Performance Analysis & Conclusion
Performance Summary: Looking at the test results, overall performance seems like a mixed bag with the Smooth Creations LANShark Extreme when compared to our reference systems. The LANShark Extreme fell behind in some of the memory and CPU tests, but it fared very well in several of our gaming tests. The latter results are what we feel are most important since this is a gamer-oriented system. Those results show that the LANShark Extreme is a very capable fragging machine that will not let you down during extreme gaming sessions.
You can bet that the LANShark Extreme can handle anything you'd throw at it in a LAN gaming setting. For many games, it probably is even overkill since most people don't carry 24" or 30" monitors to LANs. If you do want to rock a 24" or 30" LCD at LAN parties, then this system will be able to handle most games at the high resolutions provided by screens of that size. Regardless of your monitor size, the LANShark Extreme will serve you quietly and efficiently thanks to its watercooling kit. Not only will you appreciate its quiet nature, but your peers will as well.
Other than the initial problem with overheating that we mentioned several pages back, we had no problems with the LANShark Extreme. It was absolutely stable and solid as a rock as we benchmarked and played games on it. We are big fans of the style and design of our evaluation unit and of the other styles offered by Smooth Creations, which you can check out on the company's web site (www.smoothcreations.com). The art and quality were top notch. Another thing worth mentioning was the fact that the system didn't come loaded with extra, unnecessary junkware (like free AOL offers and the like). The system arrives with only what is needed installed, which is how it should be.
In case you are wondering why our system didn't come stocked with the latest Intel Core i7 chip and/or an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295, we received our evaluation unit before these products were available. Rest assured, though, if you want to buy a LANShark with these components, you can now do so. Smooth Creations offers all of the necessary components to build a blazing Core i7 rig, including an X58 motherboard, triple channel memory and of course i7 CPUs. At the time of this writing, the video card choices included a Radeon HD 4870 X2, a GeForce GTX 280 and a GeForce GTX 295. Pricing will vary depending on your selections.
Speaking of price, our evaluation unit came in at a heavy price tag of $3,700. To put things in perspective, we priced out all of the components on Newegg and DangerDen.com, and you'd have to spend around $3,400 or so to build a similar system. That's without the swank paint job and personal support offered by Smooth Creations, though. So, for around $300, you get some awesome airbrush work on not only the case but also inside the case and on the peripherals as well. We think it's worth the extra money to have someone else paint it, build it, and warranty it as a whole. If that price is still making you shake your head, and you're still interested in Smooth Creations quality and design, you can get a LANShark or one of the company's other systems for much cheaper. The LANShark Standard starts at just over $1,300, while the LANShark Pro starts at $2,100. If the LANShark isn't your cup of tea, Smooth Creations also offers custom laptops and larger desktops. Based on our positive experience with the LANShark Extreme, we'd suggest taking a look at the LANShark line if you want a dedicated gaming/LAN rig, or the company's other offerings if you have something else in mind but still want something really unique that will turn heads and spur conversation.
Smooth Creations wanted us to let our readers know that the company runs a YouTube video channel, and it can be accessed at http://www.youtube.com/user/smoothcreations.
|• Strong performance
• Awesome paint job and design
• Great quality
• Includes painted peripherals
• Clean wiring job
• Relatively quiet
• Watercooling included
• Minimal, compact size ideal for transport
• Lights on the inside would be nice to highlight the great looking interior
• No front I/O ports