OcUK Titan Goliath Desktop Review Page: 1
Introduction
 
With Christmas soon to be among us once again, I'm sure that many of you are in the process of setting aside funds for those all important gifts. Amongst the list of clothing, homeware and appliances, your attention then turns to your existing computer. While some might be pointing you towards high end offerings from Dell, HP and Acer you are left feeling as though you're paying a little too much for what you get and aside that, feel a tad uneasy about the quality of after sales support with large corporations that may also outsource their technical departments. On the other end of the spectrum, you may have been advised to embrace the “do it yourself” approach by ordering all of the individual components of a system and assembling it, yet all you want is a well built product that will offer competitive performance, works as stated straight out of the box, an enticing price tag and be backed by quality after sales support. This is by no means a particularly high set of expectations and are qualities that you would want to see from many of your purchases, be it a car, television, washing machine, or arm chair...
 
Overclockers UK is a well established e-tailer that have recently begun to offer wider ranges of prebuilt and also “built to order” systems, positioning their offerings squarely at the big guns of the industry from the entry level/business segment all the way to the niche gaming and home theatre computing segments. Boasting the use of purely “quality” parts, plenty of choice and an on-site technical support team, Overclockers UK believe they have exactly what it takes to establish a brand of high reputation. Today however, we have been given the opportunity to place one of their systems in the spotlight...it seems like a good'un...meet the OcUK Titan Goliath Core i7 Desktop Computer.
 
The Titan Goliath starts at £924.97 is specified without an operating system, a more modest nVidia GeForce GTS 250 1024mb GDDR3 graphics card and a rather basic Coolermaster Elite 335 chassis. Depending on what you are looking out for in your next desktop computer, you may add an Operating System, selecting from a variety of cases right up to and including the Antec 1200 and highly rated Coolermaster HAF932 and graphics cards including the HD 4800 series and all the way up to the range topping HD 5870 and GTX 295. Our particular sample was specified as follows:
 
 
Technical Specification
Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz Processor @ 3.40GHz
Gigabyte EX58-UD3R LGA1366 Motherboard
6GB DDR3 PC3-12800 RAM
HIS Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5
Antec Nine Hundred “Two” ATX Case
500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 SATA II HDD
LG 22x DVD+/-RW
Corsair TX 650W Power Supply Unit
Windows Vista Home Premium
 
 
 
Priced in at a hefty £1300, the Titan Goliath sits in a price bracket with competition from a number of brands but isn't particularly aggressive segment as such due to it being somewhat niche. On paper, it certainly doesn't seem to be doing too badly, sporting an overclocked Core i7 920 processor, a proven (albeit near bottom of the pack price wise) LGA1366 motherboard, plenty of RAM and a robust 80PLUS certified Power Supply Unit. Alas, it is time to get testing. Armed with a camera, tripod and a full arsenal of games and applications ready to be shot at mighty Goliath, who shall be defeated? Let's find out...
 


OcUK Titan Goliath Desktop Review Page: 2
Packaging & Initial Impressions
 
Arriving in a retail Antec Nine Hundred box, which was further packaged with polystyrene, foam and another cardboard box, it's good to know that Overclockers UK have done the upmost to ensure that your precious machine arrives with not so much as a scratch on it. Of course, this is not really a reason to get excited as without doubt, the general trauma that a package on a national courier system from depot to depot and from van to van commands such protection. At any rate, the last of any retailer's worries is the thought of a £1000+ machine arriving damaged on arrival.
 
 
Five minutes later, the desktop computer was out of it's protective shell and with the relevant peripherals connected and 650W of juice at the ready, it was finally time for power on. At a press of a button, it's blue LED's lit up, it's fans begun to rotate and like a rather feral Lion of the animal kingdom it roared to life. Well, not quite. It would seem that Goliath does not feature the acoustics of a predator but perhaps more like a sedate household pet...called whiskers...
 
 
This however is a good thing. As eye catching as this Antec 902 housed machine is, it's noise levels are unassuming enough to very quickly forget that you're working alongside an overclocked Core i7 powerhouse. Lacking anything in the way of obvious fan motor noise or hard disk drive vibration/clicking, we already had a fair idea about the system's component selection and build quality. Those key hints of a well thought out build became more prominent as we removed the system's side panel and saw this...
 
 
Okay, so the system can be loud if it must. Every fan's speed on the Antec 902 chassis can be adjusted, however all fans were set to low from out of the box in our sample and even the menacing 200mm exhaust fan on it's ceiling was as quiet as a mouse. The processor is cooled by an Akasa Nero Direct Contact Heatpipe Cooler, which is fitted with a 120mm fan, while the HIS Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card utilises AMD's reference heatsink module, which is also nigh on inaudible thanks to it's paltry 27W idle power consumption.
 
From a cable management perspective, Overclockers UK have clearly outdone themselves by routing everything behind the motherboard tray and tucking away all unused PCI-Express/4pin Molex/SATA connectors; a trait that is very common amongst DIY systems builders and not so much amongst major PC vendors that will merely cable tie all loose cables in a large bundle in the middle of the case...
 


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BIOS & Overclocking
 
The Gigabyte EX58 UD3R in this system features a fully fledged retail BIOS that permits overclocking. As can be seen, the technicians have manually applied memory timings, voltages and system multipliers. Our attempts to manipulate settings were successful and unacceptable settings resulted in a successful reset to failsafe defaults.
 
 
 
 
With the system's assigned CPU Voltage, we thought it'd be interesting to see how much further scope we could push it's Core i7 920 CPU. After finding a maximum bootable frequency of a touch over 4.00GHz, we found ourselves at a handsome 3.840GHz with a BCLK of 192MHz and a DRAM frequency much closer to it's rated 1600MHz. It should be mentioned that we were temperature limited and a higher frequency would have surely been obtainable with it's fans raised to higher speeds and perhaps a better CPU Cooler.
 
Stability and Temperatures
 
The first thing that we wished to focus on with this particular machine was stability. Given that the Titan Goliath's i7 920 processor is overclocked from first build, we wanted to verify it's stability. On a similar note, we also wanted to know how well the Antec 902 copes with cooling a high end systems, especially with it's fans set to “low”.
 
 
The first set of stability testing placed the i7 920 processor in the spotlight. OcUK had applied a small Vcore increase to 1.2625V from BIOS, resulting in a consistent actual voltage of 1.2320V. After 8 hours of OCCT's LinPack test, it's temperatures were as follows.
 
 
Another crucial aspect of core stability lies with the quality of the power supply unit's 3.3V, 5.00V and 12.00V lines. Throughout our testing, the Corsair TX 650W held up in a robust fashion while operating whisper quiet.
 
 
As it's well documented that the Core i7 range are particularly warm runners and that these temperatures are within safe margins, we were satisfied with the result.


OcUK Titan Goliath Desktop Review Page: 4
Synthetic Benchmarks
 
SiSoft Sandra
 
SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility capable of benchmarking the performance of individual components inside a PC.
 
CPU Arithmetic
 
 
 
CPU Multimedia
 
 
Memory Test
 
The Core i7 LGA1366 platform's Triple Channel Memory controller's capabilities become quite evident in this test, offering a considerably higher bandwith compared to equivlent Dual Channel kits. Note that due to the CPU overclock, the RAM operates at DDR3-1360, 240MHz down from it's rated frequency.
 
 
 
CinebenchR10
 
CinebenchR10 analyses the speed at which a processor renders a high resolution image and outputs a score accordingly. The test was carried out in singlethreaded and multithreaded mode.
 
 
 
Passmark
 
Passmark is an "all round" system benchmark, which puts all core components through it's paces. While synthetic, it offers some insight into the capabilities of a particular system. A near perfect score is a testiment of the Titan Goliath's performance.
 
 
HDTune 
 
 
HDTune shows that Gigabyte EX58 UD3R's Southbridge does not struggle to handle today's Hard Disk Drives. One would be surprised if it did but hey ho...Let's proceed to gaming performance.


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Gaming Benchmarks
 
Crysis Warhead
 
Crysis Warhead is without a doubt one hard nut to crack, especially at higher resolutions and a dash of Anti Aliasing and Anisotrophic Filtering. Given the game's "tough" characteristics, we thought it might be a novel idea to throw it at mighty Goliath and see what happens
 
 
Indeed it was a mighty battle but it sounds like a mild victory, although even Crysis has this particular machine working overtime. While suffering from occasionally choppy framerates, gameplay appeared to be sufficiently fluid even with the eyecandy.
 
Far Cry 2
 
Far Cry 2, a slightly older hit but based on a fairly demanding engine also has a fair level of GPU dependancy.
 
 
With framerates sitting at no less than 68fps, Far Cry 2 operates flawlessly.
 
Microsoft Flight Simulator X
 
Microsoft Flight Simulator X is part of a handful of games that are heavily CPU reliant and so our focus now returns to our sample's overclocked. Core i7 920.
 
 
The Radeon HD 5870 doesn't particularly help this game and the relatively low framerates really show how demanding this game is. Regardless, the quality of game play was superb.
 
Call of Duty 4
 
Here we observe the Titan Goliath swatting an ageing but popular hit like a pesky fly, even at 1920x1080.
 
 


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Conclusion
 
As the day draws to a close, we power down our Titan Goliath, step back and ponder. Now of course this wouldn't be the first time that we've handled a prebuilt machine that works as it should with few drawbacks but there's more to this machine than meets the eye. Take an equivalent prebuilt gaming machine from a mainstream manufacturer and no doubt (with the exception of faulty examples) they too will do exactly what they say on the tin...but there's a difference. Overclockers UK have not only thought about turning a profit and sheer performance. Given the choice of components, the time consuming cable management and noise levels, we were felt with a level of assurance or confidence with regards to the system's future longevity, reliability and general durability. Infact, I would go as far as saying that our sample felt like a one off DIY builder's pride and joy, which came across as though Overclockers UK truly take pride in what they build. However, let's analyse how much that slice of OcUK pie would set you back.
 
 
Included in the above comparison are various price competing retail gamer PC's from mainstream brands (including the Acer Predator which is an off the shelf PC World machine) and the value of the Titan Goliath in parts and of course as a whole too. It goes without saying but the Acer Predator is immediately eliminated as a potential option as it's based on the (now discontinued) Core 2 Quad platform, with previous generation graphics cards. This leaves the Alienware and Mesh which can be specified very similarly to the Goliath but also at a similar price. The Overclockers UK system wins from a processor point of view thanks to the factory overclock and also sports extras such as the cable management which would otherwise be an optional extra on the former two. Really, the only clear disadvantage that the OcUK Titan Goliath has over other machines is it's comparatively lower Hard Disk Storage capacity and the lack of Blu-Ray. The mark up is certainly not small but is not particularly unreasonable either.
 
Writers of course like to have something to pick on, highlight it and spend a while ranting about. So here it goes...The OcUK Titan Goliath lacks...well it doesn't have...what I mean to say is that...good grief I need a coffee. Low and behold, there's little to complain about. From a craftman's perspective, flawless. Apparent reliability, faultless. Well rounded product? Pretty much so, yes. It doesn't feel right as usually there is always at least a small niggle in a machine like this but apparently, Overclockers UK seem to have stopped us in our tracks. On the premise that a customer's example is no different to our sample, then I have no trouble in recommending the OcUK Titan Goliath as the ideal gaming machine for the end user. What we are unable to comment on is the retailer/brand's aftersales support. What we know is that OcUK's customer services team is based within the country and as far as we're aware are onsite at their premises just off Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire. With numerous upgrades to the telephone system and the service departments over the years, future support is unlikely to be a major issue.
 
Verdict time then. The Titan Goliath. A high performance, stylish and quiet solution that offers the traits of a one off "DIY" machine (Well Cabled, Component Selection) rolled into a no nonsense "works out the box" package. Stand well back, here comes Goliath. 
 
The Good
- Fabulous Performance
- Quiet Operation
- Scope for future upgrades
- Factory Overclocked & Capable of Overclocking Further
- Quality Components
- Tidy Cable Management
- Clean Operating System Install - No Junk/Nonsense
 
The Mediocre
- Comparatively Low Storage Capacity - Customisable storage upgrades should be made available on it's product page.
 
The Bad
- We don't get to keep it.
 
 
 
We would like to thank Overclockers UK for supplying the Goliath for review. You can discuss your thoughts about this system in our forums.