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Review: Vigor's Quadfather Uses AMD Quad FX CPUs

Graphics

Top performance graphics cards come from Nvidia's 8800 series, which are used in SLI mode for even more graphics power But two 8800 Ultra's would have been far too expensive for the majority of buyers, so Vigor chose two XFX-brand 8800GTX cards instead.

This is the same choice we made for our recent System Builder Marathon High-End Configuration, and for the same reason.

Memory

Corsair's PC2-8500 CAS5 modules have provided excellent performance and exceptional overclocking for a very long time, but there's probably a better reason why Vigor chose these, rather than the newer models with the fins at the top: The old-fashioned memory sinks provide the lower-profile needed to fit under its thermoelectric coolers. The DIMM clearance issue of the Monsoon cooler (and similar designs) was also addressed in our Monsoon Lite review.

Hard Drives

Customers expect a RAID array in any super-performance system, but the Vigor Force Recon QX4 is also aimed at more traditional power users. A Level 0 array would be fine for games, but a single large-capacity drive would provide more storage at a reduced risk. Vigor started out with a Level 0 array of two 150 GB Western Digital Raptors and added a 500 GB Caviar RE2 storage drive to our configuration. Less-expensive options are also available from the Force Recon QX4's configuration sheet.

The "better" choice of four or five drives in RAID 5 would have required a super-expensive "hardware" RAID controller to maintain optimal performance, with the high price-per-capacity ratio of adding more Raptor drives.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.