Gladiator Trident SLI Black Pearl review

PC manufacturers seem to be getting more ambitious by the month when it comes to overclocking Intel’s current roster of processors. As if to demonstrate that fact, Gladiator’s latest machine, the Trident SLI Black Pearl, arrived in the PC Pro Labs with its Core i7-930 chip boosted from 2.8GHz to 4GHz.

That isn’t the i7-930’s only impressive statistic. As befits a part that sits snuggly in the upper echelons of Intel’s range, it’s kitted out with the full range of mod-cons, from Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading across its four cores, to a combined 10MB of L2 and L3 cache.

The combination of potent specification and dramatic overclock reaped rewards in our application benchmarks. An overall score of 2.8 is the third-fastest in PC Pro history, and only 0.03 behind the current record-holder, the CyberPower Liquid i7 Kraken. In short, it’s far more power than most will ever need to fully harness.

Sitting below the processor is a pair of Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 graphics cards. We were impressed with it when it was released in July, and this is the first time we’ve seen two running in SLI. It’s also the first time we’ve seen these cards overclocked, with Aria boosting the 675MHz core to a nippier 800MHz.

Gladiator Trident SLI Black Pearl

Our tests revealed that lashing two GTX 460s together is a good idea. The Gladiator’s score of 57fps in our Very High quality Crysis benchmark is one frame faster than the Mesh 7’s, which was kitted out with an ATI Radeon HD 5970, and a playable 35fps in the same benchmark at a higher resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 is even more impressive.

The rest of the specification is just as accomplished. Six gigabytes of RAM is more than we see in most systems. Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit is installed on a 64GB Crucial RealSSD solid-state drive to speed up boot times and system. Traditional storage takes the form of a 1TB Samsung SpinPoint F3 hard disk, and there’s a DVD writer too. The only disappointment is the absence of a Blu-ray drive.

The chassis looks good, and although we haven’t seen the Fractal Design Desire R2 before, its clean, minimalist lines and glossy black finish make a positive first impression. Build quality is excellent, and there are plenty of ports and sockets, with a pair of USB 2 and eSATA connectors on the front, plus USB 3, FireWire, PS/2 and more on the rear.

Inside, both side panels are coated in noise-absorbing bitumen, and the inside of the sleek door is layered with foam – all nice touches aimed at keeping intrusive fan whirr and vibrations to a minimum. The power supply sits on rubber feet, and the hard disk cages – oddly painted white – are finished with small rubber pads.

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