it is the clear plastic window the other side has the padding but you can clearly see that the fan controller has very little room since the foam gets scratched.

    There was more than ample drive storage in the case which was nice to see but then again I think this case was released in either 2015 or 2016 and we still were able to buy cases with lots of storage room. As for the fan header it supports a lto fo fans and it connects to your CPU fan header to control all of the fans and actually works pretty good yes the fan headers on the controller are only 3 pin but that is not an issue since most case fans are 3 pin anyway. overall a good case it has a few cons but the pluses out weigh the cons any day. it is actually both wider & taller than my Antec 900 version 2 case which surprised me a bit but my case and system is still a lot heaver than the wife's system I guess the Antec has a lot thicker steel in it and of coarse my system has a lot more parts installed...:)
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    20875908 said:
    The rest of the computer is pretty solid though. If someone handed me this thing, I wouldn't hesitate to replace my current PC with it.
    I was strictly referring to the case.

    20877126 said:
    Great review and seems like a decent system. I know the case is pretty good since I just bought one for the wife's system upgrade. It actually came with two sets of top & front panels one set is pure black and the other has the red trim and black like this case does.

    The top and front panels are actually metal with plastic trim they are pretty heavy by them selves. The only complaint I had with the case was the side panels in the one side it is the clear plastic window the other side has the padding but you can clearly see that the fan controller has very little room since the foam gets scratched.

    There was more than ample drive storage in the case which was nice to see but then again I think this case was released in either 2015 or 2016 and we still were able to buy cases with lots of storage room. As for the fan header it supports a lto fo fans and it connects to your CPU fan header to control all of the fans and actually works pretty good yes the fan headers on the controller are only 3 pin but that is not an issue since most case fans are 3 pin anyway. overall a good case it has a few cons but the pluses out weigh the cons any day. it is actually both wider & taller than my Antec 900 version 2 case which surprised me a bit but my case and system is still a lot heaver than the wife's system I guess the Antec has a lot thicker steel in it and of coarse my system has a lot more parts installed...:)
    The front panel seems like more plastic than metal, and it is held on entirely by plastic pins. I prefer something hinged, especially since you have to pull the panel to clean the filter. It's also a lot thinner (cheaper) than my Antec chassis. Feels a tad flimsy just picking it up and moving it around. For a fairly large steel case with a $140 MSRP ($120 ish typical cost) it's just so-so.

    The fan controller is a tad cheap and 3-pin only. There's no getting around that. Have you compared 3-pin fans at a full range of RPMs via voltage control, vs a decent 4-pin PWM in the same circumstance? Good PWM fans seem to transition more smoothly and I notice less annoying sounds at varying RPMs. It's why (pre-PWM) I used to run fans either at fixed speeds or manually control them to find those ideal ranges.

    Also someone online claimed that using the auxiliary (molex) power for that particular fan hub disables voltage control but I think he's incorrect. I'm pretty sure it just eliminates load on the mainboard header and maintains voltage control. I'll find out when I get more parts. I'm not hooking it up to my CPU header unless I have to, I would prefer to have the PWM CPU fan on that header. That might depend on the mainboard and controller though. I didn't look closely to see if it uses a 4-pin input or 3-pin. I've used a hub in the past that took the PWM signal and would vary voltage for 3-pin fans based on load, but if this takes only a 3-pin input that would require the board to be able to vary the voltage... maybe that's why they specify CPU header, maybe it's more common for that header to control both? Bah, I'll look at it again later.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    20881233 said:
    Also someone online claimed that using the auxiliary (molex) power for that particular fan hub disables voltage control but I think he's incorrect. I'm pretty sure it just eliminates load on the mainboard header and maintains voltage control.
    Update: He was right. This fan controller is not very useful. It connects to a PWM fan header on the mainboard sure enough... but if you hook up the molex connector it runs the fans at 12V. The problem is there's too much of a load for a single header... so I can't really avoid using the aux power. If my nephew wants board-driven fan control, I may have to buy a better fan hub that will take a PWM signal and regulate voltage of 3-pin fans even when fed auxiliary power (Phanteks has a hub controller that can do this - PH-PWHUB 01).

    I could just use a splitter or two but I don't believe this mainboard supports voltage regulation of 3-pin fans. Thus back to square one.
    Reply