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PC Specialist Vortex i930 Xtreme review

PC Specialist Vortex i930 Xtreme
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1449
inc VAT

An incredibly powerful PC, with watercooling and an SSD. However, we’d swap out the graphics card for an ATI Radeon HD 5870.


3.8GHz Intel Core i7 930, 6GB RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

PC Specialist’s Vortex i930 Xtreme costs more than twice the price of most of the PCs we’ve seen this month and it doesn’t even come with a monitor for that money. On the other hand, it’s almost twice as fast in our benchmarks.

With an overall score of 194, this PC is breath-takingly quick – being almost twice as fast as our quad-core reference PC across practically every benchmark. This is largely thanks to an overclocked Intel Core i7-930 processor. Its stock speed is a respectable 2.8GHz, but here it’s been pushed up to 3.8GHz.

Everything is kept cool by a neat self-contained water-cooling unit. A pair of black pipes transfer the heat to a large heat sink built into the rear exhaust fan. Not only does it keep everything nice and cool, but it’s also quiet, even under heavy use.

The 930 is one of Intel’s original line of Core i7 processors, and so uses the LGA1366 socket. More importantly, it supports triple-channel memory (with 6GB of Corsair XMS3 DDR3 fitted) which helps speed up memory-intensive tasks like our image editing test. The X58-based Asus P6X58D-E motherboard has the usual six memory slots, so you could double the memory up to 12GB without hassle.

PC Specialist Vortex i930 Xtreme

Storage options on the board are bang up to date, with both USB3 and SATA3 interfaces. The internal drives don’t make use of the latter, but with an Intel 40GB X25-V SSD and a 1TB standard hard disk, it provides a great blend of memory access speed and long-term storage. A DVD writer is a bit of disappointment on a PC at this price, but then many users have no use for a Blu-ray drive.

Gaming capability hasn’t been sidelined, amongst all this general-purpose processing power, with a massive 1536MB Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 graphics card fitted. Arguments still rage whether it’s the fastest single-GPU card available, but its certainly up there with great scores in our gaming tests, including 63.9fps in Crysis. Unfortunately, the GTX 480 is rather hot and noisy, and because of this we’d consider asking PC Specialist how much money could be saved by switching it out for the nearly as capable Radeon HD 5870.

All these impressive components are housed in a Cooler Master HAF 922 chassis. it’s sturdy and spacious inside, with great airflow provided by a pair of huge fans mounted at both the front and top of the case. Most of the cabling inside is neatly tucked away behind the motherboard tray, and the rest is carefully clipped out of the way. In the bottom is a confidence-installing 850W Corsair power supply. Essential given that this PC draws a massive 379W under load, and with the overclock interfering with power management, it pulls in a hefty 168W even while idling.

At first glance, the water-cooling and overclocking may put off users who are technically-challenged, but with a three-year warranty included, any serious problems resulting from all this tinkering will be dealt with by the manufacturer.

With no monitor or peripherals supplied, you’ll need to spend more to get a complete PC. The Vortex i930 Xtreme is certainly an impressive PC, though we’re not that keen on PC Specialist’s choice of graphics card. Apart from that it’s hard to fault the specification or the resulting scores, and though it doesn’t blow away the competition at this price, it’s certainly good value for money if you’re looking for a very powerful PC.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Intel Core i7 930
Processor external bus 200MHz (3,600MHz Direct Media Interface)
Processor multiplier x19
Processor clock speed 3.8GHz
Processor socket LGA1366
Level 1 cache 4x 64KB
Level 2 cache 4x 256KB
Memory 6
Memory type DDR3
Maximum memory 24GB
Motherboard Asus P6X58D-E
Motherboard chipset Intel X58


USB2 ports (front/rear) 3/4
Firewire ports (front/rear) 0/1
eSATA ports (front/rear) 1/0
Wired network ports 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support none
Other ports 2x USB3

Internal Expansion

Case midi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free) 1 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free) 3 (2)
Free Serial ATA ports 4
Free memory slots 3
Free 3.5in drive bays 3

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Hitachi Deskstar (HDS721010CLA332), Intel SSDSA2M040G2GC
Interface SATA/300
Total storage capacity 1,040GB
Spindle speed 7,200rpm


Graphics card(s) Nvidia GeForce GTX 480
Graphics/video ports 2x DVI, mini HDMI


Sound Realtek ALC889
Sound outputs 7.1 line out, coaxial S/PDIF out, optical S/PDIF out
Speakers none

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy drive no
Supported memory cards SDHC, MMC, MS, CF, MD, SM
Optical drive model Liteon iHas124Y
Optical drive type(s) DVD+/-RW +/-DL


Screen model N/A
Native resolution N/A
Response time N/A
Screen inputs N/A

Other Hardware

Modem No
Keyboard none
Mouse none


Software included none
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option Windows disc

Buying Information

Warranty three years RTB
Price £1,449

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