Sky eXPeditor EXP – X980/6/80SSD/1TB/ 480X2/RV2

The machine's high price is completely justified given you get a high-end rig that can tackle everything you throw at it

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Sky eXPeditor EXP – X980/6/80SSD/1TB/
480X2/RV2 The eXPeditor looks great on the outside and is packed full of awesome components on the inside
By  Jason Saundalkar Published  September 8, 2010

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Key Specs

Form factor: ATX
Graphics: 2x nVidia GeForce GTX 480 GPUs
Internal storage: 80GB Intel X25-M SSD, two 1TB WD 7200rpm drives
Memory: 6GB Corsair DDR3 1333
Motherboard: Asus Rampage III

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Sky Electronics' eXPeditor gaming machines have always impressed the WinLabs teams and the company's latest monster doesn't do anything to break this trend. This PC's component list is a potent cocktail of high-end components but before you get to them, you're tipped off about the PC's potential thanks to the black Silverstone Raven 02 chassis. While the Raven 02 doesn't have the outright shock value of Thermaltake's Level 10 enclosure used by YoYotech MK3's gaming PC, the Raven 02 is a smart and fairly imposing chassis in its own right.

Booting the machine takes 49 seconds and even before we ran our benchmarks the eXPeditor felt very fast; installations were dealt with quickly, while performing searches and heavy multi-tasking didn't stress the machine at all. Running the 64-bit version of our PCMark Vantage benchmark suite the eXPeditor produces scores of 18,439, 10,606, 6529, 17,792, 18,313, 12,000, 20,697 and 25,372 in the PCMark, Memories, TV & Movies, Gaming, Music, Communications, Productivity and HDD test suites. These are very impressive figures. That said the YoYotech managed slightly higher figures thanks to its overclocked 4.2GHz Core i7 processor and RAID 0 SSD array.

The Sky's fantastic app figures are courtesy of Intel's 980X six core 3.33GHz Extreme Edition processor, an Asus Rampage III Extreme motherboard and 6GB of Corsair DDR3 memory. The machine's storage systems are equally impressive, the PC's boot drive is none other than Intel's super-quick X25-M SSD and it is backed up by two of Western Digital's 1TB Caviar Black drives. Given that the Rampage III motherboard supports RAID, you can opt to run these drives together in a RAID 0 (for performance) or RAID 1 (redundancy) configuration. The PC also packs a Blu-ray writer so you can backup data to 25GB or 50GB Blu-ray discs.

Moving on to our gaming benchmarks the eXPeditor massacred the YoYotech rig. Running our Heaven 2.0 benchmark at 1920 x 1200 pixels in DirectX 11 mode with the high shader setting, extreme tessellation, 4x anisotropy and 4x full screen anti-aliasing, the machine returned a butter-smooth 56.4fps. Turning to our Tom Clancy H.A.W.X and World in Conflict tests at 1920 x 1200 pixels with all the visual goodies turned on, the machine produced figures of 142fps and 100fps. These are fantastic figures that leave the YoYotech's scores of 55fps and 74fps in the dust.

The eXPeditor's amazing graphics performance comes from two of nVidia GeForce GTX 480 GPUs running in SLI mode. Considering the PC's superlative performance at 1920 x 1200 pixels, it's safe to say you can even run games at 2560 x 1600 pixels without worry.
   
The only thing missing from this rig is a fully-fledged soundcard like Creative's SoundBlaster X-Fi.

For: Killer performance, will excel with multi-threaded software, Blu-ray burner, quiet, well-built, priced fairly.
Against: Lacks a dedicated soundcard.
Verdict: Considering its awesome performance and great build quality, the eXPeditor is very fairly priced; it is over US $3000 cheaper than YoYotech’s MK3 rig.

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