High Speed Computers says that its aim is to produce the computing equivalent of a Bentley. Like that classic British manufacturer, HSC builds every PC that comes out of its small production facility by hand, ensuring that these extremely overclocked machines run as fast, and cool, as possible.
The Bentley, though, isn't the vehicle that immediately sprang to mind when we started messing around with the Dark Whisper.
When you think of Bentleys, you imagine luxury, you think hand-stitched leather finish, maybe a staffed cocktail bar in the capacious boot. The Whisper on the other hand is more akin to the Lotus Exige: a stripped down machine designed for performance and about as luxurious as Slim Pickens' final ride in Doctor Strangelove. But boy, does it move.
HSC's Windows front-end is frightful and really doesn't boast that luxury feel you'd expect from a machine tipping the scales at this kind of price.
The Windows Classic theme decidedly retro rather than classically styled, and the hideous yellow menus will have you diving for the Control Panel before you can lament their effect on your poor, fragile eyes.
Performance-wise, though, the Dark Whisper chews up benchmarks for breakfast. It bested our test PC on almost all counts, and that is a lightning-fast Core 2 Quad. It didn't quite hold its own in the quad-core friendly 3DMark06, until it gets to the obscene resolution of 2560 x 1600 where it takes the lead by a clear 100 3Dmarks.
Like the classic British sports car marques HSC is trying to emulate, though, the Dark Whisper is not without its faults. The problems don't lie in the actual machine itself, although we're a little concerned about the weight of the modified cooler on the 8800GTX, but we're reliably informed that is to be changed.
The problem is that when you're competing against the likes of Dell and Cyberpower you've got a tough task in beating their massive buying power and therefore the aggressive price points.
HSC has managed to bring the Whisper in at a an almost reasonable price, although it would benefit from being closer to two grand. Cyberpower has a machine out there with SLI 8800GTXs for around the same price, and with a lovely monitor.
That said the Dark Whisper is a brilliantly constructed machine and the air cooling provides space enough for future upgrades, something that other machines cannot boast. One more GPU and you'd have one amazing system.