The average PC gamer won't be able to afford to put together a 4K Ultra HD capable system for at least another couple of years. For the non-average PC gamer looking to spend upwards of $10,000 on a complete Ultra HD system, there's the Maingear Rush Vesuvius Edition -- a showcase for AMD's water-cooled Radeon R9 295X2.
Built specifically for the next-generation of Ultra HD PC gaming, the $US1500 R9 295X2 is a monster of a graphics card. It comes with its own water cooling system, and drinks heavily from a system's power supply. The Maingear Rush Vesuvius Edition I've been playing with contains two of them.
What Is It?
Maingear partnered with AMD for the card's release, creating this special edition of its Rush line of Epic systems. This particular unit, housing a pair of AMD Radeon R9 295X2 cards, contains a 1600W power supply to keep the pair running smoothly.
The system is packed with premium parts, from the Asus Rampage IV Gene motherboard (if I ever receive a review system without an Asus motherboard in it I will faint) to the Intel Core i7 4960X processor. A lovely 16GB of Corsair Dominator system memory, which goes quite nicely with the 16GB of graphics card memory. They even slipped a one terabyte Samsung SSD in here for storage.
Here's the full rundown:
- Chassis: Corsair Obsidian 350D with Window and dual 140mm fans
- Exterior Finish: Rosso Scuderia - Glossy Finish Featuring Glasurit Paint Chassis
- Motherboard: Asus Rampage IV Gene Featuring USB 3.0, SATA 6G, SLI and CrossFire
- Processor: Intel Core i7 4960X Six-core 3.6GHz/4.0GHz Turbo 15MB L3 Cache w/ HyperThreading
- Processor Cooling: Maingear Epic 120 Supercooler
- Memory: 16GB Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR3-2133 1.65V (4x4GB)
- Graphics: 2x AMD Radeon R9 295X2 8GB GDDR5 [advanced closed-loop water cooling system]
- Power Supply: 1600 Watt LEPA G Series G1600-MA
- Hard Drive: 1TB Samsung 840 EVO SSD (w/TRIM) [540MB/s Sequential Reads]
- Optical Drive: 8X DVD Dual Layer Burner
- Audio: 7.1 Channel High Definition Surround Sound Supporting S/DIF Optical Out
- Ethernet Adaptor: On-board Gigabit Ethernet
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 64-bit
- Warranty: Lifetime Angelic Service Labour and Phone Support with 2 Year 30:Comprehensive Warranty
- Price as Configured: $US8584
What It's For
Well, it's for playing computer games, mostly. You could do some spreadsheets, maybe design a building. You could check your Facebook and Twitter in one of the most expensive ways possible. But mainly, it's for gaming.
Specifically Ultra HD gaming, either using an expensive 4K monitor, or chaining together a bunch of smaller, cheaper ones.
I explain 4K Ultra HD gaming in more detail in my article about building my own Ultra HD system. Long story short, it allows for gaming at ridiculous resolutions, allowing players to get up close to the action without any image degradation. It also makes for some very large screenshots (right click the image and open it in a new tab).
What I Did With It
It's a $US8584 computer system. I tiptoed carefully around it and tried to avoid eye contact. I'm surprised I even took it out of the box.
WHAT I REALLY DID WITH IT
I put it on my desk in a convenient spot, hooking it up to the Sharp 32 inch Ultra HD monitor AMD allowed me to hang onto for purposes of this review. Then I played some of those computer video games I'd heard so much about.
I played: Titanfall, Crysis 3, Tomb Raider, BioShock Infinite, Metro: Last Light, Batman: Arkham Origins, The Elder Scrolls Online, GRID 2, Hearthstone, a little Smite and some FTL. I took some screenshots, did a little streaming. I ran some benchmarks. I liked the computer, but only a little bit.
Basically, the Rush Vesuvius Edition became my gaming PC for a month or so.
What I Liked
The Performance: Any misgivings I may have had about the viability of Ultra HD gaming with today's technology faded away the moment I started playing. My self-built 4K system struggled to get games to run at 3840 x 2160 resolution at frame rates higher than the mid 50s. This system, on the other hand -- wait, I've got a chart around here somewhere.
Very impressive numbers here, with most games well above the 60 frames-per-second sweet spot. Tomb Raider in particular bowed to the system's might with an average 144 frames-per-second, while it kicked my other 4K system's arse at Crysis 3. Metro: Last Light, as always, came in last, because its benchmarking program is a beast.
The numbers of course go much higher when running at a more modest 1920 x 1080 resolution. In most cases it's a matter of doubling the scores above. In Tomb Raider's case, its benchmark returned an average frames-per-second in the mid 400s. Thank goodness for Vsync.
This killer performance is mostly thanks to the AMD Radeon R9 295X2 cards, which is nice, as they are the reason the system exists.
Speedy Booting: Not the most important factor in a gaming PC, but certainly notable. The system I tested went from hitting the power button to fully-loaded Windows 8 desktop in 20 seconds. The first several times I rebooted the computer I thought it had simply gone to sleep and woken up. It's all due to Maingear putting a pure solid state drive in the unit, rather than opting for a more cost effect hybrid solution. A 1TB SSD drive is damn expensive compared to the alternatives, but you can't argue with the results.
Shh, So Quiet: Between the water-cooled graphics cards and Maingear's liquid-based Epic 120 Supercooler, there's barely anything left to make a sound inside the PC. There's a little bit of fan noise, but on the whole it's one of the quieter high-end gaming PCs I've testing. Compared to this unit, my own gaming PC sounds like a freaking jet engine.
No Bloatware: If someone is paying upwards of $8500 on a computer system (not counting the monitor), odds are they can afford to buy their own stupid software. The Rush Vesuvius Edition is blissfully free of useless crap, which allows me the freedom to load my own useless crap.
And Of Course, The Paint Job: Maingear's signature Glasurit paint finish, applied by professions with experience in painting high performance sports cars, looks pretty damn lovely in red. In fact, the whole damn system is just plain gorgeous.
It looks like the engine room of a science fiction spaceship up in here.
What I Didn't Like
Travel Damage: Likely a side effect of rushing out the Rush for review, the system arrived inside of a lovely padded box -- there was no damaged due to problems with the external packaging. What happened was the enclosure's removable front plant came off, banging around the front of the unit, resulting in some paint smearing.
There was also a ding in the right side panel, not enough to feel, but enough to see front the right angle. Again, pretty sure this was all a result of the system being rushed out for review. The last Maingear I reviewed the company refused to send until the paint job was completely flawless, so I'm sure this is a fluke.
AMD wanted a system that showed off the power of its Radeon R9 295X2 cards, and by god Maingear delivered. The Maingear Rush Vesuvius Edition is more PC than the average gamer needs for much more than the average gamer can afford. For those willing to spend a large chunk of change on an Ultra HD gaming system (and a couple thousand more on a monitor), this system is a prime example of the sort of power they should be aiming for.
The Maingear Rush Vesuvius Edition is available for configuration and purchase at Maingear.com. Dual GPU configurations start at $US6848.00.