Introducing the iBUYPOWER LAN Warrior II

The last time we checked in with iBUYPOWER we reviewed the behemoth that is the iBUYPOWER Paladin XLC, a massive hunk of machine that was generally a solid value but suffered from the same kind of shaky overclocking that afflicted so many boutique builds during the era. This time iBUYPOWER is packing a K-series Sandy Bridge processor (complete with easy overclocking) and one of the most powerful graphics cards on the planet: the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590. The 590 may ultimately not have had the performance to beat AMD's Radeon HD 6990, but it's also a much quieter card. What's more, iBUYPOWER managed to fit it into a MicroATX case (along with a 92mm water-cooling rig for the processor). Does the beefy LAN Warrior II work, and does it work well?

Intel's P67/H67 chipset bug (and the recall that followed) nearly obliterated review hardware in the channel; now that it's been fixed ahead of schedule, hardware has rushed right back in. Near the top of our list and coinciding with the release proper of the GeForce GTX 590, iBUYPOWER was kind enough to furnish us with the LAN Warrior II complete with NVIDIA's latest and greatest. I had the chance to eyeball it back at CES and frankly it's the kind of machine that's particularly compelling for reviewer and reader alike because it feels like a true custom machine. iBUYPOWER has the LAN Warrior specially fitted with a 92mm water-cooler for the processor, and is confident that this relatively petite design can efficiently cool a beast like the GeForce GTX 590.

iBUYPOWER LAN Warrior II Specifications
Chassis NZXT Vulcan
Processor Intel Core i7-2600K @ ~4GHz (38x105 BCLK)
(spec: 4x3.4GHz, 32nm, 8MB L3, 95W)
Motherboard ASUS P8P67-M (Rev. 3.0) Motherboard with P67 chipset
Memory 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 @ 1399MHz (expandable to 16GB)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 3GB GDDR5
(2x512 CUDA Cores, 607MHz Core, 1215MHz Shaders, 3.4GHz RAM, 384-bit memory bus)
Hard Drive(s) Crucial RealSSD C300 128GB SATA 6Gbps SSD
Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 2TB 7200-RPM SATA 6Gbps HDD
Optical Drive(s) LG 10x BD-RE Drive
Networking Realtek PCIe Gigabit Ethernet
Audio Realtek ALC887 HD Audio
Speaker, mic, line-in, and surround jacks for 7.1 sound
Optical out
Front Side Fan controllers
Optical drive
Card reader with USB 2.0
Top Headphone and mic jacks
2x USB 2.0
Back Side 2x PS/2
2x USB 3.0
Optical out
6x USB 2.0
6-pin FireWire
Speaker, mic, line-in, and surround jacks for 7.1 sound
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 7" x 16" x 16.6" (WxDxH)
Weight 12.79 lbs (case only)
Extras XFX PRO 850W Power Supply
12-in-1 Card Reader
92mm CPU Watercooling
Case carrying handle (not included)
Warranty 3-year limited warranty and lifetime phone support
Pricing Starts at $749
Review system quoted at $2,099 ($2,148 on website)

From the get-go you're probably alarmed at the processor, Intel's Core i7-2600K, running with a bumped BCLK and no multiplier tweaks. The 2600K is a quad-core processor with four physical cores and eight logical cores through Hyper-Threading, built on a 32nm process and running at a 3.4GHz nominal clock speed (3.8GHz turbo) with a TDP of 95W. iBUYPOWER has bumped up the clock speed to 3990MHz by setting the multiplier to 38 and setting the base clock to 105MHz. This is one of two anomalies in this particular build.

The reason is a simple one that is fairly common on our side of the industry fence: hardware basically needing to be rushed together to be sent to reviewers. NVIDIA sent out the GeForce GTX 590 coards at the last minute, roughly the same time this system was volunteered to us. As a result you're going to see results from a couple of components that you wouldn't see in the retail model. From a conversation with our rep, it's my understanding this LAN Warrior was assembled extremely quickly to get a GTX 590-based system in our hands. That's not really a crime because as you'll see it's still very well put together, and all the important metrics are liable to carry over to the unit you purchase from them.

Speaking of the other shining star of the LAN Warrior II, iBUYPOWER not only offers the GeForce GTX 590 in this small build...they offer it in SLI. Ours only comes with a single card, but that single card is still pretty impressive: two fully functional GF110 chips complete with 1.5GB of GDDR5 apiece attached to a 384-bit memory bus, burdened somewhat by a 365W TDP and relatively anemic clocks of just 607MHz on the core, 1.2GHz on the shaders, and 3.4GHz on the GDDR5. For more you can check out our detailed review, but suffice to say it wasn't quite the Radeon HD 6990 killer we were hoping for (unless you count the much improved acoustics).

The remainder of the LAN Warrior II is fairly standard, though highlights include 8GB of Corsair DDR3-1600, a Blu-ray writer, and a Crucial RealSSD C300 solid state drive. This last one is important because it's the other fly in the LAN Warrior II review unit's ointment: retail systems will ship with A-DATA 6Gbps SSDs. The two drives should be fairly comparable (both use Marvell controllers), but if you're concerned, the test results you'll want to avoid will be the two PCMarks (and in fairness those tests skew unfairly towards SSDs anyhow).

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  • warisz00r - Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - link

    lol nice
  • overzealot - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    Looks like it might be a sealed unit, in that case:
    Very, depending on the kit.
    Not if manufactured correctly.
    Not if manufactured correctly.
    If it dies or any of the above occurs, you replace the unit. Preferable under warranty.
  • Penti - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    Just to add, water pumps are impeller based, theres no mechanics that's dry and needs lubrication, they don't need lubrication and there's no bearings that need it too, the o-rings can dry out after many years but that's it.
  • IdBuRnS - Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - link

    Everyone I know who has bought an ibuypower computer has eventually returned it due to complete system instability, constant BSODs and piss-poor technical support.

    I literally do not know a single person who has bought one of their computers and has been happy. I've also browsed through their forums and they are full of unanswered support requests.

    It's too bad you guys don't rate the actual customer experience.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    Unfortunately that's not something we can really review. Stuff like this can be tough to gauge, too, but this particular build seemed to use largely reliable parts from name brands. That's about the best we can hope for, although seeing the overclock on the BCLK instead of the multiplier alarmed me a little.
  • IdBuRnS - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    I can't comment on components for every bad build that I've heard of but the few that I know the specific component breakdowns the customers chose name-brand parts. I know the one that I built for my dad was composed of "good" parts from the major component manufacturers (ASUS, EVGA, etc) and the computer was completely unusable. Constant BSODs, they sent replacement RAM, no fix, he sent the computer back and the tech on the phone said they would replace the complete computer. After 3 weeks the computer showed backup and it was the exact same one, down the same serial numbers on parts. The computer was still BSOD'ing constantly and the next tech claimed that they never say they will replace computers...

    My dad finally had to force them to give him a refund and got a Dell XPS instead. What a headache.
  • kevenc - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    ldBuRnS you say that the ibuypower computers pretty much suck; do you have any recommendations for other builders of watercooled overclocked PCs? Is Cyberpower any good?
  • IdBuRnS - Friday, April 1, 2011 - link

    I have my own suspicions that ibuypower and cyberpower are actually owned by the same people...

    To be honest I really don't have any other first-hand experience with other OEMs- it's really hard for me personally to justify buying a pre-built system from a Digital Storm or Falcon or others when I can literally build the same computer for less. Don't get me wrong, I've certainly wanted to and there are times when it would be a lot more convenient to be able to just pick up a phone and get some tech support, but my wallet has kept me from doing it so far.

    I wish I could be more help- maybe someone else will see your question and have some good recommendations.
  • high5me - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    Not a bad review, only reason why Digital Storm pulls ahead, is because of the x2 580 sli.. I've bought two systems from them (digital storm) and both have failed prematurely before their 30 day window. They're way too overpriced.

    Other than that, i enjoyed the review.
  • wwswimming - Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - link

    I won't charge you anything to store it at my place.

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