Based in White City, Oregon, Smooth Creations sells built-to-order gaming PCs and is known for its high-quality custom paint jobs. Last month we reviewed the HD 5970-equipped, Phenom X6-based, "Battlefield: Bad Company 2" custom gaming rig.
This month we review that system's big brother; the aptly named "Goliath."
Let's take a look!
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
All Smooth Creations systems are built-to-order and available only through Smoothcreations.com. The company is, in the full sense of the term, a custom builder. Although the company's website showcases a few models and offers several options on the configuration pages, the company seems to prefer you call them up and talk to one of their reps to discuss options for a new system. One of the main selling points for the company's systems is the free custom case paint, and it probably is in the customer's best interest to discuss what is and isn't feasible in that regard with an actual person.
The website also emphasizes that Smooth Creations chassis' are meant to last well beyond a single hardware-obsolescence cycle. When you're ready for a new computer, send your chassis back to the company for a free interior cleaning and a buff and polish of the artwork. Then they'll build a new system to your specs in your existing chassis.
While that might at first seem a bit gimmicky, take a look at the custom chassis' Smooth Creations offers, and you'll soon recognize that they are works of art unto themselves. These aren't just off-the-shelf cases with a coat of auto paint on them. They're functional art designed by an in-house team of artists and engineers.
The Goliath contains some of the best hardware available on the market today. Built on an ASUS Rampage III x58 LGA 1366 motherboard, the builder overclocked the Intel i7 980 processor from its stock speed of 3.33GHz all the way up to 4.5GHz. An elaborate liquid cooling scheme comprised of parts from Koolance and Danger Den makes such extreme overclocking possible. A pair of AMD HD 5970 video cards (4 GPUs total) in CrossfireX provides some serious framerates.
The rest of the hardware compliment includes 12GB of Corsair Dominator GT 2000MHz RAM, a Lite-On Blu-ray burner, and a 1200 watt(!) Corsair AX power supply. An Aerocool Power Panel mounted on the front of the chassis displays component temperatures and provides controls for the system's numerous cooling fans. The hard drives consist of two 256GB Western Digital Silicon Edge SSDs in RAID 0 and two 2TB Western Digital Caviar Green 7200RPM drives in RAID 1.
For an in-depth discussion of the different RAID configurations, see here. Basically, RAID 0 provides faster read/write times by having two separate disks act as one, allowing data to be read/written in parallel at each disk's maximum rate, and splitting the data between the pair. RAID 1 is your garden-variety data mirroring for protection in case one of the drives fail, hence the acronym for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. We'll talk more about the benefits of this configuration in the "General Usage" section of the review.
As configured, this system goes for approximately $6990 USD as of November 2010.