iBuyPower Professional Series: Reversal of Fortuneby Dustin Sklavos on October 21, 2011 1:15 AM EST
Application and Futuremark Performance
While PCMark is liable to show the HP Z210 SFF barrelling past iBuyPower's Professional Series desktop (due to the Z210's SSD), most other metrics should have the two systems occupying roughly the same space. What will be of particular interest later on will be seeing how much power the two consume in the process. Meanwhile the Dell Precision T1600 is in a different class from these two, costing nearly a grand more than iBuyPower's desktop and offering both a faster graphics card and a faster processor.
Once we escape the PCMarks, HP's advantage narrows considerably. The two systems are, for all intents and purposes, tied in CPU and GPU performance. What the PCMark scores do reveal is the difference in user experience for day to day use, though; mechanical hard disks in a mirrored RAID just aren't going to feel as snappy and responsive as an SSD for the system disk. At the same time, however, iBuyPower's mirrored RAID does make the system more resilient to drive failure, conceivably allowing for increased uptime. Your mileage may vary, but it's something to keep in mind.
Once again, our CPU-limited tasks find iBuyPower's system essentially comparable with the other Xeon-based systems. Note how the lack of Hyper-Threading takes its toll on the desktop Core i5-based systems: for workstation tasks this feature offers a tremendous improvement in performance.
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ckryan - Friday, October 21, 2011 - linkI don't think the price is terrible for what you get, but it's curious that the system was sent with this configuration. Quiet air cooling and a little solid state storage make a big difference for sound and performance, so it's surprising that they didn't choose a modest SSD and a "green" HD, dropped the Asetek, and chose a more appropriate case. The Cooler Master might be a decent case, but I think it looks more than just a little cheap.
xQuartzx - Friday, November 11, 2011 - linkI'm personally not a big fan of Ibuypower. I bought my first gaming computer from them, and honestly it wasn't a great experience. I don't like how they build their computer, how they treat their customers, and just generally how they run their business., I mean if something is on back order you have to call to find out, they don't alert you, notify you, nothing. They just let you sit and guess. That's why I'm using Ironside Computers now to build my gaming computers. They give me a much more hassle-free service. I'm notified on everything that happens with my computer, and their build quality is superb. It was a much better experience IMHO.
s44 - Friday, October 21, 2011 - linkI realize that [H] shut their program down because it was too logistically difficult (working around the need to get a review unit through standard channels -- in order to stay anonymous -- must be a nightmare), but something like their service testing program where they simulated various things that could go wrong and the vendor's ability to deal with it through support channels seems irreplaceable, particularly in this part of the market.
iBP, for example, is known for terrible customer service, and even though you rightly ding them for warranty spec, config, and presentation, it's still quite a leap of faith to say that had they gotten these things right, it would be worth it. How do you know what their warranty is really worth, even for what it covers? Are you really going to ask enterprise buyers to make a leap of faith on a long-term purchase just on a company's ability to nail the front-end stuff?
VikingDude151 - Friday, October 21, 2011 - linkPlease validate vast statements such as this: "a boutique like iBuyPower for their desktop and enjoying the generally superior build and component quality along with better customer service." Customization and build quality are most likely pluses, but I don't think customer service is.
My experience with AVADirect, a similar boutique is that their customer service is horrible. With a big box store or large PC supplier I would have never experienced a DOA problem where it took nearly 1 month for AVADirect to resolve the issue where they failed to screw in the video card before shipment. A DOA problem like this would never be a problem with a large PC supplier or big box store.
Money Loo - Friday, October 21, 2011 - linkI have to completely agree with this comment. Except my own experience is with iBuypower personally. Both me and my brother purchased computers from them around the same time about a year ago. And both of our computers had power supplies fail on us. This wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for their atrocious customer support. First of all, they only have like three people working customer support. Second, they are amazingly rude. Both me and my brother have literally had some foreigner LAUGH at us over the phone, telling us they weren't going to fix anything, and if we didn't like it, we should come to california and take it up with them personally. Then they would hang up, and continue to do this when you called back! It was AMAZINGLY INFURIATING. Needless to say we both dropped them and went with another company in the future. Maingear has been nothing but exceptional. My first computer with them had a faulty PSU, admittedly my fault because I added more components to it after selecting a borderline psu to power my dual gtx580s. I even told the guy on the phone this and he said no worries, and sent out a brand new psu at no cost to me within two days. Haven't had any problems since.
Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - linkThe general idea behind going with a boutique is that theoretically they SHOULD provide better, more personalized customer service. Unfortunately part of the problem as a reviewer is that I'm always going to see the best side of any company's PR.
When you guys post these horror stories, though, it winds up doing everybody a service. This is a public space where other potential customers are going to read these remarks, which incentivizes the company itself to get more hands on and keep their **** honest. Every so often when we see something like this, we'll ping the company themselves and let them know something's up.
As far as large PC suppliers and big boxes go, you can get burned royally. My best friend's cousin bought a laptop from Best Buy that had problems with the screen blanking out randomly within a week of the purchase. He took it back to the Best Buy and they said "tough titties, you didn't buy our warranty so we can't help you." (By the way, I used to work in Geek Squad and I can vouch, albeit anecdotally, for their utter lack of reliability.)
s44 - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - linkDustin, you do know about this great doomed project five+ years ago, right?
jalexoid - Friday, October 21, 2011 - linkWhy don't you use any OpenGL games for workstation GPU testing? It's kind of pointless to test an OpenGL optimised GPU with DX games.
I'm pretty sure, that there are games that are OpenGL and you could run them as a part of your test...
JarredWalton - Friday, October 21, 2011 - linkQuadro cards are optimized for professional OpenGL use, not for OpenGL games. Besides which, the only OpenGL games are either old, not demanding, or not a good benchmark (see the Rage article I wrote recently).
cactusdog - Friday, October 21, 2011 - linkThanks for the review Dustin.