Steiger Dynamics LEET Core Water Cooled Gaming HTPC

9.9 Overall Score
Build Quality: 10/10
Cost Analysis: 10/10
Quiet Operation: 10/10

Best build quality available, Superior quiet operation, Lives up to 1337 name

Price puts it out of reach for some

We felt privileged to be able to review a system as well put together as the Steiger Dynamics LEET Core. Our personal feelings about this machine hold it in the highest regards. It is from experience in building and tearing down systems that we know what kind of work goes in to creating an HTPC like the LEET. Time and again we read about how it is not worth spending the money to buy a system like this. We always hear the, “I can build it for half the cost!” excuse being tossed around at boutique system builders.

But is that the case here? Absolutely not. With the silent performance and exquisite beauty of the LEET systems, you can not build a comparable system for half the cost. The one area you can save money is in the case. The OEM custom designed case that Steiger Dynamics offers is expensive, but well worth the price. There is no case, as mentioned before, that comes close to matching it in beauty and performance in the HTPC form factor. You can choose to go with cheaper cases made of less quality material, but you would be doing yourself an injustice. Of course, most of us have budgets and a case like this is out of the question. That means our build will not be as good as the LEET. It is as simple as that.

Case material and component selection are just two factors to consider. Time and labor are calculated in the final cost of the LEET systems. If you spring for the custom cabling and water cooling options, you have to included how much time and labor it would take you to recreate the looks of the review unit we received. Keep in mind that along with the custom designed case, other components like the radiators were custom designed for this system. ASUS has also supplied Steiger Dynamics with a custom BIOS that is tweaked to their needs and requirements.

The attention to detail, time and labor involved and custom designed components and software all add to the cost of a system like this. With a base starting price of $2498, our review unit included $4132 in customizations. A final price tag of $6,630 was the result. We gathered up costs as if we were trying to build this system ourselves and ended up with a price close to $6100. That included the more expensive OrigenAE ST21 that retails for $1200. But, a $530 increase seems well worth it considering the amount of time and effort that goes into building a custom unit like this.

Although the base unit LEET Pure comes with integrated graphics, the price is reflective of the actual costs to the end user (if they were to build their own). There has to be a premium price due to the custom components used in a system like this. Can you build an HTPC that is faster than the base LEET Pure for cheaper? Of course you can. But it will not be as elegant or beautiful. Apple users often spend a lot more money on a machine that is only as fast as something half its price (in some cases). But they buy that more expensive machine because of the quality and design. Why is that when a beautiful and well designed PC asks for a premium, people scoff at the idea? We need to hold ourselves accountable and accept that PCs, and in this case an HTPC, can be well designed and worth the premium over competitors.

Our scoring for the LEET Core gets it 9.9 out of 10. The three criteria listed score it 10 out of 10, but nothing is ever perfect. We knocked off a tenth of a point because we had no way to adjust LCD brightness (which will be added in the future) and because our Windows 8 key was not activated upon receipt of the unit.

Many of our readers complain they have no time to build a custom PC any more and want something with quality and well designed. We say to them, take a look at Steiger Dynamics’ line up of water cooled HTPCs. You will not be disappointed.

Finally, we asked a question at the beginning of the review.

Question: Does it deserve the leet name?

Answer: Without a doubt.

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3 Comments on "Steiger Dynamics LEET Core Water Cooled Gaming HTPC"

  1. Peter January 15, 2013 at 11:05 pm - Reply

    Very very nice system!

  2. Lee January 30, 2013 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    These are sweeeeeet! Getting a Leet next month!

  3. Ilian April 1, 2013 at 9:43 am - Reply

    I bought the Reference system and stated in the review, this is a great product…probably presently best on the market. What they did not mention is the quality of the service. These guys will meet all your requirements to keep you on board. Don’t doubt it..if you have the money go for it!

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