AVADirect Core 2 Duo SLI Gaming System (Intel Core 2 Duo E6700) review: AVADirect Core 2 Duo SLI Gaming System (Intel Core 2 Duo E6700)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

The Good Aggressive overclocking; strong configuration for the price; top-notch current-generation gaming performance; highly customizable

The Bad Dual-core CPU not as future-proof as a quad-core chip; irritating front-panel fan controller; too many customization options isn't always a good thing; weak phone support hours and few online support resources

The Bottom Line AVADirect's newest Core 2 Duo SLI desktop would be a great buy for a gamer looking to dominate on a current-generation title. We wish it had a quad-core chip, and we'd also rather that tweaking this configuration didn't involve choosing from such a vast array of parts. AVADirect seems to build quality PCs, including this one, but you should definitely go to its Web site knowing what you're looking for.

Visit for details.

7.9 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Support 7

AVADirect Core 2 Duo SLI Gaming System (Intel Core 2 Duo E6700)

AVADirect's newly updated Core 2 Duo SLI system comes with a $3,600 price tag and a lot to like for a gaming PC. This particular configuration also has a few problems with it, mainly a dual-core rather than a quad-core CPU, as well as a seizure-inducing front-panel fan controller. You can easily configure it without the fan controller and its annoying row of flickering LEDs, so there's no real foul there. Swapping out a dual-core chip for quad-core is a bit more problematic because, although it's cheaper, it also changes the performance picture for this review. We understand the argument that dual-core CPUs currently have faster clock speeds and generally perform better on current games. But we're of the mind that if you're going to spend a lot of money on a gaming desktop, you'd be wise to go quad-core in preparation for coming titles that will increasingly benefit from multiple processing streams. If you have a particular game that you play now and you know you'll be playing for years to come (hard-core Counter-Strike: Source fans, we're looking at you), you will be more than happy with this system. But if you're more of a gaming generalist, we suggest you tweak this config, or look to another vendor, to meet your longer-term PC gaming needs.

This AVADirect system is a more ambitious build than the $2,750 system we reviewed from this Ohio-based customizer a few months back. This time, AVADirect competes against recent Editor's Choice-winning PCs from Maingear and Velocity Micro, although those two PCs are just a little more expensive. Here's how the AVADirect system stacks up to the Velocity Micro Raptor DCX, its closest competitor of the systems we've reviewed recently:

  AVADirect Core 2 Duo SLI Velocity Micro Raptor DCX
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo E6700, overclocked to 3.67MHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, overclocked to 3.0GHz
Motherboard EVGA Nvidia Nforce 680i SLI Intel BadAxe II 975X
Memory 2GB of 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM 2GB of 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics Two 768MB EVGA GeForce 8800 GTX Two 512MB ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT
Hard drives 150GB 10,000rpm hard drive, 500 GB 7,200rpm hard drive 150GB 10,000rpm hard drive, 400 GB 7,200rpm hard drive
Optical drives 20x dual layer DVD burner, 16x DVD-ROM drive 20x dual layer DVD burner, 16x DVD-ROM drive
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium Windows Vista Home Premium

Based on those specs, we suspected that on tests that benefit from raw clock speed, the AVADirect system would outperform the Velocity Micro, especially due to AVADirect's aggressive overclocking. We were right. The only test on which the dual-core AVADirect didn't beat the quad-core Velocity Micro was the Cinebench multitasking test, which puts every available CPU core to use. That illustrates our overall argument that the AVADirect is very fast on current applications, but it can't compete on programs that can use multiple cores. You might also notice that the AVADirect only barely ekes out wins on our gaming tests, so the Velocity Micro system really doesn't lose many frames due to its quad-core chip.

Adobe Photoshop CS2 image-processing test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds  
AVADirect Core 2 Duo SLI (Intel Core 2 Duo E6700)

Apple iTunes encoding test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds  
AVADirect Core 2 Duo SLI (Intel Core 2 Duo E6700)

Cinebench 9.5
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering a single CPU  
Maingear X-Cube
Maingear F131 SLI
AVADirect Core 2 Duo SLI (Intel Core 2 Duo E6700)

Quake 4 performance (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
2,048x1,536 (4xAA, 8xAF)  
1,600x1,200 (4xAA, 8xAF)  
1,280x1,024 (4xAA, 8xAF)  
AVADirect Core 2 Duo SLI (Intel Core 2 Duo E6700)
Velocity Micro Raptor DCX
Maingear F131 SLI
Maingear X-Cube
ABS Ultimate X Striker Elite

F.E.A.R. performance (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
2,048x1,536 (4xAA, 8xAF)  
1,600x1,200 (4xAA, 8xAF)  
1,280x1,024 (4xAA, 8xAF)  
Maingear F131 SLI
AVADirect Core 2 Duo SLI (Intel Core 2 Duo E6700)
Velocity Micro Raptor DCX
Maingear X-Cube
ABS Ultimate X Striker Elite

Of course, this AVADirect configuration costs about $400 less than the Velocity Micro. Unlike the Velocity Micro system's, the price of the AVADirect does not include a mouse and keyboard, although it does account for a media card reader, which Velocity lacked. You can also configure the AVADirect with a quad-core chip and actually save $40. Further, this PC also has a second partition with Windows XP Professional installed, making it friendly for those still timid about switching to Windows Vista. Like the rest of these parts, the secondary operating system is a configurable option. And AVADirect offers so many different parts for each of its systems, it actually gives us some pause.

Similar to vendors such as ABS, Polywell, iBuypower, and Cyberpower, AVADirect takes an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach to its configurator. That means you can add a Blu-ray burner, which we appreciate, but there's also a downside. For example, AVADirect gives you 10 different types of 8800 GTX cards to choose from, and 38 different GeForce cards overall, per PCI-Express graphics slot. While the two systems we've seen so far from AVADirect have been competently built, we're always wary of vendors that claim to be masters of literally billions of different hardware combinations. We're more confident in vendors who weed out their components to a select few, which eliminates buyer confusion and helps account for technical idiosyncrasies they might not catch otherwise. AVADirect offers a good deal here, and we haven't seen a major error in either of the two systems we've reviewed from it so far. Still, we're firm believers that too much choice is not always a good thing, and we'd feel more confident recommending one of these PCs if AVADirect thinned out its configuration options.

Best Desktops for 2020

All best desktops

More Best Products

All best products