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iBUYPOWER LAN Warrior II: NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 590 in a Small Shell

BaLaG

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Introducing the iBUYPOWER LAN Warrior II

The last time we checked in with iBUYPOWER we reviewed the behemoth that is the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC, a massive hunk of machine that was generally a solid value but suffered from the same kind of shaky overclocking that afflicted so many boutique builds during the era. This time iBUYPOWER is packing a K-series Sandy Bridge processor (complete with easy overclocking) and one of the most powerful graphics cards on the planet: the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590. The 590 may ultimately not have had the performance to beat AMD's Radeon HD 6990, but it's also a much quieter card. What's more, iBUYPOWER managed to fit it into a MicroATX case (along with a 92mm water-cooling rig for the processor). Does the beefy LAN Warrior II work, and does it work well?

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Intel's P67/H67 chipset bug (and the recall that followed) nearly obliterated review hardware in the channel; now that it's been fixed ahead of schedule, hardware has rushed right back in. Near the top of our list and coinciding with the release proper of the GeForce GTX 590, iBUYPOWER was kind enough to furnish us with the LAN Warrior II complete with NVIDIA's latest and greatest. I had the chance to eyeball it back at CES and frankly it's the kind of machine that's particularly compelling for reviewer and reader alike because it feels like a true custom machine. iBUYPOWER has the LAN Warrior specially fitted with a 92mm water-cooler for the processor, and is confident that this relatively petite design can efficiently cool a beast like the GeForce GTX 590.

From the get-go you're probably alarmed at the processor, Intel's Core i7-2600K, running with a bumped BCLK and no multiplier tweaks. The 2600K is a quad-core processor with four physical cores and eight logical cores through Hyper-Threading, built on a 32nm process and running at a 3.4GHz nominal clock speed (3.8GHz turbo) with a TDP of 95W. iBUYPOWER has bumped up the clock speed to 3990MHz by setting the multiplier to 38 and setting the base clock to 105MHz. This is one of two anomalies in this particular build.

The reason is a simple one that is fairly common on our side of the industry fence: hardware basically needing to be rushed together to be sent to reviewers. NVIDIA sent out the GeForce GTX 590 coards at the last minute, roughly the same time this system was volunteered to us. As a result you're going to see results from a couple of components that you wouldn't see in the retail model. From a conversation with our rep, it's my understanding this LAN Warrior was assembled extremely quickly to get a GTX 590-based system in our hands. That's not really a crime because as you'll see it's still very well put together, and all the important metrics are liable to carry over to the unit you purchase from them.

Speaking of the other shining star of the LAN Warrior II, iBUYPOWER not only offers the GeForce GTX 590 in this small build...they offer it in SLI. Ours only comes with a single card, but that single card is still pretty impressive: two fully functional GF110 chips complete with 1.5GB of GDDR5 apiece attached to a 384-bit memory bus, burdened somewhat by a 365W TDP and relatively anemic clocks of just 607MHz on the core, 1.2GHz on the shaders, and 3.4GHz on the GDDR5. For more you can check out our detailed review, but suffice to say it wasn't quite the Radeon HD 6990 killer we were hoping for (unless you count the much improved acoustics).

The remainder of the LAN Warrior II is fairly standard, though highlights include 8GB of Corsair DDR3-1600, a Blu-ray writer, and a Crucial RealSSD C300 solid state drive. This last one is important because it's the other fly in the LAN Warrior II review unit's ointment: retail systems will ship with A-DATA 6Gbps SSDs. The two drives should be fairly comparable (both use Marvell controllers), but if you're concerned, the test results you'll want to avoid will be the two PCMarks (and in fairness those tests skew unfairly towards SSDs anyhow).

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