The Bottom Line
Jun 8 2012 - For gamers, there is often a lot of boasting about having the fastest system possible. Those looking for the highest performance will by the Intel Sandy Bridge-E with X79 chipset. This is an extremely expensive option compared to the new Ivy Bridge but it still provides better performance. The Systemax Venture SG-205 is one of the more affordable options for this platform even with its $1899 price tag. Performance is needless to say quite good and more than enough for gaming. The drawback is that it lacks customization at the time of purchase and buyer's will have to live with a few shortcomings in terms of potential video upgrades.
- High Performance Processor With Overclocking Capability
- Large Number of High Speed Peripheral Ports
- Blu-ray Drive
- Lacks Customization Options
- Low Wattage Power Supply Prevents Multiple Video Card Setups
- Intel Core i7-3930K Six Core Desktop Processor
- 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 12x Blu-ray Reader and Dual Layer DVD Burner Combo Drive
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Graphics Card With 1GB Memory
- Intel HDA 7.1 Audio
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Four USB 3.0, Eight USB 2.0, Two eSATA, HDMI, Two DVI
- Windows 7 Professional
Review - Systemax Venture SG-205
Jun 8 2012 - Systemax has elected to use the Sandy Bridge-E processors and the X79 chipset for their Venture SG-205 gaming desktop. This is one of the primary reasons for its relatively high $1899 price tag compared to many newer less expensive Ivy Bridge based systems. The platform does have some distinct advantages though specifically from the additional cores and memory bus. The Core i7-3930K is the lower of the new Sandy Bridge-E processors but it does offer six physical cores that give it some outstanding performance particularly with demanding tasks like desktop video that can utilize the extra cores. Since this is a performance oriented platform designed for gaming, it is also designed to be capable of overclocking. The Core i7-3930K is a clock unlocked processor which allows for this to be possible. On top of this, the system uses a liquid cooling system that can help pull away the excess heat generated when overclocking. Gaming is less impacted by the cores today but that will likely change in the coming years. It does only come with 8GB of DDR3 memory but this is configured in a quad core memory setup that gives it extra bandwidth that helps with memory intensive tasks.
Storage for the Venture SG-205 is a bit average for such an expansive desktop platform. It comes with a single terabyte hard drive which is plenty of storage space for PC games but could get quickly filled up if it is being used for high definition video. The drive does spin at 7200rpm rate which gives it decent performance compared to more consumer oriented desktops that are starting to use more green class drives with variable spin rates. External high speed storage expansion is very easy to do with its large number of ports. Not only does it feature the new USB 3.0 ports, but it also comes with two eSATA ports as well. Unlike many gaming desktops which feature just a dual-layer DVD burner, Systemax is including a Blu-ray compatible drive that also has the ability to playback the high definition movie format as well as read and write to DVD or CD media. A flash card reader is not standard on the system like many other consumer based desktops.
For a gaming specific system with a a price tag just below two thousand dollars, it is kind of surprising to see a mid-range NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 graphics card. While this is a capable card that can drive games up to the 1920x1080 resolution, it does struggle with higher graphical detail and filtering one some of the more demanding modern games. It would have been nice to see the system use a newer Radeon HD 7000 series or GeForce GTX 600 series graphics card. It does have a 550 watt power supply which can handle these cards without much problem. Unfortunately, the power supply is smaller than should come on such a system. One of the big advantages of the X79 chipset is the ability to fully support multiple PCI-Express graphics cards at the full x16 bandwidth of each card. This is a big advantage for those looking to run multiple monitor gaming setups but it pretty much removed by the power supply that can really only drive a single card.
Even with its relatively high price tag, the Systemax Venture SG-205 is a relatively affordable setup. Its closest competition would be that of the Alienware Aurora. A similarl configuration from Dell would cost roughly a few hundred more than this system. Now, the Alienware system does have a few advantages like the higher wattage power supply but sacrifices internal upgrade space and the eSATA ports found in the Venture SG-205.