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...

Alienware Area-51 Ryzen Threadripper Edition Hands-On With Benchmark Annihilation

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...

Origin PC Chronos Review: A Powerful Small Form Factor Desktop PC For 4K Gaming

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...

Lenovo IdeaCentre Y710 Cube Review: Big Gaming Performance In A Small Package

The Lenovo IdeaCentre Y710 Cube is a small form factor (SFF) PC aimed at hardcore gamers on the go. The toolbox-size computer packs solid desktop hardware, including an Intel Core i7-6700 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPU, giving it the horsepower necessary to handle most modern games. And, like a toolbox, the Y710 Cube has a handle so you can grab it and go. Compact PCs have become increasingly more popular with gamers who want the power of a desktop system, but don’t want to lug a large PC when the need arises. They’re also popular at LAN events, for the same reasons. Gaming...

Maingear Vybe Review: Dual GTX 1070s And Kaby Lake Cranked To 5GHz

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...

Dell XPS 27 (7760) All-In-One Desktop Review: 4K Touch And Wired For Sound

Over the past couple of years, Dell has been driving a widespread redesign effort of its consumer and commercial product lines and has been systematically been updating both design signatures and the technology platforms within them. Dell's premium consumer XPS product line, perhaps more so than any, has seen the most significant design reinvention, with features that could be classified as "iconic," as with the company's XPS 13 and XPS 15 laptops that employ Dell's Infinity Edge display technology and premium carbon fiber composite materials.  Today, Dell is taking the redesign of their XPS...

Lenovo IdeaCentre Y900 RE Gaming Desktop And IdeaPad Y900 Gaming Notebook Preview

‘Tis the season to stomp on your enemies with the help of new gaming hardware, so we jumped at the chance to fire up a couple of Lenovo’s top gaming machines, a burly 17-inch gaming laptop and a gaming desktop PC designed in conjunction with Razer. Just a small side note: we're actually giving away these machines in the days ahead to a couple of lucky individuals participating in our Lenovo HOT Holiday Giveaway. We thought it might be interesting to preview these to beasts before we gave them away, though.  Regardless, the maker of the ThinkPad line has been fighting its way into the...

Gigabyte BRIX Gaming UHD Review With Teardown And Rebuild Action

The Gigabyte BRIX Gaming UHD is an exciting small form factor PC prospect. It packs a surprising amount of muscle into a tiny frame. This little flyweight may not sound too beastly with its GeForce GTX 950, but Gigabyte reckons it is more than capable of streaming 4K UHD media and taking a few swings at 1080p gaming with good image quality. Its 4.3-inch square footprint should help it blend into many entertainment centers or find a home on a dorm room desk for work, play, business or pleasure. Most ultra small form-factor computers, by comparison, rely on integrated graphics to due to thermal constraints....

Cybertron CLX Ra System Review: A Luxury Dual GTX 1080 Killer Gaming Rig

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...

Hot Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Tablets, Smartphones, Laptops, and Systems

Season's greetings; it's that time of year again, when we here at Hot Hardware assemble our holiday gift guides for your browsing and shopping pleasure. There was an embarrassment of riches this year, as the industry continued to innovate and come up with interesting new designs based on the latest, greatest technologies. Those of us buying computer hardware demand more and faster from every iteration, and many OEMs usually manage to deliver. Some don't but you won't see them on this list. This list is a collection of some of the best hardware for gifting in four top categories that we think are...

Hands On And First Impressions Of The Microsoft Surface Studio AIO PC

Microsoft unveiled its first all-in-one desktop system yesterday, known as the Surface Studio. Just in case you missed the announcement, you can find our initial coverage of it right here. We’re not going to rehash all of the specifications and main features again, but to quickly reiterate and provide a little more background, the new Surface Studio is a premium, all-in-one PC that’s outfitted with an Intel processor, NVIDIA graphics, and hybrid storage system. It also has a super-thin, ultra-high resolution 28” / 125mm thin touch display that is optimized for color accuracy and wide viewing angles....

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