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  • Kristian Vättö - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    Dustin, how do you have time for all these reviews? Yesterday your Dell XPS 13 and Acer Aspire TimelineU M3 pieces went live, and then today this. I'm struggling to get one SSD review wrapped up and then I see three reviews from you in ~24 hours. Man, that's efficiency, keep up the hard work! Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    I appreciate the sentiment, Kristian! I tend to work in batches: photography, then benchmarking, then writing up the review. So when I knock out a chunk of reviews in short order it's because all I have to do at that point is write it up. :)

    That and I got boned spectacularly by the embargo being lifted ahead of schedule on the TimelineU M3. ;)
  • Vepsa - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    I'm jealous of both you guys (Dustin & Kristian) for being able to play with such nice hardware all the time. I'm still trying to scrounge up the money for a SSD for my desktop :( Reply
  • seanleeforever - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    2.5k is way overpriced, and i have JUST put up a system very similar to this last week. here are the parts price, as you can get them all day everyday.

    i7 2600k: Micro Center 259 dollar (ibuypower uses 2700, which is 299 dollar)
    Asus P8P67 140 dollar, or 110 after rebate (unit used in this iBUYPOWR cost 150 dollar at newegg)
    Corsair Vengeance 16 G. 89 dollar amazon (the same use in iBUYPOWER)
    Graphic: SLI GTX 570 (210 dollar each) (ibuypower uses AMD Radeon HD 7970 which is 550 dollar)
    HDD: SSD (newegg 130 dollar, or 100 dollar after rebate) 2T (100 dollar newegg samsung)
    optical drive: blueray (49 dollar asus new egg)
    PSU: OCZ ZX 1000W 100 dollar newegg, or 130 before rebate.
    my case is silverstone, which is probably one of the better ones, cost 70 dollar during promotion, 100 dollar otherwise.

    so if i am not counting any rebate or any special promotion, my system cost 260+140+90+210+210+130+100+49+100+100=1390 that makes this system in every way, shape or form equal or better than ibuypower, add 100 dollar for win 7 if you don't have one. that's still 1000 dollar less than ibuypower.

    things that doesn't make sense in this build: 7970. you could get GTX480 for 200 dollar, and 480 SLI is faster than 7970 and is cheaper. heck, you can get SLI 560Ti for 320 dollar and SLI 560 is very similar to 7970 while saving yourself 200 dollar in process.

    850W PSU. weak... as top performance brand, you settle for 850W themotake brand?

    MB, for top end, Gigabyte is a no go, you should at least got for UEFI, Asus saber tooth or equivalent.

    Win 7 home premium? how about ultimate?

    i am all in for people making money, but using poor parts in a "high end" system is just bad. when you making 1000 dollar for 2.5k machine, you are way too greedy.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    There are so many things wrong with your comparisons, but let's start from the top. Here are things that are not "equal or better in every way" with your build:

    P67 motherboard instead of Z68.
    SLI if you'd rather not deal with that headache.
    More power draw by far for your build (dual GTX GPUs vs 7970).
    OCZ vs. Thermaltake on the PSU? Really? That's pretty much same quality as far as I'm concerned.

    We pointed out (a couple times) that the system was priced the way it was because of the component choices and the water cooling. If you don't want the components iBUYPOWER put in this system, don't buy it; simple! I for one would be more than happy to pay $100 extra for a single HD 7970 than to go the SLI (or CrossFire) route, even if the single 7970 is sometimes slower. I've been there, done that (multiple times!) and if I can avoid multiple GPUs in the future I will. It's just not worth the hassle to me.

    I'd also totally skip out on all the liquid cooling, which can easily add $500+ for a high-end solution (e.g. 3x140mm radiator, a second 140mm radiator on the back, GPU and CPU cooling blocks, etc.) By my estimate, building your own comparable water cooling setup would cost at least $500, and depending on some of the other materials and components it could run as much as $750.

    Take all of the liquid cooling stuff out of the solution and what it really boils down to is that your build uses GTX 570 SLI and the review unit uses a single HD 7970. You also cut a few corners to save money, though most of these won't really matter to the majority of users.

    I priced everything (and I mean everything) out and without water cooling I could put together this same basic setup for around $1850 at Newegg. If you shop around at multiple vendors and look for the absolute lowest prices, you could probably build such a system for $1750 to $1800. For that price, you don't get the same case or some of the other features of the Erebus GT, and you have to assemble and configure the system yourself. The total cost (minus water cooling) of around $1850 compares to an iBUYPOWER cost for a similar configuration of around $2000, which is quite reasonable. They are not "making $1000" and being "way too greedy"; your comparison is simply apples to oranges and declaring your particular fruit "better".
  • seanleeforever - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    challenge accepted.

    i need P67 board because i don't like Logix virtu. also you should know that P67 board is in the same price range as Z68. and you are out of your mind saying Asus P67/Z68 is a poorer choice than Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3. agreed?

    i am not arguing OCZ is better than Thermaltake but at least 1000 W give you more head room and also higher efficiency. PSU achieve maximum efficiency at around 50% load.

    again SLI give you the most bang for the buck, a SLI 570 performs better than 7970 in almost all areas. if you want to stay with single card, EVGA GTX 580 can be had for 400 dollar in newegg all day everyday. and that's 150 dollar savings over 7970.

    and yes, i skipped cooling, what i also skipped is ibuypwoer buying stuff at wholesale price wherewas my price is everyday price. i don't even count count on rebate or promotion. and FYI, i was about the first wave of people who uses water cooling, my first water cooler was 300 dollar ZALMAN RESERATOR back in 03. you can get internal corsair cooling H80 for 100 dollars off amazon. and you can get that GPU water block for 50 dollar retail. you can spend 10k on water solution, but one that presented in this case is no where near that price.

    lastly you said my build was 'cutting corner' as far as i am concerned, no corner was cut (single card vs SLI is more of a preference) , rather it was better. everything i used in my build is better than what is presented here. talk is cheap. why not show some numbers? here are the price TODAY for this computer

    2700k, 299 USD
    Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3, 150 USD
    Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 , 89 USD.
    AMD Radeon HD 7970: 550 USD
    AData S510: 155 USD
    Deskstar 7K1000 1T: 130 USD.
    LG blue ray 63 USD
    Thermaltake TR2 RX 850W PSU 130 USD (it is 2 out of 5 stars, just to show how horrible this choice is)

    those came out to be 1567 USD to the EXACT PART. how the hell did you get 1850 mind i asking?

    and bear in mind this is retail price TODAY not counting on any rebate and promotion. and you normally mark up price by at least 25% from wholesale to retail (been there, done that, don't argue with me on the margin unless you have data, apple is different animal so leave that out). feel free to throw you argument at me, i doubt you have any.

    so you have 1000 dollar to chose a case and water cool solution. do you honest think Erebus GT case look nice?
  • Egg - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    The case?

    I don't see how your power supply comparison makes any sense, according to the 7970 draws around 400w at full load, so your "50% efficiency" rule, by my interpretation, makes a kilowatt PSU less useful.

    You can't compare any video card but a 7970 to the 7970. There are just too many variables; furthermore, there are plenty of instances where the 7970 performs substantially better than the 580 GTX.

    You can't compare a custom loop to an H100.

    In your cost estimate for what it would cost to clone the iBUYPOWER computer, you left out any aftermarket air cooling, a case, and Windows.

    You have skipped the water cooling; but you didn't put forth any counterargument, but merely mentioned the fact that iBUYPOWER gets these parts at wholesale price. What would you like? For iBUYPOWER to sell you the entire system for the exact price that it would cost you to buy the parts from Newegg? Are you going to complain that Newegg marks up the price from wholesale as well? The way I see it, iBUYPOWER has all the costs of Newegg, as well as having to cover warranty, build the system, and design a case. The markup seems perfectly reasonable for the system.
  • seanleeforever - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    wow. did you bother to read? my list of things was just to show JarredWalton that the exact component doesn't cost 1850 and i showed him talking is cheap and provided a break down of the internal component price to the total of 1567. that give the system about1000 dollar margin (should you want to spend 2.5k total) to spend on case and cooling.

    will i use that on my system? not a chance.
    like i said, i would go with SLI, but that's more of personal preference.
    AData S510? i would go for 130 dollar sandisk that has twice the performance for less.
    HDD? i would go for 2T for less.
    MB? i would go with one that has UEFI.

    the PSU used in the system has 2 start out of 5 based on 19 amazon reviews. sorry i don't have tendency of buying crap. just FYI, the 750W version of this PSU is selling at 70 dollar a piece at newegg. cheap? yes, quality? no.

    water cooling, you argue there is no replacement to custom loop? do you have any facts to back this claim? i do, check out 3d guru,, you will find H100 cools the system very very well, unless here is some number posted by IBUYPOWER, i doubt they can exceed
    the cooling performance by H100.

    "iBUYPOWER has all the costs of Newegg" like i said, talk is cheap. i have part price listed, and if you still making this statement then you are either blind or a hired gun. either way there is no value for me to show just how wrong you are.

    and don't get me started on windows. they put home premium? do you know how much they paying for each license? the difference between ultimate and premium, for them, is like 30 ~ 50 dollars.
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    Watercooling: You do realize that the graphics card is also watercooled? The 560 radiators will do a much better job than a H100 and whatever you put on the Radeon. Reply
  • seanleeforever - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    i did, you can buy water cooling GPU blocks for 50 dollars each Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    You're still missing the point. All I'm saying is you get a good case (estimate of $150 for the case in the Erebus GT), you get about $500 worth of water cooling (minimum), and you left of Windows. Take your $1567, add $99 for Windows, add $150 for a comparable case, and price everything out at Newegg and you get $1850. Is it that hard? Now, take that price and add $500 in water cooling and you end up at $2350, giving them an additional profit of $150 plus their markup over wholesale. Reply
  • seanleeforever - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    you are an editor, and i am sure you have reviewed many, many system in the past.

    if you think that water cooling system used cost 500 dollar when ZALMAN RESERATOR can be had for 200, i have an island to sell.

    by the way, i did throw in a water block just for GPU reference, and of course you missed it.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    A CPU water block isn't the same as what is included here. I linked the items in the article, but here's what you need:

    CPU water block
    GPU water block (compatible with 7970)
    3x140mm fans and radiator
    1x120mm fan and radiator
    Water pump

    The Zalman Reserator gives you several of those items, but it doesn't have a 3x140mm radiator and it doesn't have a GPU water block. FYI, the GPU water block is about $135 just on its own. So, Zalman Reserator is around $240, plus $135 for the GPU cooling, and then there's still a question of whether it cools as well as the solution iBUYPOWER used. Honestly, I don't know if it's better or worse, but generally speaking more expensive water cooling equipment costs more because it's better.

    What you're basically saying is if I were to discuss the pros and cons of a Honda Accord (or Toyota Camry), and then you come along and say, "If you think a mid size sedan costs $25000 when a Kia Forte can be had for $17000, I have an island to sell." Go do some real research into the topic and then show me a complete water cooling solution that will handle both the CPU and GPU and has a large radiator that costs $200.
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    "PSU achieve maximum efficiency at around 50% load." And that is fine if all you do is game. But if you do something else (which is likely), your idle wattage is (far) below 100W in most cases with SB and 7970 and the efficiency drops off sharply below 20%. And "headroom"? For what? Unless you plan on going SLI/CF or dual CPU, I wouldn't recommend more than a good 600W PSU for any single GPU/CPU system. Even highly overclocked 4.5GHz SB with a highly overclocked 7970 will not draw more than 500-550W which means the PSU needs to supply 450-500W for that. Reply
  • seanleeforever - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    that's a good point. but as a high end gaming machine that cost over 2.5k, i doubt use it for office work is the primary intention.

    bear in mind, it is 2.5k system. it ought to have head room for anything i want to throw at. it is like spending 250k dollar in a car, it better has 700 house power EVEN if it is more wasteful driving around downtown than 1.8L corolla.
  • Nfarce - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    Dude, you need to find yourself a girlfriend or something. What a whiny bitch. Sheesh. Reply
  • seanleeforever - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    b word already? that shows your education level. i don't care if you want to have the last word. Reply
  • Minion4Hire - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    seanlee, I think what you're trying to say is that you are not personally impressed/interested in custom watercooling and would rather save your money and deal with higher temps/noise. But that entirely misses the point entirely of a direct comparison. You are making sacrifices with your rig while the reviewed system does NOT. That's fine, but you present a piss-poor argument. One you should never have even attempted to make.

    Just... no.
  • seanleeforever - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    i am not impressed at all. and with 1000 dollar you can get much better water cooling solution and case.
    what did i sacrifice my rig with?
    and your pissing comment doesn't even have an argument to make.

    just .. no.
  • Seanleeisdumb - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    I created an account just to tell you that you are dumb Seanlee. We all know that we could squish more performance out at a lower price or could build a higher performing machine at the same price. This build is about quality and about high end features and the relatively reasonable price Ibuypower is asking. We all know that Toyota makes Lexus and we all know that when you buy a Lexus for 75k you aren't getting three times the car that a civic is.. that's not the point. The point is that this is a pro-assembled custom build with some nice bells and whistles.. when you compare it to what other builders are charging it's a steal.
    Also... single card is sooooo much better than SLI.. I run my own business doing custom builds and have stopped offering multi-card setups because of the headaches they cause my clients.
  • will54 - Saturday, March 17, 2012 - link

    Where did you find a GTX 570 for 210$? The ones on Newegg are around 300$ if I could find one for 210$ I would be less likely to wait for Kepler to build my rig. Reply
  • rakunSA - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    The sleep issue you were experiencing isn't an isolated incident. It affects the whole SB platform. People thought Z68 would correct this issue but apparently, Z68 boards are still affected.

    There hasn't really been an official fix. But it seems like it has to do with PLL overvoltage enabled or disabled.
  • Zap - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    It is an issue, but can be worked around. All of the overclocked Sandy Bridge systems I have built (8-10?) can S3-sleep/resume just fine, with the exception of one using an Asus P8P67 Pro which on occasion (once a month?) doesn't resume and another using an ASRock board that was fixed with a BIOS update. Reply
  • WeaselITB - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    My ASUS ROG motherboard with an overclocked i5-2500k experiences this issue, too, if I try to resume from either keyboard or mouse input - it seems to hang while re-initializing the graphics. If I resume by pressing the power button on the tower, it comes up every time.

    Food for thought.

  • zanon - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the review, this looks like a very interesting piece of kit. I agree that the incredible overclock capability of the 7970 seems in fact to be one of its major virtues, so it's a bit too bad to not see that pushed a bit in an LC setup (I'd prefer that with a tamer CPU OC actually), but even so stuff like the attention to detail in tuning the CPU OC voltage is appreciated.

    One review-related thing I wondered about though was temp & noise. You have the normal Anand review charts showing idle/load power, but not the charts for temperatures & noise under idle & load. Per above, I understand that you're really busy with batches of stuff at once, but particularly with liquid cooling a big part of the value centers around temperature and noise, so it's helpful to be able to see exactly how it stacks up. Even so, thanks again!
  • Lazlo Panaflex - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    I'm not versed in the nuiances of Watercooling setups. Was wondering what kind of maintenance is involved in maintaining a system like this? I suspect the coolant would have to be replaced completely by IBuypower at some point? Reply
  • Lazlo Panaflex - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    by IBuypower or the user at some point? need an edit button here! Reply
  • rakunSA - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    looks like a standard loop with a 360 rad. Since they're using dyed coolant, the tubing will stain. You're probably looking at a standard 1-4 flushes a year depending on OCD you are with it (there are some people who flush once every 2 years). Also gotta make sure the rad is clean (much like you would clean a normal heatsink).

    The coolant is typically some sort of mixture of distilled water, glycol, biocide, and colored dye. Most enthusiasts will just use distilled water, biocide or 99.999% silver and call it a day. Its the best performing setup (yes better than the proprietary coolants), and requires the least maintenance.
  • Lazlo Panaflex - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    Thanks :) Reply
  • Sunburn74 - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    Sleep issues with the k series sandybridge chips with high overclocks can often be remedied by turning off CPU PLL and running memory at stock settings with exactly 1.5V as the input vdimm. That being said, sometimes to cross 4.5ghz you need cpu PLL on so pick your poison. Reply
  • Reshesnik - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    I just switched the overclock from always on to turbo mode. Now it sleeps fine. Reply
  • vicbee - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    I pretty much have the same set up although based on yesterday's greatest. The 2 negatives I've found (and will not make that mistake again...) are:

    1. Liquid cooling the GPU is not such a good idea mostly because a video card's life cycle is generally shorter than a mobo + CPU. Once you've taken apart a video card to install the liquid cooling system it can't be put back together and sold. Also, the cost of the hardware to cool the GPU is pretty high and card specific so it would have to be resold as a package and who would buy a 2nd hand liquid cooled video card? Right... I would have already replaced my 285GTX if it wasn't for the above issue.

    2. Liquid cooling is not about reducing noise levels. It's about keeping CPU/GPU at acceptable temps. I was looking for both and failed at the noise level... Liquid cooling requires a radiator to cool the liquid which is powered by 2 or 3 fans. If the radiator fits in the case (not often) the noise might be managed but often the radiator has to be installed out of the box and it ends up being pretty loud, much louder than my air cooled gaming rig.
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    1. I've used my HD5770 for 2 years now until I upgraded to a HD7970. That one cost me 560€ with a liquid cooling block and I'll use it well into 2013 I'm sure (mostly because of stagnant graphics thanks to consoles).
    Of course, if you frequently change graphics cards or don't mind the noise of normal ones or the bulk of custom cooled solutions, then by all means, don't go the liquid cooling route. But your criticism applies to a lot of non-liquid-custom-cooling graphics heatsinks as well. And normally, you can always switch back to the standard cooler, you don't break it in the process. Also, you can go GPU only liquid cooling with passive heatsinks for the RAM and VRMs and that GPU block usually works on all GPUs.
    2. What liquid cooling is about is pretty much in the eye of the beholder or the user in this case. I used it to enable quieter cooling of my components, increase their overclockability, while at the same time not have the whole case full of copper from large CPU and graphics heat sinks which prohibit access to RAM or internal USB ports.
    If your liquid cooling is loud, you either have made a mistake or want the best possible cooling. Yes liquid cooling needs fans as well, at least if you are serious about hardware and don't run sub 100W systems. However, the amount of radiator space you can get via liquid cooling compared to what you can get on your CPU and GPU widely differ, I have 480mm radiator screwed to the side of my case (TJ08-E) and as soon as I'll find the time I'll get a 2nd one on the other side. A good CPU heatsink has radiator space for 2 140mm fans. A good GPU heatsink has space for 3 92mm fans or 2 120mm fans. The extra amount of radiator space I gained by using liquid cooling in an external fashion (although there are cases that can accommodate 560mm radiators and more) can be used to let the fans run much more quiet. I can let them run at their lowest volt which results in 5xx rpm, which is inaudible. Once my PC starts working, they rise to low 1xxx rpm which is audible, but still much quieter than anything I could have done with normal heatsinks and still much cooler. Once I get that 2nd radiator it'll be quiet even under load. :-)
  • LtGoonRush - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    It's disappointing to see a high-end system use such a low-end board. I don't like Gigabyte as a brand (due to their abysmal and spec-violating CPU power quality), but it's absolutely unacceptable to see a $2000+ system using a motherboard with a Realtek Ethernet adapter. $20 more gets an Asus board with more features and an Intel adapter, and there's a reason you only see Realtek on the cheap boards. I used to not mind so much, but then late last year they pushed a driver through Windows Update that broke connectivity to certain websites and required a manual driver update from the Realtek website to fix. Not the biggest deal for one person once you know about it, but I've had to fix this problem on dozens of machines so far, and expect to do many more. Bottom line: life is too short for crappy network adapters, and iBUYPOWER should know better. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    Can you maybe go into more detail concerning the water cooling setup?
    I'd be interested in how expandable it is, what kind of pump is used and how noisy the pump is on its own (usually a very different kind of noise than fans make). Is the coolant dyed or are the tubes? What diameter are the tubes? How fast do the fans rotate?

    And really, they should have added a flow meter, water thermostat and corresponding fan controls with alarm function. This way the fans can be regulated according to the water temperature and be much more silent in idle and probably load as well. And I would know if one of the coolers is clogged up. Running a water cooling system without knowing a flow meter is too dangerous for me. And the added costs could easily be recouped by easier troubleshooting via phone for the service guys.
  • OVerLoRDI - Sunday, March 25, 2012 - link

    You highlighted the issue that the computer came with coolant having spilled due to a loose cap. You went on to say that this isn't that big of a deal due to the fact that iBUYPower uses non-conductive coolant. This is not an issue that you should have dismissed so quickly. Non-conductive coolant really doesn't stay non-conductive for very long. The second it leaks and acquires dust and other particles from the air it becomes conductive and dangerous to the internal components of the computer. The carelessness that resulted in the coolant spillage on iBUYPower's end is unacceptable and you should have highlighted that. Reply
  • Drittz121 - Friday, February 28, 2014 - link

    Just do yourself a favor. STAY AWAY from this company. Yes they look good. But when it breaks and it WILL. All they do is give you the run around. They have had my system for over 2 months trying to fix the garbage they sell. Worse company out there for support. DONT BUY Reply

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