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Wired2Fire HellSpawn ALC Gaming PC - Wired2Fire HellSpawn ALC Gaming PC

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Wired2Fire HellSpawn ALC Gaming PC

Summary

Our Score:

8

Returning to the CPU, Intel's Core i7 920 normally runs at a relatively sedate 2.66GHz, but thanks to the talents of CoolIT's Domino A.L.C. water-cooling system this is overclocked to 3.8GHz (20 x 190MHz). While this is no better than what we've managed with standard air cooling, instead of the 80 degrees plus that kind of overclock results in (which is getting dangerously close to the 90 degree safety limit at which you start reducing your CPU's lifespan), the Domino A.L.C. ensures that temperatures never exceed 50 degrees.

An additional benefit is that the fan cooling the CoolIT's radiator is quieter than most air cooling systems, and while we're on the topic of fans it's worth noting that all the Antec Three Hundred's fans are controlled through the Domino too, so that pressing its single button affects the cooling capacity and noise levels of the entire PC (except for the fans on the power supply and graphics card).

As far as cable management goes, it must be said that Wired2Fire does an exemplary job: everything in our HellSpawn ALC was neatly and cleverly routed, bound up or tidied away, insuring a clean look and maximum airflow. Just make sure to check the box marked "Wired2Fire Cable Management" when ordering your Wired2Fire system. It's a free option but is unselected by default.

Also worth mention is Wired2Fire's 'box of bits'. The box for its motherboard is included with the PC, containing a full colour Wired2Fire manual, other manuals, Vista disc, driver CDs and all the spare cables, adapters and other bits from the PC's various components

When it comes to software, the 64-bit version of Windows Vista Premium can take full advantage of the 6GBs of RAM. With the launch of the far superior Windows 7 imminent though, we'd recommend the extra £12 Wired2Fire wants for the upgrade option.

On booting the machine you're greeted by a very clean desktop with a nice custom W2F wallpaper. There are no extra apps, no bloatware, no widgets; essentially, nothing to detract from gaming performance, which is just the way we like it. Just make sure to have a few basics like a decent text editor/productivity suite and antivirus program to hand, since the only additional software options Wired2Fire provides for are games (Far Cry 2, Race Driver GRID, Assassin's Creed and Company of Heroes Opposing Fronts for £10 each - not a bad deal).

Ed 3

July 29, 2009, 5:21 am

Finally a gamer pc review! Been waiting ages for one like this..wish there were more though!

Ben

July 29, 2009, 3:32 pm

I enjoyed it, too, I like the gaming machine ones :D Quite hard to get excited about the product itself, but it does seem like great value. Especially when I think about how much I spend on Apple stuff :D

William Smith

July 30, 2009, 1:15 am

I would definitely reconsider giving this PC a recommended given the water cooling it uses. The Domino ALC has been slated by other technology sites as fiddly, bad quality and prone to breaking and if I may link to another site check out this review of the unit here http://www.bit-tech.net/hardwa...





I think it is one corner too many cut in my opinion.

PB

July 30, 2009, 2:38 am

Great review thanks Ardjuna, would really like more details on how noisy it is though, what is it like when you're not gaming? A video review demonstrating the noise levels would be ideal.





I haven't bought a new PC since our family one which is an old P4 pentium and it HOWLS.

TechVegan

July 30, 2009, 5:38 pm

Glad you like it guys!





@Ed:


Hopefully we'll get some more in soon.





@William Smith:


True enough, but you'll notice most of the problems are when installing and overclocking yourself, neither of which is the case with this PC. To quote the article you're linking to: "CoolIT has made a good product for system integrators. Clearly its excellence in making units for high end Dell PCs has rubbed off here".





In our tests the CoolIT installed in this PC performed better than any air-cooled setup we've had through the office, and since there's only a small price-premium it offers good value.





@PB:


It's not the quietest system when not gaming, but all it produces is a slight hum. Also, let me qualify the former statement by saying it IS the quietest PC with this level of hardware performance we've had through the office. However, to make it truly unobtrusive you'd need to install a quieter cooler for the video card.

Pbryanw

July 30, 2009, 6:50 pm

Considering the graphics card is the noisiest component in this PC, it's a shame (as mentioned in the article) that Wired2Fire don't offer Nvidia GPU's as options. Especially, since the GTX 275 is supposed to be quieter then the 4890, from what I've read.

Luan Bach

July 30, 2009, 7:35 pm

Is it true that you will need to occasionally top up the water level for these cooling systems ?

TechVegan

July 30, 2009, 9:22 pm

@Pbryanw:


Indeed, though noise levels vary depending on whether you're gaming or 'idle'.





@Luan Bach:


You shouldn't need to as it's a pre-assembled, closed system.

Tom 9

October 29, 2009, 4:24 pm

the case is horrible.

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