Wired2Fire Hellspawn Predator review
Wired2Fire’s base unit coaxes 4.8GHz out of its Ivy Bridge processor with barely a whisper from its cooling fans
Review Date: 27 Apr 2012
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £979 (£1,175 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
After months of secrecy, Intel’s long-awaited Ivy Bridge processors have finally broken cover. Now, the first flurry of desktop PCs eagerly sporting Intel’s latest chip have begun to arrive, and Wired2Fire is the first manufacturer to get an Ivy Bridge system through PC Pro’s door.
Wired2Fire’s weapon of choice is Intel’s Core i5-3570k processor, which has a nominal clock speed of 3.4GHz. In this system, though, it has taken full advantage of the 3570k’s unlocked multiplier and upped the core voltage to 1.3V to get the CPU running at a heady 4.8GHz.
It isn’t all about the processor, though. For storage, there’s a Corsair 120GB Force 3 SSD, ensuring lightning-quick boot times and a seriously snappy feel, and launching applications in a blink of the eye. Working alongside this is one of Samsung’s speedy Spinpoint F3 drives, which provides another 2TB of storage.
With 8GB of 1,866MHz DDR3 RAM to round off the package, performance is hardly lacking. The Wired2Fire scythed through our Real World Benchmarks with an overall score of 1.15, and while it isn’t the fastest we’ve seen, that power is matched with impressive efficiency. Idling on the Windows desktop, the whole system drew a mere 70W from the mains, and it was only once the CPU and the graphics card were working flat out that the figure rose to 332W.
The card in question is a Sapphire-supplied AMD Radeon HD 7950 – a highly capable performer. At Full HD resolutions it simply breezes through even the most demanding games, and we saw it dispatch our Crysis benchmark at Very High quality settings with a silky-smooth average of 63fps. Even once the resolution rose to that of a 30in monitor, a massive 2,560 x 1,600, the HD 7950 kept frame rates playable with an average of 38fps. If there’s a downside, it’s noise – the Sapphire’s cooling fans quickly drown out the case fans and CPU cooler during gaming sessions.
It’s thanks to Ivy Bridge’s 22nm die shrink and lower running temperatures that Wired2Fire hasn’t had to resort to expensive watercooling. Slide back the side panel and a huge Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro cooler dominates the upper part of the case, with two sets of fins cooled by twin 120mm fans, while further front and rear 120mm fans pull air past all the other components. It’s an arrangement that’s whisper-quiet in desktop applications, yet incredibly efficient. Even after running at 100% for several hours, temperatures on the hottest core never exceeded 75˚C, and the coolest core reached only 66˚C.
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