Introduction

There are quite a few manufacturers on the market selling "gaming" PCs. In our last system review, we looked at a midrange gaming option. This time, we are using a fully decked-out solution from iBUYPOWER. iBUYPOWER.com is a California based company that offers a large variety of systems, including notebooks and liquid-cooled desktops. Let's look at the company and the ordering experience first, and then we will examine one of the fastest systems they offer.

iBUYPOWER - Overview

We have reviewed iBUYPOWER systems in the past. They've been in business since 1996, and you can find their systems sold at third parties such as Newegg, Circuit City, and yes, even Wal-Mart. Their PR blurb is as follows:

iBUYPOWER is a growing force in the gaming system builder market and is dedicated to making the best systems for gamers and power users. In the year 2007 Intel awarded iBUYPOWER with the "Most Innovative Solution for Consumer of the year". Also in the spring of 2007, AMD announced iBUYPOWER as the "4X4 Launch Partner of the year". The biggest advantage iBUYPOWER has against the major OEMs is the balance of performance and value, our enormous amount of designs and customization also make our systems stand out in retail channels. Today, iBUYPOWER gaming computers are offered at Wal-mart.com, Newegg.com, Costco.com, and Microcenter stores.

iBUYPOWER states their advantage lies in a blend of performance and value, the amount of customization, and offerings geared towards gamers and power users. With those claims in mind, let's review the website and ordering process.

iBUYPOWER - Ordering Impressions
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  • OblivionLord - Friday, April 11, 2008 - link

    Im still not convinced that Crysis is cpu bound at high res considering the poster only went from 4x to 2x AA. That really isnt a whole lot of decreased eyecandy as opposed to Very High to High to Med. Lets also take into account that tri and quad SLI do not scale as well as 2-Sli. I really wouldn't come to a conclusion that it is CPU bound and I also don't buy the thought that the higher the res, the more physics are involved. Reply
  • bupkus - Friday, April 11, 2008 - link

    just what I was looking for... a three headed chicken.
    Yah, I could use that, too.
    Reply
  • bill3 - Friday, April 11, 2008 - link

    Okay not exactly great, but my brother bought an $1100 Q6600/Vista64/8800GT/2GB RAM system from them and it's been superb. Personally it actually seemed to be the same cost as buying from newegg. And the wiring was freaking immaculate. I think it's worth it if you dont want mess with building your own, installing Vista, etc.

    A couple caveats, if you need more Ram grab it seperate from newegg, they overcharge you for additional RAM, and personally I would either make sure the build contains a good power supply or get one seperatly yourself.

    Reply
  • bill3 - Friday, April 11, 2008 - link

    Oh and one major advantage at these places, is that you can hand pick your own name brand components.

    Contrast that with say, Dell..
    Reply
  • strafejumper - Thursday, April 10, 2008 - link

    the reviewer seems peeved that there is no anti-virus on his gaming rig.

    i understand this. However not everyone uses antivirus. There was a period where windows was particularly vulverable and i was getting viruses by just viewing a jpg or by just going to a website without clicking anything. I tried an antivirus then, and was disapointed.

    1. I chose a popular one, norton, and i got a virus anyway. The first thing the virus did was screw norton up royally.

    2. I wanted to avoid a virus from slowing down my gaming computer, when i installed norton what was the first thing i noticed? the computer was slower...!?

    3. Still found that i was vulnerable to adware, to prevent adware as well i would have to download another app that would slow down my computer even more!

    4. The anti-virus was a resource hog. Memory, cpu, even caught it using bandwith to download updates in the middle of my playing a game online! This is the opposite of what i want, i want absolutely nothing running while i am gaming.

    For all these reasons im almost always without anti-virus its not for everyone - i just go stick to major websites and most email services such as yahoo automatically scan email attachments. So for a few of us who are careful and are able to spot shady exe's its possible to survive without.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, April 11, 2008 - link

    Actually, I think the problem is that there are 50 processes *without* any security suite running. I actually uninstall any security suites as the first step of every laptop/system I review/use, though I'm sure some people like the "freebie" (never mind the nagging that comes 3 months later). Reply
  • strafejumper - Thursday, April 10, 2008 - link

    i bought one prebuilt system for my first pc and have been building my own since then.

    the most important thing for me, and what would make me consider buying prebuilt such as ibuypower, is gettting a tried and tested system that totally works out of the box. So many hardware / driver issues / bios settings issues can potentially come up when you build yourself, even seemingly silly things like picky HDDs that only would work with certain IDE cables and motherboards that shipped with a cd with bad drivers (incompatable with XP sp2) have ruined my builds for long periods while i tested every little thing.

    Prebuilt is supposed to avoid all this crap and work out of the box. When anandtech reports bluescreens and hiccups in games i just stop right there, no point in buying a prebuilt if its not very very stable out of the box. Imagine after you fix some of the problems, you get a virus or something and then use the restore cd, you are restoring it to a state where it is unstable...
    Reply
  • Maffer - Thursday, April 10, 2008 - link

    SP1 does not matter much. It installs all nvidia recommended multigpu-hotfixes which I had already installed. Same crashes remain after installing SP1 if I use any other driver than 174.31 or 174.51 (these also worked before installing SP1). 174.51 is just a bit faster overall than 174.31. Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, April 10, 2008 - link

    Did you guys bother to check to see if SP1 was installed? I know part of the review was to see how the machine ran out of the box but even some of the errors on the problems page indicate the OS was not updated. Even if iBuyPower didn't update the OS it probably would've been a good idea to do so since there's no less than half a dozen *CRITICAL* hot fixes for that system related to 4GB, Vista, video driver TDRs, SLI, virtual memory allocation etc. Reply
  • Maffer - Thursday, April 10, 2008 - link

    Yes, these systems are for 2560x1600 resolution. I run 780i system with watercooled GTX SLI-setup to play with 30" screen. So far I found 174.51 *leaked* beta drivers to be the best solution for games (DX9 & DX10 SLI works without any crashes). "Minor" problem is that SLI must be disabled to play video in fullscreen mode or the system will freeze immediately. Problems vary with different systems though, these are just examples. Reply

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