System Review: Top end components make for a top end price, but what a gaming beast this is.
While building PCs and tinkering with components is an inherently Atomic pursuit, there are times when it’s nice to just leave the building up to someone else. Pre-built desktops tend to come in two major flavours, brand name systems built to restrictive specs and shipped to a store, or built in house as a custom build from a local retailer.
Scorptec’s Stinger Platinum is the latter kind of system – it’s an enormously powerful piece of computing hardware that is built to order by Melbourne-based Scorpion Technology. This is its premium system, built around an overclocked Core i7-3960X CPU and SLI GeForce GTX 580 cards. It bears a high pricetag, but when you actually look at the specifications Scorptec has deliberately gone out and chosen best in class products in order to deliver an astonishingly powerful piece of hardware.
Not only is the Core i7-3960X overclocked to 4.2GHz, but it is cooled with a Corsair H80 closed loop water cooler. Straddling the CPU is a whopping 16GB of 1600MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR3, all plugged into a Gigabyte G1-Assassin 2 motherboard. That means an onboard X-Fi 7.1 sound chip and a Bigfoot networks Killer 2100 NIC Gigabit Ethernet card.
Everything is powered by a Corsair AX-1200 1200W PSU, which comes with an 80 Plus Gold rating and will be more than sufficient to drive the components in the system. The Corsair fetish continues with the choice of case, an Obsidian 800D.
Graphics duties are handled by dual EVGA ‘Superclocked’ GeForce GTX 580s running in SLI, with cores running at 797MHz and memory at an effective 4050Mhz. These cards are nicely spaced, with plenty of air left in between them, rather than sandwiched together. Scorptec has added a Wireless card in between the two cards, which is an addition to the base specification of the Stinger Platinum.
The EVGA cards are effectively NVIDIA reference designs, which means that they have full shrouded heatsinks – this is a good choice because not only did we find them getting toasty while benchmarking, and the shrouded design at least evacuates as much air as possible out the rear of the case.
This is handy because we were a little perplexed by the positioning of the fans within the Stinger. There are three Noctua 120mm fans mounted along the top of the case, exhausting air up and out. The only intakes however are the PSU fan, which acts as a closed loop thanks to its positioning in the lower rear of the 800D, and the radiator for the H80 cooler, which mounts on the rear of the case near the CPU. This means that, while the exhaust fans are great at removing hot air generated by the CPU, there isn’t a huge amount of airflow coming up through the system itself. We can’t help but think that shifting one of the exhausts to the grill on the base of the case and making it an intake would allow for a bit more airflow throughout the system itself. This is one area where the Obsidian 800D works nicely – its feet hold the base of the case a decent height off the ground, which makes an intake quite feasible.