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.
Intel's rallying vendors to promote 2-in-1 PCs in 2014
Within the last year or so, the all-in-one (AIO) form factor finally started gaining ground, in large part because prices came down to more affordable levels. With the advent of touchscreen computing and, by extension, Windows 8/8.1, the time may be ripe for AIO vendors to lure customers over, and that's what they're going to try to do in 2014, though they won't be pushing just ordinary AIO systems.
The Acer Aspire 5600U is a slim and somewhat-sexy all-in-one. It features a 1.3-inch-thin chassis and a 23-inch display atop a clear-plastic base, giving the illusion that it’s floating in air. Once you get past the aesthetics, however, you’ll find that the 5600U is lacking where it counts.
Note: This review was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
Don't accuse HP of putting innovation on the back burner. Quite the opposite, the HP Envy Recline all-in-one (AIO) PC series is like no other AIO you've ever seen before. True to its name, the Envy Recline allows the user to pivot the touchscreen display lower and closer, encouraging interaction that HP claims is more accessible and comfortable. We'll reserve judgement until we've had a chance to test one for ourselves, though looking at the pictures, it sure seems like HP is onto something here.
High prices used to hold back the all-in-one (AIO) form factor, and to make matters worse, they've never been known for being easy to service and/or upgrade at home. All of that is starting to change, and when you throw Microsoft's touch-friendly Windows 8 operating system into the mix, AIO systems suddenly seem a lot more appealing than they once were, resulting in a boost in global shipments.
Digital Storm made it a point to show off its liquid cooled Aventum II system at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this year, and was super delighted to showcase its nickel-plated copper piping, steel and copper construction (no plastic whatsoever, the boutique builder says), and room for 22 case fans. It's a custom system in every sense of the word, and having tweaked the design the last few months, Digital Storm is ready to launch its latest gaming PC line.
If you're going to name a PC gaming line "Epic," you better back it up with some hardcore configuration options, lest you're willing to deduct 500 street cred points. Maingear need not worry about that. The boutique system builder today launches its Epic Force and Epic Rush desktops, both of which come chock full of high-end hardware options and offer more choices in liquid cooling and design options.
Brushed aluminum on the outside, gaming grade components on the inside.
Boutique system builder Digital Storm doesn't believe the mid-tower form factor is getting its due as a viable option for high-end gaming. In order to change that perception, the company announced a new line of PCs called Virtue with the tagline, "A higher standard in PC gaming." The mid-tower case Digital Storm is using for these new PCs sports a brushed aluminum finish and steel exterior.
Small form factor (SFF) computing meets up with Ivy Bridge.
When you stop and think about it, the amount of power in some of today's mini PC systems is pretty amazing. Enter Zotac, a company that lives and breathes small form factor (SFF) systems under its Zbox line, which today it infused with an Intel Core i5 3470T processor. It's a respectable desktop part built around Intel's Ivy Bridge architecture with two processing cores clocked at 2.9GHz (3.6GHz via Turbo), 3MB of cache, and a rated max TDP of 35W -- plenty powerful enough for general purpose computing.
Windows 8 is giving birth to all kinds of new designs, especially in mobile, where notebooks and tablets are blending into hybrid devices that can function as either one. But it's not only laptops and slates that are starting to look different. Intel is reportedly pushing PC makers to build adaptive all-in-one systems with internal batteries so that users can tote them from place to place.