Systems

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...
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...
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...
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... Read more...
When Valve initially revealed its partners for the company’s Steam Machine, Alienware was one of the first on board. However, since the Steam Machine was delayed, Alienware decided to go ahead and re-package the device. Called the Alienware Alpha, the company has started shipping the device out to consumers who pre-ordered the PC console.The Alienware Alpha has a starting price of $549 with the low end version featuring an Intel Core i3 4130T dual-core processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 500GB hard drive, and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M GPU. The $799 model swaps out the i3 for an Intel Core i5 4590T quad-core... Read more...
Until such time as Valve gets its ducks in a row, those of us who want a console-like Steam experience are sticking with DIY PCs, Big Picture mode and a third-party controller. Digital Storm, however, thinks it has a killer system for your living room Big Picture setup (or for use as your main gaming rig if you’re a mouse and keyboard type) in the newly updated Bolt II. The Bolt II is a midsize system that fits some powerful components into a very sleek, sophisticated case – one that looks as good standing upright as it does on its side, which is an important feature... Read more...
Welcome to the era of dual-mode devices, where the mantra "bigger is better" rules the day. Need an example? Take smartphones -- Samsung's been serving up large size handsets for the past several years, some of which are so big that it warranted creating a brand new category. Even Apple jumped on the big device bandwagon with the recent launch of its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models. Do you know what you end up with if you take that same mantra and apply it to PCs? You get "Dell's XPS 18 Portable All-in-One Desktop with Touch," a hybrid system that turns a giant sized Windows 8.1... Read more...
We’ve seen our share of obscenely tricked-out systems as of late; rigs like the Maingear Rush and Epic Rush, the iBuypower Chimera 4SE FX Ultimate, and the Falcon Northwest Tiki (among others) are bursting at the seams with the hottest hardware, but of course, those systems typically have commensurate price tags. None of the above cost less than $2,700, and the Maingear Rush drains the pocketbook at a whopping $8,393 as configured. Digital Storm’s latest offering, the Vanquish II, take a completely different approach. It still has excellent components inside, but none... Read more...
Unless you’re a gamer or a content-creation professional that requires a lot of computing horsepower, the latest crop of All In One PCs probably seem very attractive. AIOs tend to be quite the lookers, with sleek lines, large and crisp displays, touch capabilities--and of course, a small footprint. We’re starting to see AIOs with better and better specifications too, and although they won’t be your choice of machine for pwning n00bs just yet, products like the Dell XPS 27 Touch offer very solid specifications in addition to a premium user experience and lots of... Read more...
The Intel Haswell-based gaming rigs keep coming. Digital Storm sent us a mid tower gaming machine dubbed the Digital Storm VIRTUE Level 3, which boasts some hot, next-gen components wrapped inside a stoic, unadorned chassis--rather like the CyberPowerPC Xtreme Gamer 5200 we just looked at. Digital Storm says that the VIRTUE was an effort to create a mid tower-sized option that evinced the same care and attention typically devoted to the bigger, showier gaming rigs we’re used to seeing. The VIRTUE is certainly well-made, and there’s surely a market for mid tower rigs, but like the... Read more...
We've hit a turning point in technology, one in which the old ways are, well, old and outdated. Traditional desktops still exist, sure, but bulky towers are fading right before our eyes just like that scene in Back to the Future where the people in Marty's photograph slowly disappear. In place of medium and large-size rectangular boxes are space-saving form factors like Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) and, to a lesser extreme, sleek looking all-in-one (AIO) designs that are winning favor among consumers. At the same time this is happening, increasingly powerful mobile devices are flooding... Read more...
Gaming PCs come in all shapes and sizes, but the small form factor gaming rig is not one that you see all that often. When it comes to tablets, notebooks and small form factor PCs, “thin and light” may indicate the latest and greatest in design and mobile components, but when it comes to gaming, a lithe chassis can be indicative of deep compromises on the performance inside. Digital Storm has tackled the task of building a system that offers both high-performance parts and a small chassis with the Bolt series of custom PCs. Indeed, they nailed it on the compact size; the Bolt’s... Read more...
There's a transformation taking place in the PC market, and despite what the doomsayers might tell you, it has nothing to do with tablets, smartphones, tweener devices like the Galaxy Note, or increasingly media-centric game consoles. No, the transformation we're observing is one where people are trading in their towers and monitors for space-saving all-in-one (AIO) desktops. The AIO form factor isn't new by any means, but for a number of reasons, it's finally starting to gain momentum. And as they become more popular, companies like Dell have begun paying more attention to ways they can improve... Read more...
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