ABS Ultimate M6 review: ABS Ultimate M6

Far Cry Custom Demo Rebellion (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Far Cry 1,600x1,200 4xAA 8xAF  
Far Cry 1,024x768 4xAA 8xAF  
Notes:
* CPU and graphics are overclocked.
** Just graphics is overclocked.

UbiSoft Entertainment's Far Cry is a recent addition to our gaming benchmark arsenal. Far Cry is a DirectX 9.0-based game that uses Vertex Shader 2.0 and Pixel Shader 2.0, as well as a plethora of advanced rendering techniques. As such, it is very demanding on a graphics subsystem and is, therefore, an excellent tool for evaluating high-end graphics cards. We run a custom demo on the Rebellion level and run it two times each at a 32-bit color depth and at resolutions of 1,024x768 and 1,600x1,200. Antialiasing and anisotropic filtering are set to 4X and 8X for both resolutions during our 1,600x1,200 tests.

After installing the retail game, we patch it to version 1.1. This update supports Pixel Shader 3.0 but only for those graphics cards that support Pixel Shader 3.0--all other cards will still use Pixel Shader 2.0.

Half-Life 2 Custom Demo (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Half-Life 2 1,024x768 4xAA 8xAF  
Half-Life 2 1,280x1,024 4xAA 8xAF  
Half-Life 2 1,600x1,200 4xAA 8xAF  
Notes:
* CPU and graphics are overclocked.
** Just graphics is overclocked.

Valve Software's Half-Life 2 showcases some the latest in DirectX 9.0 image quality, accompanied by tremendous GPU taxation. Those factors, and its vast popularity among PC gamers, make it an ideal game to test a desktop's 3D capabilities. Using a demo file created in CNET Labs that incorporates all of the game's taxing features, Half-Life 2 gives us a great indication of how a PC will handle today's most challenging 3D games. Our custom demo is set in the canal level and encompasses advanced effects, such as light from the flashlight as well as water effects. We make sure to update Half-Life 2 with the latest patches before we start testing. Depending on the type of system being tested, we perform two runs of the demos at a resolution of 1,024x768 for lower-end desktops, then an additional two runs each of 1,280x1,024-resolution and 1,600x1,200-resolution tests for high-end systems. We configure the display settings via the game's own options screens, not the Windows graphics driver settings, and within the game, we set antialiasing and anisotropic filtering to 4X and 8X for all resolutions.

Performance analysis written by CNET Labs technician David Gussman.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

ABS Ultimate M6
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.6GHz AMD Athlon 64 FX-55; Nvidia Nforce 4 Ultra SLI chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB (2) Nvidia GeForce 6800 GT (PCIe, SLI); two Seagate ST3200822AS 200GB 7,200rpm, Serial ATA; integrated Silicon SiI 3114 SoftRAID 5 controller

Alienware Area-51 ALX
Windows XP Professional SP2; 3.4GHz Intel P4 Extreme; Intel 925X chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (PCIe); two WDC WD360GD-00TNA0 36GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; integrated Intel 82801FR SATA RAID controller

Alienware Aurora ALX SLI
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.6GHz AMD Athlon 64 FX-55; Nvidia Nforce4 Ultra SLI chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB (2) Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (PCIe, SLI); two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; integrated Nvidia Nforce RAID class controller

Velocity Micro Gamer's Edge DualX
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.6GHz AMD Athlon 64 FX-55; Nvidia Nforce4 Ultra SLI chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB (2) Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (PCIe, SLI); two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; WDC WD2500JD-50HBB0 250GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA; integrated Silicon SiI 3114 SoftRAID 5 controller

Voodoo Rage F:5
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.6GHz AMD Athlon 64 FX-55; Nvidia Nforce4 Ultra SLI chipset; 2,048MB DDR SDRAM 500MHz; 256MB (2) Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (PCIe, SLI); two Seagate ST3160827AS 160GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA ; integrated Nvidia nForce RAID class controller

ABS backs the Ultimate M6 with an industry-standard one-year warranty, which includes parts, labor, and toll-free telephone support. After 30 days, however, you'll have to pay for one-way shipping to ABS (the company picks up the return postage). ABS tech support is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT, or you can have questions answered via e-mail. An onsite technical-support package with 24/7 telephone support provided by 2NET Service is part of the deal (onsite service requires that you live within 50 miles of a coverage zone) and runs concurrently with the standard ABS plan, but it can be extended to two years for $87.50, three years for $144.50, or four years for $174.50.

Although ABS's telephone support system is automated and requires wading through a never-ending list of menu choices and canned responses, we called and were finally connected to a live dispatcher, who took our information and told us someone would get back to us. We received a return call within 10 minutes and had all of our questions answered cheerfully and thoroughly. Subsequent calls yielded similar results.

What you'll pay

    Pricing is currently unavailable.

    Editors' Top PicksSee All

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Where to Buy

    ABS Ultimate M6

    Part Number: 1706
    Pricing is currently unavailable.

    Quick Specifications See All

    • Color Silver|Blue