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  • f4phantom2500 - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    but i just couldn't justify spending $1,000 on a system if it doesn't have at LEAST a Core i5 750, if not Sandy Bridge (read: it should have Sandy Bridge). Also, as solid as the GTX 460 is, I would expect something beefier when dropping that kind of cash. Kudos to having a good SSD, but 40GB sounds like it'd be pretty cramped on a Win 7 64 install. I'm using 24GB of my 64GB Microcenter G2 SSD with Windows 7 Ultimate, and that SSD set me back about $100 (The Corsair Force F40 costs $110 on newegg right now).

    However, I do like the approach of a fast SSD and a big hard drive for storage, and the 8GB RAM is a nice touch (as mentioned in the article, a wise move considering how cheap RAM is these days). This computer is actually very similar to mine, and I am completely satisfied with it.

    Overall, this is a good computer, and I understand computer manufacturers need to make money (the $200~300 markup sounds reasonable, considering the unexpected pitfalls that inevitably come up with building your own system), but I think they could have made some wiser choices in this build.
  • TrackSmart - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I agree. If they used a 64GB SSD and a Core i5 750 they could have sold the system at a similar price and ended up with better build. Still, it's a much better selection of components than I've seen from any of the big PC makers (Dell, HP, etc) and the long warranty deserves some kudos... Reply
  • Sunburn74 - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    For $1000 a much more powerful system can be assembled. If power isn't your interest,that $250 could be spent on a nicer case, nicer peripherals (a 27in monitor, etc), etc

    A user would be better off buying a dell xps desktop or similar product from a number of manufactueres and throwing in a gpu if warranty support is truly an issue.
  • mino - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    That assumes:

    a) customer can, or for that matter WANTS, to
    - spent their time choosing components and assembling
    - troubleshooting any issue that might come up

    b) customer deems Dell's component choice/freedom acceptable

    While I never buy boxen prebuilt, I strongly feel that this enthusiast pre-occupation of "how you can make it a DIY" while reviewing complete systems is stupid.

    People that are in the market for boutique setup ARE NOT interested in hearing how they can do it themselves.
    While a nice BOM-vs-price point is welcome, criticising such companies for their pricing is silly. The testing, warranty customizability and service is part of such a product and is not free.

    No I am not in this business, never been.
  • karielash - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Nice comments, good to see someone with a brain for a change.

    I spent 2K on a boutique system, going for a balance of performance and price, although I could have easily built my own for the money and maybe even got a little more. I was more than willing to shell out the cash for a pre-built system (with on-site support) and not have the hassle of building the damn thing myself, money well spent imo.
  • TrackSmart - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I build my own systems, but I don't kid anybody that I'm saving money once you factor in the massive amount of time invested. It takes hours of research to pick the right components. Many more hours building and troubleshooting. And further hours setting up exchanges if one of the parts is dead on arrival.

    That said, I build my own systems because I enjoy all of that stuff and take great satisfaction in the final product. If I've saved $200 after all is said and done, that's a bonus. Assuming I've spent 20 hours of my time from research to final build, that's $10/hr. If you don't enjoy doing this stuff, you are much better off buying a nice system like this and spending that extra 20 hours actually using it.
  • Lunyone - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    This is a decent build that covers most areas of computing needs (office work, gaming, etc.). It's more than I'd pay for a system like this, but I build my own, so that isn't a fair shake. If I didn't know any better (or didn't know how to build computers) I'd say this would be a good deal (of coarse, I'd have to ask around to see if War Factory was reputable).

    I think the SSD is good for snappiness/resposiveness, but only 40gb's? I think a 64gb SSD would be a better selection for the main boot drive, since you'd have room for a few programs to reside on the boot drive for better resposiveness.

    Overall the system looks pretty good, especially since they used a reputable PSU (thank god). I would also agree that a good 500w PSU is more than enough for this build, even a quality 400w PSU is plenty. It is nice that the PSU leaves room for future upgrades, so that is nice too.

    P.S. Last sentence has a typo:
    in other words, you can get similar or better performance at lower prices and still have money left for a <b>decend</b> SSD (or a 2-year extended warranty).

    I think you meant "decent" not decend on the last line. :)
  • voidi - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    This system is quite interesting because it pretty much chooses the opposite route of most of the other boutique manufacturers.

    The reason for most of the criticism when looking at a pre-configured build is, that components are simply chosen by their marketing value, that is: a cool looking, cheap case, a huge PSU, high clock rates and as much GDDR as possible for CPU and GPU and sometimes extreme, useless amounts of RAM (16GB). Big numbers mean it's good, right?

    All the other aspects, such as a practical case, 3rd party CPU cooling and a focus on a GFX card with good cooling for decent noise and thermal characteristics, and a high quality and efficiency PSU with less unused capacities are were the money is usually saved and what often turns a seemingly great deal into a rip-off.

    In this scenario, some of these rules are turned around. The PSU is still way too big, but it's from a quality manufacturer. The case is unusually practical, good noise and thermal characteristics for little money, form follows function. As mentioned before, this kind of warranty being included in the price is not something you see often nowadays either. 8 GBs of RAM are not something many people are going to need anytime soon, but RAM has gotten cheap enough to take it while you're at it. 40GBs is possibly a bit small, although the idea of a small, dedicated SSD for the OS is of course entirely reasonable. I would've preferred to see 64GBs here.

    As for the GTX 460, I would've liked to see a quieter, more efficient Radeon instead, and I do not think it's smart to cheap out on the CPU, with the i5-2500 simply offering the best bang for the buck, in my opinion. A H67 motherboard going with that would be a smart an inexpensive choice, as I don't think the average buyer of boutique PCs is going to overclock his CPU at all, especially not with a box cooler. Finally, a 1TB HDD is industry standard as of now, also something I don't approve. I have a 750GB internal HDD and a 500GB external right now, and both are coming close to being full. A 2 TB HDD is entirely reasonable and affordable today.

    In conclusion, I like that WarFactory is trying to "do the right thing" from a practical, value-oriented perspective, in some of the aspects. It mixes up the boring landscape of "big number" boutique machines that are configured purely for marketing reasons.
    I still would not buy the Sentinel, but I have never felt interested to buy any pre-configured PC, as a custom-built will always be able to offer exactly what I want, and not half the features plus a couple of useless ones plus a 200$ fee for the middle-man. But that's just my opinion.
  • Wurmer - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    It's interesting to see a company taking the less travel path. I have been switching back and forth between AMD and Intel rigs for years and I am happy to see that someone, somewhere acknowledge the value of AMD CPU. It's a given that this system doesn't compete with an Intel equivalent but it's beside the point. Up this very recently, I had a rig pretty similar to this one but my CPU was an unlocked BE 555 which is basically the same CPU and my GPU was an OC'ed 460. Honestly, there was no tasks that this computer couldn't do at a decent pace. I'd say that a rig like that is plenty powerfull for a majority of people that doesn't the very best with bleeding fast performances.

    It's a good compromise between buying in a retail store and building your own. I don't buy pre built rig but that's a system I could see myself recommand to someone that isn't to much into computer but needs a decent system.
  • DonMiguel85 - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Sorry to go OT, but... whatever happened to the Rockus 3D prize giveaway? I never saw any update on it. Reply
  • korle - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Why does this case look so similir to the two year older Antect 300... Reply
  • kuzzia - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Why not Sandy Bridge? Just look at this link from Techspot that shows that when a game is CPU bound (Starcraft II, Civ V), the Sandy Bridge architecture are much superior to the aging AMD architecture.

    Buying a Core i5 2300 or 2400 would suffice for the non-overclocker, and the small increase in price is definitely worth the increase of performance. A decent H67-board should also be comparatively priced to a similar AMD mo-bo. The change to Intel could be financed by a 500-600W PSU. Also bya modern one, the Corsair is three years old now!

    Otherwise, a great system for its price range!
  • MKEGameDesign - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I just built something very similar to this PC, except I went with the HAF 922 and a Radeon card. Using ATI here would make a lot more sense, because the mobo in this build is CrossfireX only, not SLI. Getting an NVIDIA card cramps future upgrades.

    Also, while they're nice for the money, the HAF cases are dust magnets.
  • casteve - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Most of the baseline 80% efficient PSUs tend to start ramping their fans up at the 50% load point. The Corsair TX650 follows this. So, you spec for a PSU that is twice your expected load in order to avoid PSU noise - or you buy an 80+ Gold or Platinum supply than has a lot less waste heat.
  • Guspaz - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Higher-spec PSUs tend to have better cooling (they need to, more heat to remove). This often means that the more wattage a PSU supports, the quieter it gets at a fixed power level. A 500w PSU at 400w is probably going to be rather loud, but an 850w PSU at 400w is probably going to be pretty quiet. Reply
  • cknobman - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Sorry but for a grand I was expecting more however I thoroughly appreciate these articles/reivews from Anandtech because its a constant reminder of how much better and cheaper it is to build your own rig. Reply
  • Nfarce - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I had the same thought exactly. But, you have to remember, we home builders are well in the minority when it comes to overall desktop PC ownership figures. There are vastly more people out there who don't want to be bothered with building their own rig from scratch - and probably others who don't even know they can. But I have to agree with the others: this should have been a Sandy Bridge/i5 build along with a stronger video card like a 560 or 5850. Not sure what this company's profit margins are on builds, but I have built rigs for friends and relatives for just $100-150 above cost. My business model would be to lower the price (or increase the quality) and potentially sell more at a lower margin. Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I have seen a Dell with a 2600 Sandy bridge CPU and a 5770 for less than 1100.00. And if you watch carefully you might even get a monitor for that price too. And I think you could get a similar system to this one for cheaper on iBuyPower or CyberPower.

    Phenom II X4 = fail in my opinion, except for super budget system.
  • frozentundra123456 - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Wanted to make another comment too. Seems like an odd choice to put an SSD on a budget system like this. Personally, I would prefer to put the money towards a better CPU or GPU. Reply
  • TrackSmart - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    SSD's are getting cheap enough, and they make enough of a difference in how fast a system responds, that I think it's a reasonable part of a $1000 system. That said, if you strictly want the best gaming experience for your buck, I agree that a beefier video card would be the better choice... Reply
  • TrackSmart - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    Yes, but the Dell would come with a 250 Watt no-name powersupply and the world's worst $20-equivalent case. And if you care about gaming, the graphics card is a bigger bottleneck than the CPU, so the 5770 would make the system about 20% slower for gaming (my rough guess). And the SSD, though tiny, will make all normal computing tasks much snappier, even if it is too small for games. And it comes with a lifetime warranty. How much would Dell charge if you wanted even a 3 year warranty?

    In sum, I'd still take this over the Dell any day (assuming I had to buy pre-built)
  • frozentundra123456 - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    I know the power supply is more than 250 watts. Dont be ridiculous. In fact I think they upgraded it to around 430 watts. Any you may be right that a SSD makes the computer faster in day to day use. But to me this is a PC that is supposed to get maximum gaming performance per dollar. I dont think an SSD fits into that build.

    And I still dont think it makes any sense to buy a gaming PC with an old tech processor that has been outclassed already twice by Intel and with another refresh coming out soon (Ivy Bridge) that will make it even more obsolete.
  • Lazlo Panaflex - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    "The only questionable decision I feel like they made was the use of G.Skill instead of a more reputable brand like Kingston or Corsair or Crucial"

    I call shens here. Why do you think G.Skill is a less reputable brand? I've bought a lot of G.Skill over the years, and they're *extremely* reliable. Never had any fail on me, and they have a lifetime warranty just like your other "reputable" brands. I doubt people are rushing out to buy Crucial Ballistix these days.
  • Klober - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I was going to post the same thing until I read Lazlo's post. I have had several kits of G.Skill and have never had any problems, and this is while running the kits well above specs. As you mentioned in the beginning of the review, inexpensive does not equal cheap and this applies to G.Skill as well.

    And for reference, I have had Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR2 memory - 2 2x1GB kits - and one stick out of each kit was bad which doesn't say much for the "reputable" brand. Yes, I was able to get them replaced with no cost to me except shipping, but that is no less than any other RAM manufacturer does these days.

    Also, as an added thought, considering AnandTech uses G.Skill in their motherboard test configurations (G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-2133 9-11-9-28 4x4GB Kit, 1.65V) playing them down as a lesser manufacturer is probably not in the best interest of the site. I've been coming here for years and think AnandTech has the most thorough and unbiased reviews out there - so I'm not going anywhere - but this could turn away newcomers to the site which would be unfortunate.
  • mfenn - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link


    G.Skill is reliable, well-priced memory. What's not to love? Oh, that's right, they don't have to inflate their prices to pay for advertising.
  • Nfarce - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Fourthed. My last two heavy overclocked rigs have had G.SKILL: 2x2GB of DDR2 1066 in an overclocked E8400 rig running at 4.4GHz two years ago, and more recently 2x4GB Ripjaw DDR3 1600 in a Sandy i5 2500k running at 5.0 GHz. Anyone who thinks G.SKILL is a lower end brand is less knowledgeable than he thinks. Reply
  • Liquidchild - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I don't want to hear that who every would buy this DOES NOT WANT to build it themselves...this stuff costs 760 dollars on newegg. If you search some more I bet you could hit 700 even. If you don't know how to build a PC, pay the kid down the street to do it for 150 bucks and he will cream his pants. Its easier to build a PC then it is to pass a 11th grade tirg test, so don't even give me the "a kid is not a computer building business, its too hard for him". Reply
  • mrcaffeinex - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I build computers for people all the time and this is right in line with several that I have built. I am a big fan of the HAF 912 and use one for one of my personal machines, in addition to several builds for customers. As several others have mentioned, I would have preferred to see a better CPU/GPU in this build, but ultimately for the budget gaming crowd there is nothing wrong with this machine. I view these types of systems as WoW boxes more often than not, but as the review demonstrates, you can play a variety of games at solid framerates.

    While the manufacturer is new to the game, they are standing behind their product, in my opinion, with their lifetime warranty. Overall, for the price, G.Skill memory is a good value, and have a lifetime warranty as do many other major memory manufacturers.

    As far as the markup, it makes sense to me: 1) they are offering a lifetime warranty, 2) they are using great quality components and the one most people don't consider, 3) they deserve a couple bucks for their knowledge and time spent in assembling this type of machine.

    There is a huge market out there full of 'users' that are not 'builders'. They do not know the first thing about building a gaming computer, but they have money to spend and will buy whatever pops up as a result of their Google search for 'gaming computer'. At least if they buy one of these they shouldn't feel like they've been fleeced.
  • Midwayman - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Including a SSD is a strange choice for a budget system. While you can get immense gains from it, I'd rather see a better CPU, or at least pay a little more for a usable SSD. I personally wouldn't bother until I can get to the 80-90 gig level for a SSD. You get all the hassle of having split user directories, but not enough space to really reap the benefits of installing most of your apps on the drive. Reply
  • jabber - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    I build all my budget systems with a 60GB SSD now.

    Ok not gaming machines but I pair the Athlon II 3Ghz dual core with a SSD in a budget box and folks (ahem) "cream their pants" when they get it home.

    I mention to folks they will be getting a 60GB HDD and if they question if its large enough I ask them to right click on their C: drive and tell me how much space they have used on their 6 year old PC. They rarely have used more than 30GB.

    If their older system had a decent sized SATA HDD (160GB+) I will install that as a second drive for no extra cost.
  • HangFire - Thursday, June 09, 2011 - link

    Folks get so obsessed about the performance difference between Phenom II and i7 that they forget the biggest bottleneck in any system is spinning rust. For gaming systems this might be tolerated in lieu of a bigger video card, but if you want a balanced system and a responsive computer for all purposes, a small SSD makes a lot of sense.

    At home my personal/primary box is a 550BE unlocked/overclocked, but the real performance boost is when I put a 64GB C300 in as the Gentoo boot disk and moved the HDD to storage duties. It boots in seconds and builds packages in half the time. I have portage on HDD but do builds on ramdisk.

    The difference in this system before & after is amazing, all for $99 (Shell Shocker special).

    Also, no problems here with G.Skill.
  • Termie - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    I'm curious why Dustin criticized the choice of G.Skill memory, instead of Corsair, Crucial, or Kingston. In my experience, G.Skill makes excellent RAM at competitive prices. My G.Skill has way more overclocking headroom than my similarly-rated Corsair, as well as better designed (shorter) heatsinks. At the same price, I'd always go G.Skill over Corsair, and wouldn't even consider Crucial or Kingston.

    Based on forum posts, I think most people would agree that G.Skill is a good choice.
  • Arbie - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    We've got years of info and experience with these and they remain the high water mark in more than one way.

    Also, FYI, the correct saying is "The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

    Thanks for an interesting review. I often wonder what I could get off the rack for right around this price point, in particular how well it would game and how hot & noisy it might be at low loads.

    In comparison, the top-end boutique boxes are of little interest, because at those levels I would always build rather than buy. I usually don't even skim through such reviews.
  • L. - Friday, June 10, 2011 - link

    Let's see, I just built a system for a guy, charged him 150 euros for config and tweaking (including OC'ing to max on air), and the result is 50 fps average in Metro (anand settings), 41 in Heaven Unigine, etc.

    And still, his machine cost him less than a grand, service included.

    Oh and by the way, if you live in Europe where shipping is not too expensive, I can do it for you too -- think I got an account on them anandtech forums - name "morg."

    This piece of crap should not exist, it costs a lot, it's made from the crappiest parts, come on a gtx 460 ? why not put an integrated Intel GMA ? - in all seriousness the build-makers there should've taken a 6870 or a 6950 -- hell that'd have made huge savings on the PSU/cooling side of things.

    And COME ON, who the fuck wants to buy an AMD CPU today ???
    There's that i5-2500k which Oc's (for me so far anyway) pretty easily to 5Ghz on air, it costs 280 bucks for mobo+cpu ... why would you go to that phenomcrap which is barely cheaper and totally underpowered (Ok, it's not an SLI you don't really need the horsepower -- until you're using the cpu for real).

    DDR3-1333 ? hello ? we're in 2011 ?
    The case is an ok-choice if you like toy-like pc's - otherwise antec 100 does exactly the same job while not looking like kiddie stuff.

    Then let's see ... optical drive ?? I hate optical, but I have to admit this one is an ultra failure, when combo blu-ray readers /dvd writers cost 50 bucks ... lol

    Oh and look at how cute they are, they put in an SSD !!! woot ... a goddamn 100 bucks SSD in a config where they wouldn't shell 175 bucks for a CPU or 200 bucks for a GPU ??

    Seriously... and those people talk to gamers -- my ass.

    Now I like your conclusion Mr. "IwroteTheArticle", but in all seriousness it's friggin off.
    You said 250bucks on parts ? I can get an I5-2500k, all gigabyte, HD6950, etc. for 811 bucks. And this is not it, this is old crappy tech that just came out of the depths of their garage, the cpu is almost end-of-life, the ram is 2 years old...

    But the most important is the following :
    Between the reasonably smart component choices, the solid build quality, and the generally good value, I see no reason not to give the WarFactory Sentinel our recommendation.

    Seriously, I know you don't know enough about hardware to do excellent reviews, and I really don't mind as you take into account other persons' sensibilities to price / pre-made and that stuff.

    But honestly, the component choices is all shit except the box, nowhere close to an optimal perf/dollar build by any stretch.

    I see every friggin reason to say this out loud : This build is a failure and a waste of money, it costs 300 bucks more than parts for my i5-2500k standard build, which I sell around 950 and which much more importantly, has two times the horsepower in CPU or GPU tasks -> yes I do get 50 fps avg in Metro2033 bench with your settings.

    Said it before, will say it again, you want solid advice and conclusions, just ask me, but please stop spreading nonsense on a "respectable" informative website --
  • L. - Friday, June 10, 2011 - link

    Oh and I forgot one thing, wanna spice up the deal ?
    For that same Target Price as the box here and say a 200 bucks service fee, I can give you another unlocked+Oc'd HD6950 to put in there ... you know have a setup that kills almost every boutique build except some extremely rare 5Ghz+ with OC gtx580 sli's in anything beyond 2560* -

    And that's for the same price as the phenom-460-attic-build piece of crap presented here ...
  • molecriket - Friday, June 10, 2011 - link

    Although Amd is behind the intel stuff there are reasons to go AMD. The first is the price, Amd beats all Intel prices. What do you want your computer to do? Probably no more than AMD does, so mabye you can save money.
    I always use Amd and my customers always thank me, I save 30 to 50% and it runs like a top and lasts longer.
    We are at the point of price and not 10 ms. faster, not to mention reliability which AMD rules and I wait for Bulldozer.
  • Lasthitlarry - Sunday, June 12, 2011 - link

    I've been looking around and I could be wrong, but there seems to be a misprint or something for the processor.

    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition
    (spec: 4x3.2GHz, 45nm, 6MB L3, 95W)

    should either be the 945 with 3.0GHz cores or it should be pulling 125W, not 95W

    I'm gonna lean towards 125W since the PSU is so beefy.

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