Vicious PC Shogun III

Vicious PC Shogun III

Vicious is back with one of their desktop replacement laptops. Carrying a Core Duo, 2GB of RAM, and a 7900GTX Go, this machine is built to be a gaming powerhouse. Is Core Duo still a major player? If so, what can it do for you?

Introduction

About Our Program

As many of you might know by now, HardOCP doesn’t "review" systems; we evaluate the experiences they facilitate. We order the system the same as you would and evaluate every aspect of the end-user experience. Not only does this give us a better idea of what hardware an end-user actually receives, it also allows us to obtain a more accurate picture of just how each company functions and treats its customers. As fast as PC hardware has become over the years, we think giving a personal computer "5 stars" based on how fast it ran a synthetic benchmark is simply irresponsible. We think service, support, and reliability are much more important factors in today's climate rather than speed. Fast is easily bought, but purchasing and ownership satisfaction can be elusive.

This process allows us to not only evaluate the system, but the OEM that builds it. Our goal is to give you the wide-angle lens view of the computer and the company so that you can make informed and educated decisions as to what you purchase or recommend to clients, friends, and family.

Vicious PC and [H]ardOCP

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We’ve written one previous article on Vicious PC. Generally, our impressions of Vicious PC were positive when we left that evaluation. We were quite pleased with the hardware we got for the price we paid. We received a very sharp-looking system, complete with cathode lights, and we were impressed with the general build quality. One high point is that our $1500 bought us a water-cooled system. While they skimped a bit on the accessories - such as a branded box, a nice presentation of the system documentation, and an image-based restore solution - we couldn’t argue with the system’s performance.

However, our tech support experiences were less than optimal. At the time, Vicious was using 2Net for their support. We had some problems initially getting 2Net to help us out because of a serial number mix-up. This wouldn’t have been a problem, but for some reason Vicious was totally non-responsive for four business days. If we would have been a normal consumer and had a major hardware issue, we would have been greatly inconvenienced. However, all ended well and our issues were resolved. We had some questions about Vicious PC’s operation because we got a hold of one guy who seemed to be the “Jack-of-all-trades” at Vicious. Let’s see if they’ve followed ABS’s example and converted to an in-house tech support department.

This will also be the fourth laptop we have evaluated that carries the “desktop replacement” moniker. Our first was from Hypersonic, then we had a Sager 9750-C, and very recently a Gateway NX860X. All of these systems had robust hardware profiles and were short on battery life. We’ve also seen an assortment of processors with the Hypersonic carrying a Pentium M, the Sager carrying an AMD X2, and the Gateway carrying a Core Duo T2300. This time, we took it up a notch and went with a Core Duo T2500. We’ve seen the mobile Core Duo chips in two previous systems: the Gateway mentioned above, and the Lenovo ThinkPad T60. While we were befuddled by the poor performance of the Gateway, the T60 blew us away with its raw horsepower which was beautifully paired with great battery economy.

What We’re Looking For

We know that this machine carries a hefty load of hardware - not to mention it being a physically hefty load itself - so battery economy, portability, and size aren’t of core interest. However, what we get in return for sacrificing those things definitely is. We’re looking for power and performance, as well as thermal and noise control. We’ll also be looking to see if Vicious has given itself a facelift in both presentation and tech support.

With Core 2 Duo hitting the scene and Merom getting closer, does our Core Duo-equipped solution still have a place among power users, or is it on its way out?

Here’s what we got:

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