Digital Storm's Enix Gaming System Reviewed

Article Index

Test Systems, SiSoft Sandra

For this review, we drew on comparative performance from several of the boutique systems we've reviewed over the past 18 months. In some cases we also included test results from our recent high-end video card revieweds. These tests are run on a Core i7 980X and are therefore reasonably comparable to our other included test results.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Performance Comparisons

Digital Storm Enix
Intel Core i7 2600K@4.7GHz
Asus P8P67M Pro
6GB Corsair DDR3-1333
2x GeForce GTX 580 SLI
1x 128GB Corsair P3Series
Win 7 Home Premium x64
Price: $ 3355.00 USD

Dell Alienware Area-51
Intel Core i7-980X 3.33GHz
Alienware X58 ATX
6GB Elpedia DDR3-1333
1x ATI HD 5970 Crossfire
2x 1TB Seagate HDD RAID 0
Windows 7 Home Premium x64
Price: $ 4,419.00 USD
Origin Genesis
Intel Core i7-920 @ 3.8GHz
EVGA X58 SLI Classified
6GB Corsair DDR3-1600
2x ATI Radeon 5970 Crossfire
2TB WD Caviar Black RAID 0
Win 7 Home Premium x64
Price: $4,999 USD
Intel Core I7-98X @4.2GHz
Asus P6X58D
6GB Kingston DDR3-1600 RAM
2x GeForce GTX 480 SLI
1x Crucial C300 SSD
Windows 7 Home Premium x64
Price: $ 5740.00 USD

Take note of the Enix's price compared to all the other systems..Most of this difference is due to nothing more exotic than the price of system components. The Alienware and Maingear systems both used $1000 processors; the Origin rig used a relatively inexpensive Core i7-920—but compensated with $1400 dollars worth of video cards.The cost difference, notable as it is, is not unexpected.

There is, however, another angle to consider. The Enix's high clockspeed, advanced 32nm Sandy Bridge architecture, and second-generation Fermi cards raise tantalizing questions regarding the system's ability to outperform its competitors in terms of internal temperatures, overall power consumption, and noise levels. 

We don't expect the Enix to win every benchmark—it's bracketed by some of the highest-end systems of 2010—but we'll pay close to attention to the system's efficiency and general attractiveness.

SiSoft Sandra 2010 / 2011
Synthetic System Performance

We began testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA, which stands for System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. These are synthetic tests where we expect to see the Shift make the most of its extra cores and higher clockspeed. In the case, we ran both Sysmark 2010 and 2011 on the Enix, in order to measure performance differences while maintaining a degree of backward comparability.

Origin Genesis: Core i7 920 @ 3.8GHz, Maingear Shift: Core i7 980X @ 4.2GHz

The performance delta we see here is intriguing. The Enix's Sandra 2010/2011 GFLOP score is the same--but it's GIPS score jumps a whopping 20 percent. (All of the systems in question used the same blend of SSE4.2 / SSE3 instructions). As a result, it wins this category. We insured the difference here wasn't caused by inherently higher performance in Sandra 2011 itself--the Nehalem-based Core i7-920 @ 3.8 GHz returned identical scores when retested in 2K10 and 2K11. FLOPS performance goes to the Shift, whose additional cores stand it in good stead.

Sandra 2011 measures multimedia performance differently and uses the Enix's AVX instructions. As a result, 2011 results are not remotely comparable. We therefore measured only in Sandra 2010.

Sandra's multimedia suite is designed to test the various SIMD capabilities of a processor. In the company's own words: The test involves the generation of Mandelbrot Set fractals that are used to realistically describe and generate natural objects such as mountains or clouds. By using various multi-media extensions better performance is achieved. Again, we see some interesting performance differences. The Enix is beaten by both the Shift and the Area-51, but it keeps up surprisingly well with both.

Origin Genesis: Core i7 920 @ 3.8GHz, Maingear Shift: Core i7 980X @ 4.2GHz
Finally, we've got Sandra's memory bandwidth analysis. There's a gap of some 30 percent between the Enix/Area-51 and the Genesis/Shift--but it has virtually no impact on benchmark results in any area. Latency matters far more than bandwidth in consumer products, which very much includes gaming.

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