The memory used is good quality branded Corsair Platinum XMS3200 RAM. This is designed to run at 400MHz, but for some reason it was set to 333MHz in the BIOS. This would makes sense if an FSB overclock was being attempted and the memory was deliberately set lower and run with a memory divider – but it isn’t.
Wired2Fire has also set up the two hard disks in a RAID 0 configuration, creating a large single partition of 500GB (unformatted). However, RAID 0 in a desktop brings no discernable performance benefit but does mean that your data is more at risk because there are now two points of failure. Instead, I would have preferred to see a very fast WD Raptor drive being used or the two drives set up at a RAID 1 mirror for data security.
I was also confused by the choice of motherboard. The Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe is a good board, but with such powerful graphics cards I would have expected to see a motherboard with x16 PCI Express slots, rather than x8. The board also has a fan on the northbridge, and system noise could have been reduced by going with Asus’s x16 board, which has a heatpipe for cooling.
Powering all this is a sensible 620W Enermax Liberty power supply, which is enough to keep things ticking over. This is also a modular PSU and only the necessary connectors have been plugged in, which helps keep things neat.
Another oddity for a gaming machine is that there’s no dedicated sound card supplied. An X-Fi would have seemed an obvious choice. Wired2Fire confirmed that this was omitted because of issues with the nVidia cards that have now been resolved and one can be supplied for an extra £150.
On the upside the machine is nicely put together. The two graphics card are held in place well and the cables are routed very tidily. Wired2Fire has also made efforts to keep the system far quieter than any other SLI system we’re looked at previously. The blowers on the 7900 GTX cards are pretty silent themselves and this is helped by the use of a large Zalman cooler on the CPU. There’s also large 120mm fans used at the front and back. There’s still an audible presense but it’s liveable with.
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