Project Blackbird 02 Impressions

HERO_Beauty_Left_jpg.jpgRahul Sood, Voodoo PC founder and now the CTO of HP Gaming, said he wanted to completely revolutionise the desktop PC with the Blackbird. I don't know if it's a revolution, but I sure as hell like it.

What it seems the Blackbird has done is taken all of the things that are important to high-end gaming rigs, airflow, liquid cooling, wiring, and done them in a way that doesn't prevent a user from tinkering without a lot of heartache.

I can very easily get up to my elbows in Blackbird guts after only a few minutes of tool-free work. Popping open the completely plastic free chassis (the thing is made entirely from cast and stamped aluminum parts, is like open a car door, a very expensive car door. This side door even has a gasket built in to reduce sound.

ProfileOpen%2520081_v1_tiff.jpgTo remove the door you just have to slide it off of its hinges. The guts of the computer are completely propitiatory-free, meaning that everything inside this compute is industry standard but also, in theory, top of the line.

Once inside the PC you'll notice that there is a second smaller removable door, this is to get inside one of those thermal chambers that help keep the heat compartmentalised. Inside that door are a series of separators that also helps with the heat. These separators slide straight out of the PC without the need for tools.

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The HP/Voodoo guys also reworked the cabling, maintaining the clean look but designing them in a way that makes it easy to, for instance, quickly unplug and swap out the power supply.

Here's one of my favourite features of the computer. The harddrives are all built into the side of the case above the power supply and come installed in little drawers. To replace a harddrive you just pull out the draw and then remove the harddrive with your hands. No tools required at all. The drawers have tiny little pins that pop into the screw holes on the sides of the drive, negating the need for screws. How sweet is that?

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Voodoo was one of the first major companies to introduce liquid cooling to the mainstream, so you know they were going to do something special with it this time around. With the Blackbird, the liquid cooling is pre-sealed, so no leaks. This time around they decided to go with something very simple. Three blocks on the CPU and GPU, a simple radiator and a 120 mm fan.

Working with the cooling system is the case's airflow. Airflow actually comes in at the base of the case through the foot and runs straight past the power supply. A second fan in front of the harddrives creates a second air flow for the GPUs. At the top of the system is the radiator with fans coming out of the top.

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The case's wedge shape and hover stand give it both an interesting look and a very aggressive cooling system. The fact that the system is essentially floating means that it has a sixth side for cooling, which helps cut down on potential overheating issues down the line.

On top of the case is a hydraulic Input/Output panel that comes packed with four card readers and your headset and microphone ports as well as USB and Firewire ports.

The Blackbird has two types of lighting: task lighting and accent lighting. The stand and the front grill both, for instance, have accent lighting while the back ports have task lighting. There are also lights built inside the case to make working on it easier.

The case is designed to come apart easily to allow owners to customise the PC with replacement parts or by painting. And when you order your customised Blackbird it will be assembled in Calgary home of Voodoo PC, so you're still getting a Voodoo computer.

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