PC

Ultra-cool computer performs like a champ

The Ultracore's impressive cooling system is a visual spectacle, with LEDs and coloured coolant showing through the chassis' side window.
The Ultracore's impressive cooling system is a visual spectacle, with LEDs and coloured coolant showing through the chassis' side window.PHOTO: AFTERSHOCK

The Aftershock Ultracore comes with an impressive cooling system

The Aftershock Ultracore gaming PC is not just cool-looking - it also runs cool, thanks to a custom cooling system that replaces noisy fans with water-cooling pipes.

Of course, a water-cooling system is not entirely silent. It still requires fans to cool its heat-dissipating radiator. However, these fans usually run slowly and quietly.

The Ultracore's cooling system is also a visual spectacle.

The team at Aftershock used LEDs and coloured coolant to showcase the system, which can be seen through the chassis' side window.

The chassis (the NZXT H440) is decked in black and gold, and looks brassy and ostentatious. If you prefer a more reserved look, Aftershock offers an all-white or an all-black version, which can be jazzed up with red, blue or orange highlights.

If none of these options catch your fancy, you can pay extra for a custom paint job.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $4,170

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6700K (4.0GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5

    RAM: 16GB

    STORAGE: 250GB SSD + 1TB 7,200rpm HDD

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 4 x USB 3.0, 6 x USB 2.0, 3 x DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI output, Ethernet port, audio jacks

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 2/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The water-cooling system is expensive. It costs around $1,050 compared with $155 for the off- the-shelf Corsair H80i that Aftershock offers as an alternative. Add two water-cooled graphics cards and the bill goes up to $1,300.

In fact, the water-cooling system is the second most expensive in the Ultracore, after the GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card ($1,180).

This card, together with other high-end parts such as an Intel Core i7 processor that can be overclocked to a higher clock speed, and an Asus motherboard that offers both Type-A and Type-C USB 3.1 ports, makes 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) gaming possible.

In the latest Doom first-person shooter, the Ultracore ran at a fluid 60 frames per second (fps) at Ultra settings at 3,840 x 2,160 pixels.

At the standard 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution, the Ultracore managed around 125 fps in Crysis 3 at Very High setting, narrowly beating the 120 fps achieved by the Asus ROG G20 desktop PC, which has a similar GTX 1080 graphics card.

Without its water-cooling system, the Ultracore costs $3,120, which is around the price of the Asus ROG G20 ($3,198).

Both the Ultracore and the ROG G20 offer the best gaming performance among the pre-built PCs in the market now.

They are more than capable of running games at 4K resolution.

The G20 is a more compact system while the Ultracore allows for future expansion and has an impressive, albeit costly, water-cooling system.

•Verdict: A gaming PC that looks stunning and runs like a champ.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2016, with the headline 'Ultra-cool computer performs like a champ'. Print Edition | Subscribe