Last month we reviewed TI Computers’ powerful but noisy Extreme Power 8800
. The 8500 is identical save for what drives the machine. Gone are the expensive 10,000rpm hard disks, and gone is the 3GHz E6850 processor. Instead we have two 500GB WD hard discs running in RAID0 and a brand new 45nm ‘Penryn’ processor: the 3.16GHz E8500.
This, with 2GB of RAM, scored a very fast 1.58 in our benchmarks – 16% faster. Plus, whereas the 8800 was a noisy beast the 8500 was near silent (a testament to Penryn’s better power consumption).
Also present is a 512MB GeForce 8800 GT, which averaged an impressive 62fps in our high-end Call of Duty 2 test. Also, running the punishing built in Crysis benchmark at 1280 x 1024 with 4x antialiasing and 8c anisotropic filtering and Very High detail settings, it averaged 17fps: not particularly smooth running but high compared to most graphics cards. You won’t need to drop settings much to make it playable.
At $1860 it’s almost $1200 cheaper than the 8800. It’s also 29% faster than the previously A-Listed quad-core Pacstar 88GT Gamer
. As such, it’s great value and a powerful, well-designed machine. The Pacstar’s LCD might be better, but TI beats it everywhere else.