Systems

We dig burly, decked-out gaming PCs stuffed with powerful hardware as much as the next guy around here. Sleek, ultra small form factor systems like the MINIX Neo Z83-4 we’ll be showing you here today, however, also have a certain appeal. Powerful gaming PCs are awesome for their intended purpose, but try sticking one in a typical home theater setup and things can so sideways. Not only will it usually look out of place, but there are power, heat, and noise considerations to worry about.  Conversely, a miniscule machine like the MINIX Neo Z83-4 is so quiet and requires such a small amount of... Read more...
It used to be that large physical dimensions were a telltale sign of a Herculean gaming PC. Looming desktop towers with wild looking exteriors indicated the presence of serious hardware inside. Cracking one open might reveal multiple graphics cards and fancy liquid cooling setups, both almost considered prerequisites in order to crank up the eye candy in demanding games and to play at high resolutions. But somewhere along the way, things began to change. While some of the most powerful gaming systems still reside inside gargantuan full tower enclosures, a growing number of decked out desktops have... Read more...
Buying a shiny new car is an easy way to get the latest in-car technologies, but it’s not the most economical. I've had my fair share of new car purchases in the last decade – a 2008 Chevy HHR SS, 2011 Volkswagen Routan SE, 2014 Mazda 5 Sport and a 2015 Nissan Leaf – and driven hundreds of press cars featuring the latest technologies and infotainment systems. Despite new cars being technically superior on paper, the average age of vehicles on the road in 2016 was 11.6 years old, according to IHS Markit. We’ve seen substantial upgrades to the car stereo and infotainment systems in the last decade,... Read more...
The Lenovo IdeaCentre Y710 Cube is a small form factor (SFF) PC aimed at hardcore gamers on the go. The toolbox-size computer packs solid desktop hardware, including an Intel Core i7-6700 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPU, giving it the horsepower necessary to handle most modern games. And, like a toolbox, the Y710 Cube has a handle so you can grab it and go. Compact PCs have become increasingly more popular with gamers who want the power of a desktop system, but don’t want to lug a large PC when the need arises. They’re also popular at LAN events, for the same reasons. Gaming... Read more...
There has always been a parallel between building and modding performance PCs and tuning muscle cars, both of which revolve around squeezing every ounce of power and speed available out of a careful selection of parts, a practice that Maingear helped spread to a wider audience. Maingear took an obsession enjoyed by a niche crowd of overclockers and modders and turned it into a full-fledged business that's now going on 15 years strong. That is not to say Maingear was the first boutique builder on the block. Far from it. However, it might be the only vendor whose founder, Wallace Santos, actually... Read more...
The annual Consumer Electronics Show – CES – is typically chock full of bleeding-edge technology. Numerous companies take advantage of CES as the backdrop to launch or announce new products, and this year's CES 2017 was no exception. But for every killer piece of technology shown off at CES, there are a dozens of chintzy unmentionables that fill the millions of square feet that comprise the show's multiple venues. The Las Vegas Convention center and virtually all of the surrounding upscale hotels and resorts are packed to gills with CES-related tech products every year. It can be tough... Read more...
Over the past couple of years, Dell has been driving a widespread redesign effort of its consumer and commercial product lines and has been systematically been updating both design signatures and the technology platforms within them. Dell's premium consumer XPS product line, perhaps more so than any, has seen the most significant design reinvention, with features that could be classified as "iconic," as with the company's XPS 13 and XPS 15 laptops that employ Dell's Infinity Edge display technology and premium carbon fiber composite materials.  Today, Dell is taking the redesign of their XPS... Read more...
‘Tis the season to stomp on your enemies with the help of new gaming hardware, so we jumped at the chance to fire up a couple of Lenovo’s top gaming machines, a burly 17-inch gaming laptop and a gaming desktop PC designed in conjunction with Razer. Just a small side note: we're actually giving away these machines in the days ahead to a couple of lucky individuals participating in our Lenovo HOT Holiday Giveaway. We thought it might be interesting to preview these to beasts before we gave them away, though.  Regardless, the maker of the ThinkPad line has been fighting its way into the... Read more...
The Gigabyte BRIX Gaming UHD is an exciting small form factor PC prospect. It packs a surprising amount of muscle into a tiny frame. This little flyweight may not sound too beastly with its GeForce GTX 950, but Gigabyte reckons it is more than capable of streaming 4K UHD media and taking a few swings at 1080p gaming with good image quality. Its 4.3-inch square footprint should help it blend into many entertainment centers or find a home on a dorm room desk for work, play, business or pleasure. Most ultra small form-factor computers, by comparison, rely on integrated graphics to due to thermal constraints.... Read more...
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...
Intel's first generation Compute Stick turned quite a few heads, including ours, as it was a remarkable thing to consider that a fully functioning PC could be crammed onto a device roughly the size of a bloated USB flash drive. It wasn't especially powerful—Intel pairing an Atom processor based on its Bay Trail-T platform with just 2GB of single-channel RAM and 32GB of onboard storage—but for $149 with Windows pre-installed (or $99 with Ubuntu) it was an intriguing device that could turn any HDMI-equipped display into a full-fledged PC. Knowing that it was on to something, Intel updated its Compute... Read more...
Season's greetings; it's that time of year again, when we here at Hot Hardware assemble our holiday gift guides for your browsing and shopping pleasure. There was an embarrassment of riches this year, as the industry continued to innovate and come up with interesting new designs based on the latest, greatest technologies. Those of us buying computer hardware demand more and faster from every iteration, and many OEMs usually manage to deliver. Some don't but you won't see them on this list. This list is a collection of some of the best hardware for gifting in four top categories that we think are... Read more...
Microsoft unveiled its first all-in-one desktop system yesterday, known as the Surface Studio. Just in case you missed the announcement, you can find our initial coverage of it right here. We’re not going to rehash all of the specifications and main features again, but to quickly reiterate and provide a little more background, the new Surface Studio is a premium, all-in-one PC that’s outfitted with an Intel processor, NVIDIA graphics, and hybrid storage system. It also has a super-thin, ultra-high resolution 28” / 125mm thin touch display that is optimized for color accuracy and wide viewing angles.... Read more...
As longtime enthusiasts, we tend to get most excited for the latest, big, bad, benchmark-busting specimens of PC hardware to hit the lab. However, there’s something about ultra-small form factor devices that’s intriguing as well. The focus on power efficiency and performance-per-watt from virtually all semi-conductor manufacturers over the last few years has enabled some pretty impressive hardware in fairly tiny form factors, and it’s now possible to have a fully-functional – and rather quick – desktop PC that literally fits in the palm of your hand.Take the Gigabyte Brix S (model number BSi5HT-6200)... Read more...
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