Around the time of the Athlon64 and Athlon64 FX launch on September 23rd, we were talking with Elite PC about evaluating a full-blown gaming system that they were planning to build around the Athlon64 FX. There were several delays due to Elite PC's desire to use a Dual Socket 940 board and the new ATI Radeon XT. There were some difficulties with their early Dual boards and they wanted everything to be right before sending us a review system. When the system was finally shipped to AnandTech, there were several miscues as well. We really expected the Elite PC Titan FX to be the first full-size system review at AnandTech, but events conspired to delay it for a while. We do think, however, that you will agree that this is a system worth waiting for.

Elite PC is a web-based reseller that maintains a storefront in Tempe, Arizona. You can see, configure, and order systems at their website at www.elitepc.com. The System we are evaluating is their top gaming system, the Titan FX, and you can see the available options and prices at the Titan FX page. Since Elite PC also maintains a 20-station LAN Center that is open 7 days a week for LAN Gaming, it is clear that they have a very good idea of what most gamers want in a gaming PC.

The Titan FX is built around the Dual Processor version of the MSI K8T Master motherboard. While Elite PC normally ships the system with one Athlon64 FX CPU, they wanted to give gamers the option for a future upgrade to Dual Opteron chips. In addition, the rest of the top-of-the-line features include 1GB of high-speed Registered DDR400 memory, SATA RAID 0 with 2 Western Digital Raptor 10,000RPM hard drives, ATI Radeon XT 256Mb, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 6.1, MSI TV@nywhere card with Remote Control, Sony DVD +/- burner, 16X DVD, USB Multi-flash reader, 120mm Case fan, blue case lighting, and Windows XP Professional, all wrapped in a silver and black Chenbro Xpider case with a 460-watt power supply and a 3-year onsite warranty.

UPDATE 12/01/2003: Elite PC has provided an update on Dual Processor usage. "The only AMD processors that can be run in DUAL mode are the 200 and 800 series Opteron processors. The motherboard in the Titan FX machine will run all 940 pin processors, however only the 200 and 800 series Opteron processors will run as Dual processors." AnandTech just tried to benchmark the Titan FX system with 2 FX51, and while the system worked, the boot screen only identified ONE CPU even though two were installed. Oddly, the few benchmarks we ran were higher than single CPU, but not at the levels we would expect with Dual Opteron chips. Elite PC recommends the 200 or 800 Opterons for Dual CPU operation.


We asked Elite PC to ship us the system without a monitor and speakers for our testing. Gamers often already have a monitor and speaker system, but they can also choose from a wide array of CRTs or flat panel monitors, and select whatever they prefer for speakers. All the peripherals are in black to complement the silver and black chassis. While this was written, the price for the Titan FX, exactly as reviewed is $2999.99. This is for the base tower, and does not include monitor, speakers, keyboard, or pointing device. It does include a 3-year Warranty with On-Site Service.

In keeping with the AnandTech policy regarding complete systems, we evaluated the Elite PC Titan FX as it is received. While we do make driver and minor OS adjustments to be consistent with other testing done at Anandtech, we test the actual system, video card, and hard drives as received. This gives readers results that truly reflect performance of the system. We compare results to other similar systems that we have tested, and also compare results to the best components (motherboards) we have tested that use similar components. This differs from our test procedures with barebone SFF systems. Small Form Factor systems are usually sold as basic barebones, and we use the same standardized components in their build to allow better performance and noise-level comparisons.

System Specifications


 System Specifications
   Elite PC Titan FX  Dell Dimension XPS
Expansion Bays (5.25"/3.5"/Hidden) 4/1/6 3/1/3
Front USB Ports 3 2
Rear USB Ports 2 6
Internal USB Ports 0 0
Front Firewire Ports 1 Standard 1 Standard
Rear Firewire Ports 1 Standard 1 Standard
On-Board Parallel Port 1 Rear 1 Rear
On-Board Game Port 1 Rear None
Modem Ports None 2 Rear
Video Ports ATI XT Analog/Digital/SVGA
MSI @nywhere TV card
Rear SVGA, Coax, 2 Mini Jacks
ATI XT Analog/Digital/SVGA
On-Board Serial Ports 2 Rear 2 Rear
Front Audio Jacks 2 — Headphone and Mic 2 — Headphone
Rear Audio Jacks 6 Mini on Audigy 2 6 Mini on Audigy 2
SPDIF One — Rear
Mini Out
One — Rear
Mini Out
Number of Fans (including CPU/chipset) 3 — 70mm CPU, 80mm intake, 120mm out 4
Power Supply 460W 460W

Elite PC Titan FX: Chenbro Xpider Chassis
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  • tfranzese - Tuesday, December 02, 2003 - link

    Doop, no I don't feel like a fool. It's better to be informed than be completely ignorant like yourself. Even Wesley, the guy who wrote this article, was under the impression the current FX's were dual capable. It could either have been fixed by AMD or fixed in the BIOs for all you know.

    As for sales, sales don't determine leadership. As for the 8x thing, being first to market a new speed does not make you the leader. Am I not the only one disappointed that it can't do 8x + and - R?

    And no, no one mentioned Pioneer in this article but neither did they mention Plextor. And you're kidding yourself if you think Plextor has the same prestiege in the DVD burner market as they did with CD burners. Plextors are good, but speed isn't what makes you the best.
    Reply
  • Tweak - Tuesday, December 02, 2003 - link

    oops, late post. Reply
  • Tweak - Tuesday, December 02, 2003 - link

    Well Mr Fink, can you answer the dual FX question for us?

    You changed the typos, but completely ignored this MUCH more important querry.

    In any case, if the 940pin Fx's are dual compatible it would be a reason for the 940 pinners to remain in existance after the release of the 939pin. The performance of the new 939's will probably destroy single chip 940's configs.




    Reply
  • TheRealMandak - Tuesday, December 02, 2003 - link

    1. The Athlon64FX IS an Opteron 148, a single server/workstation processor.
    2. The socket for the FX, vill change to 941. So you might get problems with upgrading this system or have to use Opteron's at a higher price. "hint" Change'en socket might give a small price drop to the FX, since it cannot work in servers/workstations any more. Properly depends on Prescott performance (but this is a guess).
    3. It is not recommended to use 4 DIMMS in a single Athlon64/FX processor system, it will reduce performance.
    4. The MSI K8T Master2 is NOT supporting dedicated RAM for both Processors in a dual setup. As the socket 940 designs describes. The 2.end Processor has to go through processor number 1, using Hyper Transport. Result, latency!!! And reduced performance. The MSI K8T Master2 not a great dual board. Maybe cheep but not great.
    Reply
  • destaccado - Monday, December 01, 2003 - link

    #12 I said nothing negative about pioneer, and in terms of leadership do you mean sales? That pioneer may lead but I seem to recall plextor having the first 8x drive to market...that signifies leadership to me....and why would you bring up pioneer? They aren't using pioneer who makes really good burners, they're using MSI, now I'm not saying MSI is bad but you'd think for 3g's........ Reply
  • AMDjihad - Monday, December 01, 2003 - link

    in yomammas face intel. you suck suck suck. Iknew this is much better, over 30000 3dmarks its better than anyting intel will make in the next years from prescott to tjas. amd will be market leader soon Reply
  • mizzouXC - Monday, December 01, 2003 - link

    I think these benchmarks are unfair to the Barton 3200+ setup. Every other system had Raid 0. While this won't make much difference in the brute force FPS competition, it does play into the everyday use (office) benchmarks. Other than that great comparison. I'd like to see these comparisons when we actually have a 64 bit O/S and 64 bit software.... Reply
  • Doop - Monday, December 01, 2003 - link

    err tfranzese you feel like a fool now? Perhaps YOU should read the reviews before spouting complete bollocks about Athlon FX dual capability.

    Reply
  • tfranzese - Monday, December 01, 2003 - link

    Wesley, interesting. Is the second CPU showing in the system hardware section of XP's control panel? That should let you know if it's running as a dually or not. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, December 01, 2003 - link

    Elite PC has provided an update on Dual Processor usage. <em>"The only AMD processors that can be run in DUAL mode are the 200 and 800 series Opteron processors. The motherboard in the Titan FX machine will run all 940 pin processors, however only the 200 and 800 series Opteron processors will run as Dual processors."</em> We have just tried to benchmark the Titan FX system with 2 FX51, and while the system worked, the boot screen only identified ONE CPU even though two were installed. Oddly, the few benchmarks we ran were higher than single CPU, but not at the levels we would expect with Dual Opteron chips. Elite PC recommends the 200 or 800 Opterons for Dual CPU operation.

    An update with this information has been added to the review.
    Reply

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