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.

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 10 Pro upgrade will allow the machine to join a domain and offer Group Policy Management, Bitlocker,... 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 and out. As you might expect, the Millennium setup the company sent us is running the latest hardware,... 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 today than it was even just two years ago, let alone when it first arrived on the scene. Even then,... 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 of strategic product blitzes, press releases, and unveiling videos. So we whipped up a quick cheat-sheet... 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 rig such that we even used it as a megatasking demonstration vehicle for our AMD Ryzen Threadripper... 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 been updated since then. In addition, the model we have in for testing happens to be powered by something... 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, but more importantly, it is able to keep pace with sportier looking desktops. To what extent depends... 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 eager for the opportunity to give a proper HTPC another go. The DB-4 is not your average computer... 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 to us by the usual manufacturer press kit, but rather an OEM desktop system from Dell's Alienware... 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 rolls good...   The new Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition shares the Triad chassis design... Read more...
Dave Haynie, one of the chief engineers that worked on the Amiga back in its heyday, put it best when he said, “Amiga users make Macintosh users look like PC users”, in the Viva Amiga documentary that was released early this year. Those of us that were around when the Amiga initially debuted knew Commodore had something special on its hands. At the time of its launch, the Amiga was the most advanced personal computer money could buy – bar none. It offered multimedia features that were unmatched for many years, it was affordably priced (relatively speaking), and was the first personal computer with true multi-tasking capabilities, among numerous other things.Despite the Amiga’s superiority, Commodore... Read more...
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 power, that you’ll wonder why every self-respecting geek doesn’t have a tiny PC attached to their TV.The... 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 gone the opposite route. One of the best examples of this is Origin PC's Chronos line of small form... 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, including the elimination of the cassette and CD players, integrated navigation systems, improved... Read more...
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