Reviews Of Desktop PCs, DIY PC Builds, All-In-Ones, And Small Form Factor PCs

In-depth product reviews and news of Computer Desktops, DIY PC Builds, All-In-One PCs, and Small Form Factor PCs. If it crunches numbers, pushes pixels, throws down the frag or provides a digital canvass for content creation, you'll find it there.

How do you make the experience of buying from a boutique system builder easier than it already is? If you're Digital Storm, you answer that question by offering a line of pre-configured machines that are fully loaded to meet your budget and ready to ship in 72 hours. Not only do you save the time and energy required to build your own system from scratch, you also skip the exercise in picking out each individual component and then crossing your fingers hoping you've made solid selections. Owning a high performance gaming system doesn't get any easier, and though it's true you rob yourself of the fun and geek XP points that comes from building your own box, not everyone is down with getting... Read more...
Dell's enthusiast gaming PC division has built a legacy on designing over-the-top desktops and notebooks, that push the boundaries of performance and style with an unmistakable design flair.  We've been pretty impressed with the Alienware systems we've looked at thus far, and though they tend to run a premium in terms of price, performance and design quality generally scale along with that higher price tag. On the test track, Alienware notebooks have racked up some of the best performance numbers we've seen and the company's desktops rank right up there as well.  One shape the Aliens have never assumed previously, however, is the small form-factor desktop.  And let's be honest,... Read more...
Alice Cooper sang it wrong, school isn't out forever; with Labor Day in the rear view mirror, school is back in session. That means having to stock up on supplies and investing in essential items to get through the school year; like beer, condoms, and a new PC. You're on your own with the first two, but you've come to the right place for guidance on a new system. We pinged three system builders -- Dell, Hewlett Packard, and iBuyPower -- and asked each one to send us a back-to-school PC equally suited for work and play (read: Mainstream). What we're looking for is a flexible configuration that's able to put its nose to the grindstone during the week to tackle multimedia projects, whether... Read more...
It's been a busy spring for OEMs, and Digital Storm is no exception. Earlier this year, Intel was forced to suspend shipments of Sandy Bridge's accompanying Cougar Point chipset while it fixed a design flaw. This, in turn, left both system OEMs and retail motherboard vendors no choice but to suspend/delay their own Sandy Bridge-based products. Now the market is awash with product refreshes, making it more difficult than ever for any one product to stand out from the crowd. Digital Storm's new Enix appears to pull it off nicely, however, at a (relatively) cheap price compared to many of the boutique systems we've reviewed in the past 18 months. At $3300, our review system is actually an expensive... Read more...
PC gamers are a lucky bunch, particularly those who have only recently begun their journey into the awesome world of computers. Never before has this hobby been so affordable, and there was a time not that long ago when building a cheap gaming rig resulted in a second-rate gaming experience, one devoid of copious amounts of eye candy and buttery smooth frame rates, unless you were willing to crank down the screen resolution until the picture had more blocks than the NES version of Super Mario Bros. Well folks, that isn't the case anymore. Sure, you can still shell out several grand on a decadent machine loaded with only top-end parts, but outside of bragging rights, and the ability to run a handful... Read more...
When you think about the market for a pre-built, proverbial "Killer Gaming Rig," you have to consider the class of consumer that would have interest in this type of system. For the most part, the average do-it-yourselfer isn't going to take much interest here, save for perhaps the appreciation of all the bleeding-edge technology and design quality that is the hallmark of such a system.  That said, there is obviously a significant market opportunity for consumers that want top-of-the line components and build quality for enthusiast-class gaming performance and head-turning aesthetics, without the hassle of going at it the home-grown way.  Dell obviously saw this market opportunity... Read more...
For the last couple of years, Dell's foray into the small-form-factor desktop market was its successful mini-tower (with the emphasis on "mini") Studio Hybrid. But with Dell's latest small-form-factor entry, the Inspiron Zino HD, out goes the vertical mini-tower and in comes the horizontal square--7.8-inches wide by 7.8-inches deep to be exact, and a mere 3.4-inches tall. Like the Studio Hybrid (which Dell still sells), the Inspiron Zino HD (a.k.a. the Inspiron 400) is a solid little machine, with decent mainstream performance, and geared towards budget-minded consumers. Similar to how you could change the Studio Hybrid's looks by swapping out different-colored sleeves, the Inspiron Zino HD can... Read more...
When Intel introduced its LGA1166 Lynnfield processors earlier this fall, one of its goals was to introduce Nehalem's advanced technology at lower price points. To that end, Digital Storm has designed a high-end system around the P55 chipset and Core i5 processor. At a price of ~$1900, the customized system isn't what you'd call cheap, but it's still less expensive than some of the Core i7 PCs we've seen recently, several of which landed between $3100-$4000 dollars. At first glance, the 2.67GHz Core i5 might not seem to be capable competition for Core i7 processors running at 3.2GHz and above, but Digital Storm has a trick up its sleeve. The relatively pedestrian quad-core has, in this case,... Read more...
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 since 2001. It has become fairly well known in the community for building solid computer... 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 not ready for enterprise-level environments. Turns out, the years of stories about back-room deals regarding... 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. It seems they weren't bluffing, not that we doubted them in the first place. Shortly after Intel released... Read more...
Two perpetually, almost fad-like and recurring themes for computing technology in 2008 are low power, environmentally friendly products as well as tiny, small form-factor or ultra-portable machines.  Power consumption and size -- it has become undeniably hip and cool to offer products that cater to the new carbon footprint and mechanical footprint-minded consumer. If you didn't know better, it almost seems like the introduction of Asus' Eee PC started the craze back in Q4 of '07 but clearly, at least small form-factor system have been around for many years.  Some of you will remember Shuttle's line of wildly popular barebones XPCs which... Read more...
Synopsis:  With an Intel Core 2 Duo low power dual-core processor under its hood, this machine is capable in many mainstream user applications and could make for a decent Home Theater PC.  Aficionados may scoff at the system's integrated Intel X3100 graphics, which does not provide full offload processing for HD video.  However, the Studio Hybrid has more than enough power to playback full 1080p resolution content with its Core 2 Duo dual core processor, standard 160GB hard drive and DDR2-667 system memory.  As a minimalistic business-class machine, family computer or college-bound bookshelf computer, the Studio Hybrid has all the basic features... 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 series, and it may be the last. Or at least the last XPS flagship product as we currently know them;... Read more...
Prev 1 2 3 Next