überclok Reaktor

überclok's Reaktor represents a perfect example of what happens when you send out a star quarterback with a weak offensive line to guard him. In this case, the player is the system--a supremely tuned gaming PC that comes close to hitting some of the best benchmarks we've seen in the category. Playing the part of the weak O-line are the less-than-impressive specifications that come alongside these speedy parts, which include boring peripherals and throwaway optical support.

Rather than putting in one of the new quad-core , überclok opts for a "standard old'" . At least the company overclocks this 2.83-GHz processor to a pleasing 3.41 GHz (just over 200 MHz higher than the fastest stock-clock Core i7 chip).

The overclocked processor helps this system achieve a score of 145. It's a high score, but still less than the performance of , including .

Four gigabytes of DDR2-1066 RAM and a total storage capacity of 1.3 terabytes--split into a 10,000-rpm 300GB Western Digital Velociraptor and a 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F1 drive--round out the meat and potatoes of this PC. überclok offers a monitor for an additional US$440 on top of its package price of $3693 (as of November 11, 2008). We don't reflect the performance of this above-average display in our final evaluations.

Despite those CPU and storage chops, we remain slightly confused by überclok's decision to use only a single ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 video card. Its performance tops the best of nVidia's SLI configurations, rendering games like Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Unreal Tournament 3 fully playable at high resolutions like 2560 by 1600. But we would much rather trade the Reaktor's PCI-Express-using card for a CrossFire video card any day.

Thankfully, the Reaktor's chassis is a slick, Cylon-looking case that's built with upgrades in mind. There's plenty of room on the inside for cable management and tweaking, including room for four more 5.25-inch devices and two hard drives. Our sole criticism of the chassis is that we'd prefer for its tool-less 5.25-inch-bay motif to extend its hard drive and PCI card holders, which use screws. The tool-less 5.25 bays make it easy for you to rip out the PC's boring Lite-On DVD-reader optical drive, a completely useless accessory considering that a fully-functioning DVD reader/writer rests right above it. While you're separating the wheat from the chaff, toss the computer's generic Logitech keyboard and two-button Microsoft mouse. We can't believe a company would include these as part of a high-powered gaming system.