Items tagged with Reviews

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...
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...
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 struggled with the decision to start a business around building high performance PCs or around cars.... Read more...
Time after time we hear reports from market research firms highlighting declining sales in desktop PC shipments. Taken at face value, it is a wonder that boutique gaming system builders ever bother with high end system configurations, but those quarterly figures don't tell the whole story. For one, the market is still being flooded with hundreds of millions of PCs every year. And secondly, PC gamers have been bucking the overall trend for several years now. Jon Peddie Research noted this in one of its most recent GPU shipments report. "If anyone doubted that the PC was the platform of choice for gaming, this quarter's results will correct that misconception. The gaming market is lifting the entire... Read more...
Electronics manufacturer, Huawei (pronounced "wah-WAY"), has been around for a very long time. It's the largest telecommunications company in the world, actually, though it doesn't have the same brand recognition in the US versus competitors like Apple, Samsung, or Motorola. We won't delve into all of the politics surrounding the situation, but will note that part of the reason Huawei's consumer footprint in the U.S. isn't more significant is because buyers have been caught in the crosshairs of a strained relationship between the U.S. and China in the tech sector. There's even a ban in place preventing Huawei from bidding on networking equipment contracts for the U.S. government over fears of... Read more...
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...
ASUS takes gaming seriously. So seriously, in fact, that it has two sub-brands dedicated to hardware for gamers. One is the Republic of Gamers (ROG), a brand ASUS created in 2006 to designate products that deliver "innovative hardcore PC performance," and the other is Strix, a more recent creation that's taken from the ancient Roman and Greek word for owl. No, we're not kidding. "Strix means the keenest hearing and sharpest eyesight. Strix means feeling your environment so that you detect and react to the slightest movement. Strix means survival on the very edge of instinct. Strix is in your blood, as it is in ours," ASUS explains. Though the two brands exist separate from one another, ASUS has... 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...
Mechanical keyboards are commonplace now, but that wasn't always the case. For many years, squishy membrane and dome-switch keyboards dominated the landscape in part because they're cheap to produce, and also because typists who've never used anything else didn't really know what they were missing. Imagine trying to describe the taste of ice cream to someone who's only eaten salad. It's no easy task, and before mechanical keyboards rose in prominence, it was similarly difficult to sell typists on a superior plank with a premium price tag.An open-source software company located in Austin, Texas called Metadot Corporation decided to give it a shot, though its initial effort was focused on offering... Read more...
In a broad sense, there are two types of keyboards in this world—those that use mechanical key switches and those that don't. If that sounds like something a keyboard snob would say, so be it, this editor stands guilty as charged, and happily so. We can accept that not everyone will find just cause to spend a premium on a mechanical plank, but one thing we'll never concede is that even the best membrane keyboards are on equal footing as those with mechanical key switches. Stick bamboo under our fingernails (not really) or subject us to a marathon of Matthew McConaughey movies (dear God no!), such blasphemy will never leave our lips. Ah, but you probably know this already, hence why you're here... Read more...
You could almost hear the collective groan from the enthusiast community when Dell announced it had purchased Alienware, in what now feels like 100 years ago. It has actually been just shy of a decade since Dell took ownership, and rather than let the Alienware brand wither into irrelevance like some other boutique vendors that were later absorbed by major OEMs (Voodoo who?), Dell's gaming gear division has continued to thrive and innovate with the help of the company's deeper resources. If we're being totally honest (as we always are), passionate consumers come out of the woodwork whenever the Alienware name is invoked. Some are rational and offer up observational criticism or praise, as well... Read more...
New processor architectures inevitably lead to a flurry of refreshed product lines from PC makers. That's how things have been playing out with Skylake, a "tock" in Intel's tick-tock design cadence and its 6th generation Core processor family. As usual, ASUS is on the bleeding edge with new Skylake systems ready to go, one of which is the ROG G752VT. The specific model ASUS sent us is the ROG G752VT-DH72, a slightly toned down update to the ROG G751JY-DB72 we reviewed back in September. Like that laptop, the G752VT falls into the desktop replacement category and takes aim at gamers with high-end hardware and, the coup de grâce, a 17.3-inch IPS panel supporting NVIDIA's G-Sync technology. If this... Read more...
You don't need a crystal ball to figure out Apple will release a new iPhone handset every year. It's been doing it since the original came out in 2007, and starting with the iPhone 3G, Apple's naming convention has consisted of introducing a new model number every two years, with "s" variants in between. There was the iPhone 3GS in 2009, iPhone 4s in 2011 (the first to use a lowercase "s"), iPhone 5s (and iPhone 5c) in 2013, and now the iPhone 6s/6s Plus. The one thing that's been true of each "s" upgrade is they've all been faster than their predecessors while retaining the same overall exterior design. That's again true of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, though there's quite a bit more here... Read more...
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