WarFactory Sentinel: Gaming on a Grandby Dustin Sklavos on June 8, 2011 12:01 AM EST
Application and Futuremark Performance
It's at this point that comparisons are going to seem a little unfair, and the reason for that is simple: the Sentinel's only immediate competition in terms of price are CyberPower's Gamer Xtreme 8500 and Puget Systems' Obsidian. One of these is just using an IGP, while the other is an older model that shipped in the neighborhood of $1,600. We've been contacting other boutiques to see if they have budget gaming systems they'd be interested in shipping us, so hopefully the Sentinel will see some proper competition soon.
The essential problem has been for some time that the Phenom II just isn't competitive with Intel's Nehalem architecture, much less any of their succeeding high performance architectures. Try to put things in perspective, though: the Sentinel is competing with substantially more expensive systems, all of which utilize Intel's best and brightest and oftentimes overclock them. Price-wise the chip competes with Intel's dual-core offerings, essentially offering four cores where Intel would offer you two, though there are certainly areas where the Intel cores come out on top (e.g. the X4 955 places last out of all tested CPUs in the single-threaded Cinebench result).
Unfortunately the SLI GTX 590 rig is our only comparison point for 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 11 presently, and that's not exactly a fair fight. That machine has nearly a kilowatt worth of performance behind it and sells for five times what the Sentinel does. Put in perspective in 3DMark06, the Sentinel looks a lot better and provides a reasonably competitive gaming experience. Futuremark isn't everything, though; let's see how the Sentinel handles in real world gaming scenarios.
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HangFire - Thursday, June 9, 2011 - linkFolks get so obsessed about the performance difference between Phenom II and i7 that they forget the biggest bottleneck in any system is spinning rust. For gaming systems this might be tolerated in lieu of a bigger video card, but if you want a balanced system and a responsive computer for all purposes, a small SSD makes a lot of sense.
At home my personal/primary box is a 550BE unlocked/overclocked, but the real performance boost is when I put a 64GB C300 in as the Gentoo boot disk and moved the HDD to storage duties. It boots in seconds and builds packages in half the time. I have portage on HDD but do builds on ramdisk.
The difference in this system before & after is amazing, all for $99 (Shell Shocker special).
Also, no problems here with G.Skill.
Termie - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - linkI'm curious why Dustin criticized the choice of G.Skill memory, instead of Corsair, Crucial, or Kingston. In my experience, G.Skill makes excellent RAM at competitive prices. My G.Skill has way more overclocking headroom than my similarly-rated Corsair, as well as better designed (shorter) heatsinks. At the same price, I'd always go G.Skill over Corsair, and wouldn't even consider Crucial or Kingston.
Based on forum posts, I think most people would agree that G.Skill is a good choice.
Arbie - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - linkWe've got years of info and experience with these and they remain the high water mark in more than one way.
Also, FYI, the correct saying is "The proof of the pudding is in the eating."
Thanks for an interesting review. I often wonder what I could get off the rack for right around this price point, in particular how well it would game and how hot & noisy it might be at low loads.
In comparison, the top-end boutique boxes are of little interest, because at those levels I would always build rather than buy. I usually don't even skim through such reviews.
L. - Friday, June 10, 2011 - linkLet's see, I just built a system for a guy, charged him 150 euros for config and tweaking (including OC'ing to max on air), and the result is 50 fps average in Metro (anand settings), 41 in Heaven Unigine, etc.
And still, his machine cost him less than a grand, service included.
Oh and by the way, if you live in Europe where shipping is not too expensive, I can do it for you too -- think I got an account on them anandtech forums - name "morg."
This piece of crap should not exist, it costs a lot, it's made from the crappiest parts, come on a gtx 460 ? why not put an integrated Intel GMA ? - in all seriousness the build-makers there should've taken a 6870 or a 6950 -- hell that'd have made huge savings on the PSU/cooling side of things.
And COME ON, who the fuck wants to buy an AMD CPU today ???
There's that i5-2500k which Oc's (for me so far anyway) pretty easily to 5Ghz on air, it costs 280 bucks for mobo+cpu ... why would you go to that phenomcrap which is barely cheaper and totally underpowered (Ok, it's not an SLI you don't really need the horsepower -- until you're using the cpu for real).
DDR3-1333 ? hello ? we're in 2011 ?
The case is an ok-choice if you like toy-like pc's - otherwise antec 100 does exactly the same job while not looking like kiddie stuff.
Then let's see ... optical drive ?? I hate optical, but I have to admit this one is an ultra failure, when combo blu-ray readers /dvd writers cost 50 bucks ... lol
Oh and look at how cute they are, they put in an SSD !!! woot ... a goddamn 100 bucks SSD in a config where they wouldn't shell 175 bucks for a CPU or 200 bucks for a GPU ??
Seriously... and those people talk to gamers -- my ass.
Now I like your conclusion Mr. "IwroteTheArticle", but in all seriousness it's friggin off.
You said 250bucks on parts ? I can get an I5-2500k, all gigabyte, HD6950, etc. for 811 bucks. And this is not it, this is old crappy tech that just came out of the depths of their garage, the cpu is almost end-of-life, the ram is 2 years old...
But the most important is the following :
Between the reasonably smart component choices, the solid build quality, and the generally good value, I see no reason not to give the WarFactory Sentinel our recommendation.
Seriously, I know you don't know enough about hardware to do excellent reviews, and I really don't mind as you take into account other persons' sensibilities to price / pre-made and that stuff.
But honestly, the component choices is all shit except the box, nowhere close to an optimal perf/dollar build by any stretch.
I see every friggin reason to say this out loud : This build is a failure and a waste of money, it costs 300 bucks more than parts for my i5-2500k standard build, which I sell around 950 and which much more importantly, has two times the horsepower in CPU or GPU tasks -> yes I do get 50 fps avg in Metro2033 bench with your settings.
Said it before, will say it again, you want solid advice and conclusions, just ask me, but please stop spreading nonsense on a "respectable" informative website --
L. - Friday, June 10, 2011 - linkOh and I forgot one thing, wanna spice up the deal ?
For that same Target Price as the box here and say a 200 bucks service fee, I can give you another unlocked+Oc'd HD6950 to put in there ... you know have a setup that kills almost every boutique build except some extremely rare 5Ghz+ with OC gtx580 sli's in anything beyond 2560* -
And that's for the same price as the phenom-460-attic-build piece of crap presented here ...
molecriket - Friday, June 10, 2011 - linkAlthough Amd is behind the intel stuff there are reasons to go AMD. The first is the price, Amd beats all Intel prices. What do you want your computer to do? Probably no more than AMD does, so mabye you can save money.
I always use Amd and my customers always thank me, I save 30 to 50% and it runs like a top and lasts longer.
We are at the point of price and not 10 ms. faster, not to mention reliability which AMD rules and I wait for Bulldozer.
Lasthitlarry - Sunday, June 12, 2011 - linkI've been looking around and I could be wrong, but there seems to be a misprint or something for the processor.
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition
(spec: 4x3.2GHz, 45nm, 6MB L3, 95W)
should either be the 945 with 3.0GHz cores or it should be pulling 125W, not 95W
I'm gonna lean towards 125W since the PSU is so beefy.