Desktops

There are a litany of reasons why you might consider buying a gaming PC rather than rolling your own rig, including cost. Yes, many graphics cards have recently settled down closer to MSRP, but who knows if they will go back up again? On top of that, system memory is still trending on the high side (compared to a year or two ago). For the most part, pre-built systems have been somewhat sheltered from these volatile markets relative to the channel. That means the opportunity still exists to get into PC gaming at a reasonable price with a pre-built PC; Dell's Inspiron Gaming Desktop (5680) is... Read more...
MINIX offers a wide assortment of ultra small form factor (SFF) systems targeting an array of use cases, from home theater PCs and digital signage to other industrial applications. Despite their diminutive size, the machines are typically full-featured and come with memory, storage, and an operating system – either Windows or Android depending on the model. The new MINIX Neo N42C-4 we’ll be showing you here today is a Windows-based system, but unlike previous models in its class this one includes Windows 10 Professional, rather than the more common Windows 10 Home. The Window... Read more...
Origin PC has been making the case for buying a premium PC from a boutique builder, ever since its founders set up shop in Florida nearly a decade ago. A little more recently, Origin PC started quite literally making the case, designing a custom chassis for its Genesis (full-tower) and Millennium (mid-tower) desktops that were first introduced in 2014. We are now in 2018 (barely) and to drive home the pun, Origin PC is still making the case (get it?) for these desktop lines. With a new year came an opportunity for Origin PC to refresh these desktops, and that is exactly what it did, both inside... Read more...
If you've shopped for a custom built gaming desktops recently, you might have come across a company called Xidax, a relative newcomer to the boutique building scene. Xidax launched online in 2013, right in the midst of a resurgence in PC gaming. To some, it may have seemed downright crazy at the time to enter a market that had previously chewed up and spit out other players (does anyone remember Hypersonic?). But Xidax forged ahead anyway in hopes of rising in the ranks of brand recognition. Xidax is not quite there yet among the more established brands, though it is definitely more recognizable... Read more...
CES 2018 has come to a close, and so begins the arduous wait, for some of the exciting devices we saw, to come to market. The Consumer Electronic Show held in Las Vegas, Nevada is where companies come to tout new wares and announce upcoming products and technologies. While some of the cool tech that was shown leaves us with that "shut-up and take my money" feeling, it’s often not retail-ready, with months of lead-time separating consumers from getting their hands on the geek goodness we spied last week. For those who couldn’t attend the show, it can be difficult navigating the CES myriad... Read more...
When we looked at Dell's Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition gaming desktop earlier this year, the machine was still technically in a pre-production state. Though we took you on a preliminary guided tour of the system, we felt it premature to look at it under our full-review lens. At that point we were still doing emergency alien brain transplants on it, after all, bringing the machine we had up to production silicon specs, by replacing the pre-production AMD Threadripper chip that shipped with our system. Eventually, things matured with this beastly Threadripper-powered Alienware... Read more...
Dell has continued to push the recent design innovations of its premium XPS family further down its product stack, in an effort to enhance its mainstream consumer products as well. When we reviewed Dell’s XPS 27 7760 All-in-One desktop PC earlier this year, we were impressed with its performance, features, and design aesthetic, including its impressive sound system. Continuing that effort to marry both form and function, we received the new Dell Inspiron 27 7000 All-in-One desktop for review. It turns out this system was the winner of a 2017 COMPUTEX Design and Innovation Award, but it has... Read more...
Anyone who is into street racing knows never to assume what the other driver is rocking underneath the hood. Sure, that family sedan may look like it would get throttled by a Mustang or Camaro, but if it's sporting a souped up engine inside and maybe even a shot of NOS, it will burn rubber with the best of them. Likewise, Dell's updated XPS Tower Special Edition desktop system rolls to the line with a subdued style that seemingly belies what lays inside its compact chassis. Make no mistake, the XPS Tower SE is not a run-of-the-mill OEM system. It has some unique features that we will get to shortly,... Read more...
The sound of silence -- there’s nothing like it, especially when it comes to a media PC. The last thing anyone wants while binging on the new season of Game of Thrones is the distracting drone of a fan or whir of a hard drive. Silence is precisely what the Streacom DB-4 chassis we'll be featuring here has to offer. I’ve been wanting to build a Home Theater PC (HTPC) for years now. My current rig actually started life as an HTPC, but was soon upgraded for gaming and workstation tasks and now lives under my desk instead of in my living room. When Streacom reached out to us to review the DB-4, I was... Read more...
AMD's Ryzen series of next generation desktop processors have garnered a lot of buzz and praise around the web, but among the family of chips, none have created quite the stir as the company's Threadripper models of 16-core and 12-core processors.  While Ryzen helped propel AMD back to essentially performance parity with Intel Core series processors, Ryzen Threadripper offers the hope of surpassing even Intel's latest Core i9 Skylake-X family, with more core resources and PCIe connectivity at its disposal. As it turns out, our first hands-on experience with AMD Ryzen Threadripper wasn't afforded... Read more...
When Dell announced in June that its Alienware gaming division would be the exclusive OEM partner for pre-built 16-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper systems, we figured Alienware would have a jump on the rest of the OEM pack, but we never thought they'd have this much of a head-start. In fact, we have Ryzen Threadripper test kits still incoming from AMD, but Alienware beat them to the punch here with delivery of the all new Area-51 Threadripper Edition. So naturally, we fired-up this 16-core multi-shredding beast post haste to get a look at what it's made of and how she rolls. And let's just say, she... 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...
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...
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