HotHardware 2016 Back-to-School Tech Shopping Guide

Store shelves are packed with fresh pencils, pens, and backpacks. Kids are begging their parents for new clothes and kicks. And teachers are frantically organizing their classrooms in the last few days of summer. It is that time of year again -- back-to-school season is upon us, like it or not. If you are looking to pick up some new tech gear for you or a loved one for the impending school year, but do not want to do all of the homework necessary to find that perfect product, do not sweat it, we have got you covered. This is Hot Hardware's personal study guide to help you choose the perfect laptop,...

Alienware Alpha R2 Review: Big Screen Gaming In A Little Package

As much as we like piecing together formidable desktop systems crammed full of high end hardware, the future of PC gaming for many mainstream users may lie in more compact setups. Certainly there's been a push to get PC players out of a dank basement and into the living room with Steam Machines and similar console-sized PCs. However, Dell's Alienware division is hoping to take things to the next level with its pint sized Alpha R2 system, an ultra small form factor (SFF) gaming desktop. We have to use the world "desktop" carefully here because the Alpha R2, like its predecessor, is more of a "shelf-top"...

New Matter MOD-t 3D Printer Review: Low Cost, User-Friendly Creation

3D printers have come a long way since our first round-up review in 2012. This exciting technology has created everything from toys to running shoes, to prostheses for amputees. Is 3D printing, however, practical in a home office or in a classroom use case? The New Matter MOD-t 3D printer claims to be the most user-friendly printer ever and is supposedly “designed for 3D printing beginners and enthusiasts alike.” Is this device, however, something that truly belongs in your home office or a teacher’s classroom? Naturally, that's what we're here to find out. First, what is 3D printing and how is...

Alienware Aurora R5 Review: Small Stature, Big Performance

The Alienware brand is as venerable a name as any in the gaming space. As Alienware celebrates over twenty years in business, its computers have become instantly recognizable thanks to distinctive, out-of-this-world styling, and science-fiction references. Dell purchased Alienware in 2006 to complement its own competing line of XPS-branded gaming machines. However, Dell has kept a largely hands-off approach, allowing Alienware to grow its own business and continue meeting consumer's expectations. So far, it has served both brands well. Alienware currently maintains three desktop families from the...

Gigabyte, Intel And Corsair Enthusiast PC Components Summit Highlights

Gigabyte, Corsair and Intel held a press event in California on June 30th to show off some of their new hardware. Though Intel just talked broadly about its thoughts on the PC gaming market (it's growing, and they are committed to it, basically), Gigabyte and Corsair both demo'd high-end gear it first unveiled at Computex. We were on-hand to check everything out, and have the details lined up for you here. First up, we have some video of many of the products... IntelIntel didn't have anything new to show, but wanted to reiterate its commitment to the PC gaming and high-end desktop spaces, as evidenced...

AMD FNATIC eSports SFF Gaming PC Hands On

PC enthusiasts and hardcore gamers are passionate about their hardware. We all lust after expensive, high-performance CPUs, GPUs, monstrous RAM kits, and ultra-fast solid state storage devices. But for many of us, top of the line PC components may be overkill, and in some situations, a more mainstream rig will do just fine. That’s the crux of the message AMD has been trying to get across for quite some time with its mainstream APU line-up. Sure, you could build a high-performance rig with a top of the line processor and beefy discrete GPU, but why spend the money if you don’t have to? To that end,...

iBuypower Revolt 2 Review: A Powerful, Portable Gaming Desktop

In addition to being lots of fun, LAN parties also afford hardcore gamers and enthusiasts a forum to show off their rigs. Dusty, ho-hum home systems are the norm, of course, but there are also some modded systems, decked out with custom cooling, lighting and paint jobs. And, of course, there are the high-end, boutique-built gaming systems as well.Sporting slick cases and the latest hardware, custom gaming PCs always stand out, but they are usually huge beasts that aren’t meant to be carried around regularly. That’s where iBuypower’s Revolt 2 comes in. Designed to deliver head-turning looks and...

Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK Mini PC Review: Palm-Sized And Powerful

Intel's successful line of NUC (Next Unit of Computing) mini PCs have done well for the company, for various use cases where an ultra-small form factor computer might come in handy. In areas where a PC either needs to stay out of sight, blend in with its surroundings or squeeze in places where other, larger computers just couldn't go, a NUC can make a lot of sense. Tiny boxes like the Intel NUC5i5RYK can pack a fair amount of CPU horsepower in their petite, silver 4.5-inch frames, but some users still want more juice and beefier graphics for heavier gaming and content creation workloads.Fortunately,...

Maingear RUSH SuperStock X99 Review: PC Gaming Like A Boss

Boutique gaming PC system builders are a flourishing breed these days with new brands popping up on the scene regularly it seems. It's a testament to the fact that PC gaming, and the hardware the fuels it, is not only alive and well but kicking some major butt, especially with the advent of the eSports industry. Maingear has been building high-end rigs in boutique fashion since 2002 and in the process has racked up many awards over the years, including a few here at HotHardware. Today we're taking a look at a refresh of the Maingear RUSH SuperStock, a series of high-end PCs that we haven't looked...

Previewing Maingear's RUSH SuperStock X99: Opulence And The Killer Gaming Rig

When it comes to high performance, over-the-top enthusiast computers, Maingear is a boutique builder that has been designing and manufacturing some of the most stand-out, highly-tuned systems on the market over the years. Hailing from good ol' Kenilworth, a borough of New Jersey, the custom PC shop likens itself to sort of a "Fast n' Loud" of the PC world, only they typically build systems that offer muscle car horsepower and stylings that are anything but loud, actually. They take this exotic, performance-driven theme very seriously, with shop technicians sporting pit crew styled jerseys and a...

Digital Storm Bolt 3 SFF Gaming PC: A Compact Powerhouse

Face the facts: if you want a pre-built PC that can play virtually any game at high resolutions with high-quality settings, you're going to have to pay a princely sum. While you could probably build your own PC for less than a pre-built system, boutique builders typically offer a number of benefits in the form of guaranteed overclocks or custom component. Or maybe you just have no interest whatsoever spending all that time installing parts and hiding cables in your case. Though Digital Storm's Bolt 3 isn't the highest-end gaming PC we've tested, it holds its own for its not-so-insignificant price—delivering...

MINIX NGC-1 Intel Braswell-Based Silent, SFF Mini PC Review

One of the many benefits of Intel’s strong focus on power efficiency in recent years is that relatively high performance processors are now able to fit into tiny form factors. Case in point, the recently released Intel Compute Stick for 2016. That little gizmo has a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a handful of ports in a package that’s not much bigger than a thumb drive.Although we dug the latest Compute Stick, it’s not without some drawbacks. 2GB of RAM is essentially the bare minimum needed to run Windows 10 semi-smoothly, and the device’s diminutive...

Intel Compute Stick Cherry Trail Review: Pocket-Sized Windows 10 PC

We dug the original Intel Compute Stick that launched last year. If you recall, the original Compute Stick was a tiny, Atom-powered device that could turn any HDMI-equipped display into a basic PC. The low-power nature of the Compute Stick meant it was ideally suited for every-day, less-demanding computing tasks, and wasn’t a replacement for a full-on PC or notebook, but it was a relatively capable device given its ultra-small form factor.The original Compute Stick wasn’t without its issues, though. Last year’s model featured dated 802.11n wireless connectivity built in and had only a single USB...

HotHardware's Ten Best Of CES 2016

We covered a lot of miles at CES 2016 this year, our fitness trackers often chirping "success" rather early in the day, but we saw a lot of people and a lot of tech gear in our travels. Some of it was hot - damn hot - some of it, not so much. There were some recurring themes this year, as with every year at CES it seems. The hot topics and trends this year were autonomous cars, virtual reality, more thin and light computing and of course more powerful gaming gear. Every Tech Web publication has its own short list of the best products showcased at CES 2016. We're going to run down our top 10 products...

AMD Powered Star Wars Battlefront Radeon 380X-Powered Gaming PC Build

Although updated sales figures haven’t yet been released, and some initial reviews were less than stellar, if the movie is any indicator, EA’s Star Wars Battlefront is poised to be a resounding success in the gaming community. And with an expansion pack inbound, that will likely feature content that ties in with the Force Awakens, it’ll probably continue that success for quite a while. AMD has been offering free copies of Star Wars Battlefront to new buyers of Radeon Fury graphics cards since mid-November 2015 and will continue to do so through the end of this month. But with...

Alienware Steam Machine Review: Dell's SteamOS Console Competitor

Dell's Alienware Steam Machine is under the microscope today. In partnership with several leading PC makers, Valve has finally taken their often-talked about Steam Machine with custom SteamOS to market, promising the depth and precision of PC gaming driven by a purpose-built operating system, that offers a standardized platform similar to a tried and true "just push play" console gaming experience.The Alienware Steam Machine seems like just the thing for PC gamers looking for a simpler way to game without a lot of fuss and configuration. What’s a Steam Machine, you ask? The Steam Machine is a PC-based...

ASUS Zen AiO Pro Z240IC Review: 4K All-In-One With Guts And Glitz

It’s been quite some time since we last looked at an all-in-one PC. Although there is clearly a niche market for AiOs, the product segment has always kept a consistent rythm in all facets of computing - consumer, enterprise and SMB. These types of systems appeal to style-conscious users and businesses that need computing utility with good looks, that blends in and stays out of the way. And though many are not powerhouses, a few do catch our enthusiast eye, and one of those few is the Asus Zen AiO Pro Z240IC, which Asus is billing as “The pinnacle of Windows all-in-one PCs.”That may be a stretch...

Hot Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Tablets, Smartphones, Laptops, and Systems

It's hard to believe this year is nearly over. It feels as if our holiday gift guides are being assembled at an ever more rapid pace. Perhaps that has to do with the non-stop innovation in the tech sector, and our insatiable desire for ever-advancing product development. Each year, the leaps in processing power and graphics performance, in addition to the miniaturization and integration of advanced technologies, seems to constantly push the envelope, which means that there are almost always plenty of suitable replacements for our favorite gadgets and gizmos. And if you're on the hunt for gifts...

CyberPower Trinity Xtreme Gaming PC Review: 'Unique' Is An Understatement

What does your desktop PC say about you? Is your system hiding by your feet and used only for serious business? Is it sitting on the corner of your desk with its window facing the wall because it’s just easier to reach its inputs that way? Or is taking up a third of your workspace with LEDs blazing, screaming “Fire me up!"? If your system falls into the latter category, or better yet, you'd like to have a system in the latter group, you’re the target audience for CyberPower’s new Trinity. Many system builders give lip service to balancing style and performance, but the Trinity’s chassis demands...

HOT Raspberry Pi DIY Mini Desktop PC Build

We recently set out to design a mini desktop computer with the wildly popular Raspberry Pi single board computer. The Raspberry Pi is a Linux-driven, ARM processor-based micro computer that is known for its low cost and small size. People use the device for a variety of projects, from micro-servers to low cost media players. Basically, our goal was to turn what is currently one of the cheapest bare-bones computer boards  into a fully enclosed mini desktop computer that could be taken anywhere without the need for cabling or setup. One of the high level goals of this project was also to learn...

Alienware X51 R3 Review: Console-Sized Gaming PC Gets Skylake Infusion

The last time we looked at Dell's Alienware X51 series of console-sized gaming PCs was back in mid-2013. Back then we were working with Intel's 4th generation Haswell Core Series processors and NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 600 series GPUs based on their Kepler graphics core. Our man Paul, frankly, was spouting off a bit wildly about aliens serving humans for dinner and, well, let's just say it made for interesting reading. But that was so 2013, and like anything in life, seasons change and architectures evolve. Paul is still nuttier than a fruit cake but that's a different story all together, so we'll...

HotHardware's 2015 Back To School Tech Gear Shopping Guide

If your kiddos are griping about how soon they start back to school (or, if you are heading that way yourself, begrudgingly), it's probably high time you took inventory. Is that aging netbook really going to get you through another semester? Is that Gingerbread handset up to the task of piloting you through yet another straight-A year? Take solace, a tech refresh or complete makeover can be rather refreshing.Back to school season is in full swing, and we're here to offer up the best of the best in a few key categories. If you're shopping for phones, desktops, laptops, or accessories, we've got...

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