The Making of a Boutique Gaming PC (Part 3 of 6): iBUYPOWER

Q: The new X79 platform has caused quite a stir for high-end system builders. Tell us about what you've been able to achieve with this new platform.

A: The new X79 platform is an incredible step forward in high-performance gaming. With the expanded memory speed and capacities, we’ve seen some people do some really incredible things with the platform, like loading entire games and programs into the memory of these systems for insanely fast load speeds.

Q: Almost all of your X79 systems are built with two or more GeForce graphics cards in SLI. Why is this? How do these two technologies complement each other?

A: While there’s definitely a lot more people with two or more GeForce cards in SLI on the X79 platform, we actually still see a lot of people opting for a single-GPU setup, but they’re looking at single-GPU setups at the very highest end, like GTX 570s and 580s. The added processing power on the X79 platform allows users to get the most out of Multi-GPU setups without running into bottlenecks that you’ll see when running high-power single GPU and multi-GPU setups on slower platforms.

Q: Of all your gaming PCs, which model are you most proud of? Please give us a rundown of how it's built, from the component selection, construction, to testing.

A: We’re proud of all of our product lines, like our new Chimera 4 system with an amazing painted chassis, or our LAN Warrior product line, which was the first gaming system to integrate a liquid cooled CPU, dual-GPU SLI graphics, and the m-ATX form factor. We’re also really proud of our XLC line of systems, which was the first gaming system to use a self-contained no-maintenance liquid cooling system with a 240mm radiator (in 2008—long before a comparable liquid cooling system was available on the open market). Probably our most impressive system is our Erebus system, which is the first system designed and manufactured from the ground up for custom liquid cooling. We spent over a year developing the chassis for the system, which can hold up to four radiators and for a total radiator area of 10x120mm. The parts are all high-quality parts selected and tested by our engineers, and it’s fully customizable, so customers know exactly what they’re getting. Construction and testing of our systems all happens in our California-based facility, and testing is done with a completely customized testing suite, developed by the makers of FurMark.

Q: When people buy a multi-GPU PC from you, what percentage choose SLI? What are the main reasons why people go with SLI?

A: We’ve seen a majority of our customers who purchase multi-GPU systems purchase SLI. What we’ve seen is that people are much more comfortable purchasing SLI because the overall practical applications of extra GPU power, like 3D vision and PhysX are just more useful than with alternatives to SLI.

Q: Many of our readers are avid system builders themselves. What are your top three tips for someone looking to build a high-end gaming PC?

A: Just one here, actually. Get a good GPU. Seriously. Every extra dollar you spend on a GPU usually gives you much more performance in-game than an extra dollar spent elsewhere. Because we have such a customizable configurator, we see a LOT of different user-created configurations. In almost every instance, the system’s gaming performance is limited by the choice of GPU alone. There are very few instances where we would not recommend a GPU upgrade to maximize the performance of a system.

Q: Finally, there are quite a few vendors building high-end gaming PCs. What makes you special? What's your philosophy when it comes to building systems and taking care of customers?

A: What really drives our customers to purchase our systems is our unmatched combination of great service, build quality, value pricing, and customizability. We don’t feel like you should pay double the parts cost for a fully built and tested system… and we also don’t believe that a low price tag means you can’t take care of your customers. We have some of the highest scores on ResellerRatings, and the BBB rates iBUYPOWER at A+ for exemplary service. At the same time, you can get some killer deals on that come VERY close to the same cost as building it yourself.

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