Introduction

Most of our readers are probably familiar with ABS Computers Technologies. Founded in 1990, they are one of the nation's largest system integrators. They offer everything from budget to high-end desktops, laptops, workstations, and servers. You can also purchase individual components from them: cases, motherboards, speakers, games, etc. Even if you have never heard of ABS, you have almost certainly heard of their online retailer spin off: Newegg.com. Newegg caters to people looking to build their own systems, providing great prices and a great selection on virtually every component imaginable. (It was so successful apparently that ABS created another spin off, ChiefValue.com.) Not everyone has the time or inclination to build their own system, however, so when ABS offered us a chance to look at their latest Ultimate X9 gaming system, we were of course interested.


The system comes loaded with all the top-of-the-line parts currently available: Intel Core 2 Extreme, X1900 XT CrossFire, 2x1024MB of Corsair RAM, 2x150GB Western Digital Raptor hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration, and it's topped off with a water-cooled CPU and graphics cards. You can configure your own specific system on the ABS web site, but they sent us their maximum performance configuration for review. This particular configuration further improves performance by overclocking the Core 2 Extreme processor an extra 20%, resulting in out of box performance faster than just about any other retail system on the market. All of this does carry a price, naturally, but when you consider the time and effort it takes to put together such an extreme system the final price of roughly $4300 really isn't all that bad.

Given the current market demands for Intel's Core 2 Duo/Extreme processors, there are other reasons to consider purchasing a prebuilt system. Anyone that has looked around online trying to find a good deal on one of these processors has likely discovered a couple of things. First, many retailers are currently out of stock. Second, those web sites that do have the processors in stock are typically charging a price premium. Some will call this price gouging, but really it's simple supply and demand economics in full effect.

Intel's Core 2 processors offer superior performance pretty much across the board, and given that they have only recently been introduced all of the people that were looking to upgrade are snapping them up as fast as Intel can produce them. Large OEMs -- Dell, HP, Gateway, etc. -- are also consuming the vast majority of these processors, further limiting retail supply. We expect the supply issues to dissipate over time, resulting in lower prices eventually, but if you're in a hurry to get a system sporting one of the new chips, the cost of building your own computer versus purchasing a prebuilt system is basically a wash, assuming that the time you spend assembling your system doesn't cost you anything.

So what exactly do you get with this "super" system, how does it perform, and is it something you should consider purchasing? Let's find out.

Features and Price
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  • JarredWalton - Saturday, August 19, 2006 - link



    Don't use the (bracket) H (closebracket) abbreviation in our comments - that's the code for highlight enable, which makes your text white. LOL
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, August 19, 2006 - link



    Multiple uses cause even more troble. :p
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, August 19, 2006 - link





    Have I shut off all text highlights yet? Enquiring minds want to know!
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    Take a look at similarly configured Alienware, Falcon NW, VoodooPC, etc. systems and see what they cost. $4500 for the ABS is an absolute bargain by comparison. And don't think that all of those systems are going to be more stable than this ABS. I tried a Quad SLI config for a while that was much, MUCH less stable than this system. The review would have been very unfavorable, but as the company basically pulled the configuration I had there was no reason to "review" a phantom product.

    Alienware is about $4300 without overclocking or watercooling.
    FNW Talon with E6700 and 7950GX2: $6000
    FNW Mach V with X6800 watercooling and CrossFire: $8230
    VoodooPC Omen CrossFire: $7600

    None of those come factory overclocked as far as I can tell, but I'm sure they could be. Still, there's a big difference between $4500 and $6000+. Are they more stable? I don't know - I haven't tested any of the above configurations.

    As for ways to improve system reviews, I'm open for suggestions. Simply stating "be like HardOCP" doesn't really help much. What would you like to see added? Compare what this review told you about gaming to what others show, and let me know what's really different about the conclusions. Where do we fall short? I have plenty more system reviews, so if there are specific improvements to be made I'd love to try and make them.

    Thanks,
    Jarred Walton
    Editor
    AnandTech.com
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    Personally, I find your articles fine the way they are, whihc is why I'll read YOUR articles over Toms any day of the week (because you guys seem to tell it how it is, and how you'd think the company you're reviewing would want to hear it. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    err and NOT how you'd think the company you're reviewing would want to hear it (left out 'not'), sorry. Reply
  • MarkHark - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    Thumbs up for you, Jarred, twice in fact!

    First for a well-thought, well-written review, second and most important for your last comment.
    Reply
  • samuraiBX - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    now if one of you will please run over me so I can get the money from my insurance... :P Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    We've got a $1400 system review coming soon, for "the rest" of our readers. :) Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, August 18, 2006 - link

    Sub 1,000 system review would be much bettter ;) Anyhow, nice clean looking wiring (until you look into the drive bays), additional fan on a water cooled CPU ?! 3000-4000 Price ?!

    Personally, I would never consider buying a OEM type system, but man even though it has semi clean wiring, neat gadgets like a Air cooling assisted water block, excellent non gaming performance, I would expect said system to be stable, offer the best gaming performance period, and to cook for me . . .
    Reply

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