Memory Express has out-done themselves. Each and every criticism previous offered (on our original gaming PC reviews) has been addressed, and removed. It is sleek, it is sexy, it is small, easy to carry from home to LAN Party, and is a stone-cold software KILLER.
+Smaller case, perfect for portability.
+Light-weight (less than 28lbs).
+Dual GTX670s in SLI will CRUSH any game out there (go nuts with your Skyrim mods people!).
+Silent. As. The. GRAVE. The new liquid-cooled approach means I sometimes forget it’s still on.
-No real room for improvement. What are you going to do next ME!?
Memory Express, it would seem, have been paying attention to the reviews that we’ve been providing on their gear. This is a positive and a negative. How so? Well, for the consumers, it’s good news. Memory Express has proven they can not only take criticisms when supplied them, but show dedication to improving. The bad news is for the writer that has to try and pull apart their third-generation build. Criticisms are harder and harder to come by…
The only thing I find I’m able to complain about on Memory Express’ latest build is that it’s been so hard to get to work on the review. Generally I like to have a couple of points of improvement to offer, but so far I’ve not been able to find anything. Also, it’s caused me to, quite honestly, drag my feet (more than a little) on this latest review because I’m both so in love with this unit that I don’t want to have to give it back, and secondly terrified at what they offer next!
Enough with the lollygagging, it’s time to get to work! Memory Express’ only real lingering criticism that I had to over on our previous review, of the Custom Gaming PC, was that it was large and awkward to carry. Which is, admittedly, a little weak of a complaint for something that is a tower/home PC build; but considering the fact that I’m someone that enjoys a LAN, it seemed worth the mention. Memory Express seems to have taken it as a personal challenge to prove they can do anything (and well) by coming back with a gaming PC is that is easily half the size of the previous review unit we had, and weighs less than 28lbs.
“Surely they must have taken a lot off of the previous build’s abilities then, right?” I can hear you asking, and you’re wrong and probably should stop calling me Shirley (does that joke even work in text format?).
The most surprising thing about this build is the lack of cuts they needed to make. The PC is as powerful as anything, managing not one, but TWO GTX670s running in SLI. It also maintains the dual hard-disk integration that the Memory Express builds are becoming famous for (if I can help it) sporting a Solid State HDD for the OS, and a large back-up (traditional) HDD for storage.
Everything is there, and it still chews up, spits out, and asks for more from every game currently on the market. It’s been an absolute pleasure to game on, and I’m (these days) pretty harsh on my computers during review time. Playing top-end games at their highest settings isn’t enough anymore. I have it run multiple tasks to make sure it can keep up.
For example: It’s not enough that (later on) I can show you that it plays games like Batman Arkham City with all the features maxed, the Nvidia Physics turned on, and drop so little frames (averaging 56fps) these days… I also have it outputting to my big-screen TV and run all manner of messengers, have it play high-def movies on my TV, and even flip back and forth between the game/movie/and Photoshop. I’m entirely confident I could be gaming on one screen, and video editing in another (if video games would let me get away with those shenanigans).
But beyond all of that, the best part, for me personally, is the fact that it’s portable. It’s easy as hell to pick up, tuck under one arm, and carry almost any distance. It’s the first unit that I probably could have gotten away with bringing into a LAN via the train (though I didn’t ‘cause, c’mon… really?).
So, Memory Express has, well and truly, out done themselves on this build. They have silenced someone that was doing their level best to nit-pick at even the smallest of details (at least from the consumer level, perhaps we’ll need to start drafting nit-picky tech nerds moving forwards to dissect at the deepest levels going forwards).
Let's Talk About Specs
Didn’t believe me that Memory Express managed to fit pretty much everything from our previous builds into a case that’s about half the size, totally a system that weighs about 28 pounds? Well, pull up our previous reviews (Velocity G1 IZ68, Custom Gaming PC) and do yourself a side-by-side comparison to have a first-hand look at EXACTLY how little has changed in our complete piece-by-piece break-down of the system:
This board is the primary reason that everything can fit inside such a tiny, sleek case. The Maximus V is compact, and powerful. It’s a board that’s small size doesn’t diminish from an ability for overclocking potential, or to run multiple GPUs in Crossfire or SLI.
The latest and greatest from Intel (until they finally move on from the i7 line-up) the third-generation processor is easily one of the most bits of hard-ware from Intel since their last CPU innovation, and is the reason I can get always with non-sense like running Photoshop in tandem with Guild Wars 2.
The first potential ‘downgrade’ to the system, those of you with keen eyes will recognize that we’ve gone from dual 680s (in the previous build) to 670s. However, after doing a little poking around online (and speaking with more tech-professional friends of mine) I was able to find out that the 670 is actually a higher reviewed card. It is the most popular among the PC enthusiast marketplace right now, and accounts for 4 out of 5 of my friends personal PC builds (though they were all still pretty jealous that I’m running dual in SLI for my review).
The brand may have been changed, but the performance has not. Here, again, we’re running a total of 8GB of memory, Dual Channel, DDR3. The only change really (aside form name) is the shift from 1855MHz to 1600MHz.
In the past when we did review for Memory Express, the SSD was the first thing to give us problems. Those problems were mainly due to the fact that SSD was still a relatively ‘new’ technology, and stability was an issue. Intel has since come up as the leader offering the most reliable and speedy SSDs around, and we’re glad to see that this one has been holding up so well (no problems to report!).
It’s big, it’s stable, it’s simple and it’s effective. There’s not much to say about a storage drive, other than it’s nice to have a 1TB back-up when you (quickly) fill up that 120GB of SSD space with the necessary programs.
Admittedly, I don’t know a whole lot about power supplies. So, I’m going to cheat this one at little and steal a line from the builder himself, William Zhou: “100% modular cables, very high efficiency, 80+ Gold rated, which translates into less wasted power and less heat.”
Aside from the new, smaller size of the build this probably my favorite feature of the newest Gaming PC from Memory Express. I’ve never run a liquid cooled system before personally, but it always seemed like an interesting concept. To be fair, this isn’t a fully liquid-cooled system, more of a hybrid… but the result is the same: It is easily the quietest computer that I’ve ever had the pleasure of running. If it weren’t for the bright blue power indicator at the front of the case, I’d probably legitimately forget the thing was on.
Simple, sleek, stealthy, and small; the Silverstone Case that Memory Express picked out for us this time is everything I would personally go for in a system. It doesn’t have the flash of some of our other PCs (side-windows, flashing lights, etc.) but that’s just perfect for someone like me. It’s an absolutely joy to bring this little black box into the LAN parties and have people assume they know what’s inside based on the size of it, then blow them all away. It is, in essence, the quintessential ‘sleeper’ case.
Now that we know WHAT is inside of the box, it’s time to talk about how it handles. I’ve already touched on the fact that it is a stone-cold killer. It’s able to run circles around most enthusiast PC builds, and I’ve barely even tapped the potential of it as a multi-tasker’s wet-dream. But I know you’re all big fans of numbers and pretty pictures, so below I’ve broken down the stats via a couple programs and games so you can get an idea of what this thing is really capable of:
PC Mark 7 Benchmark Results:
3D Mark Benchmark Results:
Windows 7 Performance Report:
The (Shogun Gamer) Street Fighter Test:
Batman Arkham City Benchmark (everything MAXED, Nvidia Physix ON):
Explanation of the Build
Not fully satisfied with enough media on this review? You know we wouldn’t leave you hanging without another sexy video re-cap from our own Editor-in-Chief Corey Rollins. Below we’ve put together a full video walkthrough of the build, along with some interesting stats about how everything came together in our very best Top Gear knock-off attempt. Enjoy!
Jokingly I’ve referred to the length of the time it took me to review this particular build, and my hesitation to post up anything that doesn’t offer legitimate criticism. In the world of journalism, and in particular reviews, there should ALWAYS be room for improvement. Nothing is every 100% and there is no such thing as perfection. However, this build is the closest thing I’ve found to it yet.
I want there to be a reason to remove a point here somewhere, because I want there to be an opportunity of growth for Memory Express. I love that the builds they offer us keep improving and becoming better… but if they take the core concepts of this build and just upgrade the components every couple of months (as the market dictates with the release of new, better hardware) they have, in my opinion, the best system that I’ve ever seen or had the privilege of playing with.
I love this build. As someone that’s worked in IT, been a PC gamer since he was able to sit at a chair, and regularly makes a point to seek out new technology, go to all manner of gaming/technology conventions to see ‘what’s next’ I have to say… it’s going to be hard to give it up. This is definitely something that I would be proud to own, and I cannot fathom what Memory Express has for us next. Let’s just hope I haven’t written myself out of a partnership opportunity here by giving them all the points for improvement on previous builds and having them actually have listened!