Specifications, Pricing and Availability
In our look at the Smooth Creations LAN Shark we said that the system was more than just a pretty case. The Hellcat makes you forget about the case completely. That is it, just boom; right after the first benchmark you forget about the case. Even if your brain tries to pull the memory from record, you sit idle for a moment thinking "was there even a case?"
Processor: Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition @ 4.0 GHz
Motherboard: Intel X58SO "Smackover"
Memory: Corsair TR3XG1600C8D Triple Channel, 6GB kit
Graphics Card: 2X Diamond HD 4870 X2 in CrossfireX mode
Power Supply: SilverStone ZM1200M, 1200 watts of power
Hard Disk (Boot): Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB
Hard Disk (Storage): 2X Western Digital 1TB (RAID 1)
Optical Disk 1: Lite-On LH-20A1L DVDRW
Chassis: Smooth Creations Custom "Hellcat"
Cooling: Danger Den CPU, GPU and 4x120mm radiator
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
Accessories: Matrix Orbital GX Series Display
Smooth Creations has stuffed the Hellcat with every top shelf part known to man. Well, the only exception is the Intel X58SO "Smackover" motherboard. When the system was shipped the only X58 motherboard Smooth Creations had qualified for use was the X58SO. Since that time several other boards were given the nod of approval and are now available, depending on the customers' needs.
Looking over the system it is clear that Smooth Creations started with the idea of taking an overclocked processor to the next level and building on the Core i7's processing power. Many games today are CPU limited and once you factor in the amount of polygons two 4870 X2s are able to toss at a monitor it becomes clear that the bottle neck is somewhere else. Intel made a solution and Smooth Creations made it better.
Cooling the cat landed on the shoulders of Danger Den and they were able to pull through. The quadruple 120mm, double row radiator is able to handle it all and still have enough in reserve to keep a nuclear reactor in check. OK, maybe a really small one, but you get the idea. One forum goer took offence to the processor and graphics cards running on the same loop, but with this radiator it was never even a concern.
It is sad to say that the rest of the system just feels average after talking about the stand outs. Western Digital VelociRaptor, the fastest hard drive on the planet, uh, average stuff once you get used to it. RAID 1, data protected 1TB drives? yawn.
The fact is that every single component in this system is top of the class without compromise. Just thinking about the Core i7 running at 4.0 GHz and dual 4870 X2's drain you physically and mentally. Carrying the system from one room to another will do that to you also. The system weighs in at 52 pounds on my bathroom scales and without handles it is a real task carrying the full tower. At that point, who really cares what the weight is; you are going to put this system on your desk, fire her up and forget about everything else.
The only sour entry when glancing over the system's specs is the 32-bit version of Vista pre-installed. This is mostly an issue due to the inability to make use of all 6GB triple channel goodness; maxing out at just over 3GB instead.