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"The Ultimate Beast" Pics+Review

Post Date: 2009-03-30

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LittlBUGer View Drop Down
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  Quote LittlBUGer Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Topic: "The Ultimate Beast" Pics+Review
    Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 12:34am
UPDATE: I've upgraded my system slightly (Yes, already!) to be sure it's now the best of the best. Take a look at new specs and new benchmarks... I now get over 600MB/s read/write speeds! :)

Hello all. For those who haven't followed along on This Thread, I recently built what I would call my ultimate dream machine, or for short T.U.B. ("The Ultimate Beast"). I've always wanted to try to get the best of the best and last month I finally had enough money saved up to do so (how much you ask? Well, think almost at 5 digits...).

I did a lot of research around trying to find the best place to get a custom built top-of-the-line machine. Of course I've always heard of Alienware or Falcon-NW and whatnot and was close at going with them, until I found Digital Storm. After more research and asking around, I decided to go with DS. They seemed to have more customizability, better parts, and more quality assurance than anyone else. After even longer, I finally figured out the build I wanted and ordered it on Feb. 13th.

Though it did take a while to get to me (probably longer than most - I got it on March 27th), my purchasing experience was great and I had a lot of contact via email and phone with the people at DS. I was picky and wanted to make sure all was going OK, that they had my order exactly right, etc. And they of course got back with me to make sure I was satisfied with things or told me what may work better, etc. All in all, it was a good experience and I would buy from them again. Though, I did have a few tiffs (explained in the thread link above) right when I got my machine, but I got them all figured out and dealt with and even DS personally talked with me to make sure I was 100% satisfied doing everything in their power.

To sum it up a bit:

Customer Service: 10/10
Ordering Process: 9/10
Parts/Components Available: 10/10
Build Quality: 9/10
Out-Of-Box Experience: 9/10
Overall Satisfaction: 9/10

And now for the good stuff, here's my build:

Chassis Model: Digital Storm 950Si
Exterior Finish: - EXOTIC StormBlue High-Gloss Automotive Paint Finish
Interior Finish: - EXOTIC StormBlack High-Gloss Automotive Paint Finish
Trim Accents: Paint All Trim Accents: Chassis Vents, Grills, Screws, and Hose Clamps (Red)
Processor: Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition 965 3.2GHz OC'd to 4.0 Ghz (Quad Core) (Extreme Performance)
Motherboard: EVGA X58 3X SLI (Intel X58 Chipset) (Supports Triple SLI or CrossFire)
System Memory: 12GB DDR3 1600MHz Corsair Dominator DHX (High-Performance)
Power Supply: Corsair 1000W HX (Silent Edition) (Dual/Triple/Quad SLI Compatible)
Card Reader: Internal Digital Media Card Reader (Black)
*NEW* Hard Drive Set 1: 3x OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD in RAID 0 (Original was 2x OCZ Apex 250GB SSD in RAID 0)
Hard Drive Set 2: 1x (1TB Western Digital (7200 RPM) (16MB Cache) (SATA) (Extreme Speed)
Optical Drive 1: Blu-Ray Writer/Reader (Burn Blu-Ray discs and play them)
Optical Drive 2: DVD±R/RW/CD-R/RW (DVD Writer 20x / CD-Writer 48x) (LightScribe Edition)
*NEW* Internet Access: Killer NIC M1 PCI card (Orig: High Speed Network Port (Supports High-Speed Cable / DSL / Network Connections))
Video Card(s): 2x SLI Quad (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 1.792GB) (Includes PhysX Technology)
Sound Card: Creative Labs X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion (Includes Front I/O) (PCI-Express Slot Based)
Extreme Cooling: H20: Stage 3: High-Performance Liquid Chilled FrostBite System For CPU
Liquid Color: UV Blue: Medium Glowing Non-conductive Fluid (Requires H20: Stage 3 & UV Lighting)
Chassis Airflow: Upgrade Chassis With Zalman Performance Fans (Up to 6 Fans)
Internal Lighting: Internal Chassis Lighting System (UV) (Creates Glowing Effect For H20: Stage 3 UV Fluid)
Enhancements: LCD Temperature Display & Fan Controller (Requires Chassis Airflow Upgrade)
Windows OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate (64-Bit Edition) (For Enthusiasts)

And here's a couple slideshows of pictures and benchmark screenshots that I made (in my Photobucket account):

PC Pics

*NEW* Benchmarks: Upgraded PC Benchmarks

NOTE: Pics still don't do it full justice, especially the 'night' shots, but I did what I could as I'm not a pro. photographer.

PC Benchmarks

New NOTE: Benchmarks were taken using the registered versions of PCMark Vantage and 3DMark Vantage, and the free versions of ATTO Disk Benchmark, HDTune, HD Tach, and SiSoft Sandra Lite.

Orig. NOTE: I took benchmarks with registered version of 3DMark Vantage, trial of PCMark Vantage, HD Tach (both 'Quick' and 'Long') and HDTune. The only benchmark that showed some weird results was PCMark Vantage. Though the screenshot doesn't show it, when I looked at the details in comparison with the other machine, my scores were ridiculously low. I don't know if there was just a glitch or there's still some latency issue with my SSD drives or what, but I would take the PCMark Vantage score with a grain of salt.

In the end, thus far, this thing is just crazy fast. I'm still trying it on some of my fav games (like Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead), but it obviously has no problems playing at 1920x1200 with every setting at absolute max detail. The RAID 0 SSDs just blow everything out of the water. Boot time into workable environment is a matter of seconds (maybe 15-30 depending on BIOS boot stuff) and programs start up almost instantly. File copying is ridiculous for most things and the same with program installations. I still haven't had time to do further tests such as video encoding, conversion, and compression and whatnot else, but I'm sure it will do awesome there as well.

After everything, I just want to say Thank You DS and everyone else here who has helped make my dream machine come true! :D

Edited by LittlBUGer - 05 Apr 2009 at 1:22am

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Alex View Drop Down
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  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 1:09am
This is a very nice system!
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  Quote DST4ME Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 1:22am
very nice
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  Quote <8) slunK parade Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 3:33am
they didnt paint the hard drive cages?
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  Quote issues1975 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 10:15am
Very Nice!!!! Ermm
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  Quote LittlBUGer Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 10:36am
Thanks all.

@slunK
No, that was about the only thing left untouched it seems, and I'm not sure why, though it doesn't bother me at all.  Maybe something to do with heat, I don't know.  :)

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  Quote issues1975 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 10:59am
So Little, have you gotten the chance to game on it yet?
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  Quote LittlBUGer Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 11:35am
Yea, I mentioned briefly I tried Left 4 Dead, which plays with no problems obviously, and is like a new game to me now.  But the real test will be Crysis though, which I could barely even run before.  More on that later.  :)

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  Quote LDLD Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 12:11pm
Yes, let us know about Crysis! I'm looking forward to finding out how my rig will do w/ that soon too. Congrats! I especially like the paint job.

Edited by LDLD - 30 Mar 2009 at 12:12pm
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  Quote issues1975 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 1:10pm

I tell ya, I put in F.E.A.R. last night for a sec which used to almost cripple my old rig on anything higher than med settings with a couple of things on high at 1280X1024. This new machine ran it with my virus scanner still on with soft shadows, everything maximum, 1680X1050 rez and vsync on without dropping below 59fps on the benchmark.  Ermm

I can't wait until I have a little time to really get some gaming in...

 
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  Quote aias49 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 2:13pm
Medium settings are you kidding me mine can't even play supreme commander on the lowest settings.Wink
 
But that will be remedied soon.Heart
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  Quote tman5890 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 4:26pm
I'm so jealous. Those speeds are deadly.
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  Quote Dsnewb210 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 4:46pm
Nice system! 
950SI
965/4.0 Frostbite LC
6GB Dominator 1600mhz
Rampage II Extreme
Intel 160 320 Raid 0
GTX 285 SLI
Dell 2408wfp/2407wfp
Logitech G19, Razer Mamba
Wireless Astro A40's
Bose Companion 5 Speakers
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  Quote LittlBUGer Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 5:23pm
Thanks everyone.  I'm actually thinking about somehow replacing the sound card with either a PCI one or an external one so I can use that x8 PCIe slot for a RAID card and squeeze out even more performance from the SSDs.  :)

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  Quote DST4ME Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 5:45pm
that would be better, but then after you are done I will raid 2 vertex 2-s together J/K
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  Quote LittlBUGer Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 6:17pm
Heh, speaking of which, on the topic I started in the OCZ forums, people are suggesting I just sell the Apexes and put in 3 120GB Vertexes, which in RAID 0 should max out the RAID controller on my mobo and do possibly 660MB/s.  Or just replace the 2 apexes with 2 vertexes and then I wouldn't have to worry about a new RAID card at all.  Either way, I'll have to think about it...  ;)

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  Quote DST4ME Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 7:03pm
or just get a fusion duo and blow out all of that out of the water
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  Quote Onkel_Ken Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 8:42pm
Great review of a great looking and great performing beast!!!
 
Congrats!!!
 
Ermm
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RAM 12GB Corsair Vengeance
1KW Corsair PS 300GB VelociRaptor
Western Digital 500GB 1TB BU
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  Quote scaner Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 10:25pm
just say...WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GTO - Cooler Master HAF 932 Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83GHz/oc 3.4 (1333MHz FSB)
(12MB Cache)
NVIDIA 780i Core 2 Quad Chipset: nForce 780i SLI Vista64/Samsung 2233BW


NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 1GB
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  Quote Kryhavoc Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 11:00pm
Awesome machine!Ermm
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  Quote LittlBUGer Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Mar 2009 at 11:44pm
Originally posted by DST4ME

or just get a fusion duo and blow out all of that out of the water


Yea right, rofl! Costs just as much as my entire PC did, :D

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  Quote DST4ME Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 31 Mar 2009 at 1:03am
LOL you don't know me, I'm crazy like that, I'll do it
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  Quote LittlBUGer Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 31 Mar 2009 at 5:04pm
Well, you may or may not be pleased to know that, after some research and discussion in the OCZ forums, my build will change slightly soon. In order to make my PC truly "The Ultimate Beast", I had to get the best-of-the-best for the HDs too. So I just bought 3x 120 GB Vertex drives that I'll put in a RAID 0, replacing my current 2 Apex 250GB ones. I also bought a Killer NIC M1 card for my free PCI slot just for fun, to see if that helps anyway. Had to get a new UPS while I was at it too, as my current one gets overloaded when all runs full tilt, heh.

So, now that's done, anyone need an OCZ Apex 250 GB SSD at less than retail price? I've got 2! ;)

Edited by LittlBUGer - 31 Mar 2009 at 5:06pm

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  Quote DST4ME Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 31 Mar 2009 at 5:41pm
why not just wait for vertex 2 instead?
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  Quote LittlBUGer Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 31 Mar 2009 at 6:05pm
As said by a couple people from OCZ forums: "The Vertex II was a concept model shown at a PC exhibition and perhaps it'll see the light of day, or perhaps it won't." So since I have no idea when it will be out, and the upcoming 'Summit' drive will maybe be slightly better, I see no reason to not get the Vertex now. :)

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  Quote LittlBUGer Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Apr 2009 at 11:40pm
For anyone who cares...

I finally got my new Killer NIC card and UPS tonight. Got them setup and they are working well. The UPS is not even at half load while I'm doing normal stuff in Windows. Still need to test under full load while gaming or something. Also need to test the NIC too under gaming, see if I notice a difference. I definitely have noticed a bit of a difference while doing some regular onilne stuff though, not huge, but big enough to notice for me. :) Had a fun time with the NIC card. I was barely able to install it with all of the other stuff I have crammed in my machine, lol. Funny part is, it has a few little red LED lights on it that blink while it runs. :)

I'll have the 3 new Vertexes tomorrow and will get those hooked up and tested and then update my previously posted benchmarks and whatnot. :D

Also, on a side note, I have yet to get my damn mic working in Vista with my X-Fi card. I've heard this same issue with many people online after doing a search about it. I've tried just about everything I can think of, other than letting DS go into my system to take a look to see what they can find (which they are doing tomorrow). Has anyone else had issues like this with a X-Fi Titanium card in Vista? Any solutions that worked? Thanks!


Edited by LittlBUGer - 02 Apr 2009 at 11:42pm

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  Quote DST4ME Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 03 Apr 2009 at 1:01am
204MB/s read and 170MB/s write is hardly anything close to vertex 2.

also this hardly sounds like a concept model:

OCZ has shown us the prototypes of Vertex 2, their next generation SSD, and the company's CEO Ryan Peterson and EVP and Chief Marketing officer Alex Mei were kind enough to show us a first glimpse of the drive's performance.

The drive is insanely fast as this internal quad raid drive can write at up to 480MB/s and read around 550MB/s.

In order to achieve thee speeds you will have to get to SATA 3.0, as SATA 2.0 is maxed out at 300MB/s per device. SATA 3.0 on the other hand gets you all the way to 750GB/s which will be enough even for Vertex 2.

This drive will come the market in 2009


if its does not come out, I'm gonna be super pissed at ocz.

Edited by DST4ME - 03 Apr 2009 at 1:02am
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  Quote LittlBUGer Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 03 Apr 2009 at 1:12am
With 3 Vertexes in RAID 0 I can get 660MB/s read or close to it. That's on current hardware with current SATA 2.0 specs. If I wait, I'd have to replace everything for me to use the Vertex 2, whenever that 'may' be. So I think I made the right choice. :)

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  Quote DST4ME Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 03 Apr 2009 at 1:14am
I'm was not talking about whether you made the right choice or not, I'm talking about the SSD themselves, 3 drives is raid is not the same as one drive with internal raid.
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  Quote LittlBUGer Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 03 Apr 2009 at 10:35am
Well of course. If/when they become available, they will be quite nice, if they actually work as suggested. :)

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  Quote bullseyehk Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 03 Apr 2009 at 11:49am
Originally posted by DST4ME

204MB/s read and 170MB/s write is hardly anything close to vertex 2.

also this hardly sounds like a concept model:

OCZ has shown us the prototypes of Vertex 2, their next generation SSD, and the company's CEO Ryan Peterson and EVP and Chief Marketing officer Alex Mei were kind enough to show us a first glimpse of the drive's performance.

The drive is insanely fast as this internal quad raid drive can write at up to 480MB/s and read around 550MB/s.

In order to achieve thee speeds you will have to get to SATA 3.0, as SATA 2.0 is maxed out at 300MB/s per device. SATA 3.0 on the other hand gets you all the way to 750GB/s which will be enough even for Vertex 2.

This drive will come the market in 2009


if its does not come out, I'm gonna be super pissed at ocz.


after waiting this long to order my system i will be to
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  Quote LittlBUGer Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 05 Apr 2009 at 1:23am
I've updated my original post with my slightly upgraded system specs and new benchmark pics, etc. Enjoy! :D

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  Quote Onkel_Ken Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 05 Apr 2009 at 7:09pm
For the mike be sure to right click the speaker and click on recording devices and configure the Front Panel Microphone.  Hope this helps,
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  Quote tman5890 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 05 Apr 2009 at 8:28pm
Insane speeds on your hard drives
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  Quote LittlBUGer Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 05 Apr 2009 at 11:53pm
@Onkel_Ken
Don't worry about the mic anymore, I finally got it figured out. It was the headset I was using before. Worked fine in XP x64, but not in Vista x64. So after I connected a standalone mic, voila, it works.

@tman5890
Thanks. :D

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