Good Value but Perhaps Overkill

This review winds up being difficult to wrap-up. There are two faces to the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC: what is, and what could have been.

We'll start with the what is: it's a powerful, if hot and noisy (at least during gaming), custom machine. It's flexible enough, and the motherboard the build is based on is one of the best on the market, leveraging a wealth of features (including USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps) that ensure it will remain useful for some time. The SSD used for the operating system drive is snappy enough but does run into problems when you try to multitask while doing heavy file-copying procedures, a fact I can personally attest to on my own machine. Will it play anything you throw at it and handle any task you ask of it? Absolutely.

But there's also the what could have been: the overclock is a lazy and poorly-tuned one, leaving both performance and efficiency on the table. A pair of GeForce GTX 470's in SLI is also a curiously unbalanced choice: if heat and noise aren't issues, and you're already spending this much, go whole hog on a pair of 480's. Otherwise, save yourself a healthy amount of bread and hearing and go for the 460's. And if you're only gaming on one monitor, short of a 30" LCD a single Radeon 5850/5870 or GeForce GTX 470/480 is probably just fine. iBUYPOWER offers a lot of options, but we don't feel the pair of 470s is the right call.

What this boils down to is this: is the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC as reviewed here worth the cost? Thankfully, yes, we think it is. What you're looking at is a premium of a couple hundred dollars to have your machine overclocked from the factory, and to not have to actually assemble it yourself. The three year warranty is excellent as well. This isn't the configuration we would recommend for this build (we'd spring for a Corsair SSD for not much more and a pair of GTX 460's instead), but the price is actually reasonable given what iBUYPOWER offers in addition to the cost of components. With a couple of changes, this would be an excellent alternative for someone tired of the troubleshooting sometimes involved in building their own machine, or for someone who just wants a solid gaming desktop.

The Value of a Custom Build
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  • CloudFire - Thursday, September 2, 2010 - link

    I love the case, been following NZXT for awhile and I'm planning on buying this case for my new build when the 22nm cpu's hit :D
  • Alberto8793 - Thursday, September 2, 2010 - link

    DUDE 22nm wont be coming out till like 2012 you can wait that long?
  • JKflipflop98 - Saturday, September 4, 2010 - link

    We're just now really getting 32nm rolling along. 22 will take a little while.
  • Milleman - Monday, September 6, 2010 - link

    Looks like a Storm Trooper design from Star Wars.
  • TETRONG - Thursday, September 2, 2010 - link

    Would be interesting to see the difference in terms of performance/heat/noise/power if you "retuned" the system to your liking.

    "Ibuypower" - <---- has to be the dumbest name for a computer company ever..they might want to think about that. Shame, seems like they do good work.
  • siniranji - Thursday, September 2, 2010 - link

    I would like to know whether any flashy futuristic lighting given in the body?
    if not a tiny LCD screen showing cabinet temperature / CPU temperature at front .
    Titanium finish (looks atleast) preferable. Please post more images
  • Will Robinson - Thursday, September 2, 2010 - link

    GTX460 in SLI would've been a better choice however they may have specced this machine before the 460's release.
    Usually the bean counters set things in stone once they've priced out a system.
    Are they an option?
    It's a pretty reasonable price for that configuration however.I imagine the same thing from Alienware would be $6k ;)
  • ramj70 - Thursday, September 2, 2010 - link

    The 460's are an option at ibuypower, you can configure the system any way you want to. The last pre-built I bought before I started building my own was an Ibuypower years ago. It was a pretty decent computer and I never had problems with the parts in it.
  • flipmode - Thursday, September 2, 2010 - link

    Here is yet another "System" article that will be lost to history as soon as it drops off the front page because there is no link to the "System" section of the website.

    Please Anandtech, please fix this tragedy.


  • webmastir - Thursday, September 2, 2010 - link

    this is the worst computer company ever. don't believe me? google & do your research before getting ripped off by these idiots.


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