The Adamant Gamers Dream 6030 shot through our benchmarks like a rocket, and it has enough extras to keep you flying high, but its lack of finishing touches quickly drop it back to earth. Our test system arrived with a spacious, 17-inch LCD monitor; high-powered, 5.1 surround-sound speakers; and enough muscle to let you max out every graphics setting in your favorite games. Unfortunately, the system's warranty and support plans don't match its luxury-model price tag, and its unimpressive software bundle consists of only six mediocre games. We were also disappointed to find that Adamant failed to install the system's joystick port, an easily remedied but hard-to-forgive oversight in a gaming PC.
|Room to grow: a multitude of free PCI and memory slots and open drives bays inside.|
Adamant offers a wide variety of boutique-style cases for the Gamers Dream 6030; we reviewed an attractive, industrial-looking, metallic-blue tower, with a large window and a pair of neon-glow cooling fans embedded in its side panel. Two additional internal fans combine to make the Gamers Dream a tad noisy--though not nearly as deafening as, say, the Polywell Poly 884RF-2700. You'll need a screwdriver to access the system's internals, but you're rewarded with almost endless expansion options: four free PCI slots, two free memory slots, and a bevy of open drive bays. Neat freaks will appreciate the plastic, black tubing that keeps cable clutter to a minimum.
|You'll find two USB 2.0 ports up front and two in back.|
Outside the box, the system has four USB ports: two in the back and two behind a small door in the front. The Sound Blaster Audigy card adds a single FireWire port. Adamant failed to install the system's joystick port, which forced us to venture inside the case to connect it to the Audigy sound card, then open one of the rear slots to make the port accessible. That's an oversight that's hard to forgive--particularly in a gaming system.
The Adamant Gamers Dream 6030's case design may leave something to be desired, but that's hard to argue when you consider the rest of the system's hardware. Though no longer the fastest Pentium 4 on the block, this system's 2.8GHz processor--coupled with 512MB of 533MHz PC1066 RAM--offers more than enough horsepower for games, video editing, and any other processor-intensive tasks you care to throw at it. In addition, you'll wait several years before you encounter a game that's beyond the capabilities of the system's ATI Radeon 9700 Pro-powered graphics card.
This optical-drive duo lets you burn CDs and view DVDs.
When you have the choice, go wireless.
Purists claim that LCDs can't compare with CRTs for games and movies, but the system's Cornea CT1700 17-inch LCD kept the action sharp in our tests. In addition, Logitech's surprisingly affordable Z-640 speakers proved the perfect accompaniment to the fun, blasting music, dialog, and explosions with equal strength and veracity. The Logitech Cordless Elite Duo keyboard-and-mouse combination gives you the freedom to roam a bit, and the mouse is accurate enough for gaming. Rounding out the hardware is a roomy 120GB hard drive and the obligatory DVD-ROM and CD-RW drives, the latter a speedy 52X/24X/48X model.
Adamant supplies no productivity or antivirus software, but it does bundle four complete games and two game demos. Unfortunately, all six titles are a few years old, and they're mostly mediocre fare. You can opt for a productivity suite for an added cost, but Adamant gives you only one choice: Corel WordPerfect Office 2002.
It's no surprise that most of the 2.8GHz P4-based desktops to come through our doors arrive configured for testing with many of the same top-quality components. As a result, all of these systems produce nearly identical performance. The Adamant Gamers Dream 6030 is no exception. Its application performance is on the same lightning-fast level as that of the other 2.8GHz P4-based systems we've tested, providing more than enough muscle for any application you're likely to run. Obviously, any adjustments you make to the system's configuration, such as its CPU speed or hard drive selection, will have an impact on its performance.
Application performance (Longer bars indicate better performance)
To measure application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark2002, an industry-standard benchmark. Using off-the-shelf applications, SysMark measures a desktop's performance using office-productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and McAfee VirusScan) and Internet-content-creation applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver).
3D graphics and gaming performance
The configuration of the system we tested truly is a gamer's dream: it uses one of the fastest available desktop processors and perhaps the speediest graphics card on the market today. This system will have no problem running any of the latest games or educational titles. True game enthusiasts, however, typically demand the very best that current technology has to offer; such hard-core gamers might want consider configuring the Gamers Dream with a faster 3.06GHz P4 processor, and they might even want to wait for Adamant to begin offering Nvidia's new GeForce FX 5800 Ultra or ATI's new Radeon 9800 Pro card.
3D graphics performance (Longer bars indicate better performance)
To measure 3D graphics performance, CNET Labs uses Futuremark's 3DMark2001 Pro Second Edition, Build 330. We use 3DMark to measure a desktop's performance with the DirectX 8 (DX8) interface at both 16- and 32-bit color settings at a resolution of 1,024x768. A system that does not have DX8 hardware support will typically generate a lower score than one that has DX8 hardware support.
3D gaming performance in FPS (Longer bars indicate better performance)
To measure 3D gaming performance, CNET Labs uses Quake III Arena. Although Quake III is an older game, it is still widely used as an industry-standard tool. Quake III does not require DX8 hardware support--as 3DMark2001 does--and is therefore an excellent means of comparing the performance of low- to high-end graphics subsystems. Quake III performance is reported in frames per second (fps).
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
ABS Awesome 3600
Windows XP Home; 2.8GHz Intel P4; 512MB RDRAM 533MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4600 128MB; two Maxtor 6L080L4 80GB 7,200rpm; HPT372A UDMA/ATA133 RAID Controller
Adamant Gamers Dream 6030
Windows XP Professional; 2.8GHz Intel P4; 512MB RDRAM 533MHz; ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 128MB; Western Digital WD1200JB-75CRA0 120GB 7,200rpm
Dell Dimension 8250
Windows XP Home; 2.8GHz Intel P4; 512MB RDRAM 533MHz; ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 128MB; Western Digital WD1200JB-75CRA0 120GB 7,200rpm
Falcon Northwest Mach V
Windows XP Home, 2.25GHz AMD Athlon XP 2800+; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 128MB; two IBM IC35L040AVVN07 40GB 7,200pm; Promise FastTrak TX2000 Ultra ATA/133
Windows XP Home; 3.06GHz Intel P4; 512MB RDRAM 533MHz; ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 128MB; two Maxtor 6Y200P0 200GB 7,200rpm
Adamant offers an industry-average, one-year parts-and-labor warranty--a disappointment for a custom system with a $2,300 price tag. We recommend spending an additional $70 for the five-year-parts and lifetime-labor warranty.
Technical support is another letdown: it's neither toll free, nor 24/7. Live help is available on weekdays and Saturdays during regular East Coast business hours only. Online support consists merely of a brief FAQ page and a list of driver downloads and component manufacturer URLs and phone numbers. Additionally, system documentation is limited to a few component manuals--the Sound Blaster Audigy card not among them, which is a problem given that you must install the joystick port yourself.