A lightening rig, with smartly-picked, up to date components, and all at a pleasing price
Incredible price/performance ratio
Still the issue of invalid warranties
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There simply is no perfect price point to buy full PCs at any more. You used to have the fairly standard £300, £500, £1,000, then £1,000+ rigs, but with so many high-performance component options coming in such varied prices, you can now find a rig to suit exactly what you're willing to pay.
The machines we've looked at recently bear that out – last month we had £600 and £700 rigs, the issue before there were £2,800 and £900 and before that was YOYOtech's £5,500 beast. This month we've got a different price point again, but this is one that will surely make you sit up and take notice.
Sure, £1,600 is no bargain price, but in performance terms OCUK's Titan Viper is standing tall with all the big boys we've seen recently. In gaming terms though it's the Sapphire HD 5970 that's making the Viper stand out.
Despite Nvidia's recent GTX 480-shaped response to AMD's dominance of the DX11 graphics market, the HD 5970 is still by far the fastest graphics card. The twin HD 5870s powering the YOYOtech Fi7epower MLK3 are still demonstrably faster, but require a bit more cash, some careful rejigging of the rigging inside your case and one hell of a PSU.
The Titan Viper has also got the respin of the Core i7 920 – the snappily titled Core i7 930. It's a slightly faster version of the classic Bloomfield chip – clocked at 2.8GHz rather than 2.67GHz – but still with all the overclocking goodness of its forebear.
In purely computational terms the chip is lightning. It's as quick in Cinebench as the ludicrously expensive Core i7 975 when that's clocked over 4GHz too. And, at only 38 seconds, it's incredibly close to the six-core Gulftown timings of 31 seconds.
Overclockers UK has been smart with the rest of the bundled componentry too. Intel's brand new 40GB X25-V value SSD takes care of the now ubiquitous speedy boot drive, but you've still got the capacious stylings of a 1TB Seagate HDD to back it, and everything else, up.
There's also only 6GB of 1600MHz RAM in there too – anything more is effectively just window dressing and number-chasing.
The Gigabyte X58 board is another piece of good business. It's not the most feature-rich of Gigabyte's mobo line up, but it still comes with the goodness of USB 3.0, and is a fantastically performing board for the cash.
Overclockers UK has done some impressive work speccing this machine, and the overclock is as stable as they come. Unfortunately, if you keep your BIOS up to date with manufacturer updates, that immediately invalidates the warranty. You're in a better spot with a fully built system, and BIOS updates aren't always necessary if your rig's working properly.
Machines from CyberPower and Scan don't have such restrictions, so if you do always update your motherboard, it's worth thinking about.
The price/performance ratio on the Titan Viper is damned impressive. Being able to keep pace with rigs almost three times the price is incredible, and garnering the same performance as one costing £1,200 more is truly astounding.
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