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  • DrMrLordX - Friday, February 15, 2008 - link

    This is a business model I've often wondered about myself. Considering how many technical, legal, and customer issues could be involved with building and selling systems like this, it seems like a risky gambit. It was only a matter of time before all the OC-friendly hardware on the market finally found its way into an OCed system that didn't cost an arm and a leg.

    I really hope it does work out for you guys.
    Reply
  • cooklaw - Thursday, February 14, 2008 - link

    The hardware this thing has at an amazing price point (even for Dell) will be tough to compete with. Check out their presale special. Full details will be up soon.

    dell.com/xps630
    Reply
  • Uberclok - Thursday, February 14, 2008 - link

    Interesting. What is the price, and what does it include? Reply
  • IdaGno - Thursday, February 14, 2008 - link

    Onboard sound? W's Vista, probably may as well, but if XP, then I'd want a sound card Even an entry level discrete sound card soultion is preferred to onboard. Currently running thru SS2 again & the difference w/EAX enabled is profound.

    http://techreport.com/articles.x/11171/1">http://techreport.com/articles.x/11171/1
    Reply
  • initialised - Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - link

    Overclocking settings:
    1.5V Vcore
    1.4V Vfsb
    273MHz FSB
    Excessive voltage for such a conservative overclock.
    3.2GHz on an E4500 typically requires 1.4V Vcore at 400x8.
    I have 3.4GHz stable at 425x8 on 1.4375.
    I guess they do it this way to reduce the impact of dust maggots during the 3-year RTB period.
    Some good ideas there, despite the conservative settings, I might look into implementing some of them.
    Reply
  • gsubrec - Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - link

    1. The heatsink is a 800g Tunic, which has special packing to prevent falling off during shipping. Why dont they use Thermalright Ultima-90, which is only 460g, and per the Anandtech testing performs just as good as the Tunic

    2. The only difference between the Ion and the Reactor series is that the website claims that the Ion videocard cannot handle > 22 inch monitors. The website seems to be incorrect, the Ion has the 8800GT which has 512MB, which is enough for 2500x1600 , 30 inch monitor
    Reply
  • Uberclok - Thursday, February 14, 2008 - link

    Good points:

    1. We'll take a look at the Ultima, it might be a good fit for us.

    2. The Ion is -recommended- for 22 inch monitors or lower because the 8800 GT/GTS cards can play most new games at high settings with 4x AA up to about 1680x1050. The cards are capable of decent frame rates on some games at higher resolutions, but we want to encourage our customers to consider the GTX/Ultra-equipped Reactor if they intend to play at 1920x1200 or higher, and that usually equates to 24" monitors and up.

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

    Looks really good to me. I would recommend these to someone not comfortable with building their own machine.

    I especially like the binder with all the manuals in it, nice touch.
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - link

    E4500 = $120
    GA-P35-DS3L= $90
    2G or RAM = $50
    8800GT = $240
    320gig HDD = $70
    Case, power supply, dvd = $120

    total < $700

    Price this company charges to overclock an E4500 to 3GHz? AN ARM AND A FRIGGIN LEG. A monkey can overclock an E4500 to 3 GHz. wtf are you wasting your time promoting this scam company? For the money they charge you could buy TWO of these systems. Good gawd...
    Reply
  • Uberclok - Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - link

    We're not running any scam, I assure you. Our components are chosen because they are high quality, offer solid features, and are reasonably priced. Allow me to respond to the prices you've offered up:

    E4500 = $120
    That's true, although I take issue with your claim that a monkey could overclock it to 3.0GHz. Our monkey could only get a stable overclock at 2.8GHz, at which point he threw his own feces into the case and shorted everything out.

    GA-P35-DS3L= $90
    This is a fine motherboard, (we particularly like the BIOS settings profiles) but it doesn't suit our needs. It has only one PCIe x16 slot, and cannot support SLI. While we do sell single-card systems, we want our customers to be able to drop in a second card later without upgrading the motherboard or power supply. The 680i SLI boards we use also offer two additional SATA connectors, allowing us to offer up to four hard drives in addition to two SATA-based optical drives. (Avoiding IDE devices helps us keep the interior clean.) We have also built RAID-based solutions for some of our customers, which this board doesn't do.

    There are other advantages as well - 6 external USB ports instead of four, IEEE-1394, a POST code display (which helps us troubleshoot over the phone) an extra ethernet port (which I admit is frivolous, but nice) and a third PCIe slot running at x8, which is intended for a physics card. (And that might actually end up meaning something depending on what nVidia's going to do with the new toy it bought itself.) We use EVGA's 680i, which retails for $210.

    2G of RAM = $50
    RAM is quite affordable these days, but the price still varies according to brand, quality, speed, and timings. As with all our components, we aim for the point on the price-performance curve just before it turns sharply upwards, so our customers are getting high-quality parts but at a reasonable cost. We also tend to pass on technology which doesn't improve gaming performance, since that's the main point of what we build.

    Our testing has shown us that DDR2-800 with 4-4-4-12 timings is our best bet right now for the Ion. (Moving to DDR2-1066 adds a slight performance increase in some games at a bit of an added cost, so we use that for the Reactor model we sell.) We like Corsair's reputation and history of producing high quality memory, and the price for their 2GB kit of DDR2-800 with 4-4-4-12 timings is about $70. Corsair loves to offer rebates, so it's not unusual to be able to get them for a final price even lower than the $50 you mention, but as a system builder, we don't get to take advantage of rebate offers.

    8800GT = $240
    The cards we use usually retail for $20 more than that, but you're pretty close.

    320gig HDD = $70
    The 500GB drive we use now is Seagate's ST3500320AS - it retails for $120

    Case, power supply, dvd = $120
    You could use a cheap PSU, but you're asking for trouble. Investing in a high-quality PSU was one of the earliest lessons we learned. It keeps our PCs running smoothly and protects the components from damage. We also like to stick to nVidia's list of SLI certified PSUs for whatever card is in the PC. (Or Crossfire-certified, if we go back to ATI.) The Thermaltake Toughpower 650 is an excellent choice with room to grow, and retails for $170.

    The Antec 900 case is part of what allows us to overclock the memory, CPU, motherboard, and video cards on air cooling, so although it retails for $100 or so, it saves us from having to install a pricey liquid cooling solution. The DVD-R and DVD-ROM drives we offer are quite affordable ($34 for the DVD-R with LightScribe and dual-layer support, and $18 for the DVD-ROM.)

    The Tuniq Tower 120 CPU cooler, operating system, internal cables, keyboard, mouse, box, labels, binder, zip ties, and shipping costs add up to another $250 or so. We also include a media reader/floppy drive whiich sells for $25-$45 depending on availability.

    Finally, you might want to consider the additional expenses any business like ours incurs, such as rent, heat, electricity, salaries, insurance, accounting, ding-dongs, R&D, review units, PR, advertising, web design and hosting, market research, and mob hit contracts when FedEx shrugs its mighty shoulders at our damage claim forms. I very much doubt a business could survive selling PCs like the one you describe.

    - Thomas Glen
    Uberclok
    (877) 211-4235
    thomas.glen@uberclok.com
    Reply
  • 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
  • Matt Campbell - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    Snakeskin and zipties, plus all S-ATA drives except for the combo floppy/memory card reader, which uses a short rounded cable. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - link

    FYI:

    The article has been updated with an enlarged image of the interior (on page 5). Click to get the large image.
    Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    Glad to see a company using over the counter enthusiast parts for an enthusiast PC. This is a great option for those who want great performance now and future upgradability without the hassle and headache of a DIY/BYOPC. Here's to hoping they do well and last awhile!

    Reply
  • crimson117 - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    I'd like to add my agreement that $400 is a great price point for a 3 year warranty, system assembly and software installation, and overclocking; and a little profit margin over their costs. You could pay close to $400 just for a warranty at other vendors, and you'd get a lot of junk installed, and it would be overclocked, and (with Dell for example) wouldn't even be overclockable or very expandable.

    If I were in the market for a new windows machine, I'd consider an Ion system :)

    **Crimson117 Seal of Approval**
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    The 3 Year warranty is more like home owners insurance. They charge a flat rate to everyone, and do not 'pay-out' very often(no need if there is no problem). Of course the hardware components they've seem to have chosen all should have at least a 3 year OEM warranty, so for parts, they are not out a penny. I have not visited their website, or viewed the service policies, but I wonder how they handle part replacement in home. Dell will pay technicians such as ourselves here an hourly rate to replace parts that have gone bad in a customers PC, at their home. Well, to be more exact, a contractor will set everything up, and then contact us, etc.

    More likely that $400 is going to go towards customer support over the phone, or email etc.

    This is actually not a bad idea, and if you choose your hardware carefully, document everything well in plain English(or whatever language), I suspect they could make a tidy profit, while keeping their customers close to 100% happy. Of course, how well they treat their customers remains to be seen.
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    "Clearly, the 650W power supply still has a large amount of overhead. Estimating at 80% efficiency, at full load the Ion is still only using around 200W. This is good news for both stability and expansion."

    Uhh, 80% efficiency means it requires MORE power to supply the measured power draw. If you detected 248w at load, and the PS is 80% efficient, the Ion is using ~310w.

    Great review btw, as I'm about to build my own system and its always nice to see a small new company like this come out. The first part of the review had me in a timewarp when Alienware had just came out. My dad purchased me a system for going to college from them when they were in their infancy. It came with a binder very similar to what Uberclock supplies and really made you feel like you were not getting another Dell/HP clone. I see good things for this company.....if they can get their name to come up with a search!
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    Wanted to also mention that some of the graphs (especially the games) are confusing because its difficult to tell when you are comparing systems or just the same system at different resolutions/quality settings. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    I agree, those graphs were messed up. I almost never get confused when reading an AT review.

    Lol, when in doubt skip to the conclusion to get a quick overview .)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    Regarding power, PSUs are rated at what they can theoretically OUTPUT. Efficiency is a measure of how much power they draw from the wall vs. how much is actually passed on to components. The Kill-A-Watt devices are inexpensive tools to measure wall power draw, so if it draw 248W at load, 80% efficiency would mean that the PSU is only outputting 198W.

    While we do have someone that has all the necessary equipment for PSU testing, that equipment is in Europe and is prohibitively expensive. The rest of us make do with less sophisticated tools. On the other hand, knowing how much power a system really uses (at the outlet) is a useful metric, even if it wouldn't be as meaningful in a PSU review without knowing the power delivered.
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    Ah, I now see what the author was getting at. The wording is a bit confusing though. It doesn't really matter how much the components are drawing, just how much power supply is drawing to power the components (I would omit the 200w figure).

    I think it might have been better worded as, "Clearly, even estimating 80% efficiency, the 650W power supply still has a large amount of overhead. This is good news for both stability and expansion."
    Reply
  • Matt Campbell - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    Apologies if it was confusing, I probably could have worded it better. Suffice it to say that there's plenty of power left over :) Reply
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - link

    Not a problem. As I mentioned in my OP, the review was excellent. You guys are just victims of your own high standards, we have little to nit-pick other than wording and occasional typo's! :) Reply
  • HotdogIT - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    If only you guys could take it one step farther, and do like HardOCP did back in the day... love to see you guys review the customer service. That'd be a hoot. A hoot and a half.

    Then again, it clearly didn't work out too well for Kyle and team...
    Reply
  • Syran - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    They used to do Customer Service stuff on AT back in the day on motherboard reviews, and some system builds too. Would definitely like to see that if I'm to think about recommending the possibility of this company to friends; so that I can avoid long-distance support. Reply
  • Uberclok - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    On the subject of long-distance support, I can assure you that we won't ever out-source our phones overseas. We know how quickly an aggravating customer support experience can lose customers for us, so we will always make sure our phone reps:

    A. know what they're talking about, and
    B. can be easily understood.

    Also, we C. feed them well - a happy rep is a helpful rep.

    - Thomas Glen
    Uberclok
    (877) 211-4235
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    I think by "long distance support" he meant he could recommend you guys as system builders for his friends, rather than him building and supporting custom systems for his friends. Kind of like how system builders will often recommend Dell or someone else for simple systems, purely so they don't have to support it themselves.

    But it's nice to know you guys do feed your reps :) Otherwise they start eating each other, and you often lose your best ones to less technically inclined - but hungrier - reps.
    Reply
  • CyberHawk - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    What a backround O_o

    Where could I get one like that?
    Reply
  • caliche - Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - link

    That's a wallpaper from the PC game Hellgate London.

    http://www.hellgatelondon.com/media/wallpaper">http://www.hellgatelondon.com/media/wallpaper

    I have not played the game so I can't vouch for it, but it does have some very nice "Techno Gothic" style artwork.
    Reply

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