For the purpose of this review, the PowerGlide Extreme PC unit was kindly sent to me via PCSpecialist, a UK-based company that deals with custom-built computers. It delivers to the UK only; sorry in advance to those of you who imagine that you’d like this PC based on the following review but live in other parts of the world. The PowerGlide Extreme is a touchscreen computer and my unit has an Intel core i5 Ivy Bridge processor inside with 8 GB of DDR3 RAM and the graphics are provided from an Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 card. In short, this system is no slouch, but that should come as no surprise with an awe-inspiring name like PowerGlide Extreme.
Let’s jump into the full review, shall we?
The case, designed with the computer’s all-in-one design in mind, is surprisingly thin considering the components inside and the fact that they’ll get extremely hot. Fear not, loyal LockerGnome reader: the case is almost packed out with fans. This is no bad thing, though I can hear some of you yelling at your screen: “How can this be no bad thing? The noise must be unbearable!” I can tell you, in good conscience, that the noise is minimal; the only time you hear the fans are on start-up, when the computer literally roars to life like a well-tuned Ferrari.
There are five USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports as well as your usual sound, networking, and graphics ports that come as standard. The GTX670 also gives you two DVI ports. Q: How do you keep this computer standing up? A: A cute little kick-stand is provided at the back of the device! The PowerGlide Extreme also has a nice little feature that is pure genius (in my opinion): hot swappable hard drives. This lets you take 2.5-inch internal laptop hard drives and hot swap them through a little slot in the top of the device. This means that you can buy a small Solid State Drive of 150 GB and then a 1 TB 2.5-inch drive to store your documents or whatnot. This is, of course, if your data is still tethered to your computer and you’ve not been seduced by the popular allure of cloud-based operations.
I was actually quite surprised by the amount of juice that you have to put into the PowerGlide Extreme. It takes three hefty transformers to power this computer. I am assuming one is for the screen, one is for the computer itself, and one is for the auxiliaries. All of the power plugs into the right-hand side of the computer in a nice little triangle. PCSpecialist has told me that these three transformers — or power packs — are a necessary evil when you’re running a high-end GPU, and the PowerGlide Extreme can run most of Nvidia’s current line.
I’ve had the unit for around two weeks and I’ve been using it almost non-stop. The first few days I used Windows 7 — which came pre-installed — and the machine coped pretty well with it considering that Windows 7 was never truly optimized for touch. However, when I installed Windows 8, the unit came alive. This unit was no slouch to begin with, but Windows 8 seemed to give her a whole heap more “power” and performance. The folks at PCSpecialist have told me that I’m the first person to run Windows 8 on this machine, and they haven’t even run tests in-house yet! I’ve given them my feedback and have one little niggle, which is that the plastic around the screen does slightly inhibit the swipe in of the Windows 8 menus.
The Core i5 Ivy Bridge, coupled with the 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, is pretty spectacular, even as a mid-range workhorse. The Nvidia graphics give you a seamless performance when playing games like Dirt or Battlefield 3, and even on games like Portal 2. In fact, on Portal 2, you can have all graphics settings maxed out and there is not a problem; the game will run at 100-200 FPS even in your darkest battle with GlaDOS or Wheatley!
The PowerGlide comes in two packages. The PowerGlide Performer and the PowerGlide Extreme. I would suggest going for the Extreme version if you can afford it (and it’s the one upon which this review has been based). The Performer starts at £650 and rises to £1200. It includes a 21.5-inch capacitive touch-screen monitor, Ivy Bridge processor, Intel HD Graphics (only), and up to 16 GB of DDR3 RAM. The Extreme starts at £750 and rises to £2000. It gives you a 24-inch capacitive touchscreen monitor, Ivy Bridge processor, a dual slot graphics card for high-end GPUs like the GTX 670 (there’s no support for ATI at the moment), and up to 16 GB of DDR3 RAM.
The Performer would be great if you’re looking for a touchscreen that will run Windows 8 and you don’t need a high-end GPU for gaming or video editing or the likes. The Extreme would be best suited if you’re a gamer or someone who likes making videos for YouTube.
The PowerGlide Extreme from PCSpecialist is one of the nicest machines that I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. It has bags of power and performance and, for the money, is a machine that would make your Windows 8 experience optimal, in my opinion. The screen is sharp and clear, the sound is rich and full, and the speed and performance of both Windows 7 and Windows 8 on this machine can only be described as truly great.
This is a machine that you can only buy from PCSpecialist, and as I warned at the very beginning, is only available to the lucky citizens of the United Kingdom — like yours truly. I am sorry for those of you around the world who like the sound of this machine but can’t get your hands on it. I am sure that if PCSpecialist continues to grow, it will find a way to bring its products to you. I am going to be honest with you and say that I will be sad to see this machine leave. It is for demonstration purposes only and, as such, must go back to PCSpecialist.
Would you be interested in buying this machine? Would this machine suit your Windows 8 needs? Does this machine change how you think of Windows 8? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.