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As most of you will probably know by now, Intel and AMD have just released new six-core (or hexa-core) processors. Although Intel has been dominating the PC gaming scene for quite a while, it's actually a six-core AMD machine that first arrived at our office, and what a machine it is! The DinoPC 6th Sense packs in the titular Phenom II X6 1090T CPU, a pair of ATI Radeon 5870 graphics cards and a 120GB SSD, and houses it all in one of the most innovative cases we've ever seen. Let's see if it's actually worth your hard earned pennies.
Undoubtedly, more than its CPU or other components, this PC lives and dies by its case. The Silverstone Raven RV01 has a unique angular design that we rather like, though we're sure many of you will disagree. However, while its form may seem to be its standout feature, it's actually this case's function that sets it apart. By turning the motherboard mount 90 degrees clockwise, Silverstone has completely changed the internal and external layout of the PC. All the inputs and outputs now protrude from the top where they're hidden under a removable panel – a very neat touch – and the overall airflow is now from bottom to top rather than front to back, which of course given that hot air rises is arguably a more sensible layout.
What hasn't changed, however, is the features you find at the front of the case, though Silverstone has again thrown a bit of innovation into the mix. Behind a vertical sliding panel you'll find the 5.25in external drive bays, and below these (internally) are the hard drive bays. The Power and Reset buttons are located at the top edge. Unfortunately they're both large and right next to each other, so it's disconcertingly easy to press the wrong one.
The sliding drive bay cover is quite a neat feature. You pull it down and it locks into place at the bottom, then at a push it slowly springs back into place. It is, however, rather stiff and noisy in operation, and is arguably a waste of space - though certainly less so than the hinged doors of alternative cases. Also, it's somewhat of a pity that this movable door hides a plain old LG DVD-Rewriter instead of at least a Blu-ray reader as we would expect to find on a system costing two grand. On the up-side, at least a BDR drive is a reasonable £45.30 upgrade.
Our last moan targets the small panel on the top that hides the 'front' connectivity. It provides a FireWire port, two USB 2.0 connectors (set too close together) and jacks for headphone and microphone. Again this hinged panel looks cool and seems sturdy enough but its sharp edges could catch wayward fingers when inserting or removing cables, dongles or memory sticks. We would also have liked to see an eSATA port here, and a card-reader in one of the bays wouldn't have gone amiss either.
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