Overclockers UK is one of the leading stockists of PC hardware and their engineering team produces an impressive range of custom rigs to suit contrasting tastes. Whether you’re looking for a silent air-cooled build, or extreme overclocked PC with premium water cooling parts, there’s something designed for your specific requirements. Often, whenever a new game is released which sells remarkably well, consumers like to pay homage with a system based around its theme. This can be a challenge especially if the game in question doesn’t have a distinctive colour scheme. The Division is an open world third-person shooter set in a bleak vision of New York City ravaged by a smallpox pandemic. This intriguing setting and captivating multiplayer confrontations have proved to be incredibly popular! As a result, The Division became Ubisoft’s fastest selling game on record and attracted a very passionate community.
This success story has given Overclockers UK inspiration for their latest gaming PC entitled the Titan Dark Zone. The system opts for orange braided PSU extension cables and vibrant LED lighting which creates a stunning aesthetic design. Combining the orange tones with black jet black components is quite unusual and a reference to The Division’s box art. Therefore, the Titan Dark Zone is a dream come true for fans of this particular title and features a very potent specification capable of powering VR devices without any concessions. The Intel i7-6700K is professionally overclocked to 4.5GHz using the Alpenfohn Broken 2 cooler. As a result, I expect to see an impeccable performance to noise ratio which surpasses many closed-loop-coolers. On another note, the 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory, factory overclocked GTX 980Ti and Samsung 250GB boot drive should be able to provide a sensational gaming experience even on high-resolution monitors. Rather surprising, Overclockers UK have decided to use a non-modular power supply which complicates cables management. On the other hand, the PSU has received a great deal of critical acclaim and showcases the careful decision-making process when designing a system’s specification.
- Name: Overclockers UK Titan Dark Zone
- Case: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX
- Motherboard: MSI Z170A-SLI Plus
- Processor: Intel Core i7-6700K Overclocked to 4.5GHz
- Processor Cooler: Alpenfohn Broken 2
- System Memory: Team Group Elite 16GB (8x2GB) 2400MHz CL16 RAM
- Main Boot Drive: Samsung 250GB 850 Evo SSD
- Additional Storage Drive(s): Seagate 2TB 7200RPM HDD
- Graphics card: MSI GeForce GTX 980ti Armor X2 6GB
- Power Supply: XFX TS 750W 80 Plus Gold
- Peripherals: N/A
- Monitor: N/A
- Optical Drive: N/A
- Wireless: N/A
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
- Warranty: Three Year (24 Month Collect and Return plus 12 Month labour) Mainland UK and Ireland Only
- Price: £1549.99
Packing and Accessories
The system arrived in an extremely large box which cannot fit on my photography backdrop. This is the reason why I’ve taken a snapshot in the hallway to emphasize the package’s mammoth size. Overclockers UK always adopt such an attentive approach to packaging and employ durable materials which enhances the level of protection substantially. It’s evidently clear that the company has considered the strain delicate PCs go under during transit and taken every necessary step to dramatically reduce the probability of damage occurring.
Once the top cover has been removed, we can see an ample supply of durable cardboard inserts which holds the system firmly in position.
The Titan Dark Zone is placed in the original chassis box and secured with strong tape. Honestly, I’d be extremely surprised if you received the system with even cosmetic imperfections considering multiple layers were used for protective purposes.
There’s additional support inside the chassis box via two strong polystyrene blocks.
The system’s internal components are surrounded by three Instapak foam pieces. These are essential additions which protect the CPU mounting and prevent the graphics card from applying too much pressure on the PCI-E slot during delivery.
In terms of accessories, OCUK included a Welcome Pack and Windows 10 Home OEM DVD containing the product code. The Welcome Pack outlines the system’s specification, and warranty terms in an easy to understand manner. Personally, I love the overall presentation and solder joints design on the front cover.
A Closer Look
Overclockers UK have chosen to use the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX chassis in a gun-metal grey finish which looks sublime and oozes quality due to the 3mm thick aluminium panels. Furthermore, there’s no screws involved as the side panels swing open using a secure mechanism and can be removed by lifting upwards. The case’s beauty is difficult to capture on camera but rest assured, it’s probably one of the finest options on the market right now.
The chassis features a large acrylic window to proudly display each component and gaze at the gorgeous colour scheme.
Subtle orange illumination on the front section adds a more vibrant twist to the chassis’ relatively simple design philosophy; This contrasts really well and gives a level of synergy to the entire build.
Here we can see the professional and neat cable arrangement with loads of space near the front fans to fit extra storage devices. They have positioned the cables through rubber grommets in a logical manner despite there only being a limited number around the chassis. On another note, the CPU cooler doesn’t obstruct the 1151 socket too much and was properly installed without any evidence of too much force being applied.
There’s a decent amount of clearance between the graphics card and CPU heat sink meaning you can decouple the fan for cleaning purposes without removing the GPU. The memory’s black heat spreaders and exposed PCB colour looks fantastic but sadly, it’s pretty hidden due to the CPU’s fan.
Towards the front portion, there’s an SSD mount, and fairly long orange LED strip. I’m pleased that the SSD was positioned on the rear side to reduce trailing cables which can be seen on the side panel window. In an ideal world, I’d prefer to see magnetic LED strips used to properly maintain the original fitting over time. For example, the strip was held down pretty well but this will deteriorate as the chassis is moved and the adhesive becomes weaker.
The power supply cover cannot be removed but it’s an ingenious idea which hides cable clutter extremely well. This is vital due to the use of braided extensions which can make cable management a bit tricky. Thankfully, a PSU cover allows you hide the original cables without any complications.
The power supply’s non-modular nature and braided extensions requires a greater level of skill during the cable management process. As a result, there’s a lot of unused cables to hide in an enclosed space. Thankfully, the PSU cover houses a deep chamber to conceal trailing SATA, Molex and PCI-E cables. Overclockers UK has employed zip ties and the chassis’ integrated Velcro straps to allow the side panel to close with room to spare.
Rather surprisingly, the 8-pin EPS cable feeds directly from the power supply through a cable management hole. Given the braided PCI-E and 24-pin connectors, I would have expected a braided extension for the EPS too. It’s not a monumental problem but something which can be improved upon in future revisions. Even though the EPS cable will be hard to see once the side panel is shut, consumers prefer to have the full kit installed to improve colour coordination.
The original 24-pin cable is held in position with a tight zip-tie and towards the left side of the chassis. This makes it really easy to close the side panel door and prevents the 24-pin cable from protruding outwards.
Overclockers UK have utilized the chassis’ embedded PWM hub to connect each fan cable. The left header marked CPU fan goes directly to your motherboard’s CPU header and requires a clean cable run. Thankfully, this is completed rather well and the PWM hub makes for a cleaner look on the front section.
The Samsung 850 Evo slots into an SSD bay without the use of tools and its upright placement makes it really easy to connect each cable. It’s evidently clear that the spare SSD mount was used to feed a SATA power cable via a short cable run.
This extreme close-up illustrates the build team didn’t rely on integrated case ties, and used plastic zip-ties to acquire a better finish.
The 24-pin braided extension is held firmly in position with a zip-tie alongside the PSU’s default cable.
Spare molex connectors are housed in the mechanical hard drive tray and tied down to prevent them from brushing against the aluminium side panel.
The huge amount of unused cabling makes for a fairly messy finish but this is expected given the PSU’s non-modular design. To be fair, Overclockers UK has done a good job and tied the cables really well given the technical constraints.
Testing & Methodology
To test each system or notebook, we want to stress every component of the system to check stability and performance, giving us an idea as to why those particular components were picked for this particular system. We use a wide variety of applications to gain a broad spectrum of results for comparing diverse aspects of system performance.
Unless specifically stated, all games are running at maximum settings but any vendor-exclusive features such as TressFX or PhsyX have been disabled to make the results fair. There are some titles where the maximum preset can be altered further in regards to AA, AF, Tessellation, and Draw Distance. To allow our readers to make the most informed decision, any additional options will be clearly labelled in this section.
- Acoustic dBA meter
- AC “Killawatt” power meter
- AIDA64 Engineer
- Cinebench R15
- MSI Afterburner
- Passmark PerformanceTest 8.0
- PCMark 8
- Super PI
- Unigine Heaven 4.0
- Grand Theft Auto 5
- Metro Last Light
- Tomb Raider
- Bioshock Infinite
PC Mark 8
The PCMark 8 Home benchmark includes workloads that reflect common tasks for a typical home user. These workloads have low computational requirements making PCMark 8 Home suitable for testing the performance of low-cost tablets, notebooks, and desktops. Home includes workloads for web browsing, writing, gaming, photo editing, and video chat. The results are combined to give a PCMark 8 Home score for your system. Download here.
The new 3DMark includes everything you need to benchmark your hardware. With three all new tests you can bench everything from smartphones and tablets, to notebooks and home PCs, to the latest high-end, multi-GPU gaming desktops. Download here.
Heaven Benchmark with its current version 4.0 is a GPU-intensive benchmark that hammers graphics cards to the limits. This powerful tool can be effectively used to determine the stability of a GPU under extremely stressful conditions, as well as check the cooling system’s potential under maximum heat output. It provides completely unbiased results and generates true in-game rendering workloads across all platforms, such as Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Download here.
Grand Theft Auto V
Our GTA5 Benchmark is run on the standard benchmark with MSAA=Off, FXAA=On, Very High Preset, Advanced Graphics Disabled and the settings detailed below:
Metro Last Light
Metro: Last Light (formerly Metro 2034) is a first-person shooter and horror video game developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It was released in May 2013. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and features a mixture of action-oriented and stealth gameplay. Metro: Last Light features technology which boasts new lighting effects and improved physics claimed to set a new graphical benchmark on the PC and consoles.
Very High Preset, AF=16x, Tessellation=Very High, SSAA=Off, PhysX=Off
In Tomb Raider, the player is confronted with a much younger Lara Croft who is shipwrecked and finds herself stranded on a mysterious island rife with danger, both natural and human. Tomb Raider is a demanding game offering up ultra quality textures, full DirectX 11 support, SSAA, FXAA, MSAA and AMD TressFX technology.
The benchmark is set to the Ultra preset without any modifications being made.
BioShock Infinite is the third and last game in the BioShock series. It is a first-person shooter video game developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games. BioShock Infinite supports dynamic shadows, post-processing, light shafts, ambient occlusion, object level of detail, Diffusion Depth of Detail, FOV adjustment controls and other advanced DirectX 11 features.
Here we set everything on the maximum preset and use Bioshock’s integrated benchmarking utility.
Cinebench is a widely respected benchmark for testing the performance of x86 CPUs. The program allows you to test single and multi-threaded performance as well as GPU performance by rendering with Open GL. Download here.
Super PI is a single threaded benchmark that calculates pi to a specific number of digits. Super PI is a single threaded benchmark ideal for testing pure, single threaded x87 floating point performance and while most of the computing market has shifted towards multithreaded applications and more modern instruction sets, Super PI still remains quite indicative of CPU capability in specific applications such as computer gaming. Download here.
AIDA64 Engineer Edition
AIDA64 Engineer is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for engineers. It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives. AIDA64 is compatible with all current 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows operating systems, including Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. Memory and cache benchmarks are available to analyze system RAM bandwidth and latency. Download here.
CrystalDiskMark is a portable storage drive benchmark utility that enables you to measure sequential and random read/write speeds on different block size data. CrystalDiskMark will work with any storage drives including hard drives, SSDs and USB flash drives. Download here.
The PassMark Advanced Network Test (which is part of PerformanceTest) is designed to test the data transfer rate between two computers both of which must be running PerformanceTest. One of the computers must act as the server and will sit waiting for a connection. The other computer acts as a client. It connects to the server machine and sends data to it for the duration of the test. You can download a trial version of PerformanceTest from here.
The amount of noise produced by any computer is a vital consideration for most buyers, even gamers don’t really want a noisy PC because less noise is always better. We use an acoustic dBA meter held 2 feet behind our test system at idle and under load to get the idle and load noise levels for the system. For idle we allow the system to sit at the Windows desktop, for load we let Unigine Heaven 4.0 and Prime95 to loop together – we take the acoustic measurements 5 minutes into both of these scenarios.
To test power consumption we measure the total system power draw during idle and load scenarios. For idle we allow the system to sit at the Windows desktop, for load we let Unigine Heaven 4.0 and Prime95 to loop together – we take the power measurements from the “Killawatt” AC power meter 5 minutes into both of these scenarios at the same point.
To test thermal performance we measure average CPU and GPU core temperatures during idle and load scenarios. For idle we allow the system to sit at the Windows desktop, for load we let Unigine Heaven 4.0 and Prime95 to loop together – we take the temperature measurements from within CPUID HWMonitor 5 minutes into both of these scenarios at the same point. For load we take the average of the maximum temperatures, for idle we take the average of the minimum temperatures.
PC Mark 8
Rather unexpectedly, the system’s PC Mark 8 performance fell behind the Cyberpower Zeus Mini Evo I-970 despite having a significantly better graphics card and processor supporting hyperthreading. It’s not cause for concern because the gap isn’t substantial and a score over 5000 showcases the imperious level of performance in typical desktop tasks.
On a more positive note, the Titan Dark Zone’s factory overclocked GTX 980Ti is capable of producing staggering numbers in 3DMark which almost defies belief! This is the first instance any system has come close to surpassing a Fire Strike Extreme score of 8000 and sets a new target for competitors to achieve. Of course, a portion of this success is down to driver enhancements from NVIDIA but this shouldn’t detract from the astonishing results.
The Titan Dark Zone’s performance in Heaven 4.0 is just as impressive and almost manages a score of 3000 using the Extreme preset. Granted, it’s not the top result with a DirectX9 render, but I’d always recommend focussing on DirectX11 numbers to properly gauge a system’s complex 3D capabilities.
Grand Theft Auto 5
Grand Theft Auto V’s extraordinarily detailed open world environment and gorgeous visual effects makes it a superb choice to determine what kind of gaming experience is possible on various custom PCs. The Titan Dark Zone records breathtaking numbers even on a 2560×1440 monitor and provides a very fluid frame-rate.
Metro Last Light
Once again, the system attains a frame-rate well above 60 on a high-resolution display and doesn’t encounter any hitching, or sudden frame dips. As a result, it’s evidently clear how well the PC fares with graphically intense games and bound to please end-users with hefty expectations.
Tomb Raider’s stunning graphical fidelity and impressive optimization means the performance numbers are very high across systems with relatively modern hardware. Here we can see the Titan Dark Zone manages to uphold a frame-rate of 144 on a 1440P panel and create a faultless user-experience.
During the Bioshock Infinite benchmarking utility, the system attained superb numbers which cements its position as one of the fastest machines we’ve encountered.
CPU & Memory Performance
In terms of CPU performance, the i7-6700K with a mild overclocked frequency of 4.5GHz is extremely powerful and exhibits a noticeable boost compared to the last generation i7-4790K.
The system’s processor also features a quick single threaded compute time, although it’s not the best i7-6700K on record. However, the top results remain within a fairly small margin and showcase the excellent abilities in synthetic scenarios with heavy CPU utilization.
As you might expect, the 16GB DDR4 2400MHz dual channel configuration is a potent combination with the i7-6700K and posts impressive bandwidth numbers. Even though the performance would be improved via faster memory DIMMs, it’s not going to have a significant impact in games or mainstream applications.
Storage and USB Performance
CrystalDiskMark – Sequential Read
When it comes to storage, Samsung is a pioneering company and manufactures a huge range of reliable products. The 850 Evo SSD is one of the best SATA drives on the market and attains marvellous read speeds. On another note, the system’s mechanical hard disk did really well and outclassed many competing alternatives.
CrystalDiskMark – Sequential Write
The SSD’s write rate was another highlight and a major step up from some lower-end options opting for a budget boot device. Of course, it’s no match for an NVMe drive, but there’s enough performance on offer without dramatically increasing the retail price.
Passmark PerformanceTest 8.0
The system’s Intel I219V network interface provides a very consistent connection and low range between minimum and maximum figures. Subsequently, you shouldn’t experience any spikes or noticeable speed drops.
Acoustic, Power & Thermal Performance
Contrary to popular belief, closed-loop liquid coolers pale in comparison to high-end air heatsinks when analysing the noise to performance ratio. Overclockers UK have utilized one of the best air coolers on the market and taken a no-compromise approach. As a result, the noise output is ridiculously low especially during idle conditions. Once stressed, the system remains impeccably quiet and makes for a joyous user-experience.
As expected, the overclocked i7-6700K and elite class GTX 980Ti requires additional power consumption compared to more energy-efficient options. Nevertheless, the average wattage is pretty good when you take the performance into consideration. There’s more than enough headroom to add a second 980Ti in the near future to help with the frame-rate on a 4K display.
The Alpenfohn Broken 2 cooler is a marvel of engineering and keeps the i7-6700K cool under extreme strain while being almost silent. Intel’s latest architecture has impressive thermal dissipation and its possible to attain a decent overclock using modest hardware. Here we can see the CPU is well within it’s TJ Max and there’s some scope to overclock the processor even further. The GPU’s custom cooler is very proficient and the core never exceeded 80C.
The Titan Dark Zone is currently available from Overclockers UK for £1549.99 plus shipping. As always with system reviews, it’s only possible to judge value by comparing a self-build using identical components and the cost for this pre-configured PC. Then, we can accurately determine the savings involved or premium for a system integrator’s technical expertise. Here is the pricing analysis in full:
- Case: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX – £139.99
- CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K – £294.98
- CPU Cooler: Alpenfohn Broken 2 – £37.42
- Motherboard: MSI Z170A-SLI Plus – £109.58
- RAM: Team Group Elite 16GB (8x2GB) 2400MHz CL16 RAM – £59.99
- Boot Drive: Samsung 250GB 850 Evo SSD – £67.96
- Secondary Drive: Seagate 2TB 7200RPM HDD – £54.98
- Graphics Card: MSI GeForce GTX 980ti Armor X2 6GB – £547.18
- Power Supply: XFX TS 750W 80 Plus Gold – £81.70
- Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64 Bit OEM – £74.99
- Cables: Bitfenix Alchemy Braided Cables – Orange – £16.99*
- Lighting: Bitfenix Alchemy LED Strips – Orange – £14.99*
Prices marked with * were based on a rough estimation as the items were not in stock at the time of review. The Alchemy braided cables usually come in a set but Overclockers haven’t used a 8-pin EPS extension. As a result, I deduced this from the bundle value to create a predicted price. On a similar note, I made an educated guess on the LED strip cost based on its length and use of adhesive instead of magnets. Once totalled up a self-build would cost you £1500.75 which comes to a saving of £49.24. Even though the pre-configured system costs more, it’s not by a huge margin and great value for beginners who struggle with cable management. Furthermore, there’s additional peace-of-mind via Overclockers UK’s excellent warranty service with quick turnarounds on defective components.
Overclockers UK’s design team have cultivated a really special system with the Titan Dark Zone which evokes a premium feel while offering incredible performance. The orange theme is quite rare as the majority of components revolve around a red and black colour scheme. This makes the build process quite tricky when attempting uphold a certain level of colour coordination. To rectify these issues, Overclockers UK decided to opt for a predominately black components with orange highlights in a gun-metal chassis. This combines in a beautiful way and I’m overjoyed by the final result. It’s a fitting tribute to The Division and worthy of being based around one of the most successful game launches in history. The system’s construction revolves around a simplistic design philosophy which prioritizes subtle styling over ostentatious lighting effects.
In terms of performance, the GTX 980Ti is capable of delivering a superb gaming experience with extreme presets on high-resolution monitors. It’s perfectly feasible to crank up the image quality while having a frame-rate above 120 in many modern titles. Of course, this greatly depends on the game’s optimization and graphical complexity. In my view, the system is designed to be paired with a 2560×1440 or 21:9 3440×1440 monitor for high-end consumers. This allows you to maintain a steady high frame-rate without noticeable drops. In theory, you could use a 4K panel, but I wouldn’t recommend it given the current limitations of graphical hardware.
By default, the Intel i7-6700K has a turbo frequency of 4.2GHz and features impressive synthetic performance at stock values. It’s incredibly easy to overclock this processor using a minor voltage and multiplier increase. However, many people feel uneasy when overclocking and fear they might cause irreversible damage which isn’t covered by a generous warranty. In reality, unless you’ve severely overvolted the CPU, fail-safes will prevent any damage from occurring. Saying that, finding the maximum potential of your CPU can take some time and you have to adopt a patient approach. If this seems a little overwhelming, Overclockers UK will manually overclock the CPU to 4.5GHz and create a profile in the BIOS just in case any settings are lost during a CMOS reset. Personally, I feel this is a bit conservative and 4.7GHz was probably achievable without any problems.
On the other hand, a lot depends on the silicon lottery, and poor overclockers might need additional voltage to obtain a frequency beyond 4.5GHz. From a business point of view, it makes sense for Overclockers UK to find a sensible base point which allows for great performance without the probability of overheating in the worst case scenarios. Speaking of temperatures, the system’s CPU cooler did a marvellous job and maintained cool running throughout our rigorous stress tests. This was achieved while remaining extremely quiet and showcases the benefits of air cooling solutions. As expected, the GTX 980Ti didn’t exceed 80C and has some headroom for additional overclocking.
The system’s boot SSD is a superb choice and offers impressive read and write speeds. Additionally, the 250GB capacity is large enough to house the operating system and commonly used applications like Photoshop CS6. The secondary 2TB hard drive can accommodate a large quantity of modern games which often have file sizes around the 50GB mark. Annoyingly, the mechanical drive wasn’t available in Windows Explorer and this was down to the lack of proper partitioning. To rectify this problem, I had to navigate to Windows’ Disk Management utility and create a partition for the secondary drive. Novices users without experience of boot flags or partitioning would immediately believe the hard drive wasn’t functioning or a cable had become dislodged. That’s why it’s imperative to double-check and make sure each hard drive is accessible.
In terms of cable management, Overclockers UK’s engineers did a good job given the complications which arise from a non-modular power supply. This restricts your ability to freely move cables around and disregard extra power cables which you don’t need. Additionally, the team didn’t simply rely on the chassis’ integrated Velcro straps and opted for a multitude of tight zip-ties. Everything was coupled together rather well which makes closing the side panel quite easy. On another note, the PSU lends itself to upgrades in the future and you could add a second graphics card to leverage more performance.
- Approachable and friendly customer service team
- Enthoo Evolv ATX is absolutely breathtaking
- Exceptional packaging
- Extremely quiet
- Fantastic temperatures
- Gorgeous orange colour scheme pays homage to The Division
- Good cable management considering PSU’s non-modular design
- Lots of headroom to install a second graphics card in the future
- Incredible gaming performance even at demanding resolutions
- Perfectly suited for VR
- Premium components which offer a balanced price to performance ratio
- Mechanical hard drive wasn’t properly partitioned and could cause panic to novice users
“The Overclockers UK Titan Dark Zone adopts a really sophisticated and unusual aesthetic design which makes it stand out from the competition. Not only that, its remarkable build quality and exceptional performance provides a VR ready gaming experience without any compromises.“
Overclockers UK Titan Dark Zone Gaming PC Review
Thank you Overlockers UK for providing us with this sample.