Holiday Buyer's Guide 2005

The Best Gaming System Ever: AAC Liquid XS

The Liquid LS lends new punch to the phrase "glow in the dark."

When it comes to gaming systems, nothing currently beats water-cooled SLI and dual high-end graphics cards. That’s where the All American Computers Liquid XS comes into play - in fact, it tied for top honors in one of our recent reviews in the Fall Extreme Gamer System Shootout. All American Computers is the brain child of Kyle Felstein, its founder and CEO, and operates out of Terre Haute, Indiana. The company’s been around since 1999, and is a well-known source for home and office systems, as well as outstanding gaming PCs.

The Liquid XS screams speed in every conceivable way, from its Athlon 64 4000+ CPU, to its stock use of Corsair XMX XL Pro RAM (2 x 512 MB DIMMs set to 2.5-3-3-7 timings), to its dual WD 74 GB Raptor drives, Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS, and Antec Neopower 480W PSU. Of course, the heart of any gaming system is the motherboard and graphics cards - in this case, the DFI LANParty UT nF4 SLI-D and two XFX 256 MB GeForce 7800 GTX PCI-E graphics cards have what it takes to do gaming right.

The Liquid XS also comes in an all-acrylic case designed to be as good looking as it is functional and well-ventilated. The case we reviewed was clear with a slight blue color, and when the house lights were down and the system turned on, the UV reactive acrylic put on a pretty good show all by itself. The four 120 mm LED Antec fans, combined with cold cathode UV light bars, and genuine Springfield Power - you know, where Homer Simpson works - nuclear green coolant in the water-cooling system created what can only be called an otherworldly nerd-tech look. For those interested in other color schemes, AAC offers all kinds of colors for the coolant, cold cathode lights, and case LEDs, so Santa can really knock himself out. You also can’t help but notice that this case is beautifully laid out inside, with no cables any shorter or longer than optimal routing dictates, and with everything tied down, bundled up, and organized to a "T". In short, this system makes as strong an impression in terms of looks as it does in the areas of performance and capability.

And when it comes to performance, let’s just say that "screams" is not hyperbole when it comes to describing the machine. The Athlon 64 4000+ was sufficiently overclocked to outperform a Tom’s reference system with an Athlon 64 FX-57 installed. Detailed benchmarks are available in droves in our full-scale review, but all we have room for here is to say that frame rates are pretty extreme and should leave even the most hard-core blown away (at least, until they get used to it).

At an MSRP of just over $3,500 as configured, the Liquid XS system is nobody’s idea of cheap - but that’s not even close to the point. We’re talking about speed and fabulous looks here. And even Santa and his elves know that long green is always needed to make serious gamers happy - once bought and paid for, count on this system to do just that !

Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a long-time IT writer, researcher and consultant, and occasional contributor to Tom’s Hardware. A Windows Insider MVP since 2018, he likes to cover OS-related driver, troubleshooting, and security topics.