It's been a while since we have reviewed a barebones setup, actually, the last one we did was from the same company as we are doing with this one. Barebones systems are popular nowadays because component prices are so cheap, it's sometimes better to buy most of them at the same time to save and also guarantee that the hardware is compatible with each other. Although we here at SystemLogic.net prefer to buy our component separately and put them together ourselves, some of you out there might want to save yourself the hassle and confusion of doing that so you guys can make a homebuilt system faster and easier and don't have to go out and randomly buy T-Bird's to get a good stepping. Also, with dropping prices on components, this might make for a good deal especially when considering the shipping prices. You might've heard about this company in California who not only sells combos but also barebones systems. These systems are not your typical computers. They are mad overclocked to super high speeds and still are covered by their own warranty for stability and failure. They either have a very good engineering department that makes sure everything works right before shipping it out or they are very interested in losing money =). Either way, today we will put their firstname.lastname@example.orgGhz barebones kit through the tests and see if this redline overclocking will hold or break.
First off, let me say that I am an Intel guy, I've used every type of Celeron and Pentium III there is and I'm a fan. Intel to me is something that I'm used to and comfortable with. But I downright do not like the new Pentium IV's: the processor architecture, the price, the new components you have to buy for them, etc… So I am strongly considering moving to an AMD based system so this is a good review for me… I will dissect everything about this system and find out everything that's wrong or right with it because it might be a future upgrade for me. The infamous AMD Athlon Thunderbird processor we've been having fun with in our labs are in this system, a prime choice to lower costs and increase performance. Although Pentium IV's are a popular choice now that they've regained the performance crown, the Athlon's are still a winner in speed for the price. The Thunderbird Gen-X used in this system is the 1.3Ghz at 200Mhz FSB with the famous AXIA stepping. Our own JonnyGURU has his 1GHz AXIA running at a sultry 1.4GHz. Aside from the new AHJHAR stepping T-Birds, I'd say the AXIA's are the most overclockable and the coolest running of all. Well, I'm not going to bore you with the history of the Thunderbird here so I'll just move on to make this a shorter read.
In this system, Gen-X used a voltage modified Asus A7V133 to push the processor to 1.6Ghz at 12X multiplier and 133FSB speed. Amazing as it is, it runs at 1.95 volts cooled by a Thermalright SK-6. When I first read up on the specs, I was afraid of stability issues coming up during testing and logic errors in testing. So in this review, I did more testing than I'd normally do just to test the integrity of the processor when overclocked this high. I also headed over to overclockers.com to check out the average overclock for the T-Bird 1.3GHz and the average speed is 1525Mhz which is pretty high but it doesn't get interesting until we see 1.6Ghz and above. 8 out of 10 people who pushed their CPU's to 1.6 and above were using exotic such as a peltier or watercooling. As stated before, this system doesn't use exotic methods of cooling such as those systems, the secrets all lie in good engineering and airflow in the case combined with handpicked chips designed for the best speeds and high stability.