It has long been considered common wisdom that the smaller the size of a PC, the greater its compromises. Notebooks, no matter how fat, for example, will never touch the power of a desktop machine.
The same held true for small form factor rigs. But is that still the case? To find out how today’s SFF rigs compare with their full-size desktop brethren, we tasked five top PC makers with sending us their best and brightest, and, well, smallest machines.
If you stopped a nerd in an electronics store and asked her to describe a small form factor PC, she’d just pull up a picture of CyberPower’s LAN Party Evo on her smartphone.
In many ways, this is the ultimate evolution of the original SFF design. The LAN Party Evo isn’t much bigger than the original SFFs of yesteryear, but peep these specs: a 3.4GHz Core i7-2600K, a GeForce GTX 580 card, a 120GB Intel 510 SSD, and 1TB hard drive.
Boutique system builder CyberPower PC rarely wastes any time implementing new technologies into its lineup, and the debut of Intel's Z68 Express chipset is no exception. CyberPower sent us word that they've put together a a series of high-end gaming desktops and graphics workstations based on the new chipset, with pricing starting at under $700. Details on what that buys you after the jump.
Boutique system builder CyberPower wasted no time announcing the availability of AMD's newly minted Radeon HD 6990 graphics card across the company's entire lineup of desktop gaming PCs. That includes CyberPower's more affordable Gamer Dragon and Ultra series. Getting an entire system built around AMD's latest dual-GPU videocard might be cheaper than you think.
Do great minds think alike, or is Silverstone’s SG07 chassis just that cool? We suspect the SG07 is just that cool. After all, the chassis that CyberPower used for its LAN Party EVO Mini happens to be the same chassis we used for our “Wee Ass-Kicking Machine."
As with the WAKM, the SG07 limits you to a single PCI-E slot and a Mini-ITX board, but that doesn’t mean the CyberPower and WAKM are the same. In fact, they couldn’t be more different.
Boutique system vendor CyberPower today unveiled its new LAN Party EVO series of small form factor (SFF) desktop gaming systems. These configurable portable PCs come housed in either a Silverstone SG-07B Mini ITX case (LAN Party EVO Mini) or In-Win's chain-link armor inspired Dragonslayer mini tower (LAN Party EVO Xtreme, Commander, and Ultra models).
The mini-ITX version is perhaps the most interesting, if only because CyberPower manages to cram an impressive amount of hardware in such a small space. This one comes with an Intel Core i7 870 processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, ATI HD 5770 videocard, and a 1TB hard drive for $1,079. These can all be upgraded.
"The LAN Party EVO Mini is known as one of the smallest footprint gaming systems but can accommodate even the monstrous ATI Radeon 5970 graphics card," CyberPower says.
All four baseline configurations include a liquid cooling solution and low dBA fans. In addition, CyberPower says users have the option of outfitting the Ultra model with sound absorbing foam, anti-vibration fan mounts, and power supply gaskets.
CyberPower rarely wastes any time in adopting new technologies for its gaming rigs, and now is no exception. Coming hot off the assembly lines are several gaming systems now equipped with Nvidia's 3D Vision platform.
"We are excited about incorporating the new 3D PC category into our mix of gaming desktops," said Eric Cheung, CEO of CyberPower. "As 3D gaming technology continues to evolve, integrating 3D PCs into our product lineup is essential to provide consumers the perfect solution for 3D gaming and entertainment."
Playing both sides of the fence, customers can customize 3D-ready PCs built around both AMD (Gamer Ultra series) and Intel (Gamer Extreme series) platforms. Pricing starts out at a little under $1,300 for the Gamer Ultra 3D 1000, which includes an AMD Phenom II X6 1055T processor, 4GB of DDR3-1600 memory, Nvidia GTS 250 graphics card, Gigabyte MA770T-USB3 AM3 motherboard, 1TB SATA hard drive, DVD burner, CoolerMaster Elite 310 case, and a Samsung 2233RZ 22-inch 3D LCD monitor with Nvidia's 3D Vision stereoscopic glasses bundle.
The cost of entry for an Intel system checks in at $1,389 (Gamer Xtreme 3D 2000) and includes the same monitor/3D glasses combo, plus an Intel Core i5 750 processor, EVGA P55 TR P55V motherboard, and 4X Blu-ray drive. Like the Ultra, the baseline Extreme setup includes the same RAM, hard drive, and DVD burner.
The big news today is that AMD's new Phenom II X6 processors are now shipping, and if you haven't done so already, read through Gordon's assessment of these low-priced parts right here. If you like what you see, you can head over to Newegg afterward and pick one of the chips up, or if you prefer to roll with a pre-built, CyberPower has already begun equipping its gaming rigs with the new 6-core parts.
CyberPower's Gamer Dragon CrossFire Ultimate and Gamer Ultra CrossFireX Pro are among the higher-end systems that have been upgraded with AMD's Phenom II X6 chips, but true to AMD's budget price points, you can jump on the 6-core bandwagon with a mainstream budget. Other 6-core capable rigs in CyberPower's stable include the entire Gamer Ultra and Gamer Dragon lines, with pricing starting out at just $699. Chew on that for a moment - for less than the cost of Intel's Core i7 980X, you can piece together an entire 6-core system built around AMD's Phenom II platform.
CyberPower says all of its rigs can be "easily factory overclocked," including those built around AMD's 6-core chips. The company is also offering a 5 percent discount up until tomorrow with coupon code INSTANT.
You'll have a tough time finding a Fermi graphics card available for purchase until early April, but in the meantime, you can already configure a CyberPower PC with one of Nvidia's recently announced next-gen videocards, the boutique system vendor announced.
"CyberPower's top-of-the line Black Pearl, Black Mamba Fang Series, and Gamer Xtreme 3D desktop gaming rigs will all feature Nvidia's Fermi cards," CyberPower said. "CyberPower's entire Gamer Xtreme line will also have options for customers who want to upgrade to Nvidia Fermi architecture cards. When combined with Intel's latest six-core CPUs, CyberPower customers can be assured their custom gaming PC will pump out geometric realism, while offering increased image quality, and extreme performance."
Investing in the latest and greatest Intel chip isn't a requirement. CyberPower's Xtreme series represents a more budget friendly starting point, and for a little over $1,500, you can configure a rig with an Intel Core i7 930 processor, Asetek self-contained liquid cooler, Asus P6T SE motherboard, 6GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 videocard, a 1TB hard drive, dual optical drives, 800W PSU, and Windows 7 Home Premium.