The first thing you’ll notice about this beast is how incredibly heavy it is, so much so that moving it is not a one person operation – at least not safely. All the water cooling combined with a substantial case and multiple hard drives makes for a lot of heavy elements. However, once in position, the set-up process is as simple as any other shop bought PC; just plug in all your peripherals and cables and press the power button.
”If you have very little PC knowledge then Vadim probably isn’t for you as the team assumes a certain amount of experience on your part to be able to plug the right cables into the right sockets without needing manuals to guide you. ”
Sitting on a desk (because you wouldn’t hide it under a desk now would you) and turned off, the Vadim looks undeniably impressive but in a sedate unobtrusive way. The case just oozes quality and, looking through the side window, you see that this is reflected in the attention to detail that’s been lavished on the internal layout, cooling system, and cable management. Above the side window is a sticker that says “Built by Luke Szczawinski”, this is something you’ll find on all Vadim PCs as each one is tailor made by a single engineer right from the initial order all the way through to the final stability testing and they will be your point of contact throughout the process.
Apart from this sticker and the chrome Vadim logo on the front, the case doesn’t have any external modifications and most of the Vadim trickery is going on inside.
While striking enough turned off, it’s when you turn the PC on that it truly shows its colours. Dozens of LEDs embedded in the fans spring to life and light up the entire case. Additional UV fluorescent strip lights react with an additive in the water cooling to create green glowing rivers of coolant. All the while a soothing gurgling noise is emitted from the coolant reservoir as the fast flowing liquid bubbles and splashes at its surface. After a moment’s pause, the 11 fans will start to spin generating a gentle whoosh as air is sucked into the case, blown over the radiators and pushed back out of the case. The combination of 11 fans running at full tilt would normally create a distracting amount of noise but Vadim has thought of this and only uses ultra quiet fans that spin at such low speeds that they are barely audible. Indeed the only potentially distracting noise is the clicking of the hard drive read/write heads as they flick back and forth across the disc surface.
Speaking of hard drives, this computer has the fastest boot time I’ve ever seen in a consumer product. An optimised BIOS skips any unnecessary checks and pauses and gets straight to the job of loading up Windows and, with two of the fastest SATA hard drives on the planet configured in RAID-0, it flies through this task as well. Using a stop watch, I timed it at just over a minute to boot from cold.
You can choose from the full range of Windows XP and Vista variations for your operating system but, given the hardware this Goliath is loaded up with, I wouldn’t go for anything less than Vista Home Premium which is what our review sample shipped with. Upon boot up you’ll see a custom Vadim desktop image that goes perfectly with the shiny windows and menus of Vista Aero. All the drivers and other software required to operate the computer’s hardware comes pre-installed but aside from that you’ll have to provide all the software you want to use. Again, if you’re the kind of user that might expect and hope to find your PC crammed full of anti-thisthatandtheother software then Vadim isn’t for you. In the eyes of the performance user these additions just add clutter to your PC and take up valuable system resources.