Desktops

As much as we like piecing together formidable desktop systems crammed full of high end hardware, the future of PC gaming for many mainstream users may lie in more compact setups. Certainly there's been a push to get PC players out of a dank basement and into the living room with Steam Machines and similar console-sized PCs. However, Dell's Alienware division is hoping to take things to the next level with its pint sized Alpha R2 system, an ultra small form factor (SFF) gaming desktop. We have to use the world "desktop" carefully here because the Alpha R2, like its predecessor, is more of a "shelf-top"... Read more...
The Alienware brand is as venerable a name as any in the gaming space. As Alienware celebrates over twenty years in business, its computers have become instantly recognizable thanks to distinctive, out-of-this-world styling, and science-fiction references. Dell purchased Alienware in 2006 to complement its own competing line of XPS-branded gaming machines. However, Dell has kept a largely hands-off approach, allowing Alienware to grow its own business and continue meeting consumer's expectations. So far, it has served both brands well. Alienware currently maintains three desktop families from the... Read more...
It’s been quite some time since we last looked at an all-in-one PC. Although there is clearly a niche market for AiOs, the product segment has always kept a consistent rythm in all facets of computing - consumer, enterprise and SMB. These types of systems appeal to style-conscious users and businesses that need computing utility with good looks, that blends in and stays out of the way. And though many are not powerhouses, a few do catch our enthusiast eye, and one of those few is the Asus Zen AiO Pro Z240IC, which Asus is billing as “The pinnacle of Windows all-in-one PCs.”That may be a stretch... Read more...
The last time we looked at Dell's Alienware X51 series of console-sized gaming PCs was back in mid-2013. Back then we were working with Intel's 4th generation Haswell Core Series processors and NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 600 series GPUs based on their Kepler graphics core. Our man Paul, frankly, was spouting off a bit wildly about aliens serving humans for dinner and, well, let's just say it made for interesting reading. But that was so 2013, and like anything in life, seasons change and architectures evolve. Paul is still nuttier than a fruit cake but that's a different story all together, so we'll... Read more...
Dell's Alienware division has a knack for making a splash with PC system design, whether it's with their big, bad unapologetic notebooks, unique X51 small form-factor PCs, or their no-holds-barred Area-51 killer gaming rigs. In fact, for some folks, Alienware designs can be an either "you love it or hate it" affair. Full disclosure: personally, we tend to be cut from the former affectionate group of performance enthusiasts that generally favor Alienware's outside-the-box design efforts -- and oh boy, Alienware's recent redesign of the Area-51 is way outside the box.   In fact, it's not... Read more...
Valve’s Steam Machine was all the rage at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, but as we enter 2015, the SteamOS gaming platform (and Valve’s tantalizing Steam Controller) are still works in progress. SteamOS hasn’t been written off, but Dell, which was one of the first PC makers to build a custom console-sized system for SteamOS, isn’t waiting around. Its Alienware gaming brand launched the Alienware Alpha, which is meant to be your next (or your first) living room gaming PC. The Alienware Alpha plugs the holes left by Valve with Microsoft hardware and software and a simple 10-ft UI developed in house.... Read more...
It's hard to believe there's a full fledged system packed inside Apple's slim and sexy iMac chassis. It was roughly a year ago when Apple revamped its all-in-one line, tasking the company's engineers to flatten the design as much as possible without sacrificing performance. What emerged was a sleek display measuring just 5mm at its edge with up to 40 percent less volume than the previous generation. It was such a radical design change that Apple had to abandon traditional welding methods in favor of a process called friction-stir welding, which combines friction-generated heat and pressure to force... Read more...
We’ll be taking a somewhat different two-tiered approach with our coverage of AMD’s new Trinity-based APUs for desktop systems today. AMD is lifting the veil on their new product line-up, in addition to graphics performance and power consumption, but we can’t quite give you the full monty just yet, due to a new multi-tiered launch approach AMD decided to take with these products. If you want to see how well AMD’s latest desktop APUs overclock, how their processor cores perform, or how they’re priced, you’re going to have to stop by in a few more days. For now... Read more...
Don't let the doomsayers sell you on the idea that the desktop PC is dead. Far from it, desktops are just now entering their heyday with blazing fast multi-core processors, gobs of RAM, high definition output, SuperSpeed USB 3.0, HDMI connectivity, wireless input devices, and everything else you might find on a modern day system. No, desktops aren't dying; if anything, they're finding new ways of securing a permanent spot in your living room, your office, your dorm room, and even places like your kitchen counter or man cave. All of these areas are places all-in-one (AIO) PCs have been known to... Read more...
Technology moves at a breakneck pace. No one is disputing that. And it feels like just yesterday that we evaluated the Asus 2400ET, a touch-enabled All-In-One desktop that had high-end specifications and a $1,250 price tag to match. Turns out, that was nearly four months ago, and if you aren't interested in a touch panel, a Core i5 processor, and don't have deep pockets, perhaps the scaled-back ET2011 we'll be showing you here is worth consideration. This is a somewhat unique product in the Asus Eee Top ET2011 AIO line up, relying on AMD's Fusion Brazos E-350 APU in lieu of a more traditional desktop processor.... Read more...
Boutique, ultra high-end, desktop and laptop gaming systems are sexy, but they aren't where OEMs make the majority of their money. More modest systems, like the one we'll show you here, drive bulk purchases; today we're reviewing Asus' ET2400IGTS. It's one of the nicer all-in-one systems Asus manufactures and it ships with a number of interesting options. Systems like the ET2400 sell best when the package hits a chord with every day consumers—including those that might call themselves casual gamers, movie buffs, or audio enthusiasts. The fact that these configurations all include monitors... Read more...