Our adventure began last night in Soho, London. Commodore invited us into an underground gaming crypt to check out its latest and greatest gaming machines. About a dozen Commodore XX machines were rigged up to a private LAN, all radiating their hella cool designs and top-notch specifications.
Pictured is a de-panelled XX machine. The internal design is as impressive as the exterior. First up, there's a pair of Nvidia 8800 GTX GPUs in SLI configuration. An Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core CPU powers away behind a custom-modified cooling system from Arctic. Two gigabytes of Corsair Dominator memory sit alongside the CPU, along with X-Fi audio from Creative and a pair of 10,000 rpm hard disks in RAID 0 configuration (a 500GB disk sits quietly inside too).
Spec-wise these machines are among the most powerful gaming systems you can buy. Still, at almost £3,000, they should be. What was interesting is that Commodore told us its plans to include SSD disks in a future model, along with 4GB of on-board flash memory for even quicker program loading times. This will speed up an already blisteringly fast system. Click through for more photos. -Nate Lanxon
The night wasn't all about drooling over specs and drinking beer, it was a night to get our geek on with Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2. We played a match against 12 other gamers, including one of Commodore's lead engineers. (I won, of course. My sniper skills are still teh l33t from my Team Fortress Classic days.)
Two of our favourite case designs were these super-retro beauties. They may look dated -- and of course that's the intention -- but their old-fashioned good looks are no indication that the horsepower inside is anything less than monumentally modern.
Retro stylings aside, this case stood out from the crowd. The attention to detail just can't be conveyed in a photograph. The beautiful artwork isn't sprayed or painted -- it's physically part of the metal. Commodore paints its designs on to foil, which is then fused to the removable panels in a vacuum, which means it's scratch-proof.
This particular case is one of Commodore's favourites and it's not hard to see why. They excitedly brought us to see this stunning design last of all.
This curious graffiti design also caught our eyes. Like the other machines, a large Commodore logo is cut into the metal. The huge air vent is lit with a variety of different lights and sits in front of a monumental 250mm fan.
No night in Soho would be complete with a range of free drinks. Commodore had mixed up its own colourful 'Commodore' cocktail. What was in it, we're not quite sure. It was a fruity mix of, well, fruits, but there was some blue stuff in there too and a light helping of vodka.
It was a terrific evening and if we only left with one opinion, it would be that these new machines are the most beautiful and power gaming machines money can buy. They're probably even worth selling a kidney for (someone else's, of course). You can expect a review here on CNET.co.uk as soon as we have one in our labs. In the meantime, check out the Commodore site -- there's a cool 3D model that loads up all the lovely designs.