While the company has many cases from which to choose, the system we received used the mid-quality steel Cooler Master HAF-932 case. Sure to be a hit with many gamers, the image stands in stark contrast to iBuyPower's competitor.
Asus’ P6T Deluxe V2 offers wide slot spacing for better ventilation of two GeForce GTX 295 graphics units. Less expensive options include the standard P6T, which supports three-way configurations with less-effective cooling.
iBuyPower also selected the same Corsair CMPSU-1000HX power unit that we would have picked for these graphics cards, even though it’s not on Nvidia’s very limited certification list.
CPU cooling comes from an Asetek LCLC (Low-Cost Liquid Cooling) maintenance-free system with a dual 120 mm fan radiator. Liquid cooling the CPU normally comes at the cost of increased VRM temperatures, so iBuyPower uses Asus’ VRM fan to supplement the case’s enormous 230 mm side-panel intake.
Decreased load times are courtesy of Intel’s X25-M 80 GB solid-state drive, while mass-storage is made more massive by adding a Hitachi 7K1000.B 1.0 TB hard drive. A lighted 230 mm fan blows across up to five drives in the HAF-932 cage.
The X25-M doesn’t show up on iBuyPower’s short configuration list, but clicking “edit configuration” prior to placing an order reveals additional options.
The standard drive iBuyPower includes with every system is a 22X Ultra ATA DVD burner. Using it requires that you leave an onboard controller enabled that most performance fanatics would prefer to disable. And then there’s the old-fashioned ribbon cable that is certain to earn the customer “a ribbing” at his or her next LAN party.
iBuyPower included a keyboard and mouse with our configuration, but we need to disregard these (along with the Blu-ray disk burner) to make its price comparable to the competing unit. The game Halo 2 is included free with Windows Vista, while FarCry 2 came with one of the graphics cards. Other accessories include two DVI-to-VGA adapters, a power cable, and Corsair’s modular cable pack.