At last, the Core i7 PC reaches cuberty. This is the point at which every PC matures from a rectangular, double-decker case into nifty, chunkier and more stylish chassis.
It marks the coming of age of the chipset. This one is learning to drive, and got stoned for the first time last night. A naughty PC, but it's a fact of life.
It may be a more mature computer than most, but you can still get under its skin with simple child psychology. And a screwdriver.
Within, we uncovered a GTX275 graphics card, 6GB of RAM and 1TB of raided storage. Cryo has done a decent job of getting some quality components into a relatively small case, and they've also made a stab at overclocking them a tad.
But, as we found with Chillblast's PC recently, overclocking's good for nothing if you haven't got a decent cooler strapped to your CPU, and given Cryo's smaller form factor, this is a crucial element.
Running X264 – which puts maximum load on the processor – resulted in the chip reaching a top temperature of 86°C. Not quite the 100°C we saw from the Chillblast PC, but still as hot as Satan's microwave.
Which yet again begs the question, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? Yes, we love overclocking, but pushing a processor too far is never a good idea. Admittedly, Cryo has done it better than Chillblast, using a decent cooler and not letting the temperature get to the point where the system throttles the processor. But the machine is more likely to have a shorter lifespan as a result.
The case itself – Cryo's other selling point – is likely to divide as much as it conquers. It's a sleek affair, but in spite of being half the height of a normal case, it's about twice as wide. And, weirdly, the DVD drive is located on the right side of the case, so you'll have to allow room for disc entry.
But Cryo deserves some kudos for actually making use of MSI's X58M motherboard. This board is the same Micro-ATX form factor as Asus' Rampage II Gene, which I grilled a couple of months ago for being just too damn small to be useful.
But I'm forever proven wrong; Micro-ATX boards do have their uses, and the MSI board is perfectly capable and eminently upgradeable.
Overclocking issues aside, Cryo has made a good job of stuffing a lot of quality into an unconventional case. The size may be an issue here, but the Nano sits nicely in front of a whopping TV, where it can be used as a slightly larger media centre.
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