See-through side panels. Multi-colour LED fans. A chassis that could have been plucked straight out of a Michael Bay Transformers movie.
The Stormforce Geo is about as “gaming PC” as gaming PCs get.
Don't be distracted by the bright lights and alluring hardware peeking out from behind the glass, though. This is as much a test of AMD's new silicon as it is of a madder-than-Charles-Manson gaming PC.
Y’see, Ryzen is the first truly competitive chip out of AMD for what feels like years, taking on Intel's mighty Core i-series in the race to be the go-to CPU for gamers.
You’ll find one at the heart of this machine, and it’s more than capable of chewing up just about any game you can throw its way.
DESIGN & BUILD
Before we get stuck into the hardware inside, like a particularly oversized and expensive Kinder Egg, it would be remiss to ignore the Geo’s ginormous, eye-catching case. So we’ll start with that.
The towering behemoth has an asymmetric shape, with the top half of the case jutting out much further than the bottom half - sort of like Pride Rock from the Lion King, only covered in LED fans. Three of ‘em, to be exact. The entire system stays impressively quiet, though. You’ll barely hear it in an office, and even at home it’ll stay whisper quiet until you hit the graphics card hard with a game.
It sits on a heavy plinth to keep the thing from toppling over, so it’s not like you’re saving any desk or floor space with this design - but if unique looks are important, this will definitely serve you well.
Both sides are covered in tempered glass, tinted slightly to tease the hardware hiding inside. It works on the left side, showing off juicy kit like the glowing AMD CPU cooler, beefy Asus graphics card, and Kingston HyperX memory modules. An LED light strip bathes the whole thing in colour-changing hues - it’s either gorgeous or gauche. I’m firmly in the former camp.
Around the back, though, you’re just seeing cables behind the glass - not very exciting, really.
Up top, the front I/O panel (which of course lights up too) has a dedicated button for mixing up the LED colours, next to the usual smattering of USB and audio ports.
The whole thing is built of steel, so weighs a ton, but ensures you won’t be troubled by vibrations or rattling coming from the components. Stormforce has done a decent job with cable management too, hiding most wires from view when peeking in through the side panel.
HARDWARE & COMPONENTS
OK, now on to the good stuff. Undoing the six thumbscrews holding that glass side panel on reveals AMD’s 1800X Ryzen 7 CPU, sitting pride of place in an Asus X370 motherboard - which (of course) has it’s own LED lighting.
It’s an eight core, sixteen thread chip running at 3.6GHz, and with enough juice left in the tank to crank all the way up to 4GHz when temperatures allow.
You’d need to break out the technical manual to explain all the differences between Ryzen and Intel’s Core CPUs, but basically you get more cores on AMD for slightly less cash, or higher clock speeds on Intel for slightly more. How does that translate into performance figures? Read on to the next section.
Ryzen isn’t even AMD’s top-end chip now, either. That would be Threadripper, where the clue really is in the name. Think more cores, higher clock speeds, and even more performance. But back to Ryzen for now.
Stormforce has used AMD’s reference heatsink to cool the chip (which admittedly has some very funky LED lights on it), but I can’t help thinking a water cooling setup would have been better in a showpiece system like this. Not that temperatures are a problem, mind.
You’ll find an Asus-branded Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080ti graphics card below the CPU cooler - not an AMD card, because they weren’t on sale when this system was built. You could make the switch to an RX Vega GPU before you buy, if you wanted an all-AMD system.
Look closely and you’ll spot the 512GB NVMe SSD slotted directly into the motherboard, sandwiched between the CPU and GPU. NVMe (or Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface Specification, if you’re feeling fancy) is the technical term for “goes like stink” - this WD drive can manage 2050MB/s file reads and 800MB/s writes, which is significantly quicker than a SATA SSD, and miles faster than a traditional hard disk.
There’s one of those too, though: a 3TB model for storing all your games, documents and multimedia files on. It sits at the top of the case, hidden from view, and with room for three more full-size disks should you want to add more storage later.
Although you can spec the Geo with whatever peripherals and accessories you want, it come to us supplied with a curved, 144Hz Samsung monitor and a full selection of Corsair’s RGB-illuminated gaming gear. And yes, even the mouse mat lights up.
With a bit of software tinkering, you can have the entire setup glowing in unison. Because, let’s face it: when it comes to gaming, you can never have too much LED lighting.