Build Quality

Once again, it's pretty hard to fault AVADirect's building job. This Quiet Gaming PC seems to have even gotten a little bit of extra thought and care put into it compared to its predecessor, and more TLC is never a bad thing. Of course, AVADirect also benefits from the reduced power consumption of Ivy Bridge and Kepler, though the benefits of Ivy Bridge are mitigated by the heat produced at high overclocks (much like the 4.5GHz overclock in our review system).

Unlike in the last version, AVADirect has actually opted to move the video card down a slot and instead placed an independent fan unit between the card and the CPU heatsink in order to improve circulation. This is an interesting choice, but it benefits from the speed boost provided by PCI Express 3.0; even though the GTX 680 is forced to run on eight lanes instead of sixteen, the increased bandwidth works out to the same amount of bandwidth the card would've had to work with in a PCIe 2.1 x16 slot. That means the CPU gets a little more breathing room while the GTX 680 takes a virtually nonexistent performance hit. Smart move.

Heat and Noise

True to form, the AVADirect Quiet Gaming System is, indeed, quiet. I can't verify the certification by SPCR; most sound meters don't read below 30dB, so testing to see if those figures are accurate just isn't possible. I can say it's definitely below 30dB at idle and under load, though. Ambient noise in the room is liable to mask the system almost entirely.

That said, it's quiet, not silent. It's definitely audible and still audible over my desktop, but a large part of that is due to the pitch. The noise produced by my desktop's SilverStone FT02 enclosure is lower and hollower due to the large fans and the fact that the case is basically designed to be a vertical wind tunnel. By comparison, the NZXT H2 is a smaller enclosure making do with smaller fans, so while it's by no means high pitched, it's still audible from a foot away, and that noise does increase slightly but noticeably under load.

AVADirect did make some smart trade-offs between noise and heat, though. Recognizing that Ivy Bridge just plain runs warm, they allowed the i7-3770K a little bit of slack and it runs up to a toasty but not alarming 80C under full load. The GTX 680's massive cooler keeps it under 70C, though, which is impressive.

Note also that they switched over to a voltage offset on the overclock. While the voltage on the i7-3770K is still higher than I'd like (as I've mentioned, our own Ian Cutress suggested about 1.25V should be the cutoff for this architecture), it's not alarmingly high.

Power Consumption

Keeping with the benefits of this generation of hardware, it should come as no surprise that AVADirect's build is fairly frugal with power drawn from the wall.

Idle Power Consumption

Load Power Consumption

Frankly it's hard to argue with this kind of efficiency. AVADirect's system draws much less power than last generation's competitors while providing tangibly superior performance. Idle power draw is excellent, too.

Gaming Performance Conclusion: Worth Considering In This Configuration
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  • A5 - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    The Mac Pro is a professional workstation designed by one of the world's largest PC companies. Comparing it to one of these boutique gaming systems is insane as it is designed for a different market - if you need that style of system, you should be looking at HP's Z-series or a Dell Precision T3600. Reply
  • iSayuSay - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    Well .. Dell is the second or third biggest PC manufacturer. Their AlienWare is still generic components wrapped in some awkward and LED-ish cases. Now any PC boutique can do that too.

    Being a big company does not mean they're able or willing to design a nice looking tower. I can see the possibility, If one so inclined, people would interested and pay premium for it.

    Mac fanboys aside, I think MacPro could be a great computer, but Apple seems does not want it to. Slow lame updates and all.
    Reply
  • Sub Zero - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    I've bought 2 high-end machines through AVA and 2 from CyberPowerPC. I'll never buy another from CyberPowerPC but will gladly buy from AVA.

    Cyber breaks out good packaging, thermal compound and yes, even good wiring - as Separate Charges. $50 bucks for all that? If you buy a huge CPU fan like the one in this build, and don't support it during shipping, it can cause damage. Happened to me on the last build, and that's why I switched over to AVA.

    The AVA system I just got uses the Corsair 650D, and it's default fan config is very quiet. Built in fan controller in hardware. Plus, the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional motherboard allows you to set target fan speeds as low as you wish, so at idle, you can manually tweak every other fan connected to the Motherboard so they too are nearly silent.

    A good case can make a huge difference and it is odd that AVA would include that particular case in that build. But thankfully, you can override that choice when ordering, and if you do that, it looks like you can snag a high-quality, low noise system with very little compromise.
    Reply
  • casteve - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    Ryan,

    Don't know if you knew this...but the case has been through a revision since it's last review. While it's not the prettiest or feature filled case out there, at least it's not starved for air any more. You could pull the AVA Direct guts out, put your std case testing parts in for a quick sound/thermal test and see.
    Reply
  • casteve - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    Sorry, meant Dustin. Reply
  • Folterknecht - Monday, August 27, 2012 - link

    total overkill was my first thought when I saw the the specs and your test results prove it. 650 W would be enough and you still could put in a second GTX680, while it would reduce the power draw and increase efficiency. Under full load that 650W PSU would at least run at ~50% resulting in best efficiency without getting noisy if you stick with Seasonic or BeQuiet! ... Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - link

    Agreed. That PSU doesn't make sense for 99.98% of the buyers. Such a waste. Reply

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