AVADirect X79 Gaming PC, Tri-SLI GeForce GTX 680
Power Consumption & Noise
It's best not to skimp on the power supply, especially if you're configuring a high-end system with a tri-SLI setup or plan to overclock. Trust us -- we've seen lower end PSUs literally go up in smoke. AVADirect offers a number of quality PSUs, including the one configured in the system they sent us, which is Seasonic's new Platinum Series 1000W.
This is a fully modular PSU that's 80 Plus Platinum certified. It features a single +12V rail, which is rated for up to 83A (996W), enough to accommodate a fully loaded system like the one reviewed here.
We used SeaSonic's Power Angel Power Meter to measure the amount of power our test system pulled from the wall. You'll find three figures below: power supply's maximum rated wattage, peak power consumption under a full CPU/GPU load, and how much the system pulled from the wall when idle, following a fresh system boot.
How is it that a system can pull 1,091W from the wall when the power supply is rated for 1,000W? Good question. It could be voodoo magic. A more likely explanation is that there's some headroom in the power supply, especially since it's a quality unit and not a generic PSU pulled from K-Mart's clearance rack. Let's also not pretend that Seasonic's Power Angel is 100 percent precise down to the last watt, though it does give us a better-than-rough idea of how much power a system is pulling.
As we often point out in these cases, bear in mind that the combination we run represents an insane worst case scenario, one that you're not likely to ever replicate, nor should you, given the unlikely situation of running all three GPUs and the CPU at 100 percent load for extended periods.
In almost every case, a high end gaming system with multiple videocards makes for a poor home theater PC because it's just too darn loud. These types of rigs are better suited for high resolution monitors and/or multiple monitor setups anyway, but should you decide a powerhouse PC would be a great addition to your living room, AVADirect's X79 system, as configured, won't bother you too much with its array of spinning fans. It's not a silent system, but it's fairly quiet, even under full load.
A Word on Stability
We ran into a few issues with our system, which began the first time we hit the power button. AVADirect will, for a fee, aggressively overclock its systems, and in this particular instance, the company seems to have been a tad too aggressive. Wonky RAID errors and instability appeared on first boot, and after tinkering in the BIOS, the CPU gave up the ghost. That's not necessarily AVADirect's fault, it may have been a bum CPU to begin with.
AVADirect sent us a replacement chip, which took care of our CPU problem, but persistent RAID errors caused our system to freeze/reboot on a couple of occasions. Again, this is most likely the result of overly aggressive overclocking, which tends to have a ripple effect, in this case affecting the RAID. It's a rare misstep for AVADirect, which has sent us rock solid, overclocked systems in the past. It's also worth mentioning that AVADirect pre-loads the BIOS with different levels of overclocking, so if stability becomes an issue, you can dial things down by selecting a less aggressive profile, saving you the trouble of tinkering with all the different settings in the BIOS.