Compact, Powerful Punch: iBuyPower Revolt Game PC

Custom PC makers are getting increasingly creative, particularly with small form factor gaming systems. There was a time when the lion's share of the sexiest gaming rigs consisted of high-end components mounted in large, gaudy (but fun) chassis with lots of lights, killer paint jobs, and perhaps a wild mass of liquid cooling tubes and hardware. Although those systems are still around, and we still love to play with them, the boutique builders are using their design and engineering skills to build smaller systems that still pack a mean punch on the performance side. We’re starting...

Intel's Tiny NUC "Next Unit of Computing" PC

Let's dispense with an emerging myth right now: The desktop isn't dead. Far from it. Rather, the desktop is evolving, and this is an exciting time to be a technophile. The advancements we've seen in just the past 12 months are nothing short of remarkable. Solid state drives (SSDs) are getting faster and cheaper, finally making for a viable alternative to the mechanical hard drive that has ruled the desktop for so long. Memory kits are bigger than ever, USB 3.0 is now commonplace, and architectures like Intel's Ivy Bridge have taken processor and integrated graphics performance to whole new levels....

Digital Storm Bolt Small Form Factor Gaming PC Review

Gaming PCs come in all shapes and sizes, but the small form factor gaming rig is not one that you see all that often. When it comes to tablets, notebooks and small form factor PCs, “thin and light” may indicate the latest and greatest in design and mobile components, but when it comes to gaming, a lithe chassis can be indicative of deep compromises on the performance inside. Digital Storm has tackled the task of building a system that offers both high-performance parts and a small chassis with the Bolt series of custom PCs. Indeed, they nailed it on the compact size; the Bolt’s...

Maingear Potenza Super Stock SFF System Review

Notebook makers aren't the only ones trying to cram big performance parts into little form factors. Desktop system builders are attempting the same thing, and if you require proof, all the evidence you need is packed inside Maingear's Potenza Super Stock (SS) gaming PC. Built around the mini-ITX form factor, the Potenza SS is a small form factor (SFF) system that rises above moderate expectations of what a comparatively itty-bitty PC can truly deliver. As it turns out, a mini-ITX rig can pack quite the payload. It starts with an Intel Ivy Bridge foundation, and Maingear bumped up the default processor...

Zotac ZBOX Nano XS AD11 Plus

In addition to building graphics cards, Zotac is one of only a handful companies to fully embrace small form factor and home theater systems. Whether you want to build something yourself from the ground up, quickly assemble a barebones rig, or pick up a fully built HTPC, Zotac has you covered. The company offers a wide array of mini-ITX motherboards based on many modern chipsets (including the just released Z77) and barebones ZBOX systems for the DIY Crowd, along with full SFF systems that need nothing but an OS. Over the last couple of years, Zotac has introduced a number of ultra small ZBOX...

Zotac ZBOX ID80 Plus Mini PC Review

A new era of home entertainment is upon us. If you think about how you watch TV today versus 10 or even five years ago, it's probably a completely different experience. Nearly everything is served up in high definition, digital video recorders (DVRs) are now the norm and not the exception, and streaming services are making a big push to be the primary way in which you view content traditionally served up by cable and satellite TV. Unless you live way out in the boonies, you're probably rocking a broadband Internet connection, which is your gateway to any number of streaming services like Netflix,...

Dell Alienware X51, SFF PC Gaming Refined

Dell's enthusiast gaming PC division has built a legacy on designing over-the-top desktops and notebooks, that push the boundaries of performance and style with an unmistakable design flair.  We've been pretty impressed with the Alienware systems we've looked at thus far, and though they tend to run a premium in terms of price, performance and design quality generally scale along with that higher price tag. On the test track, Alienware notebooks have racked up some of the best performance numbers we've seen and the company's desktops rank right up there as well.  One shape the Aliens...

Zotac ZBOX Nano AD10 Plus U Mini SFF PC Review

Zotac is one of a select few companies that have fully embraced the ultra-small form factor and home theater PC markets. Although they’re also known for producing custom, high-end graphics cards, and an array of motherboards, which include a smorgasbord or mini-ITX options, Zotac’s Zbox and Mag lines of mini PCs are quite diverse. A quick jaunt to their website reveals over 30 ultra small form factor designs that leverage technology from Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, and even VIA. What’s also interesting about Zotac’s mini-PCs are their extensive feature sets. Zotac seemingly crams...

Apple's Sandy Bridge-Based Mac Mini Review

Apple's Mac mini hadn't seen a substantial update for about a year, but with Intel's second generation Core processor family arriving in 2011, it was only a matter of time before one of those chips found favor with Apple's tiniest desktop. The Mac mini design really hasn't changed in the year or so it took the folks in Cupertino to swap out the Core 2 Duo for Intel's new Core i line of processors. In terms of volume and dimension, it's almost exactly the same as the 2010 edition, but with a major addition--that port between the HDMI socket and those four USB 2.0 ports....

Boxee Box Review, Updated and Netflix Ready

Free flowing bandwidth; it's an enabler.  There was a time when no one had cable modems or DSL lines. Remember that?  Alright, fair enough, neither do we.  Regardless, having a 10Mb+ data connection to your domicile is a thing of beauty, because there's obviously so much you can do with it.  The question becomes not so much what the cable or telecom companies tell you, or sell to you, with respect to what you can do with it, but rather what a little imagination, and some optimized hardware and software can do with it.  And that's exactly the premise by which service...

Asus EeeBox PC EB1501P Review

Asus is out to prove that big things really do come in small packages with its EeeBox PC EB1501P. This nettop offers an array of I/O ports as well as a slot-load optical disc drive and the ability to play content from your own media library in Full HD. Thanks to USB 3.0, the EeeBox PC EB1501P also supports fast transfers of high definition content as well as other large files from external storage. Powered by Intel's energy efficient Atom processor, the EeeBox PC EB1501P uses up to 70 percent less energy than a traditional desktop PC. To ensure you're not trading too much performance for power...

Zotac ZBox Blu-ray HD-ID34 Nettop / HTPC Review

Nettops are not nearly as popular as their mobile contemporaries, i.e. netbooks, arguably due to the lack of any significant horsepower within the tiny machines. Up until now, most nettops have been good for little more than basic Office duties, Web surfing, and occasional 720p (max) movie playback. There's a fine line that has to be walked with a nettop; there's far too little space to shove a Core i3 or better CPU in there, and besides, companies are trying to keep pricing at reasonable levels. Thus, nettops have largely been left with one main processor option: Intel's Atom...

AVA Direct Custom GT3 SFF Gaming System Review

  When building or buying a desktop gaming system, enthusiasts don't normally put much thought into how much it's going to weigh, or how hard it will be to carry around when attending a LAN party. Notebook and netbook end users are much more weight-conscious consumers than are folks looking at desktops, obviously.  And in the case of a gaming desktop, users tend to opt for power over form factor.  Then the day comes that you decide to bring the system to someone's house, or to a hotel ballroom, for a LAN party. That's when you realize your desktop, in...

Zotac NVIDIA Ion Motherboard: SFF Goodness

NVIDIA's Ion platform generated quite a buzz when news first broke of the company's plans late last year. As such, we've been keeping on top of Ion-related developments and have posted a number of stories related to Ion, beginning with our coverage of the platform at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. We followed that up with an evaluation of NVIDIA's own Ion reference system, and a few weeks back took a look at the first design win announced for the platform, the Acer Aspire Revo.Today though, we're going to take a look Zotac's brand new Ion-based motherboard. What makes this product interesting...

Acer Aspire Revo SFF NVIDIA Ion PC

We have been talking about NVIDIA's Ion since late last year when news first broke of the ultra small form factor platform. At the time, NVIDIA's tiny Atom-powered prototype system wasn't even called Ion yet, but images of the miniscule motherboard that would eventually be used in the reference platform had already surfaced and the community was buzzing with interest. One of the major concerns with most netbooks and nettops was their relatively weak integrated graphics solutions, and Ion would potentially address that concern.Around the time when Ion was first announced, there was some scuttlebutt...

Dell Studio Hybrid Small Form Factor Desktop

Two perpetually, almost fad-like and recurring themes for computing technology in 2008 are low power, environmentally friendly products as well as tiny, small form-factor or ultra-portable machines.  Power consumption and size -- it has become undeniably hip and cool to offer products that cater to the new carbon footprint and mechanical footprint-minded consumer. If you didn't know better, it almost seems like the introduction of Asus' Eee PC started the craze back in Q4 of '07 but clearly, at least small form-factor system have been around for...

Dell Studio Hybrid Desktop, A HotHardware Video Spotlight

Synopsis:  With an Intel Core 2 Duo low power dual-core processor under its hood, this machine is capable in many mainstream user applications and could make for a decent Home Theater PC.  Aficionados may scoff at the system's integrated Intel X3100 graphics, which does not provide full offload processing for HD video.  However, the Studio Hybrid has more than enough power to playback full 1080p resolution content with its Core 2 Duo dual core processor, standard 160GB hard drive and DDR2-667 system memory.  As a minimalistic business-class...

Asus Eee Box B202 Desktop System Evaluation

Asus certainly made a splash this year with their line of ultra-light, ultra-affordable Eee PC notebooks and they've been fleshing out the product line ever since with a wealth of new offerings, as the company continues to milk the product's successful brand name recognition for all it's worth.  Since their initial release we've seen a number of different notebook-based Eee PC products come to market, including machines pre-loaded with either Windows XP or Linux operating systems.  In addition, Asus has even brought out larger models, with the 10" display...

Asus Eee Box B202 Desktop System - Video Spotlight

Synopsis:  In some respects, when we think about what the capabilities of a $349 desktop system should be like, we can't help but be impressed what Asus has achieved and the overall value of the Eee Box.  What's more impressive though is the Eee Box's absolutely tiny form-factor and completely miserly power consumption.  The original Eee PC notebook cultivated quite an enthusiastic following in the marketplace and we think the Eee Box is likely to as well.Our more detailed full review can be found here at HotHardware:https://hothardware.com/Articles/Asus_Eee_Box_B202_Desktop_System/...

Shuttle SDXi Barebones System

When it comes time for a new rig, there are those who want the power of a full-sized system but without the footprint of a mid or full sized case.  Today, we're going to take a look at a barebones kit that promises full-sized performance in a footprint no bigger than a shoebox.  Enter the Shuttle SDXi Barebones Kit. The SDXi Barebone kit comes with support for the latest Intel CPUs, up to 8GB of DDR2 RAM, RAID and it is backed by some seriously good looks.  On the outside is a custom flamed-out paint job akin to a custom car, while the inside provides the muscle to rival that of a full-sized...

MSI Mega mPC 945 SFF PC

It's hard to believe that the first time we set eyes on a Small Form Factor PC was back in December of 2001.  Back then, Shuttle was breaking new ground with several new products that helped give birth to a whole new sector in the PC industry.  As Shuttle's successes mounted with each new release, other manufacturers took notice and also started jumping into the Small Form Factor foray.  One such company to deliver their own mini-barebones units was MSI.  Their Mega mPC Series of SFF systems is comprised of various solutions that cater many different applications. ...

Biostar iDEQ 350G SFF PC

For the last few years, there has been an undeniable trend towards packing all the functionality and performance of a full-fledged desktop system into a smaller form factor. As one of the chief pioneers of this new form factor, Shuttle enjoyed having dominant market share as they were one of the only true contenders in the SFF category. Fortunately for consumers, several new vendors have begun to show interest in SFF systems and are now offering some very viable solutions of their own. Biostar is one such company and they are attacking the SFF segment with a vengeance. Today, we'll be looking at...

Prev 1 2 3 4 Next