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CES 2009: BFG Systems, Phobos

Posted by: John at 1/10/2009 2:05 PM
BFG Technologies was on hand at CES to show off their new Phobos line of systems. These high end computer systems will encompass the best of the best and they are aiming at a demographic that wants a very high end machine with all the bells and whistles.  My first thought was in this economy wouldn’t it be tough to try and market a high end system. Like those that buy luxury items, BFG is looking to compete in this area where the consumer isn’t as affected by the economic downturn.

As you can see from the picture, the Phobos system is really slick. The case is pretty much a one piece shell that wraps around the system. The cords in the back all come out from the bottom so it makes it more aesthetically pleasing. Inside it’s cooled via a CoolIT water cooling system.  On the front is a very vibrant touch screen LCD powered by an Ubuntu micro-computer. On the screen are various system specifics as well as a media changer. You can also get a read on your storage status of internal and externally connected devices. The software to control this is open source so if you want to create something specific to your needs you can.  Up close, I was amazed at how nice the screen looked as the pictures don’t do it any justice.

The core system itself will be powered by an Intel i7 CPU and NVIDIA graphics card. Since BFG is a NVIDIA distributor it’s natural they chose that brand to power the graphics. I did ask if they were considering offering up ATI solutions like XFX is doing but they want to stick with one vendor because they want to best service possible. Once you go to multiple vendors it’s harder to get the attention and care you would get if you were solely producing one companies’ products.  In any case, you can expect the best components to be placed internally into the system with the highest end and highest quality parts out there.

Besides the basics, you’ll also have an option of two optical drives with one being a Blu-ray burner. Both are slot loading to complete with the aesthetics of the product. The brand name that BFG is using currently for the burner is from Panasonic as it’s more easily able to obtain than the Sony one. Price though is the same, which runs roughly $600 for the drive, so that’s not an issue. The rest of the setup is customizable with a wide range of options from monitors to input devices.

When you order the system, it comes complete with a concierge service. What does this mean? Well someone will come to your home and set it up for you as well as walk you through a few things. BFG outsources this to a company that has a person in every zip code so you can be sure in the 48 continental United States you’ll have that white glove service when you order the system. You have to use this service on the initial purchase as BFG wants to make sure you have everything you need and questions answered when you receive your system no matter what your knowledge level is.

Now if you want to tinker the system yourself you can. You have to pop off the top, undo two thumb screws, and slide the shell up and out. From there you can access the internals at your convenience. If you don’t want to, you can still use the same concierge service that you get when you initially bought the system to do some updates or fixes for you.

Up close, I think the system is gorgeous and would go great in a living room. It’s really a gaming PC and an HTPC as with the way it’s designed and what it has internally, you can play games at a high resolution and watch a high-definition movie all from this one system. The pricing structure will make it inaccessible to many but again, BFG isn’t targeting the masses with this one.  BFG makes great video cards and power supplies so I have high expectations for their Phobos systems. From my quick look, those expectations have been met and exceeded a little bit.

You can now order a system at http://www.bfgsystems.com.