Conclusion: An Important Release, But With Caveats

The iBuyPower Revolt is almost difficult to evaluate due to what it essentially represents, so we need to split our evaluation in two directions: what the Revolt signifies for the future of iBuyPower, and how the Revolt competes with the current bumper crop of smaller gaming desktops seemingly destined for the living room.

Addressing the former, the Revolt represents the first step in iBuyPower establishing itself not as another boutique, but as a full on vendor competing with the big boys. Obviously the major signal here is iBuyPower's claim that the motherboard is their own kit. In evaluating and analyzing the Revolt, there's...some truth to that claim. The board has iBuyPower's own silkscreen, and you can't buy one exactly like it. What it is, though, is a custom revision of ASRock's Z77E-ITX. The UEFI is laid out identically to ASRock's own UEFI but with an iBuyPower "theme" to it, and the board itself is just the Z77E-ITX without Virtu or display outputs. The ASRock branding on the chipset heatsink is also gone; the heatsink itself is replaced with a generic one. So while my first instinct is to go "gotcha!", the reality is a lot more mundane, because this isn't actually that much different than anything the big boys use. The Revolt continues to be valid as a demonstration of iBuyPower as a potential major player, especially as their presence in retail continues to grow.

As for the Revolt's competitive fitness, it's really going to come down to price. iBuyPower does have a history of almost attacking prices in the time-honored tradition of Billy Mays and Mr. Popeil, with the difference being that this product is a sound one. If iBuyPower can hit $1,199 with this review configuration, they're pretty bulletproof. Their $899 model is embarrassingly skint on RAM and wastes the i5-3570K at its core with a stock cooler, but otherwise it's pretty fantastic and definitely competitive. Amusingly, if you want the most bang for your buck, going with their $649 model and then bumping the GPU to a GTX 660, the RAM to 8GB, and the PSU up to 350W results in an $819 price tag, and that's something Alienware just can't offer. If iBuyPower could offer that configuration at $799 or even $749, forget it, competition's over.

With that said, the two models on NewEgg right now are really underwhelming. The $999 model is unimpressive compared to what you can do on iBuyPower's site, and the $639 model's GeForce GT 630 (featuring a comically large 4GB of DDR3 video memory) is an embarrassment that actually undermines iBuyPower's credibility. I don't like seeing companies using sticker amounts like 4GB on crappy video cards to sucker in rubes who don't know any better, and I think it hurts iBuyPower in the long run to resort to a gimmick like that to sell units instead of just letting the product stand on its own.

So ultimately while I'm not over the moon with iBuyPower's stock configurations and think they could produce much more compelling options, and the uncertainty of our unit's price tag paints a bit of a dark cloud over the review, the Revolt is nonetheless a pretty stellar product. Anything that democratizes gaming hardware is a good thing, and iBuyPower is continuing to make gaming PCs more and more accessible. I want to see the Revolt on store shelves because it obsoletes more half-baked attempts like HP's Phoenix as well as making people who came for the Alienware X51 do a double take.

It's not going to be available until the beginning of March, but if you want to game for a good price, the Revolt is tough to beat. Just don't buy it stock.

Build, Noise, Heat, and Power Consumption
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  • rRansom - Saturday, February 16, 2013 - link

    Say what? Reply
  • danjw - Saturday, February 16, 2013 - link

    I just went did a configure on their website. If I go with Windows 7, they insist on installing Microsoft Office on it. I say no to spamware! Just plain old no! I thought they were a boutique, there is no place for spamware from a boutique! Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Saturday, February 16, 2013 - link

    Is your post a joke? MS Office isn't spamware and if you don't like it then un-install it? Reply
  • Netscorer - Sunday, February 17, 2013 - link

    At least they allow you to configure this PC with no OS. If you have a Windows license that can be recycled from previous built (like most self-respecting people would have in drones), you can have your wish of spam-free install and save some money too. Reply
  • bah12 - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Really most self-respecting people have a full retail copy of Windows? I find it odd that very many people would shell out $199 for the full retail copy.

    Technically speaking Microsoft only has 1 version that you can install on your own "naked" box. That is the full retail. OEM is not legal for personal use, though everyone does it (as do I).
    Reply
  • freedom4556 - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Hogwash, OEM is perfectly OK for personal use, you simply give up Windows support from Microsoft. You're taking on the role of OEM yourself when you build your own machine, which makes you resposible for your own support. Just how Dell supports Windows on Dell machines, you support Windows on machines you build from scratch if you use the OEM version. Full retail gets you direct phone/chat/email support from Microsoft, which is why the added cost. Reply
  • kyuu - Saturday, February 16, 2013 - link

    I like the case design and the fact that a boutique is actually approaching being price-competitive with building your own rig.

    I'm not going to buy one when they don't give the option of anything but Intel for CPU (not that I'd use anything but Intel for a desktop CPU at the moment, admittedly) and, more importantly, don't offer any AMD graphics solutions whatsoever.
    Reply
  • da_cm - Saturday, February 16, 2013 - link

    I guess the reason for Intel only CPUs is the custom motherboard. They would have had to design an other version for AMD CPUs to fit.
    That said, personally, I would love to see a configuration with an FX-6300 and a 7850/7870 with a reasonable price tag as it's better CPU-GPU balance than a 3570k and a GTX660 or 650.
    Reply
  • tim851 - Saturday, February 16, 2013 - link

    So you want them to offer an AMD CPU although you wouldn't buy one... yeah, they'll really want you as their customer. What other options you would't consider should they offer? Reply
  • karasaj - Sunday, February 17, 2013 - link

    I'd rather have something like an i3-3220 (or the updated version with slightly better clock?) instead of an FX-6300. Similar price (if not less expensive), but enormously higher single threaded performance = better for most and competitive for all games.

    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/699?vs=677&...

    Note: There is an i3-3240 with an extra 100mhz on the clock compared to the 3220. So that would be a tiny performance boost to what you see here. The 3220 slots in 10-20$ less than an FX-6300, but the 3240 is 10$ more. BUT the 6300 also consumes more than twice as much power, which would almost definitely make up that 10$ in a year.
    Reply

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