Build, Noise, Heat, and Power Consumption

Unfortunately, this is the section where iBuyPower's Professional Series falls flat on its face. The smaller custom chassis designs that HP and Dell employ are places where any boutique is going to have a hard time competing, but the Cooler Master Silencio 550 isn't doing iBuyPower any favors.

Internal build quality is certainly clean, and the noise dampening materials employed on the insides of the side panels don't hurt. In fact, under load the iBuyPower Pro is borderline inaudible...or at least it should be. The problem is that the hard drives are loud. Not even a little loud, either; they completely overwhelm the rest of the build. They're so close to the ventilation in the front that the noise from them isn't dampened at all, and whenever the iBuyPower Pro hits the RAID 1 you can hear them crunching. There's nothing in the character of the noise to suggest that the drives are malfunctioning, it's just a case of them being too noisy. I have to wonder if opting for a different brand of hard drive wouldn't have been a better choice.

The liquid cooling on the processor also strikes me as overkill. This is a fine checkbox feature for gaming desktops, but in a workstation it's an unnecessary expense. The rest of the enclosure has enough dampening that I don't see how Intel's stock cooler would be that much of a drawback. It's nice for iBuyPower to include this as standard, but in workstation desktops from OEMs it's unnecessary; their custom chassis designs allow them to dissipate heat quietly and efficiently.

The iBuyPower system's thermals aren't terrible but they still manage to underwhelm. I suspect part of the reason is that the Silencio 550 may have two intake fans in the front, but with the front door closed there's virtually no way for air to get into those fans. It runs into the same problem NZXT's H2 does. For a system with a mid-tower enclosure and liquid cooling on the processor, you'd expect a little bit better. The temperatures on the Quadro 600 in particular aren't great; 70C under load seems a touch high for such an underpowered card in a relatively open case.

Idle Power Consumption

Load Power Consumption

Idle consumption of 61 watts certainly isn't bad for a desktop, but every other system we've tested does better, and HP's system is able to run at half that. The bigger case, bigger motherboard, liquid cooler, and dual hard drives take their toll on power consumption. It's only when we get to load power that Dell's significantly faster Precision T1600 pulls more juice, and even then it's not a massive gulf. For roughly the same performance, HP's Z210 pulls less than half the power at idle and 75% of it at load.

Gaming and Workstation Performance Conclusion: Feels Like an Afterthought
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  • ckryan - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    I don't think the price is terrible for what you get, but it's curious that the system was sent with this configuration. Quiet air cooling and a little solid state storage make a big difference for sound and performance, so it's surprising that they didn't choose a modest SSD and a "green" HD, dropped the Asetek, and chose a more appropriate case. The Cooler Master might be a decent case, but I think it looks more than just a little cheap. Reply
  • xQuartzx - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    I'm personally not a big fan of Ibuypower. I bought my first gaming computer from them, and honestly it wasn't a great experience. I don't like how they build their computer, how they treat their customers, and just generally how they run their business., I mean if something is on back order you have to call to find out, they don't alert you, notify you, nothing. They just let you sit and guess. That's why I'm using Ironside Computers now to build my gaming computers. They give me a much more hassle-free service. I'm notified on everything that happens with my computer, and their build quality is superb. It was a much better experience IMHO. Reply
  • s44 - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    I realize that [H] shut their program down because it was too logistically difficult (working around the need to get a review unit through standard channels -- in order to stay anonymous -- must be a nightmare), but something like their service testing program where they simulated various things that could go wrong and the vendor's ability to deal with it through support channels seems irreplaceable, particularly in this part of the market.

    iBP, for example, is known for terrible customer service, and even though you rightly ding them for warranty spec, config, and presentation, it's still quite a leap of faith to say that had they gotten these things right, it would be worth it. How do you know what their warranty is really worth, even for what it covers? Are you really going to ask enterprise buyers to make a leap of faith on a long-term purchase just on a company's ability to nail the front-end stuff?
    Reply
  • VikingDude151 - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    Please validate vast statements such as this: "a boutique like iBuyPower for their desktop and enjoying the generally superior build and component quality along with better customer service." Customization and build quality are most likely pluses, but I don't think customer service is.

    My experience with AVADirect, a similar boutique is that their customer service is horrible. With a big box store or large PC supplier I would have never experienced a DOA problem where it took nearly 1 month for AVADirect to resolve the issue where they failed to screw in the video card before shipment. A DOA problem like this would never be a problem with a large PC supplier or big box store.
    Reply
  • Money Loo - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    I have to completely agree with this comment. Except my own experience is with iBuypower personally. Both me and my brother purchased computers from them around the same time about a year ago. And both of our computers had power supplies fail on us. This wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for their atrocious customer support. First of all, they only have like three people working customer support. Second, they are amazingly rude. Both me and my brother have literally had some foreigner LAUGH at us over the phone, telling us they weren't going to fix anything, and if we didn't like it, we should come to california and take it up with them personally. Then they would hang up, and continue to do this when you called back! It was AMAZINGLY INFURIATING. Needless to say we both dropped them and went with another company in the future. Maingear has been nothing but exceptional. My first computer with them had a faulty PSU, admittedly my fault because I added more components to it after selecting a borderline psu to power my dual gtx580s. I even told the guy on the phone this and he said no worries, and sent out a brand new psu at no cost to me within two days. Haven't had any problems since. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    The general idea behind going with a boutique is that theoretically they SHOULD provide better, more personalized customer service. Unfortunately part of the problem as a reviewer is that I'm always going to see the best side of any company's PR.

    When you guys post these horror stories, though, it winds up doing everybody a service. This is a public space where other potential customers are going to read these remarks, which incentivizes the company itself to get more hands on and keep their **** honest. Every so often when we see something like this, we'll ping the company themselves and let them know something's up.

    As far as large PC suppliers and big boxes go, you can get burned royally. My best friend's cousin bought a laptop from Best Buy that had problems with the screen blanking out randomly within a week of the purchase. He took it back to the Best Buy and they said "tough titties, you didn't buy our warranty so we can't help you." (By the way, I used to work in Geek Squad and I can vouch, albeit anecdotally, for their utter lack of reliability.)
    Reply
  • s44 - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Dustin, you do know about this great doomed project five+ years ago, right?

    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2005/10/03/h_consum...
    Reply
  • jalexoid - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    Why don't you use any OpenGL games for workstation GPU testing? It's kind of pointless to test an OpenGL optimised GPU with DX games.
    I'm pretty sure, that there are games that are OpenGL and you could run them as a part of your test...
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    Quadro cards are optimized for professional OpenGL use, not for OpenGL games. Besides which, the only OpenGL games are either old, not demanding, or not a good benchmark (see the Rage article I wrote recently). Reply
  • cactusdog - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the review Dustin. Reply

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