We tapped five top vendors to send us their best small form factor rigs. What we got were machines that will blow your mind in system specs and performance. But more important--are they small form factors? Maximum PC's Gordon Mah Ung gives you a quick preview of five of the fastest and smallest machines around.
Boutique system builder iBuyPower is partnering with Tiger Direct to launch a new Core i7 gaming system in each of the retailer's 33 stores in five states, and Puerto Rico for good measure. This is new ground for iBuyPower, which says that this is the first time customers in big market areas like Chicago and Miami can log some hands-on time with a system before whipping out their PayPal card.
Sequels are almost never as good as the original. There are exceptions, of course, and boutique system builder iBuyPower would like you to keep this in mind following its relaunch of gaming rigs with new Intel 6-series chipsets based on the B3 revision. What that means to Joe Gamer is he won't have to worry about any of the SATA 3Gbps ports flaking out over time.
Excited about Nvidia's new GeForce GTX 560 Ti videocard? You aren't the only one. Boutique system builder iBuyPower announced it's now offering the new GPU across its entire line of desktops, including its LAN Warrior II Paladin XLC and Level 10 lines.
If you're not yet acquainted with the GTX 560 Ti, we have some recommended reading:
The short and sweet of it is Nvidia's GTX 560 Ti offers "impressive performance for the dolloar and watt," and depending on what cooling solution is being used, noise is acceptable too.
As it pertains to iBuyPower, the company's aforementioned LAN Warrior II starts at $970 when equipped with a GTX 560 Ti. Other options include a Palit Sonic GTX 560 Ti (900MHz) for $19 more, an EVGA Superclocked GTX 560 Ti (900MHz) for $29 more, or a 2GB GTX 560 Ti that also adds $29 to the bottom line.
AMD vs. Intel? Feh. For power users, it’s all about quad-core Sandy Bridge vs. hexa-core Gulftown (or if you’re not up with the brevity thing Core i7-2600K versus Core i7-980X). Maximum PC’s Gordon Mah Ung highlights the kinds of sacrifices you might have to make if you decide to go with the hexa-core when configuring your next machine. And, surprisingly, a high-clocked Sandy Bridge system will give its older sibling a shockingly good competition.
You can find Gordon's official reviews of both machines here and here.
Ever since the appearance of Intel’s smoking-fast second-gen Core i7 processor in January, we’ve been wondering if Intel’s hexa-cores still have a purpose. When iBuypower’s Paladin XLC strode into town with a hearty Intel six-core inside its shining white armor, we expected an epic battle.
And we got one. Outfitted with Intel’s priciest hexa-core, the 3.33GHz Core i7-980X, the Paladin XLC seemed destined to take on Falcon Northwest’s black-clad Mach V system that we reviewed in February.
Boutique system builder iBuyPower is putting on its Dutch Boy dungarees and offering up its LAN Warrior II small form factor PCs in four new painted colors, including blue, red, green, and orange.
"LAN party gamers look for two things in a mobile gaming system -- power and style," said Darren Su, vice president of iBuyPower. "The new LAN Warrior IIs deliver both by incorporating the best components available and a little war paint that is sure to turn heads."
Custom paint jobs typically put the squeeze on your wallet, but iBuyPower is offering up these new colors for a mere $19 premium over the standard black version. And this is actual paint, not a vinyl decal.
"The newest editions feature a colored border front with a black backlit grill, painted side panel, and top including the integrated handle," iBuyPower says.
Not a bad deal for less than $20, with baseline configurations starting at $750 (AMD), $800 (Intel P55), and $1,000 (Intel X58).
We're not into the whole branding thing ourselves, but if you're a fan of AMD's dragon graphics, don't plan on rolling your own rig, and don't have a hankering for Intel hardware, then iBuyPower has a chassis right up your alley. Designed in conjunction with AMD, the new Dragon Special Edition enclosure is really an NZXT Lexa case with a killer makeover.
"The uniquely wrapped NZXT Lexa enclosure features the metallic AMD Dragon with its piercing red eyes, wings spread, and jaws open poised to strike," iBuyPower explains. "The AMD Dragon Special Edition chassis is designed to add an element of lethality to gamers' lifestyles."
And a bit of flair to your desktop. But the real draw here is that iBuyPower isn't price gouging. The Dragon themed Lexa is available on iBuyPower's entire range of AMD systems, including as part of a fully configured Athlon II-based setup starting at $439. Just ignore the 'X6' tag on the side of the case, we won't tell.
If iBuyPower were to write a boutique system vendor's Declaration of Independence, it would go something like this this:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all systems are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are SuperSpeed USB 3.0 at no additional cost."
iBuyPower didn't actually write any such declaration, but the company did announce that is now offering USB 3.0 on all if its desktop systems for free, and that includes systems with motherboards that don't feature onboard SuperSpeed USB support. For rigs that don't, iBuyPower will throw in a free internal USB 3.0 PCi-E x1 expansion card.
"The upgrade future-proofs new iBuyPower desktops by ensuring their compatibility with new as well as unreleased handheld recorders, digital cameras, smartphones, and more," iBuyPower said.