OCUK Tech Labs Chameleon Hardline Review
Whenever we think about building our own systems there are definite steps in the process. Most of us begin our careers with a system from a high street retailer. Zero effort or knowledge involved. Eventually, because such high street systems are rubbish, we upgrade it. Usually we start with the GPU. It's the easiest thing to change and the one upgrade that gives the best performance increase for the cost involved. In some people that's their itch satiated, but for many of us we gain an itch that, if changing a graphics card is so easy then we might be able to build a whole system.
An air-cooled system of our own making is the next step on the ladder. It requires a certain amount of knowledge, but very little specialist equipment beyond a screwdriver, time and a logical mind willing to follow the recipe. That's enough for most of us. Maybe, however, you aren't satisfied with something easy and the lure of a water-cooled system comes knocking. These are a big step forwards both in expertise needed and tools for the job. Tube cutters, the right sized hose and barbs. A willingness to dismantle your highly prized graphics card to install a water block. It's a complex operation but within the reach of the patient and determined.
The latest evolution of the water-cooling philosophy is hardline pipes. No longer a case of grabbing some Tygon and cutting to fit, this requires levels of planning and quality tools far beyond nearly all of us. We've all seen them and lusted after them, but they feel as achievable as walking to the Moon, unless you have a degree in plumbing.
Thankfully OcUK are on hand with their Tech Labs branch to build a system on your behalf, so that you can have all the benefits of the gorgeous hardline tubing in the colour you wish, without the stress and hassle of doing it yourself. And so we've come full circle. However, rather than end up with an under-powered, loud, hot high-street PC we haven't built, you end up with a supremely powerful, cool, quiet and frankly gorgeous system built individually by experts. The "give cash, get system" ethos might be the same as our first foray into the world of PCs, but that is where any comparisons end.
If you're the type of person who has been loath to build your own because of the lack of warranty then you'll be pleased to know that OcUK have one of the best warranties around. We'll let them explain ;
At Overclockers UK we have an expert and friendly sales team who can assist customers on the phone if the customer needed further requirements or amendments to the system. The warranty as standard is a 3 year warranty, and can be upgraded to 5 years, throughout the warranty the system will have a labour free upgrade and repair service. Meaning the customer can have their system upgraded, and do not need to pay Overclockers UK for this service, which puts the customer's mind at ease, especially when upgrading hardware on a complex water cooling system like this.
The Chameleon is full of everything you'd put on your wishlist. The Z170 foundation is easily the best balance between performance and cost effectiveness. Because the i7-6700K overclocks faster than a X99 based CPU, and because the X99 platform is eye-poppingly expensive, you get very much the same performance but at a far lower cost with the Z170. Keeping the operating system moving data at blistering speeds is the Samsung 950 NVMe drive, capable of shifting more than 2GB/s. Add to that the 16GB of DDR4 and feed it all into an nVidia GTX 1080 and you can be sure that you're future-proofed for any titles that will appear in this generation of games.
We might say that the Chameleon is stuffed with high-end hardware, except the decision to use the Phanteks Enthoo Primo - a case that could double as accommodation for a family of twelve - means that stuffed is never a word that comes to mind. Yes we could tell you all about the hardline cooling, but we know by now you're just itching to get a look at it, so let's do that.
Phanteks Enthoo Primo Full Tower Case
Intel Core i7 6700K at least 4.5GHz
TeamGroup Dark Pro 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 PC424000C15 3000MHz Dual Channel Kit
Asus Z170 Sabertooth Mark S Intel Z170 (Socket 1151) DDR4 ATX Motherboard
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 "Founders Edition" 8192MB PCI Express Graphics Card
Samsung 950 Pro 256GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x 4 NVMe Solid State Drive
Seagate 2TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache HDD
be quiet! Straight Power 10 800W '80 Plus Gold' Modular Power Supply
Akasa FLEXA FP5S 5 Fan PWM Controller
NZXT Hue + RGB Dual Channel LED Controller
Graphics card and processor are fully watercooled with hardline tubing