Computer Direct Outlet Volta Pro VP 111 Dec, 2015 By: J.V. Bolkan
First Look Review: High-end 3D modeling workstation is reasonably priced, but lacks some extras.
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The Volta Pro VP1 from Computer Direct Outlet is an attractive system that includes high-end components for a good price. The customized Fractal Design tower case is classified as a mini-tower, but is nearly as large as cases considered full towers. Computer Direct finishes the case with flat black paint and an elegant lightning bolt logo cut into the hinged front panel and backlit by blue LEDs. The logo is also etched into the side of the case, along with the Volta name. The same blue light surrounds the power button, which is located at the top edge of the tower's face.
Of course, beauty is also about what's on the inside: performance and utility. The VP1 is built around Intel's 4-GHz Core i7-4790K. This central processing unit (CPU) is overclocked to 4.5 GHz and cooled by a Corsair Hydro Series H60 water-cooling system. The CPU is fed by 16 GB of RAM, a 400-GB solid-state drive (SSD), and a 2-TB data drive. Graphics are handled by an NVIDIA Quadro K4200 graphics processing unit (GPU) with 4 GB of RAM; it's a graphics card built for complex, 3D-heavy CAD modeling. (Note: NVIDIA recently released the M4000, an incremental upgrade to the K4200, which Computer Direct Outlet offers for an additional $196.
As expected with a water-cooled system, there is almost no noise produced during operation. The 850-watt power supply exhaust fan hums a bit, but it is barely audible until you get right next to the case. Although it's unlikely that you'll need them, the case features a large fan grill on the side and another on top. The roomy (especially for a minitower) interior offers expansion potential, including two unused RAM slots that can be filled with another 16 GB of memory for a maximum total of 32 GB. There is also space for adding more full-size (CD/DVD), standard-size (HDD), and compact (SSD) drives. All of this space makes the machine easily upgradeable as your needs increase over time. The workstation weighs a solid 31lb. The heft of the unit may make it a little unwieldy if you need to move it often and the sleek case doesn't offer obvious handholds or handles. Of course, as a water-cooled system, you can site the system more flexibly because ventilation is less of an issue than with a typical air-cooled workstation.