Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Full Systems

AVADirect BattleBox Ultimate X370 Gaming System
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AVADirect BattleBox Ultimate X370 Gaming System Review

Earlier this year we took a look at our first system from AVADirect, which was more of a HTPC aimed towards 1080p gamers. AVADirect asked us if we wanted to take a look at another system and we said we wanted something a little more powerful. They told us they had the perfect thing in mind, one of their new Battlebox Ultimate systems. AVADirect offers the Battlebox Ultimate is many different configurations from HEDT like X399 and X299, to more mainstream X370 and Z270 setups. The Battlebox they configured for us is the Z370 featuring an AMD RYZEN 7 1700X processor, GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, 16GB of DDR4 memory, an M.2 PCIe SSD, and much more. They even outfitted the system with RGB LEDs and custom sleeved cables! Is this system going to be able to handle 4K gaming? Read on as we find out!

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AVADirect Affinity HTPC System Review

AVADirect is a custom PC maker located in Twinsburg, Ohio, which is basically between Cleveland and Akron. It is great to see a rather large custom PC maker so close to us and in the mid-west. So many PC builders are on the west coast. AVADirect offers all different types of custom PCs from high-end gaming PCs to the home theater variety, which we are taking a look at today. The home theater PC is something that really has evolved over the past few years. So many people want to play their PC games in the living room and AVADirect's Affinity HTPC System will definitely allow you to do that. At the same time the system will look like it actually belongs in your home theater and it will be nice and quiet. Let's take a look at this Affinity HTPC system and see what it can do.

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Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO Y910 Gaming PC Review

The words all-in-one PC and gaming typically don't go together. All-in-one PCs are typically made to be productivity computers that offer a very small footprint. Well Lenovo is changing the idea of an all-in-one PC with their IdeaCentre AIO Y910 Gaming PC. Since it is designed for gaming inside you'll find a Core i7-6700 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, 16GB of DDR4 memory, 256 GB PCIe SSD, and a 1TB hard drive. All of this is inside of what is basically a 27-inch monitor. The monitor itself is pretty awesome too, rocking a 2560 x 1440 QHD resolution and edgeless display. Could this be the ideal solution for a gamer on the go? Or someone who does not have that much space to work with? We are going to put it through the paces and see just how well it performs!

Lenovo IdeaCentre Y900 Razer Edition Gaming Desktop
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Lenovo IdeaCentre Y900 Razer Edition Gaming Desktop Review

While many of us out there want to build our own PCs there are quite a lot of people who don't want the hassle and just want to buy something ready to go out of the box. We typically know Lenovo for their business and home solutions, but they really have jumped into gaming full force this year. We saw that with their Y700 and Y900 gaming laptops. They are also making a big push into desktop gaming. Today we have the Lenovo IdeaCentre Y900 Razer Edition Gaming Desktop. Lenovo worked with Razer to create an awesome gaming PC that can handle the latest games out there, and look pretty good doing it. While many desktop PC solutions cannot be upgraded in the future the Y900 Razer Edition can easily be upgraded. Let's jump in and see what this gaming desktop can do!

Gigabyte BRIX BSi7-6500 Compact PC Kit
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Gigabyte BRIX BSi7-6500 Compact PC Kit Review

Small form factor systems are nothing new, we’ve seen them for a while now. One of the leaders in this area has to be Gigabyte with their BRIX systems. The BRIX systems are extremely small, yet offer great performance! Gigabyte makes all different types of BRIX kits for different situations. Gigabyte was showing off new models of the BRIX at CES in January with Intel 6th Generation Core “Skylake” processors and now we have one in the office to play with. It is the BSi7-6500, which features an Intel Core i7-6500U processor, Intel HD Graphics 520, 2x DDR3L SO-DIMM slots, 1x 2280 M.2 slot, WiFi, Bluetooth, and more! You get all of this in a form factor that is extremely small, the official dimensions of the unit are 34.4 mm x 112.6 mm x 119.4 mm! Let’s see what this new BRIX model is all about!

Intel Compute Stick
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Intel Compute Stick (2nd Generation) Review

Back in early 2015 at CES Intel showed us a really cool device that they were really excited about. It was their Compute Stick, which was an entire PC in the form factor of an HDMI stick. It is pretty awesome that with this device you can turn any HDMI display into a computer! The tagline of “Connect. Compute. It’s that simple.” really fits the Compute Stick perfectly. Intel released the first version of the Compute Stick in 2015 and now it is on its second generation. The second generation makes improvements over the first generation product, inside you have an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor (Cherry Trail), 2GB of DDR3L memory, and 32GB of onboard storage. Intel has also added a second USB port (compared to the single port on the 1st generation) and has improved wireless connectivity with 802.11ac wireless and Bluetooth 4.2 with a 2x2 antenna. Let’s take the 2nd generation Intel Compute Stick for a spin and see what it can really do!

Zotac NEN SN970 Steam Machine
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Zotac NEN SN970 Steam Machine Review

Ever since Valve announced SteamOS and Steam Machines there have been two Steam Machines that were shown the most. They were the Alienware Steam Machine and Zotac’s NEN SN970. Not that long ago we took a look at the Alienware unit, and now we have the NEN SN970 to review. This unit is part of Zotac’s extremely popular ZBOX line of mini PCs. Under the hood you have an Intel Core i5-6400T processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960, 8GB of memory, and a 1TB 2.5“ SATA hard drive. Like all Steam Machine’s the NEN SN970 will ship with SteamOS pre-installed and an official Steam Controller. This will bring gaming into the living room and you’ll have the massive Steam library of games to choose from, which has more games than either of the two major consoles. Let’s get to gaming and see what the NEN SN970 is all about!

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Alienware Steam Machine Review

The term Steam Machine is something we’ve been hearing for a while now, but the actual real Steam Machines are only coming out now. A Steam Machine is meant to bridge the gap between a console gamer and traditional PC gamer. It brings the Steam experience and Steam’s vast library of games to the living room. Even if you are a traditional PC gamer there are times you just want to sit in front of the TV and play some games. Many people have already done this by building their own HTPC system, but these are bulky and more often than not underpowered. Steam Machines are designed to be smaller than most current-generation consoles, which means you can easily add them to your home theater setup. A true Steam Machine is powered by SteamOS and comes with an official Steam Controller. Today we are looking at Alienware’s Steam Machine (model: ASM100-2980BLK) which is powered by an Intel Core i3 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU with 2GB of memory, 8GB of DDR3 memory, and a 1 TB hard drive. Come on this adventure with us as we see what Alienware’s Steam Machine and the SteamOS is all about.

LIVA PC Kit Feature shot
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ECS LIVA Mini PC Kit Review

The New ECS LIVA MINI PC Kit runs a fully dressed Intel BayTrail-M SoC (Intel Celeron Processor N2807), which has a full 1MB cache with turbo mode of up to 2.16 GHz. The little Intel Celeron is a dual thread, dual core 64 bit 4.3 watt TDP laptop processor with normal operation wattage of 2.5 Watts and will max out at 4.3 Watts. ECS LIVA MINI PC KIT also uses SKHyniex 2GB DDR3L 1333MHz speed memory soldered on-board RAM. The all black PC board uses either a 32GB or 64GB of eMMC memory which is like the main hard drive and also can use M.2 form factor combo wireless card that supports 802.11b/g/n wireless and Bluetooth 4.0 and also has a Gigabit LAN connection to boot.

Gigabyte BRIX Projector Ultra Compact PC Kit
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Gigabyte BRIX Projector Ultra Compact PC Kit Review

The whole idea behind Gigabyte’s BRIX ultra compact PC kit’s are to give you a functional PC with an extremely small form factor. This makes them perfect for a media or internet machine. Their small size means you can put them pretty much anywhere as well. While the BRIX systems have been out for a while the BRIX projector is a newer product that takes a BRIX ultra compact PC Kit and adds a micro-projector for a complete and very cool setup. It is actually quite impressive that Gigabyte has been able to fit a projector right on top of the BRIX, making it not much larger than the normal version. The Gigabyte BRIX Projector that we are taking a look at today is powered by the Intel i3-4010U 1.7GHz processor and Intel HD 4400 graphics. Being that this is a “PC Kit” you will need to install your own DDR3L memory and mSATA drive. Let’s take a look!

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