capsule review

Überclok Reaktor

At a Glance
  • Überclok Reactor

    PCWorld Rating

    The Reactor is a speedy system, but a few of Überclok’s design decisions don’t make sense in a PC of this caliber.

Überclok's Reactor gaming PC represents a perfect example of what happens when you send out a star quarterback with a weak offensive line to guard him. In this case, the player is the system--a supremely tuned gaming PC that comes close to hitting some of the best benchmarks we've seen in the category. Playing the part of the weak O-line are the less-than-impressive specifications that come alongside these speedy parts, which include boring peripherals and throwaway optical support.

Uberclok has overcocked the Reactor's 2.83-GHz Core 2 Extreme Q9550 processor to a pleasing 3.41-GHz (just over 200-MHz higher than the fastest stock-clock Core i7 chip).

The overclocked processor helps this system achieve a WorldBench score of 145. It's a high score, but still less than the performance of the fastest gaming PCs we've tested, including Falcon Northwest's mighty Mach V system.

Four gigabytes of DDR2-1066 RAM and a total storage capacity of 1.3 terabytes--split into a 10,000-rpm 300GB Western Digital Velociraptor and a 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F1 drive--round out the meat and potatoes of this PC. Überclok offers a 24-inch Samsung 245BW monitor for an additional $440 on top of its package price of $3693 (as of November 11, 2008). We don't reflect the performance of this above-average display in our final evaluations.

Despite those CPU and storage chops, we remain slightly confused by Überclok's decision to use only a single ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 video card. Its performance tops the best of nVidia's SLI configurations, rendering games like Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Unreal Tournament 3 fully playable at high resolutions like 2560 by 1600. But we would much rather trade the Reactor's PCI-Express-using X-Fi Sound Blaster Fatal1ty Titanium Champion card for a CrossFire video card any day.

Thankfully, the Reactor's Cooler Master Cosmos S chassis is a slick, Cylon-looking case that's built with upgrades in mind. There's plenty of room on the inside for cable management and tweaking, including room for four more 5.25-inch devices and two hard drives. Our sole criticism of the chassis is that we'd prefer for its tool-less 5.25-inch-bay motif to extend its hard drive and PCI card holders, which use screws. The tool-less 5.25 bays make it easy for you to rip out the PC's boring Lite-On DVD-reader optical drive, a completely useless accessory considering that a fully-functioning DVD reader/writer rests right above it. While you're separating the wheat from the chaff, toss the computer's generic Logitech keyboard and two-button Microsoft mouse. We can't believe a company would include these as part of a high-powered gaming system.

Back on the brighter side, the case's connection options make us smile. It offers support for four USB devices, one Firewire 400 device, and one eSATA device straight from the front of the case. But we should commend Cooler Master for this, not Überclok: the latter didn't even supply a decent, all-encompassing manual for its product, relying instead on a stack of supplemental vendor manuals for each listed device.

Überclok's Reactor is a speedy system that offers above-average performance for a gaming enthusiast, but a few of the company's design decisions don't make sense for a PC of this caliber.

--David Murphy

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The Reactor is a speedy system, but a few of Überclok’s design decisions don’t make sense in a PC of this caliber.

    Pros

    • Overclocked Cpu
    • 1.3TB total storage

    Cons

    • Single graphics card
    • Some weak peripherals and components
Related:
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.