Smooth Creations Firestorm review
Posted by Brann Mitchell on: 04/07/2010 01:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
Most Gurus here are DIYers, and most of us appreciate how other builders do what they do. You can easily spend days and days checking out our rig gallery in the forums and be amazed. Well, SmoothCreations arent really a mod shop, but they are a custom paint and config shop. What they sent us is a fairly high-end machine. Lets take a look at the bare specs:
Case: Silverstone SG04-HF
Mobo: ASUS Rampage II Gene
CPU: Intel Core i7 email@example.comGHz
RAM: 6GiB of Patriot Viper Series (7-7-7-21@667MHz)
Video: BFGTech nVidia GTX285
HDD 1: Patriot Torqx 128GB SSD
HDD 2: Western Digital Black WD2001FAAS 2TB
DVD: Lite-on iHAS220 22x
PSU: Silverstone 1000W modular
Misc: Dual Fan Controller
OS: Win 7 x64 Ultimate
Edit: We're informed that SmoothCreations fixed several issues with this build during the review. The changes include a different PSU, and additional rear fan, and the GTX285 is no longer offered as an option.
Mmm-hm! Girlfriend, thats a lot of hardware in a mighty tight case! Inside of the Firestorm is all top-shelf stuff. The ASUS Rapage II Gene makes a return, packing a lot of its big brother, the Rampage II Extreme, into a micro-ATX format. This mighty-might doesnt lose any of the overclocking abilities in the shrink, which is very nice, and it comes with all the regular motherboard features, 2 PCIe x16 slots, LAN port, USB out the wazoo, firewire, and a Creative X-Fi built in.
Its also nice that SmoothCreations paired the Gene with the i7 965 initially running at 3.6GHz. This became the first problem, actually, while SmoothCreations burned in this system for 2 days before delivery, in the heat of our benchmark lab, it quickly failed to boot. Ill show you the pretty pictures later, but Firestorm is an apt name. Once it returned to the standard 3.2GHz, the system booted and worked great.
To my delight, the Indilinx controllered Patriot Torqx 128GB SSD is the main boot drive, with Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate installed. As Hilbert pointed out in his review of the Torqx, the big cache memory and new Indilinx controller really speed the Torqx along. I havent had much experience with SSD drives until now, but the load times for games and applications is just mind blowing. This Firestorm has a secondary Western Digital Black 2TB drive to store all your downloaded media. There is room in the case for three hard drives total.
Im also surprised that theres a 1000W PSU in this machine. The case has no problems fitting such a beast, and Silverstones modular solution keeps the internals nice and clean, but for the load, its just too powerful.
I suppose my only gripe in the hardware list is the video card, a GeForce GTX285. I am assured by SmoothCreations that any card will work in the Firestorm, including the new ATI 5800 cards. After reading some specs from Silverstone, the 27cm 5870 wont fit, but the 24cm 5850 will (its just about the same length as the GTX285 in there now). The case does have some other peculiarities about it, which Ill show you on the next few pages, but longer video cards look like a very tight fit.
Ive been consistently impressed with SmoothCreations attention to part choice, always choosing top components. The Firestorm is no exception, even in the lower ranges of the model, you still get the best components available. Good components and custom paint job, means SC machines are definitely unique.
Let's get the covers off and check out the fire inside. Next page after the break.
Smooth Creation's Firestorm takes the LAN party computer to its lightest and most diminutive form. The Firestorm we got ended up being prone to overheating, so the i7 965 config we had was not ideal for this small of a case. However, offering several flexible configurations from AMD or Intel, the Firestorm is a very affordable machine utilizing top components, top speed, and built to SmoothCreation's unusually high standards.
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