Introducing the Puget Systems Deluge Mini

The last time we checked in with Puget Systems, we came away impressed with their Serenity SPCR Edition. It wasn't the fastest machine we've ever tested, but it was extremely well put together and almost completely inaudible. With Sandy Bridge back on shelves, Puget sent along a custom gaming rig and just like the Serenity SPCR Edition, there's more to the Deluge Mini than meets the eye.

Puget Systems releases their gaming desktops under the Deluge line, and for our review they sent us a particularly intriguing entrant in the form of their Deluge Mini. While the Antec Mini P180 chassis that houses it may be built for Micro-ATX, the word "Mini" is fairly charitable. Still, it's definitely smaller than the larger tower cases we're used to seeing these gaming machines built in. As I mentioned, there's more going on with the Deluge Mini than initially appears. But before we get into the intricacies of the build, let's take a look at how our review unit was specced:

Puget Systems Deluge Mini Specifications
Chassis Antec Mini P180 (Customized)
Processor Intel Core i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz
(spec: 4x3.3GHz, 32nm, 6MB L3, 95W)
Motherboard ASUS P8P67-M Pro Motherboard with P67 chipset
Memory 2x4GB Kingston DDR3-1333 @ 1333MHz (expandable to 16GB)
Graphics 2x EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB GDDR5
(384 CUDA Cores, 850/1700/1025MHz Core/ShadersRAM, 256-bit memory bus)
Hard Drive(s) Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gbps HDD
Optical Drive(s) Lite-On BD-ROM/DVD+-RW Combo Drive
Networking Realtek PCIe Gigabit Ethernet
Audio Realtek ALC892 HD Audio
Speaker, mic, line-in, and surround jacks for 7.1 sound
Optical out
Front Side Card reader
2x USB 2.0
Headphone and mic jacks
Optical drive
Top -
Back Side 2x PS/2
2x USB 3.0
Optical out
6x USB 2.0
Speaker, mic, line-in, and surround jacks for 7.1 sound
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 8.3" x 17.2" x 17.1" (WxDxH)
Weight 20.9 lbs (case only)
Extras Antec TP-650 650W Power Supply
Asetek Liquid Cooling
Case Modification
Card Reader
Warranty 1-year limited parts warranty and lifetime labor and phone support.
2- and 3-year extended warranties available.
Pricing Deluge Mini starts at $1,549
Review system configured at $2,257

The configuration our Deluge Mini review unit shipped with makes for an interesting comparison with the Origin Genesis we recently reviewed. Both are running with Sandy Bridge processors overclocked to 4.5GHz, though Puget Systems sticks with the Intel Core i5-2500K instead of bumping up to the Core i7-2600K. For most users (and especially the gamers Puget is targeting) this isn't going to be a major issue, with the chief differentiator being the i7's support for Hyper-Threading and an extra 2MB of L3 cache. Outside of that, both machines have 8GB of Kingston DDR3 strapped to the processor (though Puget opts to go for slower DDR3-1333.)

Origin and Puget also both elected to go with two of EVGA's mildly overclocked NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics cards configured in SLI. A primary but crucial difference is in how the cards are spaced: because Puget is using a smaller case and confined to the Micro-ATX form factor, the two 560 Ti's are snuggled up next to each other, while Origin's tower gives them more breathing room.

A major difference, though, is the lack of an SSD in the Deluge Mini. This is disappointing, as review units from competing boutiques have included an SSD for the data drive as a matter of course, but it's also not a dealbreaker: you can still configure your build with an Intel SSD.

Which brings us to one vital point here: if you visit the Puget Systems site to build your own machine, you'll notice that the Intel SSDs are the only options. This is reflective of one of the quirks of Puget: while most boutiques are certainly concerned about reliability to a degree and happily stand behind their builds, Puget performs extensive reliability testing of hardware on the market and collects massive amounts of data (some of which I've actually been privied to see.) As a result, if they don't feel a particular component is going to be up to par or may cause issues down the line, they simply won't offer it. That puts their comparatively meager 1-year standard parts warranty into perspective: by trying to choose the most reliable parts to begin with, they're banking on the user never having to worry about the warranty to begin with. 

Application and Futuremark Performance
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  • Spazweasel - Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - link

    Did I miss something? I don't see acoustics charts...
  • ShortyZ - Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - link

    Indeed. Let's also disconnect the added side fan, block off the hole and compare heat and noise to demonstrate the benefits.
  • grant2 - Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - link

    "That puts their comparatively meager 1-year standard parts warranty into perspective:"

    Actually: no, it doesn't, not at all. If they really were so confident of their design, they'd offer a longer warranty

    "Puget performs extensive reliability testing of hardware on the market and collects massive amounts of data (some of which I've actually been privied to see.)"

    Mediocre warranty + showing SOME of their test data to a reviewer is a "privilege"?? Wow you're snowed, Dustin.
  • METALMORPHASIS - Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - link

    You want a better bang,build your own.
  • HangFire - Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - link

    Yes, for a better bang for your buck, build your own.

    When your co worker who doesn't want to fiddle with their system, or want you fiddling with it, but asks for a recommendation on a "really nice" computer, I tell them Puget Sound.
  • pandemonium - Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - link

    Nothing about that case interests me except the actual case itself. I do like the way it efficiently lays out parts inside the mini tower along with the full height intake vent. Plus it looks like it should be a docking station for 7 of 9. Of course, if she came with it I'd have no arguments what-so-ever. ;)
  • Meaker10 - Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - link

    You should run 3dmark 11 and both vantage and 11 should be run in xtreme mode.
  • Meaker10 - Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - link

    I own a P180 mini and knew there was a lack of airflow to the GFX cards without the use of thermal imaging products LOL.

    I solved it by creating an intake from the bottom middle of the case where there is a filter.
  • JPForums - Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - link

    Given the way 3DMark's results can skew towards being CPU-limited by Sandy Bridge we're becoming increasingly less enamored with it. Independently as a reviewer I can tell you exactly how these configurations should be ordered in terms of gaming performance, and out of all four of these tests the only one that looks the closest to correct is 3DMark03. That flies in the face of "newer is better"; what do you guys think? Are these still useful or is there some change that should be made?

    While I believe 3DMarks results to be far less relevant than game frame rates, there is a way to make them far more relevant that what is posted here. It should be obvious. When you are comparing setups capable of driving high graphical settings on multi-monitor configurations, there is no way you won't end up CPU limited on a single low resolution monitor.

    I see two 1024x768 resolution tests, one 1280x768, and one unmarked which I'll optimistically place at 1280x768 (given that 3DMarks 05 and 06 are very similar to begin with). I also see that the 3DMarks Vantage test is entry level. One would naturally assume that the highest end cards would be most able to differentiate themselves with the highest end tests.

    I don't see earlier 3DMarks test as being relevant due to lack of coherency with modern games. Later 3DMarks test are irrelevant in this case due to the fact that were run at resolutions that you never run your game test at.

    My suggestion is to use 3DMarks 11 and perhaps Vantage and apply the same rules you use when checking out games. In this article, you ran everything at 1920x1080 and varied some graphics settings at the high end. It looks like you also saw the multi-monitor 5760x1200 as relevant. It would seem to me that the the most relevant resolution to run 3DMarks at (in this article) would be 1920x1080 or 1920x1200. Then, as with the games, vary the settings at the high end. Finally, if you are so inclined (and if the test allows) check out multi-monitor resolutions or higher single monitor resolutions.

    In other articles that display gaming performance at lower resolutions, it may be worth checking out those resolutions as well. However, keep in mind the capability of the systems you review when deciding on a single resolution.
  • HangFire - Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - link

    The purpose of these benchmarks is to make most video cards appear obsolete and use obscure features of newer video cards that may or may not appear in games for 3-5 years. In an era of 1080p constrained console game ports, expecting video benchmarks to be relevant is a stretch.

    Everyone can appreciate a 24-26 inch monitor over a smaller one, and the industry standardizing on 1920x1080 makes such monitors affordable as well. However dual monitors of higher resolution are much more than twice as expensive, and any dual monitor seems an extravagant waste of money when most games do not make good use of them. So, it appears we have arrived at a plateau in video resolutions for a while, where the highest end video cards simply are not necessary, and the benchmarks that drive them, irrelevant.

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