Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review

August 26, 2016 // 12:43 p.m.

Tags: #broadwell-e #gtx-1080 #x99

Companies: #fierce-pc

Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review

Manufacturer: Fierce PC
UK price (as reviewed):
£3,649.95 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): N/A

Regular readers may remember our interview with Fierce PC back in March. Based out of Haslingden, Lancashire, the company offers pre-built, customisable computers for a wide range of budgets. Long-time readers with weirdly high-functioning memories may even remember that we reviewed a Fierce PC system back in 2013, but the company has revamped itself and its website since then, and now is back with a real beast to show us what it can do. Meet the Dragon Ripper: an overclocked and fully water-cooled six-core Broadwell-E system sporting SLI GTX 1080s.

Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review
Click to enlarge

We rarely comment on packaging quality, as there are enough 15-year olds on YouTube you can watch get worryingly excited about cardboard and protective foam, but we have to say the Dragon Ripper arrived very well packaged in three padded cardboard boxes – getting it out was akin to playing with a Russian doll set. The system is housed in the Corsair 750D, a very functional but also traditionally a somewhat bland chassis. Fierce PC has decided to do something about this latter adjective, however, applying a vinyl coating to the front and sides, including inside the large window. It comprises the company's logo and a broken up hexagonal mesh, and we think it looks pretty neat. That said, this is a prototype and the first time Fierce PC has used it, and the PC has also been showcased at various events (it will also be at Insomnia 58 this weekend). As such, there are a few marks from the initial applications that you'll have to forgive and that wouldn't be there on a standard PC shipped to a customer. The vinyl will be a free, optional extra for those that want it, and Fierce PC is currently looking at adding other wrap options if it's not to your taste.

Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review
Click to enlarge

The Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion is the motherboard of choice. Aesthetically, it's a flawless match for the colour scheme Fierce PC has chosen with its bold orange highlights. However, the lack of USB 3.1 or a Type-C connector is difficult to swallow at this price. You can upgrade to three other motherboards (all with USB 3.1) in the configurator, the cheapest of which is Gigabyte GA-X99-Ultra which will add £73 to the total.

Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review
Click to enlarge

Another issue the X99-SOC Champion presents is that its M.2 port utilises X99 chipset PCI-E lanes, not CPU ones. This means they are Gen 2.0, not Gen 3.0, so even though the M.2 port is PCI-E x4, it only offers 20Gbps bandwidth compared to the 32Gbps that the 256GB Samsung SSD 950 Pro supports. How much this will bottleneck the drive remains to be seen, but it is another point of contention in so premium a system.

Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review
Click to enlarge

Usually, we'd also call the size of this primary SSD into question given the price, but since the secondary storage option is a 1TB SSD 850 Pro, the Dragon Ripper has plenty of high-speed storage to utilise. Windows 10 64-bit is of course the OS of choice. Standard 3.5in mechanical drives are listed as options, but the water-cooling used means there's no longer a 3.5in drive cage in the system, so Fierce PC would probably have to convert an ODD bay to accommodate one.

Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review
Click to enlarge

Installed in the motherboard is the Core i7-6800K, the lowest-end CPU in the Broadwell-E family. It offers six cores and is overclocked to 4.2GHz with a voltage offset of +0.130V for a final figure of around 1.32V. This is a modest overclock, but it's one we'd be happy to use 24/7, and this CPU will still provide plenty of gaming grunt for years to come. It's paired with 16GB of 3,000MHz Corsair Vengeance LPX memory – a fine choice. Sadly, no BIOS profile was saved when we looked, but Fierce PC has said this is something it will now do with all overclocked PCs.

As mentioned, graphics power comes from two GTX 1080s in SLI – about as fast as it gets nowadays, unless you have enough cash for a pair of Titan X cards. Pleasingly, Fierce PC has also overclocked these. A base clock of 1,828MHz is a 14 percent increase and gives the cards a boost clock of 1,955MHz, though in actuality they were happy boosting to 2,065MHz. The memory is clocked to 1,368MHz for an effective speed of 10.944Gbps. These are both excellent overclocks – Fierce PC is really pushing the cards to their limits. One thing to note, however, is that the Core i7-6800K is a 28-lane CPU, meaning the cards run in x16/x8 rather than full x16/x16. For that, you'd need to upgrade to the Core i7-6850K (extra £184) or even the previous generation Core i7-5930K (extra £117). Personally, we don't think this is necessary in a two-way setup.

Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review
Click to enlarge

For this prototype system, Fierce PC is using a standard Nvidia High-Bandwidth SLI Bridge, which has an unfortunate green LED on it and has had to be modified slightly to allow it to fit around the EK water blocks. Fierce PC will be switching to the EVGA version as soon as it gets stock of them, and it will send one for free to all customers who order the Dragon Ripper before this happens. The EVGA one fits around the water blocks without modifications (EK will also be modifying the blocks anyway) and has a RGBW colour switch for red, green, blue or white lighting.

Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review
Click to enlarge

Powering everything is the Corsair HX750i. This may seems a little low on the wattage side, but as you'll see it is enough, and the 80 Plus Platinum rating means you can be assured of excellent efficiency. Higher wattage PSUs in the same family can also be selected for this PC if you feel like you need more.

EKWB's black EK-FC1080 GTX water blocks and backplates cool the GPUs while the Alphacool Nexxxos XP3 Light in Acetal/Nickel takes care of the CPU. An Alphacool Laing VPP655 D5 pump fitted directly to a massive 250mm reservoir at the front of the chassis sends the coolant to the GPU blocks first, then straight to the CPU. Heat is then dispensed with first through the roof-mounted Alphacool Nexxxos XT45 X-Flow 240mm radiator and secondly through the front-mounted radiator, which is a 280mm model from the same family. Both radiators are 45mm thick, so there's plenty of cooling potential in this single loop. Hardline acrylic tubing, sadly, hasn't been used, but Fierce PC has done a great job keeping excess tubing to a minimum, and even neatly hides the tube between the two radiators behind the ODD cage and the front radiator itself. Since our sample is used as a show PC and trade shows and the like, Mayhems Aurora Orange coolant is used. This is offered to customers but it's known for its performance degradation, so the normal Pastel Orange coolant is the default option.

Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review
Click to enlarge

Fierce PC has stripped the 750D of its regular fans and used orange Thermaltake Riing fans instead – a great choice, aesthetically. Two 140mm fans on the front pull air into the chassis, and these are connected to the CPU fan header via a splitter cable, and thus thermally controlled. A pair of 120mm fans exhaust air through the top radiator and a third 140mm operates as a rear exhaust. These three run at a fixed speed via Molex adaptors or system fan headers. It's a shame not to see a fan controller installed, but a selection are offered in the configurator.

Additional pizazz is created with a single 30cm orange LED strip installed along the back edge near the left side of the window. Orange LEDs are also installed in the reservoir's LED holes with a fifth one on top of it to help light up the coolant.

Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review Fierce PC Dragon Ripper Review
Click to enlarge

The PSU cables have also been replaced by Corsair's fully sleeved cable kit, this time in metallic graphite. Cable routing around back isn't the tidiest we've seen, but in the main area where it really matters the system is very cleanly presented and worthy of the window.

Fierce PC offers a 7-10 day standard dispatch time, which isn't too bad. A five year warranty is always nice to see, although the collect and return portion is only six months and parts are covered only for two years – that's still not too bad a deal, however.

Specifications

  • CPU Intel Core i7-6800K (4.2GHz)
  • CPU cores Six physical, 12 threads
  • Memory 16GB (4 x 4GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3,000MHz
  • Graphics 2 x Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition 8GB (overclocked) (3 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x DL-DVI-D, 1 x HDMI 2.0b)
  • Storage 1 x 256GB Samsung SSD 950 Pro (OS), 1 x 1TB Samsung SSD 850 Pro
  • Motherboard Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion
  • PSU Corsair HX750i (80 Plus Platinum, modular)
  • Optical Drive N/A
  • Cooling Custom water-cooling (Alphacool Laing VPP655 D5 pump, 250mm reservoir, 2 x EKWB EK-FC1080 GTX and backplate (black), Alphacool Nexxxos XP3 Light, Alphacool Nexxxos XT45 X-Flow 240mm, Alphacool Nexxxos XT45 X-Flow 280mm)
  • Case / Dimensions (mm) Corsair Obsidian Series 750D / 260 x 454 x 535 (W x D x H)
  • Networking 1 x Gigabit LAN
  • Audio 8-channel Realtek ALC1150 codec (onboard)
  • Operating system Windows 10 64-bit
  • Audio and USB Ports Rear: 4 x USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0, 1 x optical S/PDIF, 5 x 3.5mm jacks; Front: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, headphone, microphone
  • Warranty Five years (six months collect and return, two years parts, five years labour)

Discuss this in the forums

QUICK COMMENT

Week in review

WEEK IN REVIEW

TOP STORIES

SUGGESTED FOR YOU