Gaming Performance

Before we get into this testing, I do feel compelled to point out that Quad SLI is decidedly a niche product and you'll find the support is relatively commensurate with that. While NVIDIA's most recent drivers actually do a fantastic job of correcting the majority of surround testing quirks, I experienced some of the odd "red/blue" flickering during testing that people with Quad SLI have brought up on forums. This seems related to the SLI bridge being faulty or not high enough quality, and our rep at NVIDIA has suggested as much. The flickering doesn't impact performance, but it's pretty annoying. Thankfully it's easy enough to fix: replace the bridge.

Our "High" preset is liable to be a waste of horsepower, but for the sake of completeness, here it is:

And the CyberPower Gamer Xtreme FTW, with its pair of GeForce GTX 590s, puts in a rocking performance nearly every step of the way. In certain situations it's still processor limited (which is amusing given it's being driven by a 4.5GHz Intel Core i7-990X), but when we finally shift the majority of the workload to the graphics subsystem it'll really start to pull away.

Two side notes, though: first, I've included the Dell Precision T1600's NVIDIA Quadro 2000 performance results as a kind of baseline for the sort of gaming performance one might expect from a $100 or less video card, but try to keep in mind that it's a workstation card and not designed for this purpose. The T1600 will still run roughshod over even this machine in many workstation-based applications. Second, the STALKER: Call of Pripyat benchmark has a very unique bug that we were able to root out while testing: if DirectX isn't installed or updated properly, the benchmark won't render dynamic shadows. It'll run perfectly fine otherwise, but dynamic shadows and some post-processing lighting effects won't appear, and as a result the score will be twice to nearly quadruple what it ought to be. If anyone ever runs into this (and it was a new one on me and the NVIDIA guys alike), update your DirectX installation.

Now, on to the "Ultra" testing!

Once we shift the brunt of the workload to the graphics subsystem, CyberPower's desktop takes off like a shot, and you can expect this trend to further continue when we enter the "Surround" testing suite. StarCraft II continues to be the odd man out, but I've been griping to anyone who'll listen about how badly coded that game was since it came out. Released in 2010. It's a real-time strategy game that doesn't scale past two threads and still struggles with the now standard mainstream resolution of 1366x768, and there's no built-in anti-aliasing. What, were the designers too busy counting their money to produce a halfway modern engine? Come on, even World of Warcraft has DirectX 11 support and scales past two threads at this point.

But let's not dwell on badly engineered PC games when we can test a quad-GPU monster at the punishing surround resolution of 5670x1200.

Now that the pair of GeForce GTX 590s can stretch their legs, the CyberPower Gamer Xtreme FTW takes a comfortable lead in every game. While some show better scaling than others beyond the pair of GeForce GTX 580s in the DigitalStorm Enix, ultimately there's still a performance boost and room to grow in every test case. The major question I have, though, is whether or not it's enough of a jump to warrant the increased price over a pair of GeForce GTX 580s. The 590 SLI rig is faster, sure, but the pair of 580s are still more than adequate even at this resolution. But if you're thinking about buying a trio of 27" or 30" LCDs for gaming purposes, by all means, go for the Quad SLI setup....

Application and Futuremark Performance Build, Noise, Heat, and Power Consumption
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  • Souka - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    I think AT should do a giveaway for this unit...

    If so, first entry post! 8-O
  • Souka - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    OMG the wattage this thing draws at idle is more than my current setup draws at load.

    With this unit under load I'd have to get a AC unit for my computer room (except during winter)...yikes!!!!
  • cknobman - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Im in for a giveaway!!!!!!!!
  • Sardius - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    $5k for a PC sounds like so much money to spend on a PC these days.

    Then again, my first gaming rig (early 1998) consisted of a 266 MHz Pentium II, 64 MB RAM, nVidia Riva 128 4MB AGP video card, 8GB hard drive. Not to mention the 17" Trinitron monitor, AWE64 sound card and a beefy set of 2.1 Altec Lansing speakers.

    Total cost: just south of $4k. The 333 MHz processor was also available and probably would have brought the cost closer to $5k.

    Makes me want to go play some (GL) Quake!
  • Spivonious - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Similar to my first machine, although I had a 333MHz Celeron "A", 256MB of RAM, and a 6.4GB hard drive (7200RPM!! ;-) ). It cost around $2k sans monitor.
  • Souka - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    From about 1979 to late-90's a decent home computer setup cost almost $2,000

    I saw a nice graph showing "avg. home computer cost"
  • szimm - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Another overpriced Hunk-o-Junk, which will be outdated only slightly later than a system built with well-balanced parts, for a third of the cost. It's a mystery to me why anyone would buy this kind of machine. Either it would be an attempt to future-proof, which is pointless, or just to show off - meaning the size of said persons genitalia must be severely lacking. I direct you to a recent episode of South Park for details on this phenomenon.

    Anyway, the pleasure of building computers (for me, at least) has always been to see just how much awesome you could squeeze out of any given budget. I've had just as much fun building net-tops and lowpower PC's for friends and family, as I have building powerful rigs for myself and my gaming buddies.

    And seriously? What's with the 6x2 GB RAM in a system like this? The least they could do is make it 3x4 to ease the upgrade path...
  • Alchemy69 - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    That five grand amounts to a stupidity tax.
  • Lazlo Panaflex - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Good Lawd, that case is absolutely fugly...wth were they thinking?
  • tpurves - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - link

    Maybe the ugliest computer I have ever seen.

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