Wired2Fire Diablo Elite review
The powerful Wired2Fire Diablo Elite has plenty of unusual features and fantastic components to justify its cost, including a system drive that’s comprised of two SSDs in a RAID array, a high-quality mechanical keyboard, an excellent case and a CPU cooler so massive that it scratches and flexes the Perspex side panel of the Diablo Elite’s chassis.
Although the cooler isn't noisy, a liquid cooling system would have fitted the case better. Unfortunately, the massive heat sink assembly also obscures the memory slots.
Fortunately, you're unlikely to need access to the memory unless something goes wrong: it has 16GB of 1,866MHz DDR3 RAM, with a 4GB module in each of the four slots. Beneath the giant cooler is a Core i7-3770K processor overclocked to 4.7GHz, which produced an overall score of 121 in our application benchmarks. That wasn’t as fast as we expected, so we repeated our tests after installing Windows 8 on the 2TB Western Digital Caviar Green hard disk also present in the PC. This boosted the overall score to 131 and indicates that this particular PC’s combination of motherboard RAID and SSDs has a negative impact on performance.
The motherboard is an Asus P8Z77-V. It’s one of our favourites and the board certainly has plenty of features, including an integrated 802.11n Wi-Fi module. There are also four USB3 ports at the back, as well as two USB2 ports, a PS/2 port, six 3.5mm audio ports for 7.1 analogue surround sound and a microphone input.
There's another USB3 port and two more USB2 ports on top of the Xigmatek Midgard 2 chassis, as well as audio connections and a very useful 3.5in SATA drive caddy that allows you to connect an internal hard disk to the outside of the case.
The case is excellent. There are three drive cages against the front panel, and the middle bank can be easily removed if you ever need to add a full-length graphics card. The drive trays slide smoothly in and out of the cages and have rubber grommets to damp vibration. There are six 3 1/2in bays, of which three are in use, as well as three 5 1/4in bays, one of which houses a Blu-ray re-writer.
The Diablo Elite's hard disk configuration is noteworthy. A 2TB HDD provides plenty of storage capacity, but what's really interesting here is the pair of 120GB Kingston HyperX SSDs which are joined together in a RAID0 volume, controlled by the motherboard, which is then mounted as a system drive. This is a novel approach to making the most out of a couple of comparatively small SSDs, but it doesn't offer any significant advantage to the user over a single 256GB SSD.
The motherboard has four SATA3 ports, two of which are on a separate controller that shares bandwidth with the motherboard's PCI-E x1 slots. There also four SATA2 ports. One SATA3 and two SATA2 ports are vacant in the existing configuration, so there's room to add more storage to the already generous supply. It has two PCI slots, both of which are vacant, and two empty but blocked PCI-E x1 slots. Of the three PCI-E x16 slots, one holds the graphics card and the other two are free.
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