You may not have heard about PC builder Stealth Machines, but apparently that’s the way the company likes it. In fact, the company’s web page proclaims that it’s the “underground computer company of the hardcore gamer.” We’d guess that’s the “stealth” part of the name.
We’re not fans of the LED strips on the power cables, but you might like the colorful addition.
THE DISPLAYS IN HP’s TouchSmart series top out at 23 inches. To get anything bigger, you must move over to HP’s Omni all-in-one lineup. The upper limit here is a ginormous 27 inches, but you won’t get that slick touch user interface, and you’ll need to sacrifice performance to keep the price tag in the same $1,250 neighborhood occupied by the TouchSmart 520-1070 we reviewed in March. We’re not convinced those are good trade-offs.
Both models feature an HDMI input that allows you to use the display independent of the computer, and that’s easily one of their best features. Plug in a set-top box or a gaming console, and the machines can serve double duty as a computer and a 1080p display for watching TV or playing games. There’s just one problem: You can’t use the wireless keyboard to control or mute the volume when the computer is being used solely as a display. Instead, you must push the PC/Game mode button to bring up an onscreen control panel, press the minus button three times to select the volume control function, and then repeatedly press the plus or minus buttons to adjust the volume. To mute the volume, you must turn it to zero—which takes 14 button presses from full volume—or switch the display back into PC mode. That will drive you nuts at every commercial break and every time the phone rings.
Toshiba offers three SKUs in the DX735 line, two with Core i5 CPUs and one with a Core i7. All three models use mobile CPUs, and all three rely on integrated graphics. Whereas HP’s TouchSmart 520-1070 is somewhat capable of playing games, Toshiba’s DX735 series is not at all capable. If you really want to play games on this machine, we suggest plugging an Xbox 360 into its HDMI input.
HP once built its TouchSmart line using notebook components because they required much less active cooling. Limiting the number of fans inside the machine made it quieter. This TouchSmart not only uses a desktop CPU—Intel’s low-power Core i7-2600S, running at a stock 2.8GHz—but HP has also packed a discrete GPU inside this TouchSmart’s chassis. AMD’s Radeon HD 6550A might not be a barn-burner of a videocard, but it is vastly superior to the GPU core integrated into the Core i7. The Radon HD 6550A is DirectX compatible, but that doesn’t mean it will deliver a satisfying performance with highly demanding games. Playing Metro 2033 at 18 frames per second—in DirectX 10 mode—is not very satisfying. But no one will buy this type of a machine for gaming.
You can’t truly appreciate the paint job on Falcon Northwest’s Mach V unless you can fondle it. We mean it—you just can’t comprehend how damn smooth the paint is without lovingly stroking your hand on the side of this beauty as if you were a presidential candidate.
Inside the Mach V, you’ll find a pedigree of hardware to match its stunning exterior. So how does the Falcon stack up?
We’ll be the first to admit that system benchmarking has gotten downright boring in the last couple of years. It’s been a solid year and a half of Core i7-980X/990X procs followed by a year of Core i7-2600K rigs. Yawn, seen it.
We certainly can’t say that about Digital Storm’s latest Black Ops HailStorm. It’s the first machine to grace our Lab with Intel’s Core i7-3960X, so we were anxious to see if the new chip could actually walk the walk. We know from our testing of the chip in a controlled environment that it’s a bad mother, but what about when it’s in a high-end system and it’s being run against a slew of other super-fast rigs?
Next to a notebook, an all-in-one is the most difficult type of PC for a DIYer to build, simply because no one’s manufacturing enclosures capable of housing both a large monitor and the guts of a computer. Pick up Zotac’s ZBox Nano AD10 Plus and you can put together the next best thing: A computer that can hang off the back of almost any display you like, thanks to the included VESA mounting plate. The AD10’s dimensions, near-silent running, low power consumption, and generous I/O options render it a good choice for a disc-less home-theater PC, too.
Cybernet has been building all-in-one touch-screen PCs for hospital and medical use for years. Given the ambitious specs of the company's new iOne-H5—a 2.93GHz Core i7-870, 8GB of memory, and ATI's Mobility Radeon HD 5730 GPU—we found ourselves wondering if this long-term expertise would translate into an awesome consumer system.
In our world, performance and silence go together about as well as Aliens and Predators. Each one has its appeal, but put them together, and you generally get a turd.
That’s a fact AVADirect has set out to disprove with a PC apparently named by U.S. Army logistics command: Custom Gaming PC, Silent PC, Low-Noise Custom Computer System. Despite its funktastic name, the AVADirect PC doesn’t disappoint and seems capable of creating its own alternate reality where performance commingles harmoniously with peace and quiet