General Hands-On Usage
Here's a CPU-Z screenshot showing some detailed specs of what's running under the Goliath's hood:
And here's a GPU-Z screenshot showing the status for the graphics card.
As you can see in the CPU-Z screenshot, the Intel i7-980 is overclocked up to a whopping 4.5GHz from the standard 3.3GHz clock speed. We didn't experience any problems related to the overclocked processor. The elaborate liquid cooling system did its job without missing a beat.
As we saw with the Maingear F131, a properly overclocked and stable CPU adds significant value to a system since you're getting a performance boost without having to buy a more expensive CPU. This is definitely something we expect from boutique builders, and Smooth Creations certainly gets it right with this system. And liquid cooling components look pretty cool, to boot.
We've mentioned several times in the past that we're big fans of SSDs for the OS drive and a traditional large-capacity platter drive for data storage, and that configuration is what we're seeing on most high-end systems these days. However, Smooth Creations takes that configuration one step further by doubling the number of drives and judicious use of RAID technology. With the SSDs in RAID 0, this system really zips along.
The Goliath is not a particularly noisy system-about average, we'd say-but it does put out quite a bit of heat. In the room in which we conducted these tests, the Goliath would warm the room up appreciably after being on for a while. You'll want to be sure to set the Goliath up in a well-ventilated space. And with the system's eye-catching appearance, you'll want to show it off anyway.
Speaking of appearance, the system elicited comments such as "Holy crap", "What the hell is that?", or some variation there of from almost every person who saw this system during the review process (even non-gamers). With its doublewide chassis, kick-ass paint job, and neon-colored cooling system, this is a system that really turns heads. It looks super cool in the dark, too.
The system took 48 seconds to boot, a time on par with the other SSD-equipped systems we've seen.
With all that's going on inside, a system like this needs some serious juice. Thanks to the 1200 watt power supply, the Goliath idled at 324 watts and jumped up to 728 watts under load.
We ran this custom rig through the standard media encoding test regime here at TweakTown, which includes music and video transcoding.
All systems are tested "as is", which means operating systems and drivers can and do vary and some come pre-installed with applications that may or may not affect performance.
Any anti-virus or security applications are disabled and uninstalled before any testing is started, as they can affect test numbers.
For the iTunes encoding test we took the White Stripes - Under Great White Northern Lights album in MP3 format and encode it to AAC format using iTunes and time the results with a stopwatch.
The computer performed this task in 47 seconds, a new record for the machines we've reviewed so far.
For the movie-encoding test, we took the Microsoft Magic of Flight VC-1 WMV (1080p HD) video with six-channel audio and transcode it to XviD (1080p HD) with LAME MP3 two-channel audio and an MP4 container using MediaCoder 0.7.3.4616 32-bit edition.
The machine took a mere 50 seconds to complete this, which is another record.