This week, we subject Ohio-based boutique builder AVADirect to the [H] meat grinder. We take a Core 2 Duo SLI system for a full-throttle test drive and see how this newcomer stacks up to its competitors. Could AVADirect be the best company you’ve never heard of?
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 a synthetic benchmark is simply irresponsible. We think service, support, and reliability are much more important factors in today's climate 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.
This is our first experience with AVADirect, so our expectations are wide open. According to their website, AVADirect makes computers for a wide range of applications, from gaming boxes and notebooks to workstations and servers. They’re the first of a rash of new integrators that we’ll be presenting over the next few months. To be clear, none of these are garage operations. They are all respectable and established, and they’ve paid their dues.
AVADirect has an interesting history. Some you may remember Alvio from our now-legendary WidowPC evaluation. Alvio was known as essentially the subcontractor that various integrators used to build systems for their customers. WidowPC was one of those companies. As evidenced in our WidowFX evaluation, sometimes that relationship isn’t always as smooth as it could be. Enter Alex Sonis, now president of AVADirect. Displeased with some of the business practices of Alvio, he split off from it and formed his own company. Taking some customers, and not a few Alvio employees with him, AVADirect was formed about two years ago. It has its own production facility and a very respectable sales volume.
AVADirect has since joined our system evaluation program, and we always love to look at fresh integrators to see what they’re doing to please their customers.
With two NVIDIA 7900 GT’s and a Core 2 Duo, we’re expecting to see high-end gaming performance on par with what we’ve recently seen on machines from ABS and Velocity Micro. As usual, we’re looking for quality craftsmanship, stable performance, and value. We’ll also be looking for the kind of personalized customer service and technical support necessary to make a lasting mark in this viciously competitive landscape. We’re keenly interested in whether AVADirect has been truly successful in shaking off the problems that we’ve seen previously with Alvio and distinguishing itself as a wholly evolved integrator.