IBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom Series
Today we have the opportunity to look at something we don't normally look at: a full turn-key system. Today's system is one of the newest models from iBUYPOWER. Who is iBUYPOWER? They are a company on a mission. Based in Los Angeles County California, iBUYPOWER's mission is to provide a complete computing solution to meet the needs of the surrounding community and customers nationwide. The current product line from iBUYPOWER includes gaming desktops, gaming laptops, workstations, media center PC's, peripherals and multimedia products. As you can plainly see, iBUYPOWER has quite an extensive product line to choose from and can meet any demand you may have for a system or accessory. Though today, as I said, we are going to look at one of their latest releases: the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom! The iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom has a base model and is upgradeable from there to fit your needs. The base model starts out at an expected retail price of $1459.00. I was informed that the starting price of the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom may change prior to release.
|Case||NZXT Phantom - White|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-930 Asetek 570LX 240mm Liquid Cooling|
|Motherboard||ASUS P6T SE|
|Video||ATI Radeon HD 5830-1GB|
|Power||Corsair 750w ATX Power Supply|
|Memory||6GB (3x2GB) DDR3-1600|
|HDD||1TB 7200RPM 64MB Cache SATA3-6.0Gb/s|
|Optical Media||24x Double-layer DVD+/-RW + CD-RW Drive|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Front Panel Connectivity||1x Mic-in 1x Headphone-out 1x E-SATA 3x USB 12-in-1 Multi-format Memory Card Reader|
|Peripherals||iBUYPOWER 6-button 800DPI-Switching Mouse iBUYPOWER Standard Internet Keyboard|
|Warranty||3-Yr Limited Warranty + Lifetime Phone Support|
|Component||Base Model||Configuration 1||Configuration 2|
|CPU||Intel core I7 930||Intel core I7 930||Intel core I7 970|
|Motherboard||ASUS P6T SE||GIGABYTE X58A-UD3R|
|Video||ATI Radeon HD 5830-1GB||2x PaLiT GeForce GTX 460 1Gb|
|Power||Corsair 750w ATX Power Supply||Soly-Tech SL-8850EPS 800 Watt|
|Optical Media||24x Double-layer DVD+/-RW + CD-RW Drive||LG Blu-ray ROM|
Unboxing the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom
One day in the not too distant past UPS dropped by with a rather large package for me. I wasn't sure what I was getting but it was big. According to the shipping documents it weighed in at 57 pounds and measured an impressive 30.5"x30.5"x17" (L*W*H). A package this size had to be something fun so I took a few pictures as I went. As I went I discovered that it was the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom!
As I opened up the packaging to a yet unknown product, I could tell it was very well packaged.
Removing the first layer of foam packaging revealed a second, thicker layer of foam for additional protection.
Once that the second layer of foam was removed I saw that it was the NZXT Phantom Case, or so I thought. 57 pounds did seem like it was a bit heavy for an empty case, though there was quite a bit of packing material.
Opening up the packaging for the NZXT Phantom Case it still wasn't obvious to me that it was a full system, but I had my guesses since I was expecting a system from iBUYPOWER though I wasn't sure as to what the system was. The first real indication was the bundle that was included inside of the packaging.
As you can see the bundle that was inside of the packaging had all of the above parts that don't typically come with just a case. The iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom comes with everything you need to fire up your system. Above you can see the iBUYPOWER keyboard and mouse. Also included is a power cable, the driver discs, accessories from the GIGABYTE X58A-UD3R motherboard, PaLiT GeForce GTX 460's and all of the unused screws from the NZXT Phantom Case. iBUYPOWER also includes an installation disc for Windows 7 Home Premium 64Bit.
IBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom Series outside Images
The iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom is built in the new NZXT Phantom case. Take notice of the paperwork on the side of the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom; this instructs you to open up the side of the case to remove the internal packaging that protects the components.
There is plenty of air intake on the side panel. The iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom has a pair of 120mm fans installed on the side with available placement for a 200mm fan as well.
The front of the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom is sharp looking and clean; all the drive space is placed behind the door.
This particular version of the Paladin XLC Phantom has been upgraded to a single blu-ray rom/DVD re-writer. There is also a 12 in 1 card reader in the bottom 5.25" drive bay.
The back panel of the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom has black mesh that will allow for the air from the pair of 120mm fans on the front flow over the hard drive cages.
The back of the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom features all the usual connections, as well as four grommeted holes for water lines if you decide to run an external water cooling system.
Above we can see the USB, audio, and e-SATA ports on the top of the system. Just below them are the buttons for the power and reset functions.
Here we can see the five fan speed sliders that control the various fans in the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom.
The fans on the top of the case are a pair of 200mm fans with the rear fan being an LED fan that can be switched on and off.
The iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom comes with everything you need to fire up your system. Above you can see the iBUYPOWER keyboard and mouse. Also included is a power cable, the driver discs, accessories from the GIGABYTE X58A-UD3R motherboard, PaLiT GeForce GTX 460's and all of the unused screws from the NZXT Phantom Case. iBUYPOWER also includes an installation disc for Windows 7 Home Premium 64Bit.
IBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom Series Moving Inside
Once we pull the side cover off we can see the internal packaging that will keep the components safe during shipping. It is imperative that this be removed prior to firing up the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom.
Once the packaging is removed we can see that the cable management in the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom is impeccable.
Looking inside the top of the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom we can see that the CPU is cooled by a 240mm radiator. The iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom's CPU cooling system is an Asetek 570LX 240mm Liquid Cooling system.
The motherboard used in this particular model is a GIGABYTE X58A-UD3R, which is an upgrade from the base model's ASUS P6T SE. The graphics cards that you can see here are also upgraded from the base model's Radeon HD 5830. Here we have a pair of PALIT GeForce GTX 460 1GB cards running is SLI! Powering the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom is a Soly-Tech SL-8850EPS 800 Watt power supply.
The iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom that was sent to us includes a 64GB Kingston SSDNow! V2 series MLC SSD for your operating system and a 1TB SATA3 Western Digital Black Edition data drive.
The back of the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom is a bit of a rats nest. Fortunately, that is okay since we aren't worried about airflow back here. Although, I am not real wild about the extension cables used for the motherboard and cpu power cables. I know that sometimes you need additional cable length but I would prefer to use a power supply with the necessary cable length. Now that we have covered what makes up the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC we can start the fun and get to some testing. We are going to test the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom in four different configurations. First we are going to run two configurations each with the Intel Core I7 930 and the Intel Core I7 970, first we will run the processors at the out of the box speeds of the I7 930 2.8GHz with turbo enabled and the same for the Intel I7 970 at 3.2GHz with turbo enabled as well. Next we will run the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom at a 25% overclock on each processor. We will be running the Intel Core I7 930 processor at 3518MHz and the Intel Core I7 970 at 3840MHz. This is considered iBUYPOWER's level 3 overclocking which will overclock the processor up to 30%. Well, enough talk; let's get to the testing!
SiSoft Sandra 2010 Memory Bandwidth
Colin McRae: DiRT2
Aliens Vs. PredatorAliens vs Predator is an entirely new title for PC and high-definition consoles from acclaimed British developer Rebellion, the team behind the 1999 original PC gaming classic. Bringing the most intense war between two of science-fiction’s most popular characters FPS fans, AvP delivers three outstanding single player campaigns and provides untold hours of unique 3-way multiplayer gaming. Experience distinctly new and thrilling first person gameplay as you survive, hunt and prey in the deadly jungles and swamps surrounding the damned colony of Freya’s Prospect. We cranked up all the image quality settings in the benchmark to the highest level possible, so we were running 4x AA and 16x AF with SSAO enabled at both 1920x1200 and 1280x1024 on all the video cards. Benchmark Results: Aliens Vs. Predator seems to have hit the performance limit of the Palit GeForce GTX 460's. None of the processors' configurations made any sort of significant performance difference.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of PripyatThe events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat unfold shortly after the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl following the ending in which Strelok destroys the C-Consciousness. Having discovered the open path to the Zone's center, the government decides to stage a large-scale operation to take control of the Chernobyl nuclear plant. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat utilizes the XRAY 1.6 Engine, allowing advanced modern graphical features through the use of DirectX 11 to be fully integrated; one outstanding feature being the inclusion of real-time GPU tessellation. Regions and maps feature photo realistic scenes of the region it is made to represent. There is also extensive support for older versions of DirectX, meaning that Call of Pripyat is also compatible with older DirectX 8, 9, 10 and 10.1 graphics cards. The game S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: CoP has no internal benchmarking tools built into the game engine, but they do have a standalone benchmark available that we used for our testing purposes. The screen capture above shows the main window of the benchmark with our settings. Notice we are running Enhanced Full Dynamic Lighting "DX11" as our renderer.
Benchmark Results: All of the systems were able to run the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat with relative ease. Results match what we have seen for most of the day with the processor with the most cores and highest frequency taking the top spot. Although, as pointed out here, this benchmark is not threaded very well so frequency will play a much more important role. The Intel Core I7 970 has been running with turbo enabled which will put it only 180MHz slower than the overclocked Intel Core I7 930.
x264 HD Video Encoding
wPrime is a leading multithreaded benchmark for x86 processors that tests your processor performance by calculating square roots with a recursive call of Newton's method for estimating functions, with f(x)=x2-k, where k is the number we're sqrting, until Sgn(f(x)/f'(x)) does not equal that of the previous iteration, starting with an estimation of k/2. It then uses an iterative calling of the estimation method a set amount of times to increase the accuracy of the results. It then confirms that n(k)2=k to ensure the calculation was correct. It repeats this for all numbers from 1 to the requested maximum.
Benchmark Results: When it comes to wPrime more cores is king. Despite the higher clock speed of the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom with the Intel Core I7 930 overclocked to the iBLabs Level 3 overclock, the stock Intel Core I7 970 left the Intel I7 930 systems looking like they were standing still.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
In all of the years I have been using computers I have never had a "turn key" system. I have always thought of them as too overpriced for what you get. Why pay someone else for something that I can do? However, before I needed to form my overall opinion of the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom I wanted to check this idea of mine out. Out of sheer curiosity I headed over to Newegg.com and decided to build this system and see how much it would cost to buy all of the parts individually. I have to say I was thoroughly shocked! The above configuration is for the base model of the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom. You may have noticed there are two important parts of the build that are missing. The first is the NZXT Phantom case which looks like it is going to retail for $139.99 and is currently unavailable. That brings our total for the build up to $1422.90 and we are still missing the Asetek 570LX 240mm Liquid Cooling which I found for $199 out on the web. That brings the grand total $1621.90. That is above and beyond what it would cost to order the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom. Ordering the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom will actually save you more than $160.00 off the bat, add in the bundle of the keyboard and mouse and you are closer to $200+. To me that looks like a great deal. You can either pay more for all of the pieces or get a fully built, ready to rock set up. Makes it seem like an easy decision, doesn't it? The iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom we got to play with is a beast of a system. Coming out of the box, today's system had a 25% overclock in place from the iBP Labs Level 3 Powerdrive Overclock. This gave the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom power to spare. The base specifications that we looked at on the first page of the article are impressive; once you upgrade the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom to the features you want, it will make it even better. three year warranty and lifetime technical support!
Legit Bottom Line: The performance of the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom as we tested it today was top notch. Throw in the fact that the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC Phantom can be purchased from iBUYPOWER for less than it would cost you to purchase all of the parts individually, and it's a no brainer!