Desktop Computer System Reviews And News

Desktop computers come in all shapes and sizes these days, from traditional floor-standing cases to small form-factor PCs that fit in the palm of your hand. Regardless, each of these different systems and platforms have their pros, cons and distinct feature sets. Find out what your platform and form factor of choice might be, then gain insight into top desktop products and systems from big brands names and high-end boutique builders alike, right here.

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" or "set-top" system. It's only slightly larger than one of Intel's square-shaped Next Unit... 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 small-form factor Alpha to the monstrous Area-51. The subject of today's alien autopsy: the new Aurora... Read more...
In addition to being lots of fun, LAN parties also afford hardcore gamers and enthusiasts a forum to show off their rigs. Dusty, ho-hum home systems are the norm, of course, but there are also some modded systems, decked out with custom cooling, lighting and paint jobs. And, of course, there are the high-end, boutique-built gaming systems as well.Sporting slick cases and the latest hardware, custom gaming PCs always stand out, but they are usually huge beasts that aren’t meant to be carried around regularly. That’s where iBuypower’s Revolt 2 comes in. Designed to deliver head-turning looks and performance, it’s also meant to make your next LAN party trip less of a back-breaker. iBuypower Revolt... Read more...
Boutique gaming PC system builders are a flourishing breed these days with new brands popping up on the scene regularly it seems. It's a testament to the fact that PC gaming, and the hardware the fuels it, is not only alive and well but kicking some major butt, especially with the advent of the eSports industry. Maingear has been building high-end rigs in boutique fashion since 2002 and in the process has racked up many awards over the years, including a few here at HotHardware. Today we're taking a look at a refresh of the Maingear RUSH SuperStock, a series of high-end PCs that we haven't looked at here since mid 2014; which seems like an eternity, so let's get to it. The Maingear RUSH... Read more...
When it comes to high performance, over-the-top enthusiast computers, Maingear is a boutique builder that has been designing and manufacturing some of the most stand-out, highly-tuned systems on the market over the years. Hailing from good ol' Kenilworth, a borough of New Jersey, the custom PC shop likens itself to sort of a "Fast n' Loud" of the PC world, only they typically build systems that offer muscle car horsepower and stylings that are anything but loud, actually. They take this exotic, performance-driven theme very seriously, with shop technicians sporting pit crew styled jerseys and a meticulous build area fit for a Ferrari. The company was started back in 2002 but you might want to... Read more...
Face the facts: if you want a pre-built PC that can play virtually any game at high resolutions with high-quality settings, you're going to have to pay a princely sum. While you could probably build your own PC for less than a pre-built system, boutique builders typically offer a number of benefits in the form of guaranteed overclocks or custom component. Or maybe you just have no interest whatsoever spending all that time installing parts and hiding cables in your case. Though Digital Storm's Bolt 3 isn't the highest-end gaming PC we've tested, it holds its own for its not-so-insignificant price—delivering gaming performance that fits its cost, all built within a beautiful, small form factor... 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 and certainly a bold claim, but the Zen AiO Pro also looks pretty strong on its rap sheet, with a 4K... Read more...
It's hard to believe this year is nearly over. It feels as if our holiday gift guides are being assembled at an ever more rapid pace. Perhaps that has to do with the non-stop innovation in the tech sector, and our insatiable desire for ever-advancing product development. Each year, the leaps in processing power and graphics performance, in addition to the miniaturization and integration of advanced technologies, seems to constantly push the envelope, which means that there are almost always plenty of suitable replacements for our favorite gadgets and gizmos. And if you're on the hunt for gifts for a special someone, we think we've got you covered. From budget products to flagship devices, your... 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 it. The Deepcool Tristellar case used for this system separates the PC’s guts into three distinct “blades.”... 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 just stay on task. The Alienware team has been relatively quiet for the past 18 - 24 months or so with... Read more...
When Xotic PC asked us to be judge and jury of its Executioner gaming system, we thought to ourselves, "this better be one helluva setup to warrant its killer moniker," and spoiler alert, it is. We'll get to the benchmarks and other particulars in due time, but there's more to this $6,500 PC than raw performance alone. Yes, we said $6,500, which is the rounded up cost of the version Xotic PC sent us. When shopping an Executioner, you begin by picking one of four baseline setups dubbed Stages 1-4. Ours is a Stage 4 configuration that starts at just shy of $5,100, though with the custom upgrades Xotic PC decided to showcase, the final price tag is around $1,400 higher. All four Stages come standard... 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 really even a box at all, it's what Dell's Alienware design team calls a "Triad" design.  With... Read more...
Gigabyte's Brix line-up of small form factor systems is the company’s answer to the teeny, tiny NUC from Intel. These ridiculously small PCs pack all the power of a laptop, or a budget desktop, into a box small enough to fit in your palm. These wee PCs are marketed to non-gamers and people who need a basic, no-nonsense PC with a tiny footprint. Think people who need a PC for a kiosk or for basic, day to day computing. These little brick PCs are basically made to mount behind a monitor, and use mobile parts and solid-state components to keep the noise and heat to a minimum. One big difference between these Ultra small form factor PCs and traditional PCs is that these little boxes are mostly sold... Read more...
As Intel (and other chip makers) have been able to shrink its processors, integrate more features, and reduce power requirements over the years, manufacturers have been able to fit them into smaller and smaller form factors. That means notebooks and tablets have gotten thinner, lighter, faster and more portable over the years, of course, but it also means that desktop systems no longer need to be big boxes crammed with numerous components and cooling hardware. In some ways, Intel’s NUC series of products are the epitome of this dynamic. Intel’s NUC systems are ultra-small form factor systems that pack almost all of the features of a full sized desktop, but with minimal expansion options. Intel... Read more...
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