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PC Specialist Vortex i930 Xtreme review

Seth Barton
31 Jul 2010
PC Specialist Vortex i930 Xtreme
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,449
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.

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Specifications

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****
ProcessorIntel Core i7 930
Processor external bus200MHz (3,600MHz Direct Media Interface)
Processor multiplierx19
Processor clock speed3.8GHz
Processor socketLGA1366
Level 1 cache4x 64KB
Level 2 cache4x 256KB
Memory6
Memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory24GB
MotherboardAsus P6X58D-E
Motherboard chipsetIntel X58

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)3/4
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/1
eSATA ports (front/rear)1/0
Wired network ports10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone
Other ports2x USB3

Internal Expansion

Casemidi tower
PCI-E x1 slots (free)1 (1)
PCI-E x16 slots (free)3 (2)
Free Serial ATA ports4
Free memory slots3
Free 3.5in drive bays3

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s)Hitachi Deskstar (HDS721010CLA332), Intel SSDSA2M040G2GC
InterfaceSATA/300
Total storage capacity1,040GB
Spindle speed7,200rpm

Graphics

Graphics card(s)Nvidia GeForce GTX 480
Graphics/video ports2x DVI, mini HDMI

Sound

SoundRealtek ALC889
Sound outputs7.1 line out, coaxial S/PDIF out, optical S/PDIF out
Speakersnone

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy driveno
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, MS, CF, MD, SM
Optical drive modelLiteon iHas124Y
Optical drive type(s)DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Display

Screen modelN/A
Native resolutionN/A
Response timeN/A
Screen inputsN/A

Other Hardware

ModemNo
Keyboardnone
Mousenone

Software

Software includednone
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionWindows disc

Buying Information

Warrantythree years RTB
Price£1,449
Supplierhttp://www.pcspecialist.co.uk
Detailswww.pcspecialist.co.uk

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