OCUK Tech Labs Chameleon Hardline Review
There are so many impressive elements to the OCUK Tech Labs Chameleon that it is difficult to know which of them to choose to begin. Do we talk about the blistering performance of the GTX 1080? The beefy CPU overclock? How about the drop-dead gorgeous looks? The ice-cold temperatures? The sheer size of the case?
Let's start at the beginning. Transporting any system is a little stressful. Once you've built it and packed it, you're in the lap of the courier gods. OCUK have taken every step possible to ensure that the Chameleon arrives in perfect condition. Firstly, it's shipped on a pallet. This is partly for security and partly because it weighs about the same as a hippopotamus. Once off the pallet it's in the Phanteks case box, with the stiff cardboard and high-density foam locking it in place within the box. Once you've grabbed a friend, or if you're very muscly then attached your truss, and the case is lifted out of the box then there is still plenty of protection going on. We've seen a lot of systems come packed with the expanding foam insert, and a mighty fine thing it is indeed. Beyond that every little nook and cranny was filled with foam material to make sure that not a single wobble was had by the hardline tubing. It's worth taking a lot of time removing the foam, so expertly has it been placed in the case. There is almost no chance at all of your prized purchase arriving in anything but pristine condition.
One of the unexpected side effects of slowly removing the foam packing is the closest thing a computer will ever get to the dance of the seven veils. As each new piece was removed we gasped a little louder at the visual splendour that lay beneath. A shiny connector here, a new curvaceous piece of tubing there, the Chameleon is a thing of beauty. Not so much the face that launched a thousand ships as the system that emptied a thousand bank accounts. If you've ever been on the fence about the benefits of hardline water-cooling then we think this might be the system that finally dispels any reservations you might have. To get something this good looking without having to spend the many hours measuring and bending tubing yourself is a wonder to behold.
It isn't solely a system suitable for an exhibition though. There is some serious performance under those delicate curves. It wasn't that long ago that we were all wowed by the capabilities of a Solid State Drive, but the recent introduction of NVMe has made those speeds look slower than floppies. 2GB/s is the kind of performance that would have seemed like a pipe dream not too long ago. Here we are though. Plug that Samsung 950 into the excellent ASUS Sabertooth motherboard and things really fly, particularly when the heart of the system is a heavily overclocked Core i7-6700K. The CPU might be the figurative heart, and the Samsung might be so fast you're left slack-jawed, but we think the GTX 1080 is the real star of the show. Sure saying a GTX 1080 is a blistering GPU is hardly new information, even if the results blew any GTX 1080 we've tested so far out of the water, but what really makes it shine is the capabilities of the water-block and radiators to keep things frosty. 37°C. Talk about having thermal headroom. My goodness.
So it looks gorgeous, has amazing build quality and attention to detail, goes like a runaway train in every single benchmark and test and is quiet and cool. Add to those already excellent qualities the ability to customise the colour to your own preference and the OcUK Tech Labs Chameleon becomes the Muhammed Ali of systems. Heavy. Beautiful. Packs a serious punch, and that is why it wins our OC3D Performance and Aesthetic awards.