Gaming

Boutique system builders tend to fall into three categories, there are the more custom or high-end offerings from some of the larger names like Dell/Alienware or HP/Voodoo (though you may or may not classify them as "boutique"), there are offerings from large e-tailers like Tiger Direct's SystemMax, and then there are independent companies as well, obviously.  A few of the major names in this third category are MainGear, Velocity Micro and the company whose product we have on the bench for you today--Digital Storm. Digital Storm as a company has been around... Read more...
Turn the clock back to the middle of this decade, and the idea of a Dell system using an AMD processor would be considered facetious at best. Dell, had been an Intel-only shop from the beginning, and had only toyed with AMD processors from time to time in highly niche market systems. Many AMD fans considered Dell's acceptance of AMD processors as the holy grail for mainstream adoption in the PC market, a single act which would save AMD once and for all. Intel-fans would no longer point to the PC making behemoth as proof that AMD processors were somehow sub-par and... Read more...
Since you are here, reading this and potentially some other articles and news about PC hardware, you've probably attended or at least heard of LAN parties. The main point of LAN parties is, of course, to play video games with your peers on networked PCs. Another fun aspect of LAN parties, especially big events like QuakeCon, is that you get to see all the cool, unique hardware that party goers bring. We're sure some people really get a kick out of showing up the competition with awesome mods and paint jobs. Not everyone has the desire to mod or paint their own systems, though. That's where a company... Read more...
Toshiba’s Qosmio X305 is the company’s flagship gaming notebook line, with configurations that include dual graphics cards, dual storage drives, and the latest Intel Core 2 quad-core processors. At CES, Toshiba introduced a new Qosmio X305, the X305-Q725, which competes with the company’s higher end X305-Q708, but at a much better price ($2,699.99 vs. $4,199.99). A red beast of a machine, the Qosmio X305-Q725 is stacked with the new low cost Intel Quad Core Q9000 processor along with hybrid storage and a powerful NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GTX GPU that can handle all of today's hottest games. All of... Read more...
Synopsis:  As Gaming Notebooks go, there are always going to be trade-offs to make and a balance to strike between performance, weight, and cost.  The Asus G50Vt strikes a happy medium, weighing in at 7.5lbs and around $949 at retail outlets like Best Buy with higher-end SKUs online.  Our system, powered by a Core 2 Duo P8400 at 2.26GHz and an NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GS graphics engine, offered top-end multimedia performance and lots of gaming horsepower for all the latest titles.  We'd gladly recommend this machine to anyone looking for a powerful desktop replacement or semi-portable... Read more...
We evaluated the original Dell XPS 730 in early May, shortly after its initial release. At the time, it was Dell's latest high-end gaming machine and the word on the street was that it would be the last to carry the XPS badge. Moving forward, Dell was to concentrate on their Alienware gaming brand and the XPS brand would lose its gaming focus to embrace multimedia and content creation. Naturally, we checked with Dell directly and while they did confirm the rumor, they also assured us that the XPS 730's life wouldn't be cut short and it would go on to live through a full product cycle.... Read more...
On November 19, Microsoft released its new dashboard, dubbed "The New Xbox Experience". This free firmware update is mandatory for all consoles that connect to Xbox Live, and aims to redefine how users both use the Xbox and interact online. The new update completely overhauls the existing blade-style interface, moving to a much more flowing, intuitive design. It promises to keep and improve upon legacy features, while adding new content and functionality. Existing themes, gamer pictures, or backgrounds will work just fine in the new interface. However, the previous dashboard, which... Read more...
Whenever AMD or Intel release a new processor and chipset platform, you can bet there’s going to be a good amount of excitement surrounding the release, along with anticipation as we eagerly await the arrival of systems that incorporate the new technologies. Velocity Micro’s new Edge Z55 Intel Core i7 Gaming System is out and we’ve had the chance to run it through our tests to see just how it stacks up. As you’ll see, the new Intel Core i7 CPU and X58 chipset enables the Velocity Micro Edge Z55 Gaming System to hold its own against the elite PCs of just a few months ago.The new Core i7 brings with... Read more...
Unlike the enthusiast system manufacturers, Alienware and VoodooPC, Richmond, Virginia-based Velocity Micro is still an independent, privately held company. In fact, Velocity Micro is doing well enough on its own to have even purchased the enthusiast, boutique system maker, Overdrive PC last year. On top of that, Velocity Micro is one of the few (if only) independently owned, U.S.-based, high-end gaming systems manufacturers that--in addition to selling direct--also sells its systems at Best Buy and Circuit City. That's a claim that even Velocity Micro's competitors, Oregon-based Falcon Northwest,... Read more...
Synopsis:  Dell's XPS M1730 is a powerful Desktop Replacement notebook designed with the performance enthusiast in mind.  Sleek styling and custom lighting adorn this beastly, semi-portable machine that weighs in at well over 10lbs.  Gaming and multimedia performance with the M1730 is top notch, with frame rates across its beautiful 17" 1920X1200 LCD holding strong in even the most demanding games and HD content.  Though it's not cheap, the Dell XPS M1730 offers great performance, fantastic build quality and eye-catching good looks.  A more detailed review can be found... Read more...
Early last year, Antec launched their gaming line of cases with the Antec Nine Hundred - instantly garnering praise throughout the PC enthusiast crowd.  Its main claim to fame was the complete openess of the front bezel, using perforated bays and 120mm fans to keep airflow rushing inside.  Also notable was the expansive interior, bottom-mounted power-supply unit, and oversized "Big Boy" 200mm fan placed at the top that allowed some massive cooling over the CPU socket area.  We were able to take a look at the Nine Hundred ourselves and were pretty impressed overall, although... Read more...
In the last six months we've seen a wide variety of cost effective, yet powerful, video cards hit the market. First came NVIDIA's superb GeForce 8800 GT last October which, despite being introduced at an upper mid-range price point, provided top-notch performance not far off from the best cards of the day at nearly 1/3 the price. The 8800 GT was followed closely by the launch of the thrifty GeForce 9600 GT just a few months later which provided similar performance for even less. Then, last week, ATI fired back with the excellent Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon... Read more...
Dell's XPS branded products have come a long way since they first appeared in 1993. Starting life as a performance trim for the Dimension product line, Dell has nurtured XPS into a well-known and respected premium performance brand. While not all XPS branded products are specifically targeted at gamers, gaming has always been at the core of the product line-up. The XPS brand's flagship desktop and notebook products have always been heavily gaming oriented, but it looks like that is set to change.The XPS 730 is Dell's latest XPS flagship desktop product, the fourth generation of the XPS 700... Read more...
Enthusiasts are familiar with the Smooth Creations team as the artists behind the airbrushed gaming rigs from the likes of Falcon Northwest, Alienware, and Maingear. Not as many may be aware, however, that Smooth Creations has recently expanded from the realm of painting cases to that of building and selling painted, customizable systems and laptops as well. These are not your grandfather's systems--they are all high-end gaming rigs with the specs and price tags to prove it. For HotHarware's April sweepstakes, we partnered with Smooth Creations and Diamond Multimedia to create a truly... Read more...
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