While it’s true that you don’t need to spend much to get a competent PC, bleeding edge performance still earns a price premium. Scorpion Technology’s Stinger, for example, costs just over $5500 but is packed with the absolute fastest hardware that money can buy.
Corsair’s stylish 800D case, while excellent, is one of the largest available, and Scorptec has made good use of the available space. Inside sits an ASUS P6X58D-Premium motherboard with 6GB of triple channel Dominator GT DDR3 from Corsair. It uses a hexa-core Intel Core i7-980x ‘Gulftown’ CPU, cooled using a Corsair Hydro H50 cooler. The Hydro H50 is a self-contained water cooling unit that bolts onto the CPU and has a radiator that fits neatly onto the rear 120mm fan grill. This allows the cooler to transfer the large amount of heat generated by the 980x without the noise associated with air cooling.
The system would be incredibly quiet even when running CPU intensive tasks, if not for the fact that the silence is shattered by the video cards in the system. The Stinger features two Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 graphics cards running in SLI. These are supremely fast, but they generate a lot of heat. The heavy fans required to displace that heat is noticeably loud when they are both working under load.
Rather than use a single Solid State Drive for storage, Scorptec has opted to install two 64GB SSDs arranged in a striped RAID array. While this still only makes for 128GB of unformatted space, it’s faster than using a single 128GB SSD thanks to the limitations of controllers and the SATA standard itself.
For bulk storage the Stinger comes with a Samsung 1TB 7200rpm HDD, which will supply plenty of space for most multimedia libraries, but the Corsair 800D case has plenty more spots to add drives if needed (including a series of hot-swap SATA bays built into the front of the case). An LG Blu-ray burner will handle pretty much any optical disc needs that you may have.
This is a system built using quality components, which Scorptec has tweaked to get them running at their best. The i7-980X processor is the fastest CPU that money can buy, but Scorptec has overclocked the processor from 3.33GHz to a stable 4GHz. In our PC Authority 2D benchmarks, its outstanding 3.12 result for overall performance was bolstered by an incredibly strong outing in the multitasking segment of the benchmark. If anything, this system is overkill for day to day desktop use; where it really shines is in compute-heavy tasks like gaming. The inclusion of Nvidia graphics cards also means that the system will perform well in programs written using the company’s CUDA programming language.
In our Crysis benchmark we saw the dual GeForce GTX 480 setup come into its own. It smashed through the lower resolutions; even on our Very High detail benchmark it soared to 78 frames per second. This is indicative of just how much latent gaming power sits within the Scorptec Stinger. We can safely say that this is a system that will chew through the latest games with gusto for some time to come.
While we’re enamoured of the performance, it’s prudent to mention that it pumps out some serious heat. You probably want to ensure that the system has ample ventilation, and if you run it in a small, sealed room you will likely notice a rise in ambient temperature. We would have preferred it if the sandwiched graphics cards were given more space between them, but the position of PCI-Express slots and expansion slots on the rear of the chassis prevents it.
In the end the heat output is a small price to pay for such a powerful system. The Scorptech Stinger is by far the fastest premade system that we have encountered, and while it has a high price tag, this really does sport some of the best hardware that money can buy.