Introducing the Puget Systems Deluge Mini

The last time we checked in with Puget Systems, we came away impressed with their Serenity SPCR Edition. It wasn't the fastest machine we've ever tested, but it was extremely well put together and almost completely inaudible. With Sandy Bridge back on shelves, Puget sent along a custom gaming rig and just like the Serenity SPCR Edition, there's more to the Deluge Mini than meets the eye.

Puget Systems releases their gaming desktops under the Deluge line, and for our review they sent us a particularly intriguing entrant in the form of their Deluge Mini. While the Antec Mini P180 chassis that houses it may be built for Micro-ATX, the word "Mini" is fairly charitable. Still, it's definitely smaller than the larger tower cases we're used to seeing these gaming machines built in. As I mentioned, there's more going on with the Deluge Mini than initially appears. But before we get into the intricacies of the build, let's take a look at how our review unit was specced:

Puget Systems Deluge Mini Specifications
Chassis Antec Mini P180 (Customized)
Processor Intel Core i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz
(spec: 4x3.3GHz, 32nm, 6MB L3, 95W)
Motherboard ASUS P8P67-M Pro Motherboard with P67 chipset
Memory 2x4GB Kingston DDR3-1333 @ 1333MHz (expandable to 16GB)
Graphics 2x EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB GDDR5
(384 CUDA Cores, 850/1700/1025MHz Core/ShadersRAM, 256-bit memory bus)
Hard Drive(s) Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gbps HDD
Optical Drive(s) Lite-On BD-ROM/DVD+-RW Combo Drive
Networking Realtek PCIe Gigabit Ethernet
Audio Realtek ALC892 HD Audio
Speaker, mic, line-in, and surround jacks for 7.1 sound
Optical out
Front Side Card reader
2x USB 2.0
Headphone and mic jacks
Optical drive
Top -
Back Side 2x PS/2
2x USB 3.0
Optical out
6x USB 2.0
Speaker, mic, line-in, and surround jacks for 7.1 sound
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 8.3" x 17.2" x 17.1" (WxDxH)
Weight 20.9 lbs (case only)
Extras Antec TP-650 650W Power Supply
Asetek Liquid Cooling
Case Modification
Card Reader
Warranty 1-year limited parts warranty and lifetime labor and phone support.
2- and 3-year extended warranties available.
Pricing Deluge Mini starts at $1,549
Review system configured at $2,257

The configuration our Deluge Mini review unit shipped with makes for an interesting comparison with the Origin Genesis we recently reviewed. Both are running with Sandy Bridge processors overclocked to 4.5GHz, though Puget Systems sticks with the Intel Core i5-2500K instead of bumping up to the Core i7-2600K. For most users (and especially the gamers Puget is targeting) this isn't going to be a major issue, with the chief differentiator being the i7's support for Hyper-Threading and an extra 2MB of L3 cache. Outside of that, both machines have 8GB of Kingston DDR3 strapped to the processor (though Puget opts to go for slower DDR3-1333.)

Origin and Puget also both elected to go with two of EVGA's mildly overclocked NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics cards configured in SLI. A primary but crucial difference is in how the cards are spaced: because Puget is using a smaller case and confined to the Micro-ATX form factor, the two 560 Ti's are snuggled up next to each other, while Origin's tower gives them more breathing room.

A major difference, though, is the lack of an SSD in the Deluge Mini. This is disappointing, as review units from competing boutiques have included an SSD for the data drive as a matter of course, but it's also not a dealbreaker: you can still configure your build with an Intel SSD.

Which brings us to one vital point here: if you visit the Puget Systems site to build your own machine, you'll notice that the Intel SSDs are the only options. This is reflective of one of the quirks of Puget: while most boutiques are certainly concerned about reliability to a degree and happily stand behind their builds, Puget performs extensive reliability testing of hardware on the market and collects massive amounts of data (some of which I've actually been privied to see.) As a result, if they don't feel a particular component is going to be up to par or may cause issues down the line, they simply won't offer it. That puts their comparatively meager 1-year standard parts warranty into perspective: by trying to choose the most reliable parts to begin with, they're banking on the user never having to worry about the warranty to begin with. 

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  • Velotop - Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - link

    I may have to think twice about building my own. Plenty of research time saved with something like this one.
  • michal1980 - Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - link

    Why? Just use their 'research' and save a few hunderd bucks. I priced out one of their systems vs newegg, and the difference in price was ~400+ bucks. The only thing missing was their water cooling system. Which is worth what? a 100 bucks max.

    for 300 bucks, you can get a very decent size ssd a
  • RaistlinZ - Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - link

    For $2,200.00 there's no reason not to have at least small SSD in conjunction with the 1TB WD Caviar Black. I really like the system overall though, and that case is sexy.
  • bplewis24 - Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - link

    That was my initial thought as well. I understand there is a premium for them building it, so $100-200 over cost seems reasonable. I'm curious as to how much the liquid cooling adds to the cost. I would likely do away with one of the GPUs and liquid cooling to get it a bit cheaper.
  • scook9 - Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - link

    I love this case. For 3 years my desktop was in a Mini P180. It can house 2 full length graphics cards easily with the bottom cage removed and even can fit 3x 1.120mm radiators if you want to watercool (I did it :D)

    This post has all the pictures of the various incarnations I crammed into that case
  • jigglywiggly - Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - link

    They just ruined the case by adding that fan on the side, the case is so quiet otherwise... sound dampening materials etc.
  • HangFire - Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - link

    Hmm, the review says "one of the quietest gaming desktops we've ever tested", "noise is virtually a non-issue", and "major victory" on "both better thermals on the CPU and much better acoustics".

    I'm trying to find the "just ruined" in here.

    When I build a quiet system I avoid side fans, because it is difficult to keep the side panel from becoming a sounding board and amplifying the noise of the fan mounted on it, and also because the left panel is highly likely to be in line of site of the user's ear.

    However just being difficult doesn't mean it can't be done, and it appears Puget Sound has done it, and did it well.
  • sully213 - Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - link

    I have to agree that the side fan is adding "noise", but visual noise, not auditory noise. They can keep the fan itself there, internally mounted, but do away with the ugly fan grill and have a honeycomb or some other pattern of holes for the air to flow through. It provides the same amount of air flow without having a distracting and cheap looking grille mounted to the outside of the otherwise smooth visual line of the case.
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - link

    I agree, if the fan substantially helps temps I'm all for including it, but a black honeycomb/mesh grille mounted from the inside would look a lot less cheesy.

    Also, isn't this essentially the same watercooling system you complained about in the Origin system? Any idea why it is so much quieter here? And is it only the overclock resulting in the large differences in power consumption?
  • A5 - Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - link

    For the lazy enthusiast, you could just order the base system (with an SSD if you want it - reinstalling Windows after the fact is kind of a pain) and then add in the 2nd card for SLI later, do the OC yourself, and get a big drive for storage on your own to save some coin and avoid the markups. You'd still pay a decent premium, but at least you'd know it worked when it got to your door.

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