Maingear Turbo Review: A Jaw-Dropping Mini-ITX Gaming PC

Full disclosure, I've never been much of a mini-ITX form factor kind of guy. I mean I get the allure of a space-efficient PC design that can more easily integrate in to an office or home environment, but there are almost always caveats. Typically the trade-offs are either sacrificing performance and features, or you end up having to tolerate the noise of a small and overwhelmed cooling solution. And so when I considered the Maingear Turbo for evaluation here, at first I wasn't all that enthused. However, it seems the folks at Maingear, a highly respected custom performance PC builder out of New...

Making A Young Gamer's Wish Come True: Doug's Fantastic Gaming PC Build

The good people at Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island have been helping kids with critical health conditions make their dreams come true for decades now. Founded in 1980, Make-A-Wish "grants wishes for children between the ages of 2½ and 18 years of age with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. For a child with a life-threatening illness, a wish fulfilled provides profound joy and lasting hope to keep fighting and dreaming for the future." In its 32-year history, the organization has granted over 8,500 wishes for...

Intel NUC10i7FNH Review: Powerful, Palm-Sized 6-Core Mini PC

Intel has been steadily updating, upgrading, and augmenting its line-up of small form factor NUC systems for many years now. Initially, most of the systems had a similar design language, but over time, Intel has expanded its offerings to address the needs of many more customers and potential use cases. Recently, we took a look at the beefy, high-performance “Ghost Canyon” NUC 9 Extreme and a couple of years back got the chance to play with its spiritual predecessor, the Kaby Lake-G-based “Hades Canyon” with AMD Radeon Vega graphics. The tiny machine we’ll be covering...

SilverStone Fara B1 Review: An Affordable, Stylish PC Case

SilverStone released a handful of new cases and coolers a few months back, targeting an array of price points for DIY PC builders. One of the more affordable additions to the line-up was the SilverStone Fara B1 mid-tower we're evaluating today. The Fara B1 is priced to move at about $60, but it has the looks and features of much more expensive cases. Of course, looks can be deceiving, so we decided to get our hands on the Fara B1 to see if its worthy of consideration for your next budget-friendly desktop #PCMasterRace build. We are going to get down and dirty with the SilverStone Fara B1 and...

Intel NUC 9 Extreme Ghost Canyon Review: Pint-Sized Powerhouse

We got our first taste of Intel's new NUC 9 Extreme, codenamed Ghost Canyon, back at CES 2020 earlier this year. Like previous Intel NUCs, the NUC 9 is a small form factor system that will be sold in a variety of flavors. The NUC 9 extreme will be offered in barebones configurations, where customers must purchase memory, storage, and an OS on their own, or as fully configured systems, with a mix of CPU options. This time around, though, Intel is leveraging its innovative Compute Element to enable future CPU and IO upgrades, and is also empowering ecosystem partners to offer customized versions...

MiSTer DIY: Accurately Simulating Retro Game Consoles With FPGAs

Fully-assembled MiSTer FPGA DIY console It seems like it wasn't too long ago that we crowned the Raspberry Pi 4 as one of the best retro game consoles around. Indeed, the Raspberry Pi foundation's latest single-board computer still a low-cost DIY powerhouse. However, retro gamers are picky about one thing that haunts many software emulation solutions that run on the likes of the Pi 4 or an NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV -- and that's lag. Thanks to a talented group of developers and some off-the-shelf parts, the MiSTer project aims for a lag-free, higher quality, more accurate retro gaming experience....

Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra Review: The New Disappearing Desktop PC

Dell's new OptiPlex 7070 Ultra desktop PC features a new innovative design approach that's sleeker and more useful than traditional small form factor machines, when integrating them with standard displays. Small form factor PCs, like the Intel NUC, Gigabyte BRIX and ZOTAC ZBOX, tend to include VESA mounts for easy attachment to the back of your monitor for a cleaner, all-in-one PC-like appearance while using a standard monitor. The flaw in that methodology is not all monitors have VESA mounting holes on the back and the ones that do tend to either have basic stands that have minimal adjustments...

Build A Great Rig With HotHardware's PC Components Buyer's Guide, Just In Time For Black Friday

Welcome to HotHardware's PC Component Buyer's Guide, where we help prospective system builders pick out just the right collection of components to build the rigs of their dreams -- or at least the rig which makes the best use of your budget. We've picked out the best bang for the buck in processors, graphics cards, storage, and more in an effort to assemble some truly drool-worthy gaming PCs at a variety of price points. From top to bottom, rest assured that we've done the hard work of balancing price and performance in a way that gets the most performance possible from a given budget. Because...

Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition Review: A 3950X Invasion

Intel had a deathgrip on high-end gaming PCs for years while AMD's processors struggled to provide enough gaming performance to be competitive in the high end enthusiast tier. The tide has recently turned, however, and this summer AMD's Ryzen 3000 series of Zen 2-based 7nm processors took the world by storm. As a result of this monumental shift, Dell's gaming products division, Alienware has more recently started offering AMD's CPUs in its desktop lineup for the first time since the glory days of AMD's Phenom II. Previously we took a look at a Threadripper-powered Alienware Area-51 desktop, but...

Falcon Northwest Talon Review: A 12-Core Ryzen Powered Battle Station

Update: 11/9/19 - You could WIN a machine just like this, only with a killer Outer Worlds paint job, in our 20th Anniversary Giveaway! Falcon Northwest has been in the boutique PC building game since 1992, but the company's Talon desktop PC didn't hit the market until 1999. Ironically, that's about the time HotHardware.com came into being on the interwebs, but we digress. The first Talon came loaded with a AMD Athlon 500MHz processor, a 13.5GB hard drive, 64MB SDRAM, and the Pièce de résistance: a 3dfx Voodoo3 graphics card. Yeah baby, good times. These specs are laughable by today's standards,...

How To Overclock Raspberry Pi 4 Over 2GHz For A Tasty Speed Bump

The Raspberry Pi 4 is one of the cheapest single-board computers around, and thanks to its substantial performance boost over its predecessors, it also represents a good bang for the buck if you're interested in learning Linux, or just want to kick back and play some of your favorite retro games in Lakka. The good news is, the latest version of the Raspberry Pi Foundation's Linux distribution, Raspbian Buster, comes with a new firmware revision for the tiny system which removes the previously imposed 2 GHz clock speed limit and loosens restrictions on voltage boosts, so of course we had to...

The Killer 32-Core AMD Threadripper Build You'll Love To Hate

We recently had the chance to spend some time with the folks at Maingear HQ and built a beautiful, water-cooled AMD Rzyen 3000-based rig. That system was destined for Dave’s lab and has become his daily workhorse – in fact, that rig produced the video you’ll see below. Not long after we took that trip to Maingear though, my personal rig started acting up. I have been rocking an Ivy Bridge-based system for about 7 years now that has made it through multiple OS upgrades and served me quite well. I had been planning to build a new rig for many months, but my current rig had been...

Raspberry Pi 4 With Lakka May Be The Best Retro Game Console Yet

Back in June, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced their newest single-board computer, the Raspberry Pi 4. This tiny PC packs a quad-core Cortex A72 SoC from Broadcom and up to 4 GB of DDR4 memory at a very attractive price. While aimed at emerging markets for folks new to computers, the Pi really caught on with retro gamers and "makers" in general from the start. The latest Pi has a whole lot more computing horsepower than the last iteration, but software support hadn't quite caught up—until just now. The LibRetro team released Lakka version 2.3 with a ton of new features, a retro gaming...

Maingear Vybe: Building A Liquid-Cooled AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Performance Desktop On Location

AMD's Ryzen 3000 series processors have made a positive impact on the PC enthusiast market, the likes of which we haven't seen in years. From a performance-per-dollar standpoint, AMD's disruptive Zen 2 architecture offers a strong value proposition for new desktop PC builders from all walks of life and for many use cases including gaming, content creation and other workstation-class requirements. In fact, we were so impressed by Ryzen 3000 series processors in our launch review, that we decided we needed to have AMD's new architecture in our production flow here at HotHardware. This also presented...

Fractal Design Define S2 Vision RGB Case Review: Premium DIY PC Chassis

Fractal Design released it highly acclaimed Define S2 case a little over seven months ago and they are already back with a new iteration, the Fractal Design Define S2 Vision RGB. That's a mouthful, but even if the name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, this DIY PC chassis is easy on the eyes. The Fractal Vision S2 RGB takes everything that made the Define S2, and the Fractal R6 before it, great but it but now it brings RGB lighting and tempered glass panels into the mix. We aren't talking just a single tempered glass panel here, however. Fractal has literally surrounded the case with...

Maingear Vybe 2019 Review: Fast, Quiet, Clean, And Ready To Ship

One of the advantages to owning a custom PC from a boutique builder is the meticulous attention to detail. Tight cable management is not just a perk, it is an expectation when paying a premium for a boutique shop to assemble your rig with off-the-shelf components, and having to wait a bit longer compared to buying from a bulk OEM is an inherent trade off. Or is it? Maingear, a stalwart in the boutique space, would argue otherwise. Maingear Vybe At PAX East 2019 - AMD Ryzen Edition Earlier this month at PAX East, Maingear announced what it is calling the Vybe Enthusiast Platform. You might already...

HP OMEN Obelisk Review: Powerful, Easily Upgradeable Gaming PC

Purchasing a powerful, good-looking gaming PC used to require a visit to a boutique PC maker or a custom-built system from a local computer shop. There was a time when you couldn’t simply walk into a Future Shop or CompUSA and pick up something roughly equivalent to a DIY gaming system. Nowadays though, PC gaming has gone mainstream, and all of the OEM major players offer ready-built systems that cater to those that may not have the desire to build their own. What if you don’t have the time or skills to build your own system, but want reputable, name-brand components and a PC that could...

Alienware Aurora R8 Review: A Compact RTX Gaming Powerhouse

Dell-Alienware's Aurora gaming desktop PC lineage continues with Intel's latest 9th Gen Core processors on board and a fresh injection of ray-tracing, courtesy of NVIDIA's Turing GPUs. The Alienware Aurora R8 promises richer image quality for ray-tracing supported titles, while continuing to push performance boundaries for a compact gaming PC, with evermore powerful platform hardware and self-contained liquid cooling. RTX equipped configurations can span from an Intel Core i7-9700K paired with a GeForce RTX 2070OC, 16GB of DDR4 2666MHz RAM, and a 128GB SATA SSD + 2TB HDD system for around $2,159,...

Intel Bean Canyon NUC Review: 8th Gen CPU With Iris Plus Graphics

Intel has embraced small form factor systems for many years. Whether it be high-end mini-PCs like the Hades Canyon NUC, complete with discrete graphics for gamers, or ultra-tiny devices like the Compute Card, Intel has consistently pushed small form factor markets forward, for just about as long as ‘performance per watt’ has been a thing. The Hades Canyon NUC and Compute Card target some rather niche markets, however. For more mainstream, everyday computing applications, Intel’s standard 4"x4” NUC (Next Unit of Computing) systems are much more apropos, and the Intel NUC8i7BEH...

HotHardware's Best Of CES 2019: Laptops, Displays, Systems And More

The Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, is one of the biggest events in the Tech space each year. We typically see a dizzying array of new products launch during the week of CES; more than we are likely to see in the following few months. Not all products are block-buster standouts though, and some of these technological spectacles inevitably shine brighter than others. After sifting though all the products we saw last week, we've compiled a list of the best products that we got time with at CES 2019. And with that, we'll just dive right in... Asus ProArt PA90 Asus's ProArt PA90 is a cylindrical...

Sony PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Marvel Spider-Man Limited Edition Console Unboxed

To celebrate the launch of Marvel's Spider-Man, the hotly anticipated game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment exclusively for the PlayStation 4 Pro, Sony released a limited edition PS4 themed after the arachnid super hero. Themed consoles are nothing new, though this one seems to have struck a cord with gamers. Every time a retailer replenishes its inventory, it sells out faster than Peter Parker can change from an unassuming teen to a web-slinger in tights. Lucky for me, I was able to snag one at my local Walmart, which for a brief period of time claimed...

Commodore's Beloved Amiga Is Being Revitalized With Updated Retro Hardware

Although it has been over three decades since the first Commodore Amigas were originally released, a fan base for the beloved systems is still going strong. Of course, the Amiga install base is a small fraction of what it was during the machine’s heyday, but the community supporting the Amiga is still vibrant and very much alive. In fact, the Amiga community – and many other retro-computing communities for that matter -- seems to be more active now that it has been in years, and a number of exciting new hardware projects have cropped up or hit major milestones in recent weeks. Two relatively...

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