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...

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...

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...

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,...

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,...

Alienware Area-51 R5 (2018) Review: Liquid Cooled GPUs, Skylake-X Firepower

It’s evolving. Alienware’s Area-51 is back with new upgrades to accommodate Intel’s most demanding enthusiast CPU yet – the Core i9-7980XE. Sure, on the surface everything seems similar to previous iterations of the machine, but within something new courses through its veins. The new Alienware Area-51 R5 arrives with liquid cooled GPUs for the first time since the brand was introduced. This is the natural next-step for one of the most powerful gaming desktops. Additional cooling should allow for more performance to be squeezed out of its already impressive hardware to tackle...

Maingear F131 Review: A High Performance Gaming PC Masterpiece

Boutique, custom-built Gaming PCs from some of the more prominent brands are almost always a cut above mainstream pre-built computers from larger OEMs. However, even among premium boutique brands, build quality, design aesthetics and cost can vary greatly. Maingear has delivered its share of ultra-high end killer gaming rigs to us for evaluation over the years, but perhaps nothing so custom and so premium in design as the machine we're about to dig deep on today. We got a look at Maingear's highly custom F131 back at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, and though we came away impressed at the time, it...

Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop 5680 Review: Attractive, Affordable PC Gaming

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...

MINIX Neo N42C-4 Mini-PC Review: A Palm-Sized Quad-Core With Windows 10 Pro

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...

Origin PC Millennium Gaming Desktop Review: Custom Chassis, Blinding Speed

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...

Xidax X-8 Gaming PC Review: Skylake-X And Dual GTX 1080 Ti Cards For The Win

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...

Here Are The Best Products Of CES 2018

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...

Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition Review: Revisiting A Megatasking Beast

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...

Dell Inspiron 27 7000 All-In-One Review: Rocking AMD Ryzen And Radeon

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...

Dell XPS Tower Special Edition (8930) Review: A Coffee Lake-Infused Sleeper Rig

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,...

Streacom DB-4 Silent Kaby Lake Media PC Build: The Sound Of Silence

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...

Exclusive: Ryzen Threadripper 1950X Performance First Look With Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition

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...

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