Systems

Time after time we hear reports from market research firms highlighting declining sales in desktop PC shipments. Taken at face value, it is a wonder that boutique gaming system builders ever bother with high end system configurations, but those quarterly figures don't tell the whole story. For one, the market is still being flooded with hundreds of millions of PCs every year. And secondly, PC gamers have been bucking the overall trend for several years now. Jon Peddie Research noted this in one of its most recent GPU shipments report. "If anyone doubted that the PC was the platform of choice for... Read more...
What does your desktop PC say about you? Is your system hiding by your feet and used only for serious business? Is it sitting on the corner of your desk with its window facing the wall because it’s just easier to reach its inputs that way? Or is taking up a third of your workspace with LEDs blazing, screaming “Fire me up!"? If your system falls into the latter category, or better yet, you'd like to have a system in the latter group, you’re the target audience for CyberPower’s new Trinity. Many system builders give lip service to balancing style and performance, but the Trinity’s chassis demands... Read more...
Had things gone to plan, Steam Machines would be a shipping product by now. However, Valve threw a wrench into the works when it decided that more time was needed to tweak its custom Linux-based Steam OS and fine tune the platform's accompanying Steam Controller. That decision left several partnering OEMs and boutique system builders in limbo, as they had already put in the necessary R&D to develop living room boxes that would serve as official Steam Machines. Hence a new category was born -- the PC gaming console. Systems like the Syber Vapor are full-fledged PCs stuffed inside console-sized... Read more...
We’ve been hankering to test out one of CyberPowerPC’s new Zeus Mini SFF gaming desktop models ever since we got some hands on time with it at CES, so we were happy to unpack the black and neon green Zeus Mini-I 780 that CyberPowerPC sent us this week. Small form factor (SFF) PCs are something of a trend these days, and frankly, it’s refreshing to see powerful machines on the market that don’t take up much space and and don’t weigh 50 pounds. However, there are two big challenges a SFF machine must face. One is engineering a system that can fit all... Read more...
Over the past few years, Corsair has steadily ramped up the number and types of computer chassis it manufacturers. The high-end 700D and 800D have been followed by a number of midrange products and one uber-expensive deluxe model, the massive 900D. The case we're reviewing today, the 750D, is meant to drop into the sub-$200 price bracket, where it faces competition from Corsair's own 650D mid-tower as well as a number of other chassis from manufacturers. Despite the name, the 750D is actually somewhat smaller than the original 700D/800D family. Those chassis were 24 inches long, 24 inches tall,... Read more...
Now that Intel’s 4th-generation Core processors are flowing in the market, all your favorite boutique builders are churning out new systems based around those Haswell chips. The new Intel processors require a new socket (LGA 1150), and the associated motherboards have the new Z87 chipset. If you’re as excited as we are to see how Haswell fares, stick around--there’s a lot of good stuff coming down the pike. One of our first Haswell-based system is the CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme 5200, which comes in a surprisingly subdued mid-tower chassis that belies the powerful components inside.... Read more...
Custom PC makers are getting increasingly creative, particularly with small form factor gaming systems. There was a time when the lion's share of the sexiest gaming rigs consisted of high-end components mounted in large, gaudy (but fun) chassis with lots of lights, killer paint jobs, and perhaps a wild mass of liquid cooling tubes and hardware. Although those systems are still around, and we still love to play with them, the boutique builders are using their design and engineering skills to build smaller systems that still pack a mean punch on the performance side. We’re starting... Read more...
New video card launches from AMD and NVIDIA are almost always reviewed on hardware less than 12 months old. That's not an arbitrary decision -- it helps reviewers make certain that GPU performance isn't held back by older CPUs and can be particularly important when evaluating the impact of new interfaces or bus designs. The downside of this policy is that it leaves a gap in product coverage. Gamers with older systems often miss out on whether or not a new graphics card will be a meaningful upgrade for aging systems. That's particularly important as the speed of the desktop replacement cycle has... Read more...
Today we're reviewing a series of mid-tower cases at a variety of affordable price points. These four cases are all marketed towards enthusiasts and ship with what were once considered upscale options, including external water cooling mounts, multiple 120mm fans, screwless installation, removable case vents, and board cutouts for third-party heatsink installation. That's great news if you're tired of seeing full towers get all the high-end love from case manufacturers, but it makes the prospect of picking a single enclosure a bit daunting. We've rounded up options from Antec, Corsair, Fractal,... Read more...
A few months ago, CyberPowerPC unveiled a new line of custom gaming PCs under the “Zeus” moniker that promised impressive specs and features at a relatively low price. As it turns out, there are plenty of Zeus models available (nine at present, by our count), which provides a plethora of starting price points. For $1,125, you can nab a basic Zeus Thunder 1000, but a top-of-the-heap Zeus Thunder Max starts at $3,735. Right smack dab in the middle of the Zeus family price ladder is the Zeus Thunder 2500 SE, a $1,899 rig that CyberPowerPC sent us to play with. Granted, there are plenty... Read more...
We’ve been impressed with what we’ve seen recently from Corsair, and we were glad that the company saw fit to send us a couple more mid-tower cases to pore over and test: the Corsair Carbide 300R compact gaming chassis and the Obsidian 550D quiet case. The two are dissimilar from one another in terms of design and purpose, but we’ve rolled them into a single review here for efficiency and your reading pleasure. Now that we’ve had a chance to explore and test the Corsair Carbide 300R, we’ve become well acquainted with the whole Carbide family, and the little bro is... Read more...
An increasing number of businesses have discovered (or are at least exploring) the benefits of cloud storage. There are cloud options aplenty, from small-potatoes plans designed for a bit of extra storage for a SOHO shop, to massive operations that backup an entire enterprise’s kingdom. It’s an exciting, developing field, and it’s downright fun to see what new tools and services developers are coming up with. CloudBerry Lab has created an intriguing spate of products designed to make managing cloud storage easier, including file explorers for several cloud storage services;... Read more...
  The enthusiast scene is filled with consumers with do-it-yourself attitudes who regularly build their own systems from scratch. In fact, some feel that part of the fun associated with a new build is comparing prices online and asking for advice on tech forums in order to configure the ideal system. Although there are obvious benefits of going this route, there are those who may not have the time to find the lowest prices on each individual component or inclination to assemble a rig unassisted. While an abundance of options are available for consumers who prefer a pre-built system, they usually... Read more...
The CF-S868 Small Form Factor PC Shuttle's Got Some Competition... By, Marco Chiappetta August 28, 2002 After laying your eyes on any of Shuttle's initial small form factor mini systems, you can't help but want one.  Their compact, aluminum design and high level of integration make them suitable for a multitude of tasks.  They're also just plain cool to look at!  There was one notable feature missing from their first few SFF systems though, an AGP slot.  Well, the product we'll be looking at today solves that problem.  The CF-868 "e-cube", also sold under the... Read more...