YOYOTech XDNA Platinum £2499
14th Nov 2011 | 08:01
£2,500 worth of raw computational power
YOYOTech XDNA Platinum: Overview
System builders YOYOTech is no stranger to high-end PCs, and this new XDNA Platinum is right up there with the fastest machines you'll find on a desktop.
Words like 'extreme' and 'ultimate' get bandied around a lot in the technology space, with every year something more 'extreme' and/or 'ultimatier' hitting our desktops.
With graphics cards on a bit of hiatus until the Spring it's been left up to the processor market to give us our fill of needlessly speedy computing.
Assuming you've already checked out our review of the first of Intel's latest Sandy Bridge E chip, the Core i7 3960X, you'll understand what we mean by needlessly speedy.
Going along with that you could also call it crazy expensive, a little cheeky in the core-hobbling, but owns both those 'extreme' and 'ultimate' monikers in the desktop space too.
That super-high-end chip though is not really going to be the one we see in the wild very often.
More likely you're going to see the processor that's used as the heart for this rather lovely XDNA Platinum machine from YOYOTech, the Core i7 3930K.
YOYOTech XDNA Platinum: Benchmarks
We've pitched this first X79-based machine up against the pinnacle of recent machines that have crossed our test bench, namely Palicomp's Pheonix Inferno Redline. That's a £4,000 machine running the previous Sandy Bridge CPU.
The raw computational performance benefits of the Sandy Bridge E chips versus the original Sandy Bridge chip is instantly obvious with the multithreaded Cinebench and X264 benchmarks.
This cheaper machine totally outstrips the CPU performance of the big beast. In gaming terms though the quad-GPU power of twin GTX 590s beats the SLI GTX 580s, but for around twice the price.
CPU rendering performance
CPU encoding performance
DirectX 11 tessellation performance
YOYOTech XDNA Platinum: Verdict
The Core i7 3930K is the current mid-range Sandy Bridge E CPU, designed to drop into the X79 platform. There will be a quad-core version later on, but right now this £400 odd chip is the affordable option.
And we use that term very lightly…
But this is a proper hex-core CPU (possibly with a couple of dead cores hanging around in there too) with an unlocked multiplier and the full stack of twelve HyperThreaded threads of processing goodness.
That unlocked multiplier, coupled with the fact baseclock overclocking is making a return here, means that if nothing else the Sandy Bridge E platform is an overclocker's wet dream.
And YOYOTech hasn't been mean here with the overclocking either, stretching the 3.2GHz stock speed up to a heady 4.4GHz.
With that increased clock speed the performance of this machine easily outstrips any we've seen before in the processing space, even the stock performance of the top-end Core i7 3960X Sandy Bridge E.
We checked out a £4K Palicomp machine a few months back, and that was a blazingly fast rig, but as it was only sporting a 4.9GHz Core i7 2600K it's leagues behind this machine in raw computational terms.
In graphical terms though that Pheonix Inferno Redline has the edge thanks to quad-GPU gymnastics in the shape of liquid-cooled Nvidia GTX 590s in SLI.
But again, that's a four thousand pound machine.
That needed actual words to emphasise just how much money that is. Numerals just don't carry the same sort of weight...
At £2,500 the XDNA Platinum isn't a particularly cheap rig, but with a pair of Nvidia GTX 580s and this seriously high-clocked, high-end, hex-core CPU this is an all-round powerhouse of a machine that will still be crunching numbers and spitting out polygons for years to come.
YOYOTech has obviously worked hard to keep the cost to the £2,500 price tag, and the workmanlike RAM (albeit 16GB of the stuff), 60GB Agility 3 bootdrive and 1TB of HDD storage show where the compromises have been made to keep the price within that set budget.
But those are all things you can easily change later on as and when you might deem it necessary to make an upgrade.
Still though we have to point back to that 'needlessly speedy computing' comment we made earlier.
Sure, this beautifully crafted machine benchmarks better than anything we've seen around this pricepoint, but how much that extra computational power means to you depends on the sort of usage you expect to get out of the rig.
As a gamer anything above a 2600K is just willy-waving, though for the serious productivity-junky the speed at which you'll be able to create and manipulate will blow you away.
The computational performance of the new Core i7 Sandy Bridge E processors cannot be denied. With a hefty overclock like the one shown in the XDNA Platinumit blows everything else out of the water.
The twin Nvidia GTX 580s too make for one hell of a gaming PC too.
A machine for this price is generally going to have to struggle to justify its cost, and the YOYOTech machine is no different.
Just how much do you need the extra CPU power? If you're purely into the gaming side, then you probably don't.
With the XDNA Platinum sat on your desktop, purring away quietly as it does, with its cold-cathode tubes illuminating the clean lines of the immaculate interior, even £2,500 worth of buyer's remorse will have a hard job up against such an impressive machine.