Ultra Power Pack
It may cost under $3000, but TI's Ultra Power Pack houses some of the best PC components that have been released this year. Its CPU is Intel's Core 2 Duo E6850, which boasts of a 1333MHz front side bus speed and a 3GHz clock speed, while its graphics card is the mammoth-sized Palit 8800 Ultra, which has 768MB of RAM. It's the perfect PC for high-detail gaming and users of photo and video editing applications will also appreciate its fast CPU and ample storage space. It has 1TB of hard drive space installed via two 500GB Western Digital hard drives configured in a RAID 0 array to boost the performance of the system.
- High-end graphics with DirectX 10 support, 25cm side mounted fan, high-end CPU
- DDR2 RAM is used instead of the DDR3, which would be a better match for the CPU
TI's latest gaming system is a veritable beast. Gamers will thrill at the juice under its hood, but it doesn't stop there. Based on the hardware and performance results, we expect this system to make anyone who purchases it a happy customer.
Price$ 2,890.00 (AUD)
Perhaps the only sore point of this system is its reliance on 2GB of DDR2 memory technology, rather than DDR3 technology, which can take full advantage of the 1333MHz front side bus of the CPU. In saying that, the Gigabyte GA-P35-DQ6 motherboard, upon which this system is based, is a zippy model, and we haven't found DDR3-based systems to be more potent than DDR2-based ones when running the same CPU speed, yet.
In WorldBench 6, the system scored a total of 89, though it did not complete two Windows Media Encoder 9 files. This has lowered its overall score, but the failure is mainly due to a conflict with pre-installed software, not due to any fault of the hardware itself. Based on the already high score of the incomplete test, and on individual scores from the components, we can still safely say that this is a fast system for high-end pursuits.
In our gaming tests, the TI did well across a range of DirectX 9 and DirectX 10-based tests. In 3DMark06, it scored 11,537 at a resolution of 1280x1024 with no antialiasing (AA) or anisotropic filtering (AF). When maxed-out at 1680x1050, the full native resolution of the included 22in Chi Mei monitor, while using 8x AA and 16x AF, it scored 6698. In our FEAR benchmark, at a resolution of 1280x960 and using 4x AA and 16x AF (with all other features turned on), it scored 120fps, which is overkill.
In the Call of Juarez DirectX 10 benchmark, it scored a noticeably lower 22.7fps when running in the maximum quality setting with a resolution of 1680x1050, and it only improved to 28.1fps at 1280x1024 when using the 'Balanced' quality mode. This score seems low, as the installed NVIDIA 8800 Ultra is the fastest card currently on the market, but it's hard to expect more from this system. In the DirectX 10 Lost Planet: Extreme Condition demo, it averaged a more enticing 66.5fps, using the default quality settings at a resolution of 1280x720.
Physically, TI has built-up the system in a somewhat cheesy-looking case, but it does a relatively quiet job of keeping the system cool. A 25cm side-mounted fan feeds the system with cool air, while a 12cm fan keeps cool air flowing over the hard drives. It has ample room for more drives, although a couple of 3.5in bays are obstructed by the long graphics card. The location of the power and reset switches on the side of the case is a little annoying, but non-powered USB ports, headphone and microphone ports are located on the front.
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