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Steiger Dynamics Maven Pure Custom PC Review: Game In Silence

How We Tested Steiger Dynamics' Maven Pure Custom

Test Hardware Configurations
Steiger Dynamics Maven Pure CustomSystem Builder Marathon $1600 Performance PCSystem Builder Marathon $1200 Enthusiast PC
Processor (Overclock)Intel Core i7-4690K: 3.5-3.9 GHz, Four Physical CoresO/C to 4.30 GHz, 1.17 VIntel Core i7-4770K: 3.5 GHz-3.90 GHz, Four Physical CoresO/C to 4.20 GHz, 1.29 VIntel Core i5-4670K: 3.4-3.8 GHz, Four Physical CoresO/C to 4.3 GHz, 1.285 V
Graphics (Overclock)EVGA GTX 770: 1085 MHz GPU, GDDR5-7000, no additional O/CPowerColor R9 290X: 1050 MHz GPU,  GDDR5-5400O/C to 1100 MHz, GDDR5-6200Powercolor R9 290: 975 MHz GPU, GDDR5-5000O/C to 1100 MHz, GDDR5-5600
Memory (Overclock)16 GB Corsair DDR3-1866 CAS 9-10-9-27, 1.50 V, no O/C8 GB G.Skill DDR3-1866 CAS 8-9-9-24, O/C to DDR3-2133 CL 9-10-10-27, 1.60 V8 GB Team DDR3-1600 CAS 9-9-9-24, no O/C
Motherboard (Overclock)Asus Z97-A: LGA 1150, Intel Z97 ExpressStock 100 MHz BCLKAsus Z97-A: LGA 1150, Intel Z97 ExpressStock 100 MHz BCLKASRock Z97 Pro3: LGA 1150, Intel Z87 ExpressStock 100 MHz BCLK
CaseSteiger Dynamics MavenCM Storm Scout 2 AdvancedApevia X-Hermes
CPU CoolerCorsair H60 Closed-LiquidThermaltake NiC L32Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
Hard Drive2x Kingston HyperX 3K SH103S3/120G in RAID 0Samsung MZ-7TE250BW 250 GB SATA 6Gb/s SSDWestern Digital Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB, 7200 RPM, 64 MB Cache
PowerSeasonic SS-660XP2: 660 W Modular, 80 PLUS PlatinumRosewill  HIVE-750: 750 W Semi-Modular, 80 PLUS BronzeCorsair CX750: 750 W, 80 PLUS Bronze
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 8 Pro x64Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64Microsoft Windows 8 Pro x64
GraphicsNvidia Forceware 340.52AMD Catalyst 14.4AMD Catalyst 14.4
ChipsetIntel INF 9.4.0.1026Intel INF 9.4.0.1026Intel INF 9.4.0.1026

Building for reduced noise does have a few drawbacks; the Maven Pure Custom’s GeForce GTX 770 has to face off against the Radeon R9 290X and 290 from our previous System Builder Marathon. It’s at least 20 decibels quieter than my $1600 machine though, and for those who don’t remember the significance, decibels are on a logarithmic scale.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Battlefield 4Version 1.0.0.1, DirectX 11, 100-Sec. Fraps "Tashgar" Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA, 4x AF, SSAO Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 4x MSAA, 16x AF, HBAO
Grid 2Steam Version, In-Game Test Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Metro: Last LightSteam version, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" SceneTest Set 1: DX11, Med Quality, 4x AF, Low Blur, No SSAA, No Tesselation, No PhysXTest Set 2: DX11, High Quality, 16x AF, Normal Blur, SSAA, Tesselation Normal, No PhysX
Far Cry 3V. 1.04, DirectX 11, 50-sec. Fraps "Amanaki Outpost" Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA, Standard ATC, SSAO Test Set 2: Ultra Quality, 4x MSAA, Enhanced ATC, HDAO
Adobe Creative Suite
Adobe After Effects CCVersion 12.0.0.404: Create Video which includes three streams, 210 Frames, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously
Adobe Photoshop CCVersion 14.0 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Adobe Premiere Pro CCVersion 7.0.0 (342), 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion 11.0.4.4 x64: Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minutes, default AAC format
LAME MP3Version 3.98.3: Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min, convert WAV to MP3 audio format, Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.99: Video from Canon EOS 7D (1920x1080, 25 FPS) 1 Minutes 22 Seconds Audio: PCM-S16, 48,000 Hz, two-channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
TotalCode Studio 2.5Version: 2.5.0.10677: MPEG-2 to H.264, MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 kHz, two-channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Codec: H.264 Pro, Mode: PAL 50i (25 FPS), Profile: H.264 BD HDMV
Productivity
ABBYY FineReaderVersion 10.0.102.95: Read PDF save to Doc, Source: Political Economy (J. Broadhurst 1842) 111 Pages
Adobe Acrobat 11Version 11.0.0.379: Print PDF from 115 Page PowerPoint, 128-bit RC4 Encryption
Autodesk 3ds Max 2013Version 15.0 x64: Space Flyby Mentalray, 248 Frames, 1440x1080
BlenderVersion: 2.68A, Cycles Engine, Syntax blender -b thg.blend -f 1, 1920x1080, 8x Anti-Aliasing, Render THG.blend frame 1
Visual Studio 2010Version 10.0, Compile Google Chrome, Scripted
File Compression
WinZipVersion 18.0 Pro: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 5.0: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.30 alpha (64-bit): THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark ProfessionalVersion: 1.2.250.0 (64-bit), Fire Strike Benchmark
PCMark 8Version: 1.0.0 x64, Full Test
SiSoftware SandraVersion 2014.02.20.10, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia / Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth Benchmarks
  • lunyone
    Did I miss the price on this?
    "The price for this machine is only $330 over the self-built option, with us using the closest-matching $400 OrigenAE case. If you subtract the $49 overclock fee and $99 cable service, Steiger only has about $189 in mark-up."
    Reply
  • ta152h
    This seems like a solution looking for a problem.

    Quiet PCs are great, and most of the early ones were completely quiet. But, for gaming? It's not as clear. For the same performance I can save a load of money, or get much better performance for the price.

    For listening to Mozart's g minor string quintette? Great. For blowing up bridge or shooting aliens with a machine gun? I'm just not sure sound matters as much. For a living room box that does most things fine, and is quiet, I'll take a 35 watt Kaveri, and still have enough money left over to make a more powerful machine than this $2600 monster.

    I also don't understand the relatively cheap processor. For $2600 (which is what the ad says, but the author never seemed to mention, so it's hard to be sure), the processor should be the i7-4970K. Haswell-E might work too, but probably the 4970K would be best.

    Someone is going to want this, but I think it's very limited in scope. Silence, or near silence, is great for computers, but for different segments. Most gamers want performance for their dollar, and this falls short.

    Reply
  • Crashman
    14277126 said:
    Did I miss the price on this?
    "The price for this machine is only $330 over the self-built option, with us using the closest-matching $400 OrigenAE case. If you subtract the $49 overclock fee and $99 cable service, Steiger only has about $189 in mark-up."
    $2578 like the link above it shows, for this exact configuration. The base price for this system is $999, so you can see it has a lot of upgrades.

    The next guy after you suggested using cheaper parts. We have the SBM for that.

    Reply
  • lunyone
    $2578 like the link above it shows, for this exact configuration. The base price for this system is $999, so you can see it has a lot of upgrades.

    The next guy after you suggested using cheaper parts. We have the SBM for that.
    I thought is was an ad price listed like the ads listed on other pages, so I guess I just assumed that was an ad price :)
    For a gaming/htpc I think this is just too much $. I would have went with something below $6-800, but that is just me.
    Reply
  • photonboy
    In what universe is this a good value?

    You can build a quieter computer with a better video card (GTX970) for about HALF THE PRICE. I built a system and here are the only noise elements:
    1) Noctua cooler (runs at 300RPM in idle)
    2) BeQuiet PSU (inaudible)
    3) Asus Strix GTX970 (has 0dB mode)

    I don't have the card yet but it would be completely silent unless doing heavy gaming. My system can't be heard from one foot away in a silent room.

    Other:
    - 2xRAID0 for SSD is pointless in the real-world.
    - not sure where that "16dB" number came from considering the PC has a pump, a radiator fan, and a GTX770. That's pretty much impossible.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    14277529 said:
    In what universe is this a good value?

    You can build a quieter computer with a better video card (GTX970) for about HALF THE PRICE. I built a system and here are the only noise elements:
    1) Noctua cooler (runs at 300RPM in idle)
    2) BeQuiet PSU (inaudible)
    3) Asus Strix GTX970 (has 0dB mode)

    I don't have the card yet but it would be completely silent unless doing heavy gaming. My system can't be heard from one foot away in a silent room.
    I don't think you understand. It's the build cost that's a good value. You can pick your own parts. Well, except for the case.

    Your response is like someone saying "How can you call $8 for two 8 oz Fillet Mignons a good deal? I just paid $4 for a pound of hamburger!"

    14277529 said:
    Other:
    - 2xRAID0 for SSD is pointless in the real-world.
    - not sure where that "16dB" number came from considering the PC has a pump, a radiator fan, and a GTX770. That's pretty much impossible.
    I see you didn't read the article. There's a page called "Power, Heat, and Noise". If you choose to scroll to the bottom of that page, you'll see something that's impossible. And then maybe you'll understand why the company used all these overpriced parts.

    What you won't be able to explain is how they're "overcharging" for this exact configuration. Which means, as a builder, they're offering you a good rate. Aka, a fair deal.


    Reply
  • Crashman
    In what universe is this a good value?
    ...
    - not sure where that "16dB" number came from considering the PC has a pump, a radiator fan, and a GTX770. That's pretty much impossible.
    In what universe is it a good idea to repeat the question seven minutes after I answered it?
    Reply
  • Pikime
    the problem with having a high performance machine in the lounge room like this is it would be more effective (granted maybe not more simple) to have your existing desktop rig (as i presume most people interested in tv gaming on a pc) to stream to a tiny actually silent box. for the media stuff you can even get a raspberry pi to run xbmc and stick it behind you tv and stream from a NAS or other big computer, for the gaming you could get something more powerful like a NUC and steam stream or limelight or similar in home streaming which is starting to take off now
    Reply
  • photonboy
    Crashman,
    If you read the conclusion he says the cost is only a couple hundred dollars more than building your own which I disagree with so I think it's fair to comment on his "value" comment.

    *I just added up the cost of all the parts, and NOT COUNTING THE CASE but including the software the total comes to $1500 USD.

    The cost to buy this machine with these specs was almost $2600. Now if we use $300 for a similar case since I don't think you can buy the case on its own the price difference comes to about $800USD.

    *So you can build the same EXACT setup with a difference case and save $800USD by doing it yourself. That is hardly "a couple hundred dollars" difference as stated in the article.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    14277718 said:
    Crashman,
    If you read the conclusion he says the cost is only a couple hundred dollars more than building your own which I disagree with so I think it's fair to comment on his "value" comment.

    *I just added up the cost of all the parts, and NOT COUNTING THE CASE but including the software the total comes to $1500 USD.

    The cost to buy this machine with these specs was almost $2600. Now if we use $300 for a similar case since I don't think you can buy the case on its own the price difference comes to about $800USD.

    *So you can build the same EXACT setup with a difference case and save $800USD by doing it yourself. That is hardly "a couple hundred dollars" difference as stated in the article.
    I added up the cost of all the parts when I wrote the article:

    Processor 235
    Graphics 350
    Motherboard 150
    Memory 180
    System Drive 150
    Power 145
    Wi-Fi 33

    System Drive 125
    CPU Cooler 65
    Storage Drive 125
    Optical 90
    case 400
    OS 100
    Playback SW 100
    Overclock 0
    Cable Sleeving 0
    2248

    Prices might have changed a little since I wrote the article, but I bet you'd find any large changes in a component price are eventually picked up by this builder. Moreover, I priced the parts using Google product search and top venders (Newegg, Tigerdirect, Directron, etc) wherever applicable (case and ODD were only available from small venders) on the SAME DAY that I priced the finished system at Steiger Dynamics.
    Look, nobody likes to admit they're wrong, that's why I kept a record of all the part prices when I made those calculations. I wanted to be sure that when someone came in here to question my analysis, I'd have the data to prove its validity.
    Reply