Website Layout and Ordering

First off, when looking for the webpage, it's helpful to know the URL, www.uberclok.com. Searching by company name doesn't show their site in the top 10 hits, and it's even more likely users will misspell the name as "uberclock" and get hits for a software utility. Once at the webpage, we find a fairly clean and straightforward layout, with generally good information. There are currently two models, the Ion and the Reaktor. The Ion was "designed" to run up to 1680x1050, while the Reaktor model is recommended for anything above that.

Clicking on "Buy" will direct you to a separate website with the ordering options. Configuration options are available for each model, but the options are limited compared to some other vendors that offer vast arrays of choices. In general, we agree with Überclok's approach of providing only a few quality choices for each item. This avoids confusing the average gaming consumer, who likely is relying on the PC vendor's opinion of what is "the best" considering they are skipping the DIY option. We also appreciate their honesty on several of the options, particularly the Killer NIC ("Cost conscious? You don't need a Killer NIC.") and antivirus solution (AVG Free is recommended). One thing we disliked is that you cannot view shipping and handling charges until after creating a profile.

Summing up the website layout and content:

Pros

  • Quality component choices
  • Simplified ordering options and honest explanations of choices
  • Reasonable OS and hardware upgrade pricing
  • Dual-boot options

Cons

  • Cannot view "final" cost with shipping and handling without creating a profile
  • Portions of the ordering page seem very new (i.e. About our Site in the Help area is presently blank)

Support

As mentioned previously, Überclok warranties their systems for three years parts and labor. Should a component fail, Überclok covers shipping both ways, which is a nice addition. If the consumer wants to ship the entire system for diagnosis or repair, they must pay for shipping, but Überclok will pay for return shipping. This is slightly unfortunate, but reasonable for a smaller vendor. They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee if the buyer is not satisfied, excluding shipping and handling fees. This is a great option for peace of mind.

The Support page definitely has a personal small-company feel, which could be viewed as a plus or a minus. A quote from the Customer Support page:

"Speak to an actual human being! Our hours are 9-5 Central Time, Monday - Friday. We also answer the phones whenever we are putting in extra hours (which is all the time!), so go ahead and try us evenings and weekends too."

The number is toll-free but as noted above is not 24 hours, unless the guys at the office happen to be hopped up on Red Bull.

Now that we're acquainted with the company, how do their systems perform?

Index Specifications
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  • nubie - Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - link

    Have you ever considered a PC Power and Cooling power supply? The Silencer 610 offers a single 12-volt rail at 49 Amps and is also Nvidia SLI certified for $50 cheaper (assuming retail). I like your product, but I feel that the power supply isn't the wisest choice.

    I realize that the Thermaltake is a "52 Amp" power supply, but with 4 power rails it is a moot point because all of the power is not available for use when split. The Silencer is rated at 49Amps anyway, so nearly the same.
    Reply
  • Uberclok - Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - link

    We are very impressed with PC Power & Cooling, and always consider their products when specing out a new model. Unfortunately, they tend to cost quite a bit more than competing models without a truely compelling benefit. The Silencer 610 is only SLI-certified for dual 7900 GTX cards or lower, so it won't work for our Ions. The least expensive PP&C PSU which is SLI-certified for the 8800 GT card is the Silencer 750 Quad, which retails for about $25-$50 more than the Toughpower. That's almost compelling enough to switch, but our customers tend to like a clean interior, so we actually view PP&C's lack of modular cabling as a drawback, not a plus (despite the increased electrical resistance of modular cables.)

    - Thomas Glen
    Uberclok
    (877) 211-4235
    thomas.glen@uberclok.com
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - link

    You forgot an operating system, assuming you will use Windows legally that adds at least $100. The P35 chipset cannot officially do SLI, and I highly doubt you find a similar case/PSU/pair of DVD drives for $120 regularly - cheaper case and less powerful PSU would be doable. I'm guessing you also are planning on stock CPU cooling, and you specified a smaller hard drive. So yes, if you know exactly what you want your computer to do over its life then you can save a bunch of money. If you build for future expansion (such as this system) I'm guessing your total will be closer to what they calculated. Reply
  • nubie - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    I have only 20, minus taskman, utorrent and Firefox that is 17.

    I take offense to iTunes, it has crapped on my system too many times, and refuses to install on a regular basis for me. I don't own an iPod, I can't spend the money on one because they are the same price as a computer or a car for me (take your pick, my last 5 computers and cars cost $500, $300, $200 and $400), so why do I need APPLE running 5 programs to update "my" ipod?

    Pre-loading should be optional. And nTune is a huge pile as well, never helps anyway. For Video card the Classic control panel will check temps and run frequency adjustments. And for the motherboard there is ClockGen and GCPUID.

    These problems are really the fault of Apple and nVidia for bloatware. Divx is bloatware/adware as well.

    As nice as this system is, I wouldn't buy one myself (since when is the 8800GTS 512 $100 more than the 8800GT 512?), and I couldn't recommend it without also suggesting that the OS be "un-loaded" of the crap.

    Nice case and HS/FAN though.
    Reply
  • Uberclok - Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - link

    You make an excellent point about the 8800 GT/GTS pricing - we needed to adjust to account for recent price drops. Our website now reflects a $50 difference between the two cards (single and SLI.)

    Although I can understand wanting to run such a lean system, I'm still quite proud of how little 3rd-party software we ship on our PCs. Everything we do include was selected because it contributes in some significant way to giving our customers a smoother out-of-the-box experience, is innocuous, doesn't annoy them, and doesn't slow down the PC.

    We include iTunes simply because it's such a good stand-alone music and video app, whether you have an iPod or not. It's a very easy way to get quick access to dozens of streaming internet radio stations, podcasts, and cheap TV shows and movies.

    nTune is included solely for nVidia Monitor. Most of our customers won't be using it to adjust any settings.

    Divx can be bloatware/adware if you install the whole package, but we only include the codec and the player, so there aren't any "trial" components (that kind of thing bugs us too.)

    - Thomas Glen
    Uberclok
    (877) 211-4235
    thomas.glen@uberclok.com
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, February 14, 2008 - link

    Thomas,

    I wanted to thank you for all the replies I've read in the comments section by you, and in turn, your company. It is refreshing to see such direct replies, especially in reference to some of the more heated/argumentative posts.

    I think if your company is run in a similar fashion to the way many of us build systems (ie the search for the best QUALITY bang for the buck in each category) it will be very successful. Please note the key word of QUALITY. Many companies are out there that can build a "wicked fast" system for cheap (along with the cheap components), I and anyone in the know will appreciate using quality parts to get the same or slightly less performance knowing they have a rock solid rig.

    I also think sites like Anand's will be vital to the success of your company. Simple things like the cpu cooler and power supply roundups will let you guys get the real data on what parts perform exceptionally well at a particular price point, and should ultimately improve your bottom line and keep system costs down to the consumer.

    While I build my own systems (its fun!) I will have no problem recommending your company to potential customers in the future. Please just make sure a simple Google search yields a hit on your site!
    Reply
  • nubie - Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - link

    Thanks for clarifying :), I agree on your point about Divx, if it is only a codec and player. I am happy to see that you have reflected the market with the video card pricing. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - link

    I agree with you on iTunes. I remember when my Alienware (see 3rd or so post of the comments for backstory) was delivered to my house. I booted it up to what you saw on the desktop with this system and that was it. No 3rd party programs at all. This was well before Firefox was even conceived (could have probably dl'd Netscape Navigator at that time!), and it was so nice and refreshing to not have to spend an hour deleting all the bloat (or reformatting if it would be faster). Oh and all the driver disks were together in a nice sleeve of the binder (like baseball trading cards). I have no idea how Alienware has evolved since then (especially by being purchased by Dell), but back then while pricy, it was the CREAM of the crop (along with Falcon Northwest, but those were just sickeningly expensive....$4,000-5,000...certainly don't miss those days).

    If the company is watching these comments here's a very easy way to gain respect on both sides (to install or not to install):

    -Put all these 3rd party programs you installed INSTEAD on a cd included with the binder. You can even include a short description of what each program is/does and then let the buyer decide to install or not.

    I personally believe Firefox should be a defacto standard on any new PC, but again it should be the owner's choice to install it, not the company selling the product. I like Firefox, someone else might prefer a different 3rd party browser.
    Reply
  • HaZaRd2K6 - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    Owning a Nine Hundred, I'd love to get a closer look at how they kept the cables so neat. Any chance you could upload the full picture of the case interior, there? :) Reply
  • KikassAssassin - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    Yeah, that's an incredibly clean cabling job for a Nine Hundred case (the lack of places to route wires is my one gripe with my Nine Hundred).

    From the picture, it looks like they probably put a snakeskin around the cable bundle to keep everything together and make it look neater. It's a good solution, though it might mean you'd have to take the whole bundle out if you wanted to change one of the cables for whatever reason.
    Reply

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