How to build a badass, silent Haswell gaming PC into an ATX chassis with a GeForce GTX 780 GPU
This month, Intel's "Haswell" generation of desktop CPUs landed in the Lab, so like most builders, we were itching to see how she runs. For the uninitiated, Haswell is an upgrade from Ivy Bridge in terms of power efficiency and performance, but it also comes with a whole new motherboard socket—Socket 1150. We were curious to see if our building regimen would require any adjustments. As luck would have it, Nvidia also launched its 700-series cards this month to much fanfare, and since both of these components are going to be popular parts for upgraders and system builders, we decided to jump into the deep end of the pool with both of them and see how the combo performs in gaming benchmarks.
Note: This article was originally featured in the August 2013 issue of the magazine.
We love Pure PC Power, and hate noise, so we set out to satisfy both primal desires with a hand-built and almost totally silent gaming PC
The Mission Powerful computer components often run hot, which requires loud fans or expensive liquid to cool them, bringing us to a central conundrum of the PC Power lifestyle—we want a big, powerful PC, but we want it to make as little noise as possible. Not only do noisy computers make it more difficult to relax, but there’s a principle at work here—you should be the master of the space where you put your PC; you must bend it to your will, not the other way around.
Note: This article was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
The official CLG PCs will begin shipping in September
Los Angeles-based boutique system builder iBuyPower has announced a new range of limited edition gaming PCs in partnership with storied eSports outfit Counter Logic Gaming. Designed with the needs of competitive gamers in mind, the CLG-branded machines are now available for pre-order starting at $1099.
We show you how to build an affordable Linux gaming PC
The free Linux operating system has been around for ages, but its inherent complexity and limited support has always relegated its use to extreme enthusiasts, programmers, and other hardcore types. That might be changing, though, as a lot of loyal PC enthusiasts are less than pleased with Windows 8, and gaming juggernaut Valve has thrown its hat into the ring by launching a Linux version of Steam, its popular online content delivery service. Given the lackluster reception of Windows 8 and the renewed popularity of Linux, we decided to build a Linux gaming box to see for ourselves whether the OS, at this time, could be a reasonable alternative to Windows for gaming.
Note: This article originally appeared in the March issue of the magazine.
Geekbox’s Ego Maniacal system pays homage to Maximum PC’s Dream Machine—but probably not the one you’re thinking of.
Sure, last year’s Dream Machine featured the same Silverstone TJ11 chassis as the Geekbox Ego Maniacal, but we’re told that the actual inspiration for this custom-built box was 2002’s Dream Machine, which was painted to match a classic BMW 2002 Turbo. Except Geekbox has updated its tribute to the car by nodding its head to the more current special edition BMW M3 in “frozen black.”
Note: This review originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
Build your own small Steam Box PC using Valve's Big Picture Mode
As PC gamers, we’re big fans of Valve Software’s Steam service and can’t imagine life without it. We’ve got a huge library of installed games, all of our friends are on it, and almost every AAA title is released on Steam, making it indispensable. The only “problem” with Steam has been that its interface was designed for sitting 24 inches away, at a monitor, making it incompatible with couch-bound gaming. Valve has rectified this dilemma with its recently launched Big Picture Mode, which slaps a 10-foot interface on top of Steam and makes it easy to control with a gamepad. Since distance and connection issues can get in the way of running your desktop PC on your HDTV screen, we’re going to walk you through a more workable solution. First, we will advise you on selecting a small-but-powerful PC that’s suitable for a living room, then we’ll walk you through selecting appropriate peripherals, and finally we’ll show you how to get it all up and running, ready for Big Picture Mode deployment.
Note: This article appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
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.
This small gaming PC isn't as wee as our Wee Ass-Kicking Machine, but it kicks more ass
Way back in December 2010, we built an awesome Mini-ITX gaming rig dubbed the Wee Ass-Kicking Machine. It featured a Core i7-870 CPU, a GeForce GTX 460 GPU, 4GB of DDR3, a 1TB hard drive, and a 120GB SSD—all crammed into a Silverstone SG07 chassis not much larger than a shoebox. The total cost? Around $1,600 (at the time).
It’s, uh, been a while since then, though, and I thought it was high time we built another Mini-ITX gaming rig. This one’s not quite as small, but it’s got a lot more oomph. We’re using the BitFenix Prodigy, which has room for a full-size ATX PSU, scads of hard drives, and even a 240mm radiator (if you swing that way), while still being small enough to be lugged around by its convenient carrying handles.