capsule review

War Machine M1 Elite Desktop Computer

At a Glance
  • War Machine M1 Elite

    PCWorld Rating

    This exceptional performer's extreme expandability will appeal to power users with serious storage requirements.

A product with skulls on its case and "Combat PC" emblazoned on its desktop wallpaper obviously targets gaming enthusiasts. But straitlaced power users who look beyond the skulls and the references to tactical warfare will be impressed by the War Machine's M1 Elite's performance and expandability.

The $4485 (as of January 3, 2008) M1 Elite's components are state-of-the-art across the board. They include a 3-GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 CPU and two sticks of 1GB DDR3 RAM mounted on an Asus P5E3 Deluxe X38 motherboard, two 150GB 10,000-rpm Western Digital Raptor hard disks in a striped array, and a 750GB Seagate hard disk (for a total of 1.5TB of storage). A single 768MB EVGA nVidia 8800 Ultra graphics board handles graphics duties, which is why this machine qualifies as a power system, not a dual-card gaming system (all of the systems on our Gaming PCs chart have two graphics cards each). The package is rounded out by Samsung's 226BW, a high-quality 22-inch display with a native resolution of 1680 by 1050 and a Liteon LH20A1S 20X DVD writer.

The M1 Elite's stellar components helped the machine put together a score of 131 WorldBench 6 Beta 2--the best performance we've seen from power system of late. Frame rates on games were excellent, thanks to the unit's GeForce 8800 Ultra graphics.

The M1 Elite's innards are housed in a black Coolmaster Stacker case whose main claim to fame, aside from its imposing all-black countenance, is its ability to support nine drive bays, each of which can be configured as internal or external and can accommodate 3.5-inch or 5.25-inch drives. Stylistically, War Machine keeps things sepulchral, with the aforementioned skulls, blue backlighting, and nearly everything else rendered in black. I especially enjoyed the black flex tubing the company employs to bundle the SATA cables and power leads.

Completing the package are a set of excellent gaming peripherals: Logitech's programmable G9 laser mouse and G15 gaming keyboard. The latter, whose keys backlit in blue match the machine's style, offers 18 easily programmable G-keys (macro keys for games).

Like the first War Machine M1 Elite we tested, the new QX9650-equipped M1 Elite is an impressive performer with lots of free bays. Its all-black case won't appeal to everyone, however.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This exceptional performer's extreme expandability will appeal to power users with serious storage requirements.

    Pros

    • Excellent performance
    • Lots of free bays

    Cons

    • Pricey
    • Rudimentary documentation
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