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Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review

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mi1ez 15th August 2013, 10:39 Quote
Won't the heat from the GPU recirculate through the PSU?
mi1ez 15th August 2013, 10:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mi1ez
Won't the heat from the GPU recirculate through the PSU?

Scratch that. Not looking hard enough. Too early in the morning!
Maki role 15th August 2013, 10:42 Quote
As pre-builds go, this is really rather nice, although I do question what they were thinking when they went with Aurora for the coolant. Sure it looks awesome, but so do Mayhem's UV Green and their pastel Green. Both of those would have been much more practical in this type of system. I wouldn't expect the prospective owners to want to have to service this thing themselves every few months, and sending it off instead would leave a sour taste in the mouths of many.

Just seems like they would save themselves a fair bit if effort by not using Aurora. Also, dang that CPU gets toasty, I'm unhappy when mine reaches 65 in intel burn test, 91 would be a little uncomfortable to say the least. A particularly hot day could push that up a fair bit towards throttling levels I'd have thought.

In terms of raw value though, considering the changes and time involved, plus the good components used, that's not an unfair price.
Apoptosis 15th August 2013, 10:44 Quote
I don't see the sense in having a WC loop and then failing to cool the graphics card as well. I know there are space constraints, but it still seems like a lost opportunity.
Hustler 15th August 2013, 11:18 Quote
Quote:
£2,000 price tag a much less absurd one

Nope.

Spending that much on a PC these days is absurd.

You can 80-90% of the performance for half that price...if you know what you're doing, then in 18mths build another system for a £1000 and get a PC 50% faster than this spec.

Systems like this are built for the lazy or the too stupid to know any better.
DrTiCool 15th August 2013, 11:36 Quote
I miss wheels on that case
Maki role 15th August 2013, 12:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler

Nope.

Spending that much on a PC these days is absurd.

Well I think a bit of context is required here. For gaming at 1080p, sure it's a bit confusing. But if you want to game at max settings on say 5760x1080 or 2560x1440 spending that much is almost a requirement if you want some good framerates. Now that's purely in relation to the sum of money, not this build, which of course should be valued at closer to £1600 for comparison's sake (lower if you exclude the WC).

Of course there are other uses to take into account. For instance, I didn't have any qualms with dropping that same figure on just a pair of GPUs and their respective waterblocks. I've gotten a great deal of use out of them for 3D rendering, which is somewhere marginal performance increases can make a big difference in.

As for:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler

Systems like this are built for the lazy or the too stupid to know any better.

Eh I can't say I disagree too much. I wouldn't have thought there would be too many with both the budget and interest for this kind of system. Most that want a watercooled, top end system I'd have thought would want to build it themselves. And many who don't want to DIY, would go for a higher end outfit (like with P0pe's Project N.V. or Singularity Computers) to get the most out of the opportunity.
mikemaher205 15th August 2013, 14:16 Quote
I wouldn't say all people who buy pre-water cooled systems are lazy. I have seriously considered buying a pre-build Scan system, even though I've built my own systems and repaired friends machines for a while now. It's the fact I can just plug and play (literally). I travel about a lot so finding the time to sit still and build a system can be tough, but being able to still fully choose a system that suits my needs and not have to worry about making time to build it is a bonus.

Still, majority of us on here are here because we love taking PCs apart. For fun. When bored.
SMIFFYDUDE 15th August 2013, 18:34 Quote
LOL @ the £25 discount on a £2000 PC.
ksyruz 15th August 2013, 23:07 Quote
This is absurd, for a water loop that costs £300(the other £100 for labour) and does not out perform a corsair h80i which can be added for £80. For such a price premium they should have created their own case for improved water cooling on CPU, GPU, RAM, and chipsets.
AlienwareAndy 16th August 2013, 02:24 Quote
Hmmm.

Whilst this particular system doesn't interest me much (firstly it has Mayhem coolant in it - eeeeyuck) I just had a poke around Utopia's site.

I opted out of the water cooling system because TBH a H80i will cool almost as well (IMO) and specced up the following.

Ballista [Intel X79] (SYS-BALLISTA-X79)
£1,278.03
£1,278.03
Remove from cart

Customizations:
THE UTOPIA DIFFERENCE: Truly Custom PCs: Want a component that's not on our site? Anything from a different
case to a specialist sound card... Just call or email us and we will include it in your PC!
Included
PROMOTIONS: £25 Instant Saving! BACK TO SCHOOL SPECIAL *Limited time!*
£-25.00
CUSTOM PAINT - EXTERIOR: Dodge Challenger Yellow - Metallic Finish
£89.00
CASE: SilverStone Fortress FT03 Chassis w/ Advanced Vertical Heat Dissipation
Included
CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-3820 @ 3.60GHz (Sandy Bridge-E - Socket 2011)
Included
UTOPIAN PROLINE CPU OVERCLOCKING SERVICE: Yes! PROLINE Overclock my system for maximum performance!
CPU COOLING: Corsair H80i Dual Fan Advanced High Peformance Liquid Cooler
Included
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock X79 Extreme4-M Intel X79 Micro ATX (Socket 2011)
Included
MEMORY: 8GB Corsair® Vengeance™ DDR3 1600MHz (2x4GB) [SPECIAL OFFER]
Included
GRAPHICS CARD: NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTX TITAN 6GB GDDR5 [ULTIMATE]
£569.01
POWER SUPPLY: 650W Corsair® VS Series™ Utopia Certified PSU
Included
HARD DRIVE BAY 1: 250GB Samsung 840 Series SATA 3 6Gb/s Solid-State Drive [SPECIAL OFFER]
£56.28
HARD DRIVE BAY 2: 250GB Samsung 840 Series SATA 3 6Gb/s Solid-State Drive [SPECIAL OFFER]
£81.27
OPTICAL DRIVE: 8X Dual Layer DVD RW Drive Slot Loading
Included
SOUNDCARD: FREE! Integrated High Definition Audio
Included
NETWORK CARD: Integrated 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet
Included
OPERATING SYSTEM: None - I'll install my own Operating System
£-59.60
UTOPIAN PREMIER TOUCH: Premium colour-coded internal sleeved cabling
£24.99
UTOPIAN DIGITAL PERFECTION: Manufactured & supported in the UK - Flawless craftsmanship & Cable management!
Included
UTOPIAN TRANSIT ARMOR: EXCLUSIVE TO UTOPIA! - Utopian Transit Armour
Included
UTOPIAN NO-FAIL GUARANTEE: FREE! 30 days No-Fail Confidence Guarantee
Included
WARRANTY: FREE! 1 Year Part Replacement and 10 year Labour with Lifetime Support
Included
UTOPIAN VIP EXPRESS-BUILD: FREE! Despatched in 7-10 working days [STANDARD]
Included
Reconfigure Ballista [Intel X79]
Product Subtotal: £2,013.98

Oddly enough it costs about the same yet, I would imagine, would pretty much poo on the system you reviewed here. I would of course be running the two 250gb SSDs in Raid 0.

I went to Scan and specced up the same system and it cost about £100 less in parts. However, note I have added the custom yellow paint..

As it would happen I am pretty much in the market for a £2000 PC and Utopia have surprised me greatly (mostly because they charge part prices for additions and not stupid made up prices like every one else these days !!).

I will admit with a £2000 system I would be worried of assembling it myself. Thus, as soon as the funds come in Utopia and I will become friends.

Utopia if you are reading this... I still want the £25 off :p
.//TuNdRa 16th August 2013, 02:43 Quote
Is it just me; or is a section of tubing kinking in the images shown? Surely that'd make the pump have to work a little harder than it ought to. (The section between the CPU block and the Res.)
SuicideNeil 16th August 2013, 03:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienwareAndy


As it would happen I am pretty much in the market for a £2000 PC and Utopia have surprised me greatly (mostly because they charge part prices for additions and not stupid made up prices like every one else these days !!).

Bare in mind you are looking at retail prices on the Utopia & Scan websites- the wholesale price the retailer pays the manufacturer/distributer is somewhat less so there is still a fair mark up in price between what the retailer pays & what the end user/buyer pays for components. But yeah, it's nice to see someone not charging stupidly high mark-ups just because they installed the parts for you...
fluxtatic 16th August 2013, 08:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemaher205
I wouldn't say all people who buy pre-water cooled systems are lazy. I have seriously considered buying a pre-build Scan system, even though I've built my own systems and repaired friends machines for a while now. It's the fact I can just plug and play (literally). I travel about a lot so finding the time to sit still and build a system can be tough, but being able to still fully choose a system that suits my needs and not have to worry about making time to build it is a bonus.

Still, majority of us on here are here because we love taking PCs apart. For fun. When bored.

If you're not looking to watercool or the like - you seriously don't have a couple hours to put together a PC? I'm not being sarcastic - I noticed it when I changed out my case a while back and did some of the usual maintenance while I was about it - took off the HSF and redid the thermal paste, blew out the fans with compressed air, etc.

I gutted my system and rebuilt it in the new case, then gutted my wife's system and put it in my old case and replaced the HSF in hers, etc. All told it was nearly the same as doing two fresh builds, and it took about three hours.

(What's funny is when I tell people I'm building a PC that's going in my car, they're mystified. If they're interested, I tell them it's taken all summer because I'm building the case from scratch, not just plugging in the RAM and whatnot - that took half an hour. If they don't know better, they have this impression building a PC must be massively complicated since I've spent all weekend, every weekend on it since May...but half of that's because I'm an idiot.)
Pie_uk 16th August 2013, 09:50 Quote
that loop looks crushed.. just saying
walle 16th August 2013, 10:02 Quote
Perhaps the most expensive trash can, or as the English would say, rubbish bin, I've ever seen.
Spreadie 16th August 2013, 10:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pie_uk
that loop looks crushed.. just saying
Yes, it does look a bit cramped. Combine that with the relative high maintenance of the Mayhems fluid and most people would agree that a H80i would have been a better choice. They could add some LED lighting to the case to make use of the window.

BTW, what has happened to the forums? They've disappeared.
andrew8200m 16th August 2013, 10:07 Quote
Looks like a poorly made version of my own PC... same case, same colour, same board, cpu, gpu...

Just a shame its 700MHz slower, has slow ram that doesnt take advantage of the new CPU and its memory capability, a kinked watercooling system when air will be fine and has water cooling fluid that needs replacing after 6 months...

I forsee an RMA within 7-8months...
AlienwareAndy 16th August 2013, 11:17 Quote
Crikey put the claws away !

It's amazing how annoyed PC enthusiasts get by a company who make pre built computers.

I've been reading this -

http://www.utopiacomputers.co.uk/?module&id=utopia-experience

And it seems they offer proper wooden shipping crates without charging $30 for them like OriginPC.

I'm sold. As soon as the money comes in I am ordering. Any company that offers a custom painted PC with a custom wooden shipping crate and the build quality these guys do for part prices? I will be more than happy to place my order (I can't wait now really getting excited :D )
Hustler 16th August 2013, 11:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienwareAndy
Crikey put the claws away !
Any company that offers a custom painted PC with a custom wooden shipping crate and the build quality these guys do for part prices? I will be more than happy to place my order (I can't wait now really getting excited :D )

I fail to see the value in a custom paint job that you haven't done yourself.

And as for listing a wooden shipping crate as reason to justify spending £2k...Lol.

I said PC's this expensive were only for two types of people, the lazy or the naive, I forgot to add people with more money than brains.
Maki role 16th August 2013, 11:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler

And as for listing a wooden shipping crate as reason to justify spending £2k...Lol.
.

That's one way of looking at it. But sometimes the little things can make a big difference to customer satisfaction. For instance, I like coleslaw, especially cheese coleslaw. Many of the big supermarkets like Tescos, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrison's sell a pathetic attempt at coleslaw. They're just really bad, the mayo can be watery, the cabbage chopped too coarsely and Tescos and Asda simply make their unpalatable (in my opinion) by seemingly filling it with vinegar. Waitrose does a nice coleslaw, it's pretty finely shredded, a good mayo and has a good balance. M&S have by far my favourite, however, it's just exactly what I look for. I could save, definitely, by going to Asda etc. but I end up going to Waitrose and M&S much more often because they have a knack for getting the details right. The little things that people don't think you care much about, but can vastly up the experience.

Packaging and delivery are just like coleslaw in that regard. You can live without it, but when it's done right it can really tie the experience together.
Spreadie 16th August 2013, 11:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler
I fail to see the value in a custom paint job that you haven't done yourself.
Ease up on the snobbery a bit, mate. I'd consider buying a chassis with a custom paint job, mainly because I don't have the time (or the talent for the fancier paint jobs).

I wouldn't buy a prebuilt PC because, as an enthusiast, speccing and building a rig is half the fun.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler
I said PC's this expensive were only for two types of people, the lazy or the naive, I forgot to add people with more money than brains.
So people who do don't know how to build a PC shouldn't be allowed to own a nice looking rig? I've often taken apart someone's PC in front of them (when fixing or upgrading) and the look on their face suggests they think it's some kind of witchcraft. To you and me they're no more complicated than lego, but someone people have no understanding, and a geniune fear, of the goings on inside that whirring box on the desk. It doesn't mean they can't have a pretty one and, for some, it's worth paying the premium for someone to do it for them and provide a warranty.
AlienwareAndy 16th August 2013, 12:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler
I fail to see the value in a custom paint job that you haven't done yourself.

And as for listing a wooden shipping crate as reason to justify spending £2k...Lol.

I said PC's this expensive were only for two types of people, the lazy or the naive, I forgot to add people with more money than brains.

I would get a grasp of what you are talking about before needlessly slagging people off.

I specced up the parts on Scan last night and it worked out around the same. That's with the custom paint job included. As for doing it myself? I'm perfectly capable of that thanks. I just feel that when I spend £2000 on my dream PC that I would rather have the experience of getting it built. That means letting some one else who is up to the task do it. It doesn't mean that -

A. I can't
B. I'm not capable.

It just means that I would rather sit back in my chair, link my fingers and place my hands behind my head whilst putting my feet up and getting a good service.

It's just a wooden shipping crate.

Sure. And I bet it will spend about an hour in my time before I put it in the loft/garage etc. It doesn't matter. A company that goes to those lengths does so to please their customers.

I've built and painted two custom cars. Sure it was fun, but, I would love to take a car in and let some one else do all the grind whilst I just sat back getting excited.

Even the plastic binder Utopia offer (with all the manuals in) has me excited.

Good service is something that is dying out now. I mean FFS they even have a landline number and they're not trying to earn 15p a minute out of me to help out if anything goes wrong (which would be their fault of course).

Fair play to them I will definitely be ordering from them.

Here we go. Pretty much same spec though the board in this is better. Not that it matters to me, I'm crap at overclocking any way.

http://s72.photobucket.com/user/timmahtiburon/media/Alienstuff/prices.jpg.html

So basically £50 for a custom paint job, wooden shipping crate, labour, 10 year labour warranty, binder.. ETC.. Like fook would I even bother getting my hands painty.
AlienwareAndy 16th August 2013, 14:07 Quote
Apols for the DP but I wanted to post this..

I phoned Utopia a little while ago to ask a few questions about the PC I will likely be ordering. First off they are very polite. Any technical questions I had were immediately asked of the technicians. The 3820 is overclocked to 4.4ghz in the Ballista X79.

I was interested in the orange colour they provide.. So I asked about it and they immediately took me some photos of the finish and colour that came in today (a first).

http://s72.photobucket.com/user/timmahtiburon/media/Alienstuff/IMAG0181.jpg.html

http://s72.photobucket.com/user/timmahtiburon/media/Alienstuff/IMAG0180.jpg.html

http://s72.photobucket.com/user/timmahtiburon/media/Alienstuff/IMAG0182.jpg.html

I mean seriously

This is going to be one hell of an experience :D the tension and excitement is already building.
Pie_uk 16th August 2013, 14:36 Quote
Yeah I can see both sides of the arguments, and if it wasnt as fun as it is to build a PC then i'd order one too. I do like the custom paint jobs though, really nice. And the wooden crate is awesome.

TBF if* i had 2k to splash I would buy one
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