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Wahoo P4 Stratagem System Review 323

Ian Bell writes "Buddhacon reviews the P4 stratagem system from Wahoo Computers. Could this be the most powerful home system on the market? With just about every option available including an overclocked Intel 2.9GHz CPU, Radeon 9700PRO, 1GB of memory and all the cooling features you can think of you would think a system like this would blow the competition away. Just goes to show that sometimes a fine tuned V6 can beat an over the top V8."
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Wahoo P4 Stratagem System Review

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  • by MrBoombasticfantasti ( 593721 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @04:21AM (#5004791)
    I disagree with your viewpoint. I'm one of those people that upgrades (or rather buy new) their machines as soon as something faster comes round. Why do I do it, as my old machine is obviously fast enough for any normal purpose? Well, a couple of reasons: 1) Games! I play a lot of graphics intensive games that can really use all the oomph you can wring out of the hardware. Call me shallow, and I shall ignore you! ;-) 2) I recycle my old machine to neighbours, friends and charity. Two weeks ago, I gave away my XP2400+/512Mb/180Gb/GnuLinux system to a local organisation that works with handicapped children. 3) I like to build machines from parts I get from all over the place. I usually lead the local stores in performance by at least half a year. Again, I know this is a weird thing but I enjoy that. Anyway, while I don't *need* to upgrade, I frequently do: about every three months. Ciao!
  • 2.5ghz? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by phreak03 ( 621876 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @04:41AM (#5004844) Homepage Journal
    Sheesh, i overclocked my 1.8 p4 to that without watercooling even. antek server case, and thermaltake dragon cpu fan. While I understand the built in tempreture sensors in a P4 chip that prevent overheating, what is there to stop you from frying your nice radeon 9700 and haveing a first class door stop? correct me if i'm wrong but isn't the latest ddr fastaer anyways? throw in the fact that this thing is useing a PCI card for a raid controller (i don't care if the motherboard has gigabit, get one with a raid controller, like the nice ABIT) the only articles i'd want to see would either be on what the heck these "duel bios" motherboard are all about, and why the heck hasn't their been more fanfair over abits "legacy free" motherboards (screw ps2 and serial and the endless irq conflicts)
  • by UserChrisCanter4 ( 464072 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @05:14AM (#5004914)
    I go to college in a small town, and thus I pay my college bills by working for Best Buy. We carry Alienware systems (well, carry is the wrong word, since they're ordered through our store but there are no pre-built systems kicking around). As I walk by our demo unit, I often ponder the market for systems like Alienware, Falcon Northwest, and these Wahoo Fellas. These guys are all using standard component parts, (in the case of Alienware, readily available cases from Chieftec and standard off-the-shelf boards components). In the case of companies like Wahoo and Falcon Northwest, they even tell you the actual Mobo, RAM, Hard disk, etc. manufacturers. So honestly, where is their market?

    Retail Boxed PCs have the ignorant consumer who knows the brand name. Screwdriver shops have the slightly more informed consumer looking to save a buck or get more standardized parts (or the geek who doesn't feel like spending his day off building a PC). But these companies seem to charge an extreme premium for their products, given that most screwdriver shops would sell you the exact same parts and assemble them in the same manner (maybe not this watercooling business, but I know of a couple shops that would probably do that). The best I can figure is heavily spoiled 14 year-old boys who know that the Radeon 9700 is good because they saw it on PlanetQuake, but you can't build a computer company on the whims of 14 year-old boys (can you?!?). So seriously, I'd like some input here. Does anyone own, for example, an Alienware or similar system? Do you know someone who owns one? What was the motivation for the purchase? Since it's the only item I can really quantify that they might offer beyond the local shop, do these "premium" PC companies have tech support that's really that much better (or honestly, necessary) than the screwdriver shop that'll sell you the same PC, built with the same parts, for $500 less?
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tony_gardner ( 533494 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @05:53AM (#5004988) Homepage
    Which systems, exactly? I work in a research institution, and we use both Suns and PCs, and every one of our benchmarks that I've seen show that, at any given time, a high end PC (Redhat) beats out a high end Sun (Solaris) workstation for the 3 main CFD codes we use (CPU intensive tasks).

    We still buy Sun, for ease of administration, reliability and warranty, but not for speed (or speed/cost ratio).
  • Piece of Crap (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cybergibbons ( 554352 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @08:09AM (#5005229) Homepage

    No, this is a long way from the best system I have ever seen. I'm going to be harsh and say why...

    What's with the shitty toggle switch "baybus" fan controllers? The site reports that the fans don't even start on the lowest speed. That isn't good engineering, and they shouldn't really ship a product like that. I would expect all the fans to be intelligently controlled by a microprocessor independant of the motherboard. This would include fan failure detection, CPU throttling etc.

    They've put a live drive behind a door... erm, isn't that a little stupid? Now you're going to have to leave the door open all the time, or hack a hole in it, or not use the live drive.. oh well/

    Raid 0 with no proper backup? I don't think so. I've seen far too many people lose data on raid 0 now to ever use it. At this kind of price, it would be nice to see two very fast and small scsi drives raided for a boot drive. Then larger IDE drives for data. But still no raid 0.

    There seems to be some confusion about SCSI and IDE. People suddenly thought that IDE drives were better, especially in RAIDs... and it's plain wrong. SCSI is more reliable (the drives are built far better), it is faster, the bus is quicker. When you are doing things like photo or video editing, then having a fast page file and scratch disk is very important. SCSI has lower access and seek times, and the difference notices a hell of a lot.

    The paint job looks pretty shite as well.

    I just don't believe they are charging that much for this system. It's not amazing or anything.

    Something that beats it? Go to The Overclocking Store [] and take a look at their Advance Micronics systems. Refigerator based cooling, complete systems, which are better configured and specced. You get an LCD and bluetooth mouse and keyboard for less than the system in the slashdot story. But...

  • by archivis ( 100368 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @08:32AM (#5005271) Journal
    Why did I buy alienware? Summer before last my computer began to break down - CD burner and monitor both died about a week apart, and the main hard drive started misbehaving - and since it was a 4 year old box I started looking at my replacement options...

    I originally looked at purchasing parts and assembling a system piecemeal. I discovered that living where I did (middle of nowhere town in NEw Brunswick, Canada) I'd have to have everything shipped - most of it from the states. After I totaled up the cost of shipping and customs duties for the parts, and then factored in the time required for me to assemble it, I realized it would be about the same cost as buying what I wanted, pre=assembled and warrentied, from Alienware (w/free shipping). Free shipping really helped - as well as the fact that when my nice big Alienware box crossed the border the customs official informed me that as an international student residing temporarily in Canada I wasn't required to pay duty (something I wouldn't have discovered if I had made a bunch of small purchases not requiring me to speak on the phone with customs).

    As for what they offer as added value, the support people that I talked to when I had problems with my box were first-rate. The ONLY help desk people I've ever spoken with who didn't treat me like a moron and actually listened to me.
  • by rjstanford ( 69735 ) on Friday January 03, 2003 @09:15AM (#5005394) Homepage Journal
    Ahum, you've got to be kidding. With the same total swept volume, the smaller cilinders of the V8 should make it rev higher, and thus produce more bhp.
    Welcome to the difference between torque and horsepower.

    The small cylinder, high-reving V8 should indeed have higher bhp. This can translate directly into higher top speeds, and will allow better use of gears (more time in lower gears). It will also be smoother (more, smaller sparks), which is why luxury cars almost always come with V8s or even V12s.

    The V6, while not reving as high, will have a stronger torque curve (each pulse provides more raw power) and, as was originally posted, can rev faster (but to a lower maximum rpm).

    This helps to explain why Ferraris run V12s while Semis run V8s. The Ferrari is faster, but a nice diesel semi will be substantially more powerful.

    Or, to bring it back to computer terms, bandwith != latency.
  • by wheany ( 460585 ) <> on Friday January 03, 2003 @10:06AM (#5005621) Homepage Journal
    I can see the difference between 25 and 50 fps, but a game running at 25 fps (or even 15 fps) doesn't bother me much, as long as the framerate stays constant. What bothers me more is when a game runs at 100 fps most of the time, then slows down to 3 when there is lots of action on screen, then speeds up again.

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk