Gladiator Titan 2 SLI Ultra ‘Gamers Edition’ review

£2297
Price when reviewed

Manchester-based Gladiator Computers announced itself in quite some style with the Titan 2 SLI Ultra. The name is as unfeasibly long as the chassis is large, housing an absolute beast of a PC.

Gladiator Titan 2 SLI Ultra 'Gamers Edition' review

It’s easily the most imposing case on show and, with a name like Kandalf The Super Tower, this Thermaltake beauty is something to behold. The front has two huge metal doors that overlap and give a Lord Of The Rings fortress-like presence wherever you choose to put it. Swinging the gates open reveals what looks like eleven 5.25in drive bays.

All can be used for external or internal devices, but the top-five have slots for 3.5in drives, while two aren’t usable due to case wiring. There’s no floppy drive or memory card reader, but two 250GB Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 hard disks – set up in a RAID0 array – provide ample storage.

Taking off the side reveals a near-perfect combination of machinery and space. The power supply at the top exhales sideways into a cage that helps channel the air towards an 80mm exhaust fan. Some way below, a large Arctic Cooling ‘Freezer’ CPU heatsink sits proud of the motherboard. It has a laterally oriented fan that blows directly at a wide 120mm exhaust fan. It’s a touch noisy, but constant, and is muffled to a large extent when the case doors are shut.

Even with two Gigabyte GeForce 6800 Ultra graphics cards in SLI mode beneath this, we knew that the cooling system would lead to rock-solid stability. Noise fluctuated between an impressively quiet 33dBA and 34dBA whatever the workload. The only minor annoyance was the chipset fan, which periodically span faster, producing a high-pitched whine. It was practically inaudible when the side of the case was on, though.

The sight of 1GB of PC3200 Mushkin RAM bolsters the impression that every component in the Titan has been painstakingly selected and is of high quality. The Athlon AMD 64 4000+ processor might not be quite as fast as the FX-55s of Evesham and Mesh, but a 2D application score of 2.72 is still very quick. This is partly down to pre-overclocking. DDR memory speed is increased from 400 to 420MHz with manual timings being set, and the processor’s core clock speed has been upped from 2.4GHz to 2.52GHz. No voltages have been increased.

Not surprisingly, in the 3D tests the Gladiator was unmatched. The well-tuned components managed best-on-test scores of 83fps in Half-Life 2 and 61fps in Doom 3, plus an excellent 56fps in Far Cry.

Quality components stretch to the peripherals too. While the metal Cooler Master Q Alloy keyboard won’t be to everyone’s taste, we liked the notebook-style device, which matches the silver theme nicely. The mouse was also the best on test, being Logitech’s top-of-the-line MX 1000 Laser model. It’s well-featured, ultra-precise, rechargeable and, naturally, wireless.

Gladiator chooses its optical drives wisely too, with NEC’s ND-3500 offering 16x DVD+R and 4x DVD+R9 speeds. It works in tandem with an Asus DVD-ROM to facilitate CD and DVD copying on-the-fly. There’s also a Creative Audigy 2 ZS sound card, a boon for those who want to work with music or just like to have high-quality sound for games or movies. There’s no front-mounted breakout box as with the Evesham, but the speakers are the same – Creative’s T7900 set. They’re reasonable quality, but the subwoofer struggles in smaller rooms and the set produces a web-like tangle of wires.

At the top of the case, a door springs up to provide access to two USB 2 ports, a FireWire port and two audio mini-jacks. At the back, the expensive DFI LANParty motherboard offers six more USB 2 ports, FireWire and two Gigabit LAN connections. A Game port is added via a backplate, but the other audio connectors are redundant because of the Audigy card, which offers six audio mini-jacks and a FireWire connector.

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