PCAudioLabs Rok Box MC 7xs Preview - HotHardware

PCAudioLabs Rok Box MC 7xs Preview

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Specialty or niche' products have always caught our attention here at HotHardware, for the simple reason that, when it comes to PCs anyway, attention to detail or a specific characteristic usually equates to something interesting.  And after all, we're not into publishing stories and evaluations of uninteresting things here.  You are reading the pages of "Hot" Hardware.

PCAudioLabs is a different sort of boutique system builder out of Chatsworth, CA.  While so many custom computer systems you see here are targeted toward gamers and mainstream users, the folks at PCAudioLabs, you guessed it, cater to musicians, both professional and amateur, as well as production studios and educational institutions. There aren't many system builders that can say they've worked with the likes of Peter Frampton, the Grand Ole Opry and Eric Clapton.  PCAL builds what folks in the music biz call a "DAW" or Digital Audio Workstation. A DAW can come in the form of a notebook, standard ATX tower or a rack-mount chassis. Today we're looking at the PCAL Rok Box MC 7xs, a mini-tower ATX platform built for sweet, melodic content creation.

Full disclosure; PCAL sponsored this machine for our Giving Thanks Sweepstakes here at HotHardware.  As such, for a variety of reasons, including objectivity and fairness, we won't be running down the usual review gauntlet with this machine.  Rather, we'll give you a hands-on look at the product, what it's made of and a quick-take look at performance.

 

PCAudioLabs Rok Box MC 7xs
Specifications & Features


  • Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K
  • Cooling: PCAL Quiet Operation
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3
  • Memory: 16GB DDR3-1333 (4x4GB)
  • Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD 5450
  • Power Supply: Enermax NAXN - 600 Watts
  • Optical Drive: Pioneer 24X CD/DVD DL Burner 
  • SRT Drive: Intel 311 SSD (20GB)
  • Primary Drive: 500GB, 7200RPM, 16MB cache
  • Audio Drive: 1TB, 7200RPM, 32MB cache
  • Sample Drive: 2TB, 7200RPM, 64MB cache
  • I/O: Firewire 400 PCI Card
  • Input: Logitech KB and Mouse
  • OS: Windows 7 Professional x64


"Anniversary" Software Bundle is installed for free and includes the following items for you to start making music:
 
1. Sonar X1 Essential (pre-installed)
2. Komplete 7 Elements (pre-installed)
3. VielKlang Instant Harmony 1.5 (pre-installed)
4. Xils 3se (pre-installed)
5. Amplitube Free (pre-installed)
6. Sampletank Free (pre-installed)
7. Nimbit.com subscription (on desktop)
8. Obedia Video Package (on desktop)




At the component level, we get a hint by the way this system is configured, that content creation is of primary importance for the Rok Box.  In fact, "content creation" is a bit too sterile.  Audio production is specifically what the Rok Box does best, with a secondary strength in video production.  Note that the primary 7200RPM 500GB hard drive is setup with a 20GB Intel SSD cache. Storage subsystem access times and bandwidth are always important for the large sequential transfers associated with digital video and audio production.  In addition, Firewire connectivity is abundant here, on both the motherboard and with a discrete PCI card, so attaching various forms of AV and DV equipment is well accommodated, not to mention other high speed interfaces like eSATA and USB 3.0 are available.

Then of course there's the software complement.  The Rok Box we're looking at came setup with PCAL's "Anniversary" bundle which includes Cakewalk Sonar X1, Komplete 7 Elements and VielKlang Instant Harmony 1.5, just to name a few tools of the trade.  Let's take look under the hood.

 

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great. now you're making me want it even more.

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Oh God! Totally geeking out. Those screenshots of Amplitube and Komplete 7 are serious eye candy!

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Very nice system. I like how compact and clean it looks. They did a good job with the limited room in there. My brother would love this machine. He's been trying to find a good way to record his music, and using his iPhone just isn't cutting it. Here's hoping I win it so we can get a good recording of all his work.

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Lots packed inside a small case, decent cabling.

rooooook box! :)

Loved the video review as well!

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Great review Dave! The performance and benchmarks are looking pretty damn sweet! To include the software just sweetens it even more!

I didn't know the about the almost 30GB of audio and sample effects being included! It would probably take hours and hours to go through them, mind you, PCAudioLabs know what they're doing so they are most likely all neatly organized!

(Holy exclamation marks Batman!) :D

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30GB of samples is a library of sound to work with. This PC is so friggin' unique,..............

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Cool system review Dave and Marco; I would of liked it if you analyzed the sound quality but hey, what we got is pretty good...

From the stuff we've been shown; this system is even more amazing then it was before. I mean 30GBs of audio samples and tons of different drum and guitar kits... I knew it had variety but I didn't know if had this amount of variety in it... I'm guessing a person who's competent in electronic instruments will be able to do some wonders with this; sure beats my Vir2 VI ONE instruments kit.

Univerally, this is a computer any audio professional must have.

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Awesome, thanks for the preview Dave. I bet its hard to tell if the computer is even running! It looks super quiet. This system is definitely built for audio editing. Thanks again for the awesome give-away!

I am a little surprised by the os drive though. I would have used a bit faster drive even though you have the ssd caching. Also being an multimedia person I would have added an extra e-sata or firewire 800 card instead of the 400. I'm sure PCAudioLabs know what they are doing considering it's their job! Other than that it looks like a great system and some lucky person will have a lot of fun with it, especially the software bundles with it!

Also a dumb question, why doesn't an audio editing workstation have a dedicated sound card?

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Love the review on this beauty not that I have not gone through every system on there site already right after this contest was announced.

Plus all of this specifically is AWESOME

1. Sonar X1 Essential (pre-installed)

2. Komplete 7 Elements (pre-installed)

3. VielKlang Instant Harmony 1.5 (pre-installed)

4. Xils 3se (pre-installed)

5. Amplitube Free (pre-installed)

6. Sampletank Free (pre-installed)

7. Nimbit.com subscription (on desktop)

8. Obedia Video Package (on desktop)

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Drake_McNasty:
Also a dumb question, why doesn't an audio editing workstation have a dedicated sound card?

Asked the same question; apparently the on-board sound on the motherboard is good enough to do the job... I personally think it isn't but we have come a long way and maybe on-board sound is as good as those sound cards, maybe...

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