One thing Zotac says it always wanted to do was to offer a pint-sized PC capable of playing games. Little things always got in the way of that -- you know, things like performance and heat dissipation. In that way, Intel's Haswell architecture and integrated Iris Pro 5200 graphics are quite literally game changers. Using those parts, Zotac entered CeBIT 2014 wielding a pair of new Zbox E-Series mini PCs designed for gamers.
In an attempt to offer mobile users a portable workstation solution that won't drain their budgets, Dell came up with the Precision M2800, a 15-inch mobile workstation that's ISV-certified and relatively affordable with a starting price of $1,199. Dell sees the Precision M2800 as bridging the gap between business-class laptops and traditional mobile workstations, giving professional users (engineers, designers, and video editors in particular) an ISV-certified system to work with.
Silverstone's RVZ01 is now a case option in Origin PC's Chronos line
Boutique builder Origin PC has expanded its small form factor (SFF) case options for its Chronos desktop line to include the Silverstone RVZ01, a micro tower chassis measuring 4 inches (W) by 15 inches (H) by 13.75 inches (D). Origin PC doesn't make any references to Steam Machines with its new case option, though with its slim profile and ability to sit horizontally or vertically, it's certainly a candidate to take residence in your home A/V rack.
A small form factor skeleton with one-touch overclocking
MSI seems to have its hands in quite a few different cookie jars, which now includes bare bone PCs for gamers. The new MSI Nightblade is a small form factor (SFF) setup with an MSI Gaming Z87I motherboard, 600W power supply, and Dragon case fan. Your job is to drop in a CPU, graphics card, storage, optical drive, and you're ready to game -- and you can overclock using MSI's OC Genie Button on the front of the chassis.
If your daily work space is on a mountain top or some other tough terrain, an Ultrabook may not be what you need. Instead, GammaTech offers a line of rugged systems, including its new Durabook R8300, a 13.3-inch notebook that's certified to stringent MIL-STD-810G and IP64 specifications. It can withstand drops, getting wet, dust, temperature fluctuations, and other variables that are likely to occur in hostile environments.
Underneath Origin PC's custom heat spreaders are HyperX modules
Boutique system builder Origin PC has teamed up with Kingston Technology to deliver a line of its own brand memory modules offered in the company's Genesis, Millennium, and Chronos desktops. Though the DDR3 memory kits bear Origin PC's name on the low profile black heat spreaders, they're essentially rebadged Kingston HyperX modules, only they've been factory tested and approved by both Kingston and Origin PC engineers.
Low priced convertible from HP takes on Lenovo's Yoga
If the HP Pavilion x360 looks familiar, it's because we've seen the 360-degree hinge trick before when Lenovo introduced its Yoga. HP's Pavilion x360 is also capable of swinging all the way around and transforming itself from a laptop into a tablet, but it carries a much lower starting price. The cost of entry is $400, significantly lower than the Lenovo Yoga 11s, which starts out at $1,100 on Lenovo's website.
Gaming PC builders get behind Nvidia's new GPU launches
If you were worried that Nvidia's newly announced graphics cards would amount to a paper launch, don't be. Boutique system builders have already armed themselves with the new GPUs -- GeForce GTX 750, GeForce GTX 750 Ti, and GeForce GTX Titan Black -- and are chomping (or "champing," if you prefer) at the bit to build your next gaming PC using Nvidia's newest hardware.
If you trot into your local Best Buy store, you're likely to see way more tablets, laptops, and hybrid PCs than actual desktops even though the opposite was true not all that long ago. However, if you make a living writing obituaries, don't include desktop PCs in any upcoming columns, they're still very much relevant. One need only ask Asus, which is reportedly planning to ship twice as many desktops this year as it did in 2013.
Get free stuff when you order an EON17-S or EON15-S notebook
Consider it a belated Valentine's Day gift, if you will, but starting today, boutique builder Origin PC is offering some free swag when you order an EON17-S or EON15-S gaming laptop. When you configure either laptop, be sure to check the "Jump into the Fast Lane" bullet point at the top of the page (under "Current Special Offers") and you'll receive at no extra charge a 240GB solid state drive, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and Call of Duty: Ghosts.