WidowPC IX2 SLI - Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86 GHz review: WidowPC IX2 SLI - Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86 GHz

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.3
  • Design: 9.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 9.0
  • Service and support: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Fastest overall performance of PCs tested to date; polished hardware assembly; thoughtful software bundle and customization; three-year default parts-and-labor warranty.

The Bad The price tag puts this system beyond the reach of all but the most passionate and the wealthiest.

The Bottom Line Widow PC's IX2 SLI is one of the fastest PCs to come through our labs. You'll have to pay for it, and the price tag is higher than that of past performance-leading PCs, but for all the love and care put into this PC, if you can afford it and you have the passion for cutting-edge game play, you'll find few other desktops that can compete with this one.

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Widow PC IX2 SLI

We've seen a handful of quad-core PCs so far with a single Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX 3D card in them, but we had yet to see any with two of those cards in SLI (scalable link interface) mode until the Widow PC IX2 SLI. More than simply a high-end game desktop, this system is a hyperbolic showcase of PC design and up-to-the-minute hardware. Priced at $7,361, it's also unreachable for all but the most dedicated and wealthiest gamers. Amazingly, that price seems to be about the going rate for any boutique-class system with a similar configuration. We remember when a $4,000 PC would break records. Those days probably aren't gone for the DIY crowd, but if you'd rather have someone else do the dirty work for you, this Widow PC runs as fast and is built as well as systems from better-known boutique vendors. If you have the money and the inclination, we recommend it.

Similar to Velocity Micro, Widow PC relies on Lian Li's clean, sturdy case design to give the IX2 SLI a strong visual impression. Inside, the IX2 SLI features a compartmentalized BTX design that helps isolate the various parts from each other for maximum thermal efficiency. We've found that as power demands have risen in recent months, high-end PCs and the fans that keep them cool have gotten louder as well. The Widow PC IX2 SLI uses a combination of liquid and air cooling, and though still loud, it's not as bad as others.

The IX2 SLI came with an Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 chip overclocked from 2.66GHz to 3.34GHz. That's the most aggressively overclocked quad-core chip we've seen so far, and it paid off on our performance tests, the results of which are below. Widow PC uses an Asus Striker Extreme nForce 680i SLI motherboard, and matches it with 2GB of L33T-branded 800MHz DDR2 memory. Its hard drive configuration includes a common pairing of two 150GB 10,000rpm Western Digital drives in a RAID 0 array, along with a large, 750GB 7,200rpm storage drive. That mix gives you fast read and write access for Windows and your applications, and leaves you with plenty of room for general data storage.

The Widow PC IX2 SLI's performance outpaced that of every other quad-core PC we've tested so far on almost all of our application and game tests. The only competitor that comes close (and that actually wins on a test or two) is the similarly configured (and soon-to-be reviewed) Velocity Micro Raptor Signature Edition, whose CPU isn't overclocked as aggressively (although Velocity Micro will push the chip harder on customer request). We have a Falcon Northwest Mach V in the lab right now with a Core 2 Extreme QX6700 that's overclocked to 3.73GHz, but we haven't been able to test it yet. That system (also priced and configured similarly to the Widow PC) stands a chance of outpacing the Widow PC, but until we actually run it through our benchmark tests, the Widow PC IX2 SLI is our current overall performance winner.

Multitasking test (simultaneous McAfee AntiVirus scan, DivX 6.1 video encode, .CAB file extraction)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds  

Adobe Photoshop CS2 image-processing test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds  

Apple iTunes encoding test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds  

Cinebench 9.5
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  

If you look at the game test scores for the IX2 SLI, you'll notice that no matter how high we set the resolution on Quake 4 or F.E.A.R., the Widow PC scored over 100 frames per second, in some cases far surpassing that. We were actually hoping to challenge it even more by dialing the antialiasing and anisotropic filtering settings up to 16x, but when we did, our scores fluctuated wildly. Different test runs at the same settings wavered by sometimes more than 30 percent, and frame rates between resolutions didn't scale logically. We tried updated drivers and different patches, among other things, and tried it on several different quad-core systems with either one or two GeForce 8800 GTX cards; the same inconsistencies arose. We can report that not once did the frame rates on the Widow PC drop below playable levels, but we're just not confident that all of the settings we thought we'd turned on were actually enabled. Nvidia is looking into the problem for us, and we'll report back if we figure it out in a reasonable amount of time. Still, we feel comfortable saying that the Widow PC will handle any modern game at the highest image-quality settings, and that its pair of beefy, DirectX 10-capable graphics cards will leave you positioned well for the next-generation titles we expect will tax high-end PCs over the next few years.

'Quake 4' performance (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
2,048x1,536 (4x AA, 8x AF)  
1,600x1,200 (4x AA, 8xAF)  
1,280x1,024 (4x AA, 8x AF)  
Widow PC IX2 SLI
Velocity Micro Raptor Signature Edition
Alienware Area-51 7500
Polywell Poly i680SLI (quad-core)

'F.E.A.R.' performance (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
2,048x1,536 (4x AA, 8x AF)  
1,600x1,200 (4x AA, 8xAF)  
1,280x1,024 (4x AA, 8x AF)  
Velocity Micro Raptor Signature Edition
Widow PC IX2 SLI
Alienware Area-51 7500

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Where to Buy

WidowPC IX2 SLI - Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86 GHz

Part Number: SYD-WPCIX2SLI Released: 15 Nov 2006
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Regional specs shown for US. AU specs are unavailable.

  • Release date 15 Nov 2006
  • Video Memory 256 MB GDDR3 SDRAM
  • Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS
  • Color black
  • OS Provided Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Installed Size 2 GB
  • Monitor Type None.