OCUK Infin8 Empress Mk3 System Review
Published: 13th January 2017 | Source: Overclockers.co.uk | Price: £4172 |
Systems are always difficult to review because we're a website aimed at showing you how to upgrade gradually by buying new parts, teaching you how to build and overclock your own rig and thus save yourself some money. So for the majority of affordable systems there is the dichotomy between the ease of use of a prebuilt system and the affordability of doing it yourself.
The Infin8 Empress Mk3 annihilates this viewpoint by being way beyond what the average person would consider achievable. All watercooling systems have a skill threshold of entry, and as you move beyond a single GPU it only gets more difficult. The Empress Mk3 has the additional complications of a pump/reservoir combination and all of it is built into a split case, where the power supply, drives etc are on the other half of the Lian Li PC08 case behind the motherboard tray. In short, a lot of systems that come through here most of us feel that we could do a similar job ourselves, but the Infin8 Empress Mk3 doesn't look like anything remotely achievable by all but the most skilled builders. Automatically therefore it whets the appetite of even the most jaded of home builders and that is before we get to the performance.
Performance though is what the Empress Mk3 is all about. The combination of a heavily overclocked Core i7-7700K - 5.1 GHz on our review sample - and a big dollop of 3200 MHz DDR4 allied to the latest Z270 motherboard brings out exceptional calculation performance and ensures that even the most demanding gaming titles aren't limited in their frames per second by some wheezy CPU. Assisting this incredible calculation performance is the NVMe M.2 Samsung 950 Pro drive. If the world of 550MB SSDs seem fast then you really need to experience these latest storage solutions with 2.5 GB/s throughput a regular occurrence. The POST part of the BIOS takes longer than the Samsung 950 takes to load Windows 10. It's so fast it should be sponsored by Usain Bolt.
The gaming performance is the real highlight though. It's not exactly a surprise that SLI GTX 1080s are capable of insane scores in 3D Mark or Unigine, let alone gaming, but it is the way that the Empress Mk3 manages to put out blistering frame rates at super low temperatures that really is the surprise. The benefits of such an excellent EK Watercooling setup. When you've run Unigine Valley or Time Spy at maximum detail settings for an hour at the graphics are still only hitting 42°C then it's clear how well designed the cooling is.
If the performance is something to leave your jaw on the floor, the looks are equally capable of stopping people in their tracks. The Lian Li case is an absolute beauty and combining it with the AURA RGB lighting that shines so brightly through the glass sides makes it tough to tear your eyes away from the system and back to your display. Add to this the Mayhem Aurora coolant which has a pearl effect built into it and the whole thing is as much a treat for your eyes as that beefy but quiet cooling performance is a treat for your ears.
Naturally there is a price to pay for all this high-end quality. Pricing is always the last thing we look at when we're reviewing something so that we don't sully our findings with the knowledge of how expensive - or affordable - something is. When we discovered the Infin8 Empress Mk3 was around £4100 in review spec trim we were actually surprised it was so relatively affordable. The Lian Li case with two GTX 1080s is already half the budget, so it's clear that the Infin8 Empress Mk3 is not cheap, yet also not overpriced.
If you want to break free from the endless cycle of adding slightly better parts to your old system, or just want to buy something which will instantly put you in the top 1% of PC Performance capabilities whilst also looking as beautiful as its possible for a PC to be, then the Infin8 Empress Mk3 should be at the absolute top of your wishlist and easily wins our OC3D Enthusiast Award. It's the best system we've ever reviewed.