Falcon Northwest Tiki 2022 Review: Tiny Gaming PC That Slays

Back in the mid-90s, I recall sitting around with friends at the school lunch table poring over glossy magazines like PC Gamer and the long-defunct PC Accelerator, as well as the immense, phone-book-like Computer Shopper. Sure, you had your Dells, and your Compaqs, and your smaller vendors too, like ZEOS, Quantex, ALR, and the fledgling Alienware. Yet among PC gamers in the 1990s, none of those names held quite the same prestige as Falcon Northwest. Whether it was the high specs of the machines, sleek designs, or their unique, classy advertising, Falcon Northwest established itself as the Bugatti...

Dell XPS Desktop 8950 Review: Intel 12th Gen Tower Of Power

Dell recently reached out and offered a review unit of their newest XPS 8950 desktop. We initially said, "but we've already reviewed that one," to which Dell replied "no, that was the 8940 Special Edition. We've since dropped the 'Special Edition', and updated the hardware. It's got a 12th-gen CPU now, and we made its chassis larger to accommodate more powerful graphics cards, better air flow and ease of access." Fair enough, Dell, send it. So, here it is, the freshly updated Dell XPS 8950 mainstream gaming desktop. Don't be fooled by its understated looks, though. Despite its rather clinical exterior,...

Origin PC Neuron 4000X Review: A Powerful, Clean 12th Gen Gaming PC

Origin PC has been building top-flight gaming rigs for over a decade now, and the attention to detail that the company demonstrates in its builds is right up there with the best of them. There was a time when Origin PC featured custom chassis designs, like the Genesis series of years past, which only Origin had in its line-up. Since being acquired by Corsair, however, there has been a shift in design philosophy that has played out well and has been beneficial to both Origin PC and its customers. This integration with Corsair has enabled Origin to create a tight-knit ecosystem within its gaming...

Maingear CEO Patents Gaming PC Innovation That Dramatically Simplifies Cable Management

We recently became aware of Gigabyte's beautiful Aorus Project Stealth PC concept, with connectors and cable routing moved behind the motherboard deck, in what seemed to be a truly innovative gaming desktop design with better air flow and an easier build process. It appears, however, that Maingear patented the design 10 years ago and pitched a number of partner on it at the time. So, what gives? Was Maingear ripped off? And is this the new efficient and ultra-clean PC build of the future? Show Notes: 06:43 - Meeting Maingear's CEO, Wallace Santos 14:01 - Touring The Maingear Facility BITD (Link...

Falcon Northwest Talon (2021) Review: Alder Lake Takes Flight

It hasn't been long since we last took a look at the 2021 version of the Falcon Northwest Talon, and found it to be impressive. However, it’s finally time for Intel’s Alder Lake 12th Gen Core processor launch and we all know what that means -- a deluge of reviews with tons of charts and opinions for you to digest. Of course, we've got you covered, too, with our in-depth review of the Intel Core i9-12900K and the Core i5-12600K, for everyone wanting to sink their teeth into the finer points of Intel's new platform. However, this launch also marks a chance for OEM system builder...

Alienware Aurora R13 Review: Alder Lake Invades Dell's Gorgeous Revamped Gaming PC

If there's been one drawback to Alienware's previous gen Aurora desktop series, it's that the systems we've gotten in for review have made a bit of a racket at times. These systems have always been well-equipped with the latest hardware and turn in some great performance, but their noise floor has sometimes been a drawback compared to some competitive offerings. It doesn't matter if we're looking at an Intel-powered version or its AMD-equipped counterpart, previous Aurora systems have tended to be louder than their 40-liter volumes suggested they should be. Regardless, It should come as no...

Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 Review: All-AMD Gaming Value

We are no strangers to Alienware’s Aurora line of gaming PCs here at HotHardware. In fact, we have reviewed many Aurora systems over the years, and for good reason. Aurora desktops embody the essence of a powerful, mainstream prebuilt rig, with semi-custom, almost boutique styling, in a manner that makes them more attainable for the masses. Yet, every time we receive an Aurora in for review, it has something added we have not seen in the family before and this Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition is no exception. Strictly speaking, this is also not the first time we have had an Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition...

Falcon Northwest Talon Review: Killer Bird Of Prey Gaming PC

Even if you have never owned one, because of the long-standing boutique quality of their systems, there is a good chance you have heard of Falcon Northwest. Falcon Northwest is one of the earliest and now most well-known boutique system builders around. If I can break from the "royal we" for a moment, Falcon Northwest was a brand I have lusted after for decades, but never allowed myself to purchase, for the same reason I do not own a Ferrari. It's fast, it's sexy, but a Honda Insight, while not as flashy, is closer to my income level. Life choices and what not. Just as Ferrari offers no apology...

Lenovo ThinkStation P620 Review: Beastly 64-Core Performance

When it comes to high-end content creation, time is money. Businesses with employees that are stuck sitting around waiting for compute-intensive tasks to finish, simply can't get as much accomplished as those with speedy hardware that can power through the most demanding tasks. Tons of parallel processing power and professional-tier graphics cards for these scenarios don't come cheap, but they can certainly pay dividends in terms of efficiency and time saved. That's the story of Lenovo's ultra-powerful ThinkStation P620 workstation, which is on our test bench today.  Breaking this system from...

Dell XPS Desktop Special Edition 8940 Review: A Sleek Gaming Rig

A powerful PC does not have to be loud or flashy, not in today's era of computing. Proving this to be the case is Dell's refreshed XPS Desktop Special Edition, available in two subtly attractive trims: Mineral White (as seen here) and Night Sky. While each are eye catching in their own right, neither one makes the same visually bold statement as Dell's Alienware desktops, which have evolved over the years and still maintain a distinctly different -- you might even say, otherworldly -- aesthetic. The XPS Desktop is dressed in more conservative garb, but still packs a punch. Or as Dell...

Alienware Aurora R11 Review: Savage RTX 3090 Infused Lifeform

If there is one thing we can count on whenever hot new component hardware arrives, it's that it will not be long before Dell integrates it into their Alienware gaming systems. So naturally, with the release of Nvidia’s latest and greatest GeForce RTX 3080 and 3090 graphics cards, it was no surprise to see Alienware desktops already shipping out with these cards on deck. The Alienware Aurora R11 we have in our lab today features Dell's highest-performance configuration with an RTX 3090 to create what representatives at Dell are calling a “Benchmark Bruiser.” We will, of course,...

Rage Against The eMachine: A Ryzen And Radeon Retro Revival

The late 90s and early 2000s was a special era for personal computing. We saw PC prices drop drastically, we moved from dial-up to broadband, and we dealt with Windows ME while waiting for XP to arrive. While some of us went the DIY route at the time, many started with a prebuilt rig purchased from a brick and mortar retailer. One of the more notable brands during that era's race to the bottom was eMachines, founded in 1998 and later acquired by Gateway, which was then acquired by Acer. Plenty of "Never Obsolete" eMachines systems were sold to budget users back then and they helped introduce a...

EK Fluid Gaming 270 Conquest Review: Immaculate PC Gaming

Back at PAX East 2020 in March, we were captivated by the systems we saw at the EK booth that all featured an incredibly clean looking hard line liquid cooling setup. We were surprised to learn, however, that these were not custom builds on display to showcase EK’s renowned water blocks and fittings. Instead, EK has jumped into the boutique pre-built computer space with a line-up they are calling EK Fluid Gaming. The Fluid Gaming systems are a bit of natural offering for EK. The bulk of the gaming PC market is incredibly competitive and price sensitive. Instead of wheeling and dealing...

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...

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