Big case, with neat wiring
Excellent performance at a great price
Bottom Line: This is the perfect machine for tinkerers: it's cheap(ish), and has a huge, roomy case.
Primordial Computers' Satyr is a monolithic gaming machine with a relatively low price for its genre. It packs a pair of graphics cards, an Intel i7 processor, and an impressive eight USB 3.0 ports, as well as tons of space for potential upgrades inside the hulking (and kinda ugly) case.
Our review model, costing $2995, runs a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium on an Intel Core i7-2600K processor, overclocked to a sweet 4.7GHz. The machine is decked out with 8GB of RAM, a dual-GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX590 graphics card, and 480GB of SSD space (a 120GB SSD for booting, and three more in RAID 0). Our review model also came with a Blu-ray burner and built-in Bluetooth.
The Satyr is billed as a gaming machine, and it doesn't disappoint in performance. In PCWorld's WorldBench 6 benchmark tests, the Satyr acheives an impressive score of 211--one of the highest scores we've seen, even in the Satyr's competitive Performance Desktops category. The category-leading Origin Genesis 2011 did better, with a score of 223. But it's also considerably pricier. The Satyr's performance is top-of-the-line, and its price is much more reasonable.
The above-mentioned graphics cards also help the Satyr perform well in graphics tests. In Far Cry 2, the Satyr manages an average frame rate of 124.1 frames per second at the highest quality settings, with a resolution of 2560 by 1600 pixels. On the substantially more strenuous S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, it achieved an impressive 57.5 frames per second at the same resolution and test settings.
The Satyr is housed in a Sentey Burton GS-6500 case. This case is huge, and very roomy on the inside, but not very attractive. The entire case is made of a mix of shiny black plastic and black metal mesh. A few blue LEDs are scattered around the inside the case, but the lights aren't as bright as on most of the gaming machines I see (or perhaps the metal mesh is just that dense).
The walls are plastic, though a small metal mesh window is on the left side; the top is rounded with a mesh shelf area, and the front has five metal mesh strips at the top (separating the four 5.25-inch bays), as well as the Primordial logo hastily slapped onto the Sentey OEM chassis.
Ports are located on the top and back of the case, which makes sense considering how huge this thing is. On the top of the case, near the front, are convenience ports, a multiformat card reader, and buttons (power, reset, and four programmable buttons). The convenience ports, located beneath a flimsy plastic sliding door, include four USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA port, and microphone and headphone jacks.
The rest of the ports are on the back. You've got a whopping eight USB 3.0 ports, as well as two eSATA ports (for a total of three), S/PDIF out, two ethernet ports, a PS/2 (mouse) port, and support for 7.1 surround sound. Two physical switches are for ROG Connect and RC Bluetooth. The dual graphics cards each offer have three DVI-out ports and a mini-DisplayPort connector.
The inside of the Satyr's case is very roomy--so if you still have some cash left over after you drop nearly $3000 on this machine, it's ripe for tinkering. The side panel comes off easily after you take out two thumbscrews. Two fans block most of the interior, but they fold out nicely so you can get to work. The wires and cables are all wrapped in sleeves--you don't have to worry about working your way through a rat's nest.
In addition, you'll find two open RAM slots and three open PCIe x16 slots (and one PCIe x4). The bays include five 3.5-inch bays (four of them full), plus four 5.25-inch bays, one of which is filled with the Satyr's Blu-ray disc drive (the slot underneath this drive has an eject button on the outside of the case, in case you want another optical drive).
The Satyr comes blessedly lacking in bloatware--or any software at all, really. There is your typical 3D Vision for the Nvidia cards, USB 3.0 settings, and so forth. No peripherals were included in our setup, though you do get a Primordial Computers' T-shirt if you order directly from their site.
The Primordial Satyr isn't the prettiest gaming machine I've seen, but it's worth checking out. Not only is the price decent, but the spacious case will make a fantastic project. Plus, it's one of the best performers we've seen. Assuming you have enough space under your desk, the Satyr is an excellent deal.
V3 Convoy Review, by David Murphy January 31, 2011
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