Personal Technology: Spellbinding

<< Back to Robb Report, December 2003
  • Harvey Laney

Equip your office or home with a computer created by VoodooPC, and some might regard it as evidence of a midlife crisis. With chassis painted in vibrant colors like Imola pearl orange or Laguna Seca blue and such visceral monikers as Fury and Envy, Voodoos are clearly intended for the video game–playing set. However, even those who would rather read Stephen Hawking than play Tony Hawk can appreciate the capabilities—if not the aesthetics—of Voodoo’s latest offerings, which include the Envy m:700 notebook, the F-Class desktop, and the portable Voodoo Doll cube, which weighs less than 10 pounds, stands only 71⁄2 inches tall, and is priced from $1,100 to $13,100, depending on the configuration.

VoodooPC, which has been building its unique style of computers for the past 12 years, acknowledges that its products are not meant for the typical home or office user, but that they are designed primarily for more discerning customers, including hard-core gamers who want the latest, most cutting-edge components. "They come to us for the absolute fastest technology that is available that day," says Desmond Brown, the company’s brand development engineer. Indeed, Voodoo began offering AMD’s Athlon 64 FX-51 chip on September 22—the day that it was released. The chip, which enables computers to produce complicated graphics without compromising speed, is the only Windows-compatible 64-bit processor on the market, and it represents a marked improvement over current 32-bit technology. Dell, Compaq, and other companies likely will wait until software with 64-bit applications is available before they begin offering computers with the new chip.

From the chip to the processor and everything in between, each Voodoo machine is custom-built to an individual’s specifications. A Voodoo representative consults at length with the client about dozens of options, ranging from the power supply to the various video and audio cards. For most computer users, those not running complex games or design programs, a 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 processor and 512MB of RAM provide enough speed and ample storage. For more oomph, Voodoo offers an upgrade to a 3.2 GHz processor and 2048MB of RAM.

The m:700 notebook (which ranges in price from $3,100 to $4,700, depending on the configuration) features a 17-inch screen capable of displaying an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a resolution as high as 1440 x 900 pixels. High-definition television is broadcast in this aspect ratio, and many films include 16:9 versions on DVD.

Voodoo’s latest desktop, the F-Class ($2,700 to $19,100), can be configured with two 250MB hard drives, two optical drives that play and record DVDs and CDs, and a 3.2 GHz processor. The desktop models feature a tempered-glass side called the "eye of the storm." The window exposes the origami-like folded cabling, the fan for noise reduction, the processor’s Aggressor cooling system, and the other internal components. Voodoo offers lifetime upgrades for the F-Class, quelling fears that even a top-of-the-line machine will become obsolete.

VoodooPC, 888.708.6636, www.voodoopc.com

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