YOYOTech Water Dragon 940 Page: 1
Back in July of last year Overclock3D was fortunate enough to take a look at YOYOTech's Spartan 300 PC system. Built with the gamer in mind, but at a price point more traditionally associated with a mid-range 'office' system, YOYOTech's careful selection of components proved that you didn't need to sell a kidney to have a system capable of playing the latest titles. Since then YOYOTech have brought to the market many more stonking systems - some of which have smashed benchmarks, landing themselves a place in the record books and in media worldwide.
However today with our feet firmly set on the ground, we're going to be taking a look at YOYOTech's latest system - the Water Dragon 940. Aimed at "power users and gamers" the Water Dragon 940 is based around an AMD Phenom II X4 940 CPU, Sapphire 4870 512MB GPU and 4GB of Corsair TwinX RAM; delivering a balanced system specification. Of course, you can't have 'Water' in a PC name without backing it up with some actual H2O, so catering for the cooling side of things is a CoolIT Domino ALC self contained water cooling system. Let's check out the full system spec:
Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 940 clocked to 3.6GHz
CPU Cooler: Cool IT Domino ALC with Blue LED
Mainboard: Sapphire Pure 790G
Graphics: Sapphire 4870 512MB clocked at 800/1000
Memory: 4GB Corsair TwinX PC6400 DDR2
Hard Drive: 320GB Samsung Spinpoint
Chassis: Cooler Master 690 with transparent side panel
PSU: OCZ 500w StealthXstream
ROM: 22x DVD Multi-Burner
Price Includes: Professional assembly, overclocks and 12 month warranty
With the Phenom II 940 overclocked to a rather tasty 3.6GHz its easy to see why YOYOTech wanted something a little more substantial than standard air cooling to keep system temperatures in check. Of course, whether or not this is something that the CoolIT Domino water cooling system can achieve is yet to be seen. The graphics card has also received a reasonable overclock to 800MHz /1000MHz (Core/Memory) which makes a refreshing change from the cop-out method of using a pre-overclocked graphics card, and should provide a small (yet free) FPS boost in games.
The AMD 790G based Sapphire motherboard is an interesting choice considering Sapphire aren't exactly well known for their success in this area. However, YOYOTech have clearly put their faith in this particular model and providing it can hold the X4 940 overclocked to 3.6GHz there's no reason for us to doubt their decision.
Finally, a 320GB Samsung Spinpoint provides ample storage with decent access times and an OCZ StealthXstream 500w PSU powers the entire system silently and efficiently.
Now that we've got the paper specs out of the way, let's take a closer look at the system in the flesh.
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Water Dragon 940 Appearance
Based around a Cooler Master 690 case with an L-shaped side window, it's clear to see that YOYOTech wanted to make the Water Dragon 940 something a little more special than an 'average' pre-built system. Although the case can hardly be described as high-end, it's curved appearance with meshed front and side panels is quite appealing and would be hard to dislike. For those worried about dust, you'll be pleased to hear that only certain parts of the meshed area on the case (drive bezels and fan areas) are actually open to the elements, with most of the mesh actually being backed by plastic.
The Power & Reset switches are positioned down the right-hand side of the case which is quite an unusual position considering the USB, eSATA, IEE1394 and Mic/Headphone ports are located at the top of the case in a much more 'natural' and easier to access area. No YOYOTech branding is present on any part of the case which is consistent with the systems we've seen previously, but a tad strange as most system builders will do anything to get their name 'out there'.
The side panel is kitted out with a Blue LED 120mm fan aligned directly beside the graphics card inside the system. As we've already mentioned, the case also features an L-Shaped window that conveniently allows full viewing of the CoolIT Domino LCD display (more on that shortly) and of course most of the hardware contained within.
If you happen to be one of those annoyingly observant people, then yes, that is a reflection of my Son's shape sorter in the image below-left. Oh the unprofessionalism....
Moving on to the internal appearance of the Water Dragon 940, YOYOTech need to be commended on the functional yet tidy cabling inside the case. Although the cables could undoubtedly be hidden a little more by routing them behind the motherboard, the configuration of our system allowed for additional hard drives and devices to be added without too much 'unbundling'.
Blue cathodes have also been installed on the top and bottom of the case, giving the whole system an awesome appearance in a darkened room. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any (easy) way to turn these off if they don't suit your tastes or surrounding environment.
The pièce de résistance of the entire PC has to be the CoolIT Domino A.L.C water cooling system. Although such systems are generally quite poor at keeping CPU temperatures under control (and indeed a CoolIT system reviewed on Overclock3D back in 2008 didn't do too well) the Domino managed to keep the AMD X4 940 below 30c Idle and 45c Load (25c Ambient) throughout testing. This is pretty damn good considering YOYOTech have applied a healthy 600MHz overclock to the CPU and the Domino consists only of a single 120mm radiator with silent fan.
Of course being a CoolIT device, the Domino does have a certain amount of 'bling'. This comes in the form of an LCD display that measures CPU temperature fan speeds. The Domino also appears to have several manual fan speed settings for gaining extra performance from the unit at the cost of noise, but unfortunately as our time with the Water Dragon 940 was only short, we didn't have any time to play with this.
Finishing up with some other random hardware shots, we can see the Sapphire HD 4870 graphics card with quite a nifty non-standard heatpipe based cooler. This proved to be much much (much) quieter than the standard ATI design cooler and helped keep overall system noise to a minimum.
YOYOTech have made some excellent hardware choices inside the Water Dragon 940 with branded hardware being used in places that most system builders would cut corners with OEM parts. But how does it perform? Let's put it though its paces over the next few pages.
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For the benchmarking stages of today's review we are going to be placing the Water Dragon 940 alongside yet another YOYOTech system, the Spartan 300. We must stress at this point that this is NOT a head-to-head comparison as the systems have quite different price, hardware and target audience.
| System Name||YOYOTech Spartan 300||YOYOTech Water Dragon 940|
| Processor|| Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 (2.53GHz @ 3.5GHz)|| AMD Phenom II X4 940 (3.0GHz @ 3.6GHz)|
| Memory|| 2GB OCZ Reaper DDR2-1066 (5-5-5-15)|| 4GB Corsair TwinX PC2-6400 (5-5-5-15)|
| Disk Drive(s)||Samsung Spinpoint 320GB|| Samsung Spinpoint 320GB|
| Graphics Card|| Sapphire Radeon HD4850 512MB||Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 512MB|
| Power Supply||Antec Basiq 550w||OCZ StealthXStream 500w|
| Operating System||Windows Vista SP1 x32||Windows Vista SP1 x64|
| Cooling||Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro||CoolIT Domino ALC|
| Price (as reviewed)||£500.00||£749.00|
As we will be using most of the results from the earlier YOYOTech review the suite of applications and games remains roughly the same. However, for the sake of completeness we will also be including a couple of more up-to-date games to give a better idea of how the Water Dragon 940 performs with the very latest releases.
Synthetic CPU & Memory
• Sisoft Sandra XII 2008c
• SuperPI Mod 1.4
• PCMark Vantage x64
Disk I/O Performance
• HD Tune Pro 3.10
3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• Cinebench 10
• 3DMark Vantage
• POV-Ray 3.6
• Unreal Tournament III
• Call of Duty 4
• Far Cry 2
There's nothing worse than getting your brand new toy home and finding that it doesn't work, or being mid-way through your favourite computer game; only seconds away from the next 'save point' only to have your PC freeze on you. Therefore as part of our testing procedure each and every system sent to us for review must pass a gruelling 12 hour stability test with both OCCT and ATITool artifact scanning running simultaneously in an attempt to bring the system to its knee's.
The Water Dragon 940 passed with flying colours, managing to remain stable while also keeping temperatures under control for a total of 12 hours straight. As an additional test we also rebooted the Water Dragon 940 several consecutive times after the testing had completed to ensure that it did not suffer with the same 'hit-or-miss' booting issues as the YOYOTech Spartan. Once again, it worked flawlessly.
At this point we would have liked to conduct some overclocking of our own, but once again time was creeping up on us, so it was straight to the benchmarks to see how the Water Dragon faired...
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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. Each of the benchmarks below were run a total of five times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average being calculated from the remaining three.
SuperPI is the benchmark of choice for many overclockers as it's lightweight to download and can give a quick indication on how good a system is at number crunching. A test of 8 million itterations was performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest times removed from the results and an average calculated from the remaining three.
Going by the results from Sisoft Sandra and SuperPI, early indications would suggest that the Water Dragon 940 isn't quite up to the performance of its cheaper counterpart; the Spartan 300. This may seem strange considering the AMD X4 940 used in the Water Dragon is indeed quad-core and overclocked to 3.6GHz (compared to the dual-core Intel E7200 running at 3.5GHz in the Spartan), but a quick glimpse back at CPU-Z reveals that the Spartan 300 has a much higher clocked FSB and Memory; possibly explaining it's higher performance in these benchmarks.
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Cinebench 10 is a benchmarking tool based on the powerful 3D software Cinema 4D. The suite uses complex renders to guage the performance of the entire PC system in both single-core and multi-core modes. Testing was performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest results being omitted and an average created from the remaining 3 results.
PCMark Vantage is the latest benchmarking suite from Futuremark. Differing significantly from their 3DMark suites, PCMark performs a series of benchmarks designed to recreate and benchmark scenarios of a PC being used for everyday tasks. Vantage has a Vista only requirement as it actually relies on several different components from the OS in order to run correctly.
POV-Ray is short for the Persistence of Vision Raytracer, a tool for producing high-quality computer graphics. The freely available software suite is bundled with a benchmarking scene that uses many of POV-Ray's internal features to heavily test the abilities of the CPU.
Cinebench and POV-Ray re-enforce our theories from the previous page with single-core benchmarks being weighted in favour of the Spartan 300. However, once multi-core benchmarks are performed, the Water Dragon 940 is given an opportunity to claw back some lost ground and leaves the Spartan 300 for dead.
Unfortunately with PCMark Vantage being a recent addition to our testing arsenal, no previous results were available from the testing of the Spartan 300 system. However, comparing the Water Dragon 940's results to various other home-brew systems we've benchmarked in the past, it's scores reasonably well and in-line with a mid-range quad-core Intel based system.
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3DMark is a popular synthetic gaming benchmark used by many gamers and overclockers to gauge the performance of their PC's. All 3DMark runs were performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest results being removed and an average calculated from the remaining 3 results.
Call of Duty 4 is a stunning DirectX 9.0c based game that really looks awesome and has a very full feature set. With lots of advanced lighting, smoke and water effects, the game has excellent explosions along with fast gameplay. Using the in-built Call Of Duty features, a 10-minute long gameplay demo was recorded and replayed on each of the GPU's using the /timedemo command a total of 5 times. The highest and lowest FPS results were then removed, with an average being calculated from the remaining 3 results.
Crysis is without doubt one of the most visually stunning and hardware-challenging games to date. By using CrysisBench - a tool developed independently of Crysis - we performed a total of 5 timedemo benchmarks using a GPU-intensive pre-recorded demo. To ensure the most accurate results, the highest and lowest benchmark scores were then removed and an average calculated from the remaining three.
Moving on to gaming, we can see that the Water Dragon 940 really shines. Granted that most of the FPS advantage can be attributed to the HD 4870 graphics card (vs the 4850 in the Spartan), but never less the FPS obtained in Crysis is definitely playable at 1280x1024 as are the Call of Duty 4 results as 1900x1200 with 4xAA.
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FarCry 2 is based upon the Dunai engine developed by Ubisoft and takes advantage of multi-core processors along with support for the DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 API. Running the Far Cry 2 benchmark tool the test was run 5 times with the highest and lowest scores being omitted and the average calculated from the remaining 3.
Race Driver: Grid is a visually taxing game that perhaps represents a challenge to any graphics system. The benchmark was run a total of 5 times using Fraps with the highest and lowest scores removed leaving the remaining 3 runs to calculate the average fps.
Unreal Tournament 3 is the highly anticipated game from Epic Games and Midway. The game uses the latest Unreal engine, which combines fast gameplay along with high quality textures and lighting effects. All benchmarks were performed using UTbench with a fly-by of the DM-BioHazard map. As usual, all benchmarks were performed 5 times, with the highest and lowest results being removed and an average calculated from the remaining three.
Yet again the Water Dragon 940 storms the gaming benchmarks thanks to power of the HD 4870 graphics card coupled with the AMD X4 @ 3.6GHz. Racedriver GRID shows an absolutely huge advantage over the Spartan. beating it by over 30FPS at both resolutions, while Far Cry 2 and Unreal Tournament 3 also show a decent increase; but nothing exactly to shout about.
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There's no denying that that YOYOTech Water Dragon 940 is one well built system. From the quality list of components, to the tidy build it's clear to see that YOYOTech are passionate about what they do. As we've seen over the previous few pages, the Water Dragon cuts through games with relative ease, only falling behind a little in single-core applications, where the overclocked FSB and Memory of the YOYOTech Spartan 300 allow it to pull ahead in Sisoft Sandra, SuperPI and some of the POV-Ray / Cinebench tests.
The CoolIT Domino ALC water cooling system keeps the overclocked AMD X4 CPU below 45c at all times while also remaining extremely quiet. Additionally the unit places hardly any weight on the CPU socket unlike a traditional heatsink, and is therefore much less likely to work its way loose during shipping. Having seen the effects of a CPU cooler turned wrecking ball at the hands of a particularly rough courier, this can only be a good thing.
However, it is hard to loose the nagging feeling that the same overclock and level of silence could have been achieved with an air cooler costing a fair bit less. That's not to say we believe an air cooler could hold the CPU at the same temperature as the Domino, we don't, but more that the benefits of lower CPU temperatures are often not a concern to someone seeking a pre-built PC system. Regardless, we will be testing the Domino ALC 'standalone' in the near future and it will certainly be interesting to see the results.
Aside from this the rest of the system is extremely well balanced and with hardware such as the OCZ StealthXStream and Sapphire 4870 (with heatpipe cooler) inside, it is also extremely silent. The blue cathodes and LED fans are also a very nice touch, giving the feeling that you've purchased something a little more special than your average pre-built system. It's just a shame they can't be turned off!
- Good performance in games and multi-core benches.
- CPU and GPU overclock for 'free' performance boost.
- Silent operation and cool running.
- High quality components used throughout.
- Tidy internal build.
- Simple external appearance with cathodes for added effect.
- Passed 12hrs of stability testing without any issues.
- Performance not amazing in single-core applications.
- Can't turn cathodes off if your eyes need a rest.
- Money could have been saved by using a high-end air cooler.
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