A high-end gaming desktop may be just the thing for competitive gamers, but there’s a second, related group of enthusiasts who lust for premium gaming machines, and that’s PC builders and overclockers. While there’s plenty of overlap between these two groups, not every gaming PC is built to appeal to both. The V3 Gaming Avenger ($3,499 direct), however, is built for gamers and system tweakers alike. With easy access to the inside of the machine, and built-in tools for overclocking, the Gaming Avenger remains one of the best combinations of power and pricing, all while delivering what serious PC gamers want.
Design and Features
The Avenger is built in a Corsair Vengeance C70 mid-tower case, which takes its inspiration from ammo boxes and military gear, boasting steel construction, tool-free quick-release latches and integrated carrying handles. The black metal construction isn’t flashy, but it has a utilitarian aesthetic that lets people know you mean business. On the left side panel is a large, ventilated 12.25-by-11.5-inch window (with a subtle gray tint), letting you see all the goodies inside.
Open the side panel and you’ll find an Asus P9X79 Pro motherboard, decked out with PCIe Gen 3, SATA 6.0GBps, and USB 3.0 connections. A hex-core Intel Core i7-4930K offers plenty of processing oomph, kept cool with V3′s own Voltair cooling system, which combines two 120mm fans with a thermoelectric cooling element to keep things frosty, even in the heat of battle. The rest of the case uses standard air cooling, with three 120mm fans (one in the back, two in the front) providing plenty of air circulation. If you want to upgrade to liquid cooling or simply add more cooling fans, the C70 Vengance case includes mounting points for additional fans, and is built for easy compatibility with a 240mm radiator for liquid cooling, if you want to add one later.
The real gaming prowess comes from the two Zotac Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti graphics cards, in SLI configuration. The cards are secured with thumbscrews, so maintenance and upgrades are relatively painless. In our review unit, the cards were sort of blocking the three open PCIe slots, but the gap between the two cards is just right for adding a third if you want to upgrade to three-way SLI. All of this is powered by a Corsair HX1050 1050W Modular PSU, so you’ve got juice to spare for all of your components, and any upgrades down the road.
The Avenger came equipped with a Blu-ray/DVD+-RW combo drive occupying one of the three 5.25-inch bays; two out of six 3.5/2.5-inch hard drive bays are occupied with a 256GB SSD boot drive and a 1TB 7,200rpm SATA hard drive. All six of the hard drive bays use removable drive cages for tool-free removal and drive swapping, and are spaced out a bit for improved airflow.
The front panel of the Avenger offers two USB 3.0 ports, jacks for headphones and mic, and push button power and reset switches, plus the tray-loading Blu Ray drive. On the rear panel, you’ll find an additional eleven USB ports—four USB 3.0 and seven USB 2.0 (one with BIOS flashback capability, and one occupied by a Bluetooth Dongle)—along with a BIOS reset button, Gigabit Ethernet, two powered eSATA ports (with 6.0GBps throughput), and audio outputs galore, including S/PDIF. Coming off of each of the two graphics cards are an array of video outputs—two DVI-D ports, an HDMI out, and DisplayPort.
V3 Gaming covers the Avenger with a three-year warranty, along with a lifetime labor warranty that includes labor for future upgrades. Send it in and either order the part from them, or send it along with the tower, and they’ll do the maintenance and upgrade for free.
With such potent hardware inside, it’s no surprise that the V3 Gaming Avenger offered excellent results in our performance tests. The combination of a six-core 4.4GHz Intel Core i7-4930K processor and 16GB of RAM is enough to take on some truly heavy loads. In PCMark 7, the Avenger scored 6,691 points, outscoring the AMD-powered Maingear Shift (AMD FX-9590) (5,192 points), and coming only slightly behind the Digital Storm Virtue (7,042 points), the Falcon Northwest Fragbox (GeForce GTX 780 SLI) (7,322 points), and the Editors’ Choice Origin Chronos (7,396 points). It led the pack in Cinebench, putting those extra processing cores to work and scoring 13.3 points, while the Origin Chronos scored 10.04 points. This performance isn’t set in stone, either, as the tools are in place for overclocking and maxing out performance.
Even if you keep the Avenger at factory settings, this sort of performance is still more than enough for most games and will pretty much crush any non-gaming application you task it to do. For example, it ripped through Handbrake and Photoshop tests in 21 seconds and 2 minutes 37 seconds, respectively. Those are some impressive times, indicating that both work and play are well within the capabilities of the Avenger.
But gaming is where the Avenger really shows its stuff, and with a potent processor and two Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti graphics cards, the gaming performance is top notch. In 3DMark 11, the Avenger scored a monstrous 25,545 points (Entry) and 9,083 (Extreme), out-pacing the Fragbox (22,419 Entry, 7,983 Extreme), and leaving the Digital Storm Virtue in the dust (16,358 Entry, 4,542 Extreme). Only the Editors’ Choice Origin Chronos pulled ahead, scoring 10,511 points at Extreme settings. In tests with Alien vs. Predator, the Avenger pumped out an impressive 147 frames per second (fps) at 1,920-by-1,080 resolution and full details settings, and 154fps in Heaven under similar conditions. These scores easily lead the pack, showing the sheer capability offered by pairing two powerful GPUs. Regardless of what games you plan to throw at it, the V3 Gaming Avenger can not only handle it, but will put out some of the sharpest, smoothest graphics you’ve seen.
The V3 Gaming Avenger isn’t just a high-powered gaming rig for competitive gamers; it’s also a ready-made base for tweaking and upgrading an already powerful system to even greater heights for anyone who loves building and overclocking. In addition to category-leading performance, the Avenger boasts easy access to everything inside, from the half-dozen open drive slots to the rest of the components. That combination of powerful performance and untold future potential makes the V3 Gaming Avenger one of the best gaming desktops we’ve seen. However, it comes in behind the Editors’ Choice Origin PC Chronos, which offers better graphics performance with the same Nvidia hardware and a faster solid-state drive.
|Primary Optical Drive||BD/DVD/CD +/-RW|
|Processor Family||Intel Core i7|
|Storage Type||HDD, SSD|
|Graphics Card||nVidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti|
|Operating System||Windows 8.1|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||1256 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc