Puget Deluge-i L2 review: Puget Deluge-i L2

The Good Liquid cooling hardware integrated into the case; solid Crysis scores; lifetime labor warranty.

The Bad Overpriced; underperforming.

The Bottom Line We've seen too many speedy, sub-$2,000 gaming PCs this year to get excited by Puget's near-$5,000 desktop, as elaborate as its liquid cooling may be. Its performance doesn't separate it enough from the midrange pack, and it's outclassed by its other high-end competition.

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5.7 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 5
  • Performance 6
  • Support 7

Review Sections

If we've learned anything about the first part of this year, it's that you can get an outstanding gaming PC for about $1,500. That's why we're so stymied by Puget Systems' Deluge-i L2. For $4,877, this system only barely edges out its midrange competition. It also can't compete with a high-end Maingear PC that plays in the same multi-thousand-dollar ballpark. We suspect the Deluge gets its name from the elaborate liquid cooling hardware built into the case, but we'd rather that Puget put more thought into this PC's overall value. As its pricing stands, we can't recommend it.

The Deluge-i L2 is a customizable gaming system that starts at around $3,860. Our review config includes a handful of upgrades to the default build, but even at its base price, we find this PC too expensive.

With regard to this system's configuration, Puget took a similar approach to one we've seen from other vendors recently. Rather than relying on very high-end CPUs, you can turn Intel's more affordable 3.0GHz Core 2 Duo E8400 into a monster with overclocking, as Puget has done here by ramping it up to 3.5GHz. We usually associate some cost savings with overclocking, however, even if you need to support your speed boost with pricer cooling hardware. And while we wouldn't expect the the Deluge-i L2's Koolance liquid cooling setup that runs through the CPU as well as both graphics cards to come for free, this system still seems more expensive than it should be.

  Puget Deluge-i L2 Maingear Ephex
Price $4,877 $5,184
CPU 3.5GHz (overclocked) Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 4.0GHz (overclocked) Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650
Memory 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM 2GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics (2) 512MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS (2) 512MB ATI Radeon HD 3870
Hard drives 150GB 10,000rpm hard drive, 500GB 7,200rpm hard drive (2) 150GB 10,000rpm hard drives, 750GB 7,200rpm hard drive
Optical drive Dual-layer DVD-RW Blu-ray/HD-DVD combo drive
Networking Gigabit Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet
Operating system Windows Vista Ultimate Windows Vista Ultimate

You'll notice that the Maingear Ephex we reviewed came in at about $300 more than the Puget system, but considering what you get, the Maingear is a much better deal. Unlike the Deluge-i L2, the Maingear Ephex includes a high-end, quad-core CPU (also overclocked), faster DDR3 RAM, two 10,000rpm hard drives to the Puget's one, as well as a larger 750GB storage drive. Maingear also includes a Blu-ray/HD DVD combo drive. We don't imagine you'd want either of these full-size desktops sitting in your living room, but we'd still rather have the option to watch HD movies.

We should point out that we're also a bit confused by Puget's 4GB memory configuration, given that it uses a 32-bit Windows Vista Ultimate operating system. In order for this system to use the full 4GB of RAM, Puget would need to have included the 64-bit version of Vista. As it stands, the Deluge-i L2 recognizes only 2.5GB of memory. We suppose purchasing more RAM ahead of time would make sense if you plan to upgrade to 64-bit Windows later, and Puget requires you to e-mail its sales department to make that upgrade to this system. But paired with the 32-bit version of Vista, 4GB is more RAM that you need and a waste of money.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Puget Deluge-i L2
Uberclok Ion
Dell XPS 630

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Puget Deluge-i L2
Uberclok Ion
Dell XPS 630

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Uberclok Ion
Puget Deluge-i L2
Dell XPS 630

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
Maingear Ephex
Uberclok Ion
Dell XPS 630
Puget Deluge-i L2

From a performance standpoint, the Puget falls similarly flat. Given its faster CPU clock speed and faster memory, it's no surprise that the Maingear system beats the Deluge-i L2 on almost every test. What's more disturbing is that systems like the Uberclok Ion, the Falcon Northwest FragBox 2, and Dell's XPS 630, each of which costs less than $2,000, are all within striking distance, depending on the benchmark.

Unreal Tournament 3 (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,920 x 1,200  
1,280 x 1,024  
Maingear Ephex
Puget Deluge-i L2
Dell XPS 630
Uberclok Ion

Crysis (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,600 x 1,200 (high quality)  
1,280 x 1,024 (medium quality)  
Puget Deluge-i L2
Dell XPS 630
Maingear Ephex
Uberclok Ion

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