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Gateway ZX6971-UR10P Review

A modest PC with a modest price tag

Gateway lists no fewer than 13 all-in-one models on its website, and this model with a dual-core CPU, integrated graphics, and twisted nematic LCD is its top offering. If the PCs in this roundup were playing football, the Gateway would be the water boy. But if all you need in a family PC is a machine for web browsing, email, productivity, and watching DVDs, this might be all you need.

Gateway’s ZX6970-UR10P is a very basic touchscreen PC with a price tag that won’t induce sticker shock

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Dell XPS One 27 Review

My God! It’s full of stars!

OK, our first look at the Dell XPS One’s gorgeous display didn’t leave us quite as flabbergasted as astronaut David Bowmanstaring into the monolith at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. But the absolutely gorgeous Samsung PLS panel—with its 2560x1440native resolution—did leave us a bit slack-jawed. The XPS One’s$2,000 price tag might have contributed to that reaction, too; then again, a 27-inch Samsung Series 9 display built using the same panel costs $1,200 all by itself.

Dell’s XPS One 27 is a gorgeous computer. You’ll have to decide if it’s $2,000

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Asus ET2701 INKI-B046C Review

Just the right balance

Asus takes the price/performance crown in this roundup. The company’s ET2701 all-in-one can’t match the audacious display built into Dell’s XPS One 2710, and it doesn’t have a fast SSD to supplement its 2TB hard drive, like the Dell; but many of the other components inside the ET2701 are exactly the same as what you’ll get with the XPS One. And the ET2701 costs $500 less. 

The IPS display inside the Asus ET2701 is so beautiful you’ll quickly forget that its maximum resolution is just 1920x1080 pixels.

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Falcon Northwest Tiki Review

Size really doesn’t matter

Size doesn’t matter. At least that’s what Falcon Northwest is saying with its latest entry into the micro-tower war, the Tiki, which offers full-size tower performance in a teeny, tiny case.

In case you don’t know, the micro-tower war is the place to be right now. Traditionally, slim micro-towers (as opposed to the typical Shuttle-style shoe-box form factors) have been bereft of performance. That all changed earlier this year when Alienware hit the market with its X51 (reviewed in May). Just bigger than a typical first-generation console, the X51’s innovation was a desktop-class GPU and CPU for a decent price. While groundbreaking, the X51 made some compromises, such as forcing you to choose between a hard drive or SSD, and offering only midrange GPU options (currently) and no ability to overclock.

Given its superb performance, the Tiki deserves to be placed on a pedestal—luckily, it comes with one.

 

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Zotac ZBox Nano XS AD11 Plus Review

Small just got smaller

The biggest thing about Zotac’s new ZBox Nano XS AD11 Plus may in fact be its name. This new mini PC is so small, it makes the diminutive ZBox Nano AD10 look positively fat in comparison.

Hell, the only commercial mini PC we’ve seen that’s smaller is the Apple TV, which is about the same width and depth but a quarter-inch thinner. The Apple TV is ARM-based, though, and more in the class of a typical HTPC streaming device. The AD11, with its AMD E-450 APU and 64GB SSD is a full-on PC. While streaming boxes such as WD’s Live have come a long way in capability, it’s tough to beat a PC’s ability to go anywhere you want. From streaming sites that are restricted by cable providers to not-safe-for-work content, an HTPC streaming PC trumps all others if you’re willing to live with a mouse and keyboard controls.

Zotac’s ZBox Nano XS AD11 Plus is the smallest commercial PC we’ve ever tested.

 

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Alienware X51 Review

Move over game console, a PC is here to take your job

DON’T BLINK, it’s not a game console. It’s something far better—a PC that’s as small as the original Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 with the promise of pretty good gaming performance, too.

As we all know, making things small, fast, and also affordable is no easy feat. Yet Alienware engineers somehow managed to smash real graphics into a standard slimline tower without tacking on a huge price tag.

To be frank, this isn’t the first attempt at a small, powerful PC with a slimline shape. The X51 reminds us very much of Voodoo/Hewlett-Packard’s Firebird PC from 2009 (review at bit.ly/Delqq). The Firebird’s main failing was relying primarily on notebook technology for its GPUs, which killed upgrades.

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CyberPower Fang III Black Mamba Review

One box, two systems, and lots of speed

EVEN HIGH-END gaming rigs, believe it or not, can get pretty rote. In the parlance of our times, it’s what’s called a “first-world problem.” It’s a bit like being bored because you want to drive something other than your Ferrari or Lamborghini.

The solution to this problem in PC terms is CyberPower’s Fang III Black Mamba box, which is anything but ordinary. The machine is literally a high-end gaming box with a second PC grafted on top of it. This is done using an Azza Fusion 4000 case that’s big enough to take an XL-ATX board down below and a Mini-ITX board up top. Down below, CyberPower installs an Intel Core i7-3960X, 16GB of DDR3, an Asus Rampage IV Extreme board, and two overclocked EVGA GTX 590 Classified Hydro Copper cards. All this is cooled with a custom cooling solution, to boot. Storage is handled with a 2GB HDD and a pair of 120GB OCZ Agility 3 drives in RAID 0. RAIDed SSDs aren’t new, but the case’s support for four SSDs in quick-release trays, is, um, très cool.

CyberPower takes advantage of the cooling to overclock both the CPU and the GPUs. The CPU goes from its stock speed of 3.3GHz to a nice 4.5GHz, and the Hydro Copper cards are also clocked up enough to give the dual 590s a healthy speed advantage.

 

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Toshiba DX735-D3201 Review

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.