Overall Design and Layout
The front panel features “Revolt” lit up in white LEDs (along with the translucent white power button), and both side panels have pulsating lights emanating from the grill vents that alternate between red, green, and blue. (A small button on the front panel lets you toggle the lights between red pulse, green pulse, blue pulse, a pulsing of all three, or off.) There’s also a trio of small grill vents, a DVD slot, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, and headphone and mic jacks.
One aspect of the color design we’re not in love with, though, is the addition of clear frosted plastic covering parts of both side panels. The extra pieces cover more than half of the side panels, and they produce a two-toned white on off-white look that doesn’t really jibe with the overall crisp and clean aesthetic of the system. Of course, one slight advantage you get with plastic over metal is that the material is already pigmented, so you don’t have to worry about paint chipping.
Further, for as pleasing as the Revolt may be to look at (odd frosted plastic panels notwithstanding), it’s a beast to work on because of the intricate build, engineering, and materials used (watch the video on page 1 to see what we mean).
Before we start kvetching, let the record show that iBuypower’s ability to pack so many components inside of such a tiny case is laudable. Not only did iBuypower pack in two storage drives (an SSD and an HDD), a big and powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 graphics card, and a sizable 500W PSU, there’s a liquid cooling system in there chilling the CPU as well. The whole cooling system is worked into the innards of the case so well that you’ll barely notice it’s there, but once you trace the slim black tubing from the CPU socket area on out, you’ll find the radiator neatly tucked away next to the motherboard.
However, the Revolt suffers from the same problems as, for example, a 1993 Subaru Impreza, which is that the engineering is great until you need to actually repair or replace something. Further, the Revolt has some issues with the quality of its chassis both in terms of quality and materials.
Although there’s an interior metal skeleton, it’s fairly flimsy, and the exterior is made entirely of plastic. There are two screws holding the one side panel on, and then you have to gently but firmly tug the panel down to free it. The front panel comes off without tools, but it's stubborn, and you're in jeopardy of breaking the plastic.
If you’re lucky and/or skilled enough to get the plastic side and front panels off without snapping the tiny plastic tabs that hold the various panels together, you’ll be greeted by an interior that is cramped and layered. Indeed, it’s almost as though you’re looking at the guts of a laptop instead of a desktop.
Look, SFF systems all have very little wiggle room, but the Revolt is particularly Rubik's cube-like in that regard. You can’t perform an action as simple as swapping out some DIMMs without taking most of the system apart, and although iBuypower considers upgradability as one of the Revolt’s selling points, this is most definitely not a computer that the novice should open up and mess with.
iBuypower didn’t bother with bloatware, which makes everyone happy, although most users will get a 60-day trial of Microsoft Office 2010 with their systems. There’s also a cool-looking desktop background that the system ships with to remind you who made this high-performing system for you.
And yes, it’s high-performing indeed, as you’ll see in our benchmark tests on the following pages.