It’s no secret that Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 480 cards are the hottest piece of technology people want to gawk at right now. Hell, we were barely able to obtain one of these coveted babies for our feature on Fermi this month.
So we were pretty impressed to crack open Maingear’s new Shift system and find three GTX 480 boards running in tri-SLI. That the company could rate such bounty is testament to its street cred among power users.
The Shift isn’t just about the Fermi cards, though. Maingear also managed to get that other big star of the PC world in for the ride: Intel’s Core i7-980X, which, with help from the Acetek water cooler, Maingear pushes from the stock 3.33GHz to 4.2GHz.
When we think of high end gaming machines, Intel's Xeon processors aren't the first chips that come to mind, but that doesn't mean we'd turn our noses up at a monster setup with not one, but two six-core Xeon 5600 chips. That's exactly what AVADirect delivers in its new custom hybrid gaming system / workstation setup built for both work and play.
If you don't need quite that level of performance, you can drop down to a mere quad-core Xeon chip, but where's the fun in that? As with most boutique system builders, you can choose from a wide variety of components, including up to 48GB of DDR3 memory, up to FOUR freaking graphics, oodles of SSD and HDD options configurable in a RAID array, and just about everything else you can imagine. For a fee, AVADirect will go the extra mile however little or much you wish, including GPU overclocking, sound dampening your setup, slapping on a custom paint job, and spiral wrapping or looming custom colored cables.
All of these hardware options come jammed into an EVGA SR2 motherboard with support for SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0, and the whole thing is shoved into a Lian Li Armorsuit PC-P80 tower chassis, which are about the only two components that can't be swapped.
Boutique system vendor Maingear is hoping to capitalize on AMD's low-priced 6-core Phenom II X6 processor line by releasing a pair of modestly priced gaming PCs built around the new platform. It's called the VYBE Limited Edition and it comes in two baseline configurations.
The first one sells for $999 and comes built around AMD's Phenom II X6 1055T processor, the lesser of AMD's two chips. Maingear couples the CPU with AMD's new 890GX chipset, which boasts support for SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0. Other features include a Radeon HD 5670 videocard, 4GB of DDR3-1333 memory, 640GB hard drive, DVD burner, 500W power supply, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
For $300 more, Maingear bumps the processor up to a 1090T (3.2GHz). Other upgrades include a Radeon HD 5830 videocard and 6GB of DDR3-1333 memory, otherwise the specs remain the same.
We first heard about MSI's GE600 gaming notebook at CES earlier this year, and at long last, MSI has begun shipping the 16-inch laptop to the North American market.
Not much has changed since our sneak peek several months ago, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The GE600 sports a respectable spec sheet consisting of an Intel Core i5 420M processor (2.26GHz), 4GB of DDR3 memory, 320GB hard drive, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730 videocard with DX11 support, a DVD burner, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 4-in-1 memory card reader, 1.3MP webcam, 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
MSI's new notebook also features a scratch resistant chassis, illuminated touch sensitive hotkeys, a raised chiclet keyboard, wide touchpad, and a glossy exterior we imagine will act as a fingerprint magnet.
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.
How much gaming goodness can you cram into a 15-inch chassis? That's what Maingear set to find out and the end result is the relaunched eX-L 15 gaming notebook.
Driving the Full HD 1920x1080 LED display is ATI's Mobility Radeon HD 5870 graphics adapter, the fastest mobile graphics chipset on the planet. The baseline configuration also includes an Intel Core i5 520M processor clocked at 2.4GHz, 4GB of DDR3-1333, 250GB Western Digital hard drive, memory card reader, 8X DVD burner, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, a 2MP webcam, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
As configured above you'd be spending $1,600. If your pockets run deeper there are several upgrade options available, including up to a Core i7 820QM processor clocked at 1.73GHz, 8GB of RAM, up to a 750GB hard drive or 512GB SSD, Blu-Ray, and a handful of other upgrades.
Other features include a 30-day zero dead pixel warranty, DVI, HDMI, and S/PDIF ports, 4 USB ports, eSATA, Firewire, and a dual-heatpipe cooling design.
VIA says its new ARTiGO A1100 DIY PC kit is "for enthusiasts who want to taste the most extreme, ultra-compact desktop computing experience," and they might be right. The ARTiGO isn't too much bigger than a smartphone, yet there's a full fledged PC inside, albeit nothing to replace your high-end desktop.
Tear the thing open and you'll find a 1.2GHz VIA Nano processor. You'll also find five USB ports, HD video support, HDMI and VGA display connectivity, Gigabit networking, Wi-Fi support, and three audio jacks, all stuffed in and around a chassis small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. More specifically, the entire thing measures just 5.7 inches x 3.9 inches x 2 inches.
"The VIA ARTiGO A1100 redefines compact computing, bringing all the features of a regular desktop PC in a form factor that needs to be seen to be believed," said Daniel Wu, Vice President, VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. "By harnessing our expertise in creating leading edge form factor systems, we're offering consumers something that absolutely breaks the mold."
All that's left is to add your own memory, hard drive, wireless module, SD card reader, and OS. If you can get VIA's store to load (we had a bit of trouble earlier today), you can pick one up today for $243, or $199 if you're one of the first 10 customers.
Maingear on Monday announced another high-end rig built around Intel's Core i7 platform, but unlike other rigs that start off this way, Maingear's latest isn't aimed at gamers. Instead, the new Quantum Shift Workstation sets its sights on graphics professionals and has been optimized for Adobe CS5, Maingear claims.
"Adobe CS5 fully leverages the advantages of Nvidia’s Quadro FX GPU accelerated technology,” said Wallace Santos, CEO and Founder of Maingear. "“Quantum Shift optimizes both technologies with enhanced performance and airflow, providing creative professionals with the most advanced workstation PC ever created."
In addition to a Core i7 foundation, the Shift can also be built around Intel's new Xeon chips. Pricing starts at just shy of $4,000 for one of these and includes a pair of Xeon 5620 processors, Nvidia GTX 480 videocard, 6GB of DDR3 memory, 750GB hard drive, and an assortment of other hardware. For those heavy into content creation, one of the options includes upgrading the RAM to 96GB for an additional $6,739.
When we introduced our new system benchmarks last month, we thought it might be at least six months before review machines began stomping the holy crap out of them. Unfortunately for us, Digital Storm couldn’t wait to pile it on. The company has unleashed a rig so damned powerful that we’re wondering if our new benchmarks and zero-point system aren’t already obsolete.
But what would you expect of a rig named HailStorm Black Ops Edition that’s equipped with Intel’s new hexa-core Core i7-980X CPU? The Core i7-980X normally clocks in at 3.33GHz, but Digital Storm pushes the CPU to 4.4GHz, with the help of an impressive dual-radiator and large ID hose water-cooling system. For graphics, the company combines three Radeon HD 5870 cards, which have been clock-bumped as well, thanks to the beefy water-cooling. Along with the CPU and GPU cooling, Digital Storm water-cools the chipset and voltage regulators on the EVGA X58 Classified motherboard. We still haven’t reviewed one of these EVGA boards, but its selection by several high-profile OEMs is making us want in on that action. Get the hint, EVGA? We should also mention that for the amount of hardware the HailStorm packs, it’s one of the quietest machine’s we’ve tested.
Samsung today revealed a pair of all-in-one PCs, the U250 and U200, both of which will take advantage of Windows 7 by featuring multi-touchscreen displays.
Details are a little slim at the moment, but according to one source, the U200 will come with a 20-inch display with a 1600x900 resolution, Intel Pentium T440 dual-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz, 2GB of RAM, and Nvidia GeForce G310M graphics with 512MB of dedicated video memory, which should be enough for some light gaming.
The U250 stretches the screen real estate to 23 inches with full HD support (1920x1080). It will also come with an Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 processor, 500GB of storage, and the same GeForce G310M graphics as the U200.