High Tech - News, Reviews and Tests
System Builder Marathon, Q2 2014: A Balanced High-End Build
Jun 26, 2014 - in Reviews
Competition tightens (along with pricing) as we respond to frequently-requested budget updates for $500, $1000, and $1500 machines. In response to other requests, we add an operating system to each machine. Can today’s cheaper PCs still perform well?
System Builder Marathon, Q2 2014: Our Enthusiast PC
Jun 25, 2014 - in Reviews
Faced with a more aggressive budget, we're dialing back our mainstream enthusiast PC's hardware, while trying to maintain aggressive performance in games, productivity, and content creation applications. This quarter's config goes heavy on value.
System Builder Marathon, Q2 2014: Our Budget Gaming PC
Jun 24, 2014 - in Reviews
This quarter's System Builder Marathon kicks off with some new rules inspired by feedback from you, our readers. Can Paul match the potency of last quarter's configuration at a lower price point, or does today's all-AMD PC struggle to keep up?
System Builder Marathon Q1 2014: System Value Compared
Mar 27, 2014 - in Reviews
This quarter's Marathon included a GeForce GTX 780 Ti-enhanced enthusiast PC, a budget gaming machine at a lower price, and a high-end build altered to reader specifications. What effects will all of those changes have on overall performance—and value?
System Builder Marathon, Q1 2014: The $750 Gaming PC
Mar 26, 2014 - in Reviews
After building two successful gaming-oriented configurations under $1000, rising prices force Paul to switch up the composition of his $750 machine. But can a compromise in processor performance be made up for by a faster GeForce GTX 770 graphics card?
System Builder Marathon, Q1 2014: Our New Enthusiast PC
Mar 25, 2014 - in Reviews
I wanted to see how a GeForce GTX 780 Ti and Core i7-4770K compare to last quarter's GeForce GTX 770 cards in SLI and Core i5-4670K. In addition, we updated our price/performance evaluation. So, this System Builder Marathon should be full of surprises!
System Builder Marathon, Q1 2014: The $2400 People’s Choice PC
Mar 24, 2014 - in Reviews
I built a sweet system last quarter with Radeon R9 290s. But based on your feedback, the highest-priced build for Q1 2014 integrates several alternative components. Can this new system do more things right than the configuration I parted out myself?
System Builder Marathon Q4 2013: System Value Compared
Dec 31, 2013 - in Reviews
This quarter's System Builder Marathon was downright chaotic. We reallocated our budgets to boost gaming performance, and watched as the prices on AMD's highest-end cards shot through the roof. When the dust settles, whose system offers the most value?
System Builder Marathon, Q4 2013: A $2400 PC That Costs $2700
Dec 30, 2013 - in Reviews
Thomas also suffers the impact of a run on AMD's graphics cards. His performance-oriented build purchased for $2400 now costs $2700 to replicate. Is it worth the extra cash, or are you better off stepping back to the parts he picked last quarter?
System Builder Marathon, Q4 2013: $1600 Enthusiast PC
Dec 27, 2013 - in Reviews
Don gets a slightly expanded budget and the command to target gaming performance. Based on his choices, he's the only one who doesn't get bit in the rear by AMD's pricing issues. Can he use this advantage to outmaneuver Paul's entry-level powerhouse?
System Builder Marathon, Q4 2013: $800 Gaming PC
Dec 26, 2013 - in Reviews
This quarter, Paul Henningsen asks for (and gets) a higher budget for better gaming performance. What he didn't expect was that AMD's graphics cards would shoot up in price, shattering the upper limit of his $800 ceiling. Can his system still compete?
Lian Li PC-Q30 Case Review: A Mini-ITX Chassis With Flair
Nov 18, 2013 - in Reviews
Lian Li's PC-Q30 is not just a PC case, but an enclosure that serves as a showcase for the living room, including a unique shape and a large front window to show off the technology you cram inside. It’s sure to raise eyebrows and start some conversations.
ASRock M8 Mini-ITX Barebones Gaming PC Review
Oct 24, 2013 - in Reviews
Some of us love compact gaming builds, but the best of these have always been pre-configured into custom enclosures. Is ASRock’s M8 the perfect open-architecture alternative? We load this $550 barebones up with hardware and test its mettle.
System Builder Marathon, Q3 2013: $350 Bonus Entry-Level PC
Sep 26, 2013 - in Reviews
Last quarter's bonus build was a $400 mini-ITX-based gaming rig, designed to be about the same size as a new console. This time around, we're slashing the budget even more to see if we can build a viable general-purpose PC for about $350 using an APU.
System Builder Marathon: Performance And Value Compared
Sep 25, 2013 - in Reviews
Can a PC that costs twice as much offer two times the performance? We compare our $650, $1300, and $2600 machines across the Tom's Hardware benchmark suite in order to find out. There's even a new test introduced to better-reflect our storage results.
System Builder Marathon, Q3 2013: $2550 Performance PC
Sep 24, 2013 - in Reviews
Last quarter, we managed to squeeze amazing performance from a $2500 box based on mini-ITX. How much more performance can we get for similar money if we get back to the world of ATX enclosures? How about a little Sandy Bridge-E and three-way SLI?
System Builder Marathon, Q3 2013: $1300 Enthusiast PC
Sep 23, 2013 - in Reviews
With access to new components like the Haswell-based Core i5-4670K and Nvidia's GeForce GTX 770, we're confident that we can build a $1300 enthusiast-class system that beats last quarter's. How does the previous mini-ITX PC stand up to this new hardware?
System Builder Marathon, Q3 2013: $650 Gaming PC
Sep 22, 2013 - in Reviews
This quarter, Paul Henningsen gives AMD's FX-6300 its chance to shine in our least-expensive configuration. He manages to fit in a GeForce GTX 760 graphics card and 8 GB of memory. The result is quite capable, as you'll see from our benchmark results.
System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: The $400 Spirit Of Mini-ITX
Jun 26, 2013 - in Reviews
Not satisfied with the size of the mini-ITX-based boxes our team just built, Paul returns with a purpose: construct the smallest possible PC still capable of gaming at 1920x1080. With $400 in-hand, he set off to show us the real spirit of mini-ITX.
System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: System Value Compared
Jun 25, 2013 - in Reviews
Our top three builders struggled to fit big performance into three tiny ITX-based platforms at three budget levels. Will the more expensive machines once again justify their higher prices through dramatically-improved performance? Read on for more.
System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: $2500 Performance PC
Jun 23, 2013 - in Reviews
Can a bigger budget help this quarter's tiny PC beat my previous performance monster? Is it any more attractive than some of the mini-ITX-based platforms from the boutique builders? I'll answer that first question for you, and you answer the second.
System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: $1300 Enthusiast PC
Jun 18, 2013 - in Reviews
Our mid-range System Builder Marathon configuration gets a larger budget so that we can fit it into a mini-ITX enclosure. How does it compare with last quarter's less-expensive machine? We run our complete benchmark suite to find out.
System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: $650 Gaming PC
Jun 16, 2013 - in Reviews
This quarter, we're upping our budgets a bit in a quest to bring you a mini-ITX-themed System Builder Marathon. Paul Henningsen takes the first crack at a compact gaming box with $650 in his pocket and the ambitious goal of smooth 1920x1080 performance.
Take The Train: Lian Li PC-CK101, Built, Tested, And...Driven?
Apr 18, 2013 - in Reviews
Lian Li sent us a locomotive chassis that wraps around a PC; it's time for daddy to turn into a boy again. We'll show you how to get the right parts into this case and how to get it mobile. Then, we'll take it to a train museum full of steam-powered tech.
System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $1,000 Performance PC
Feb 27, 2013 - in Reviews
With his budget cut in half, Thomas is trying to take the value crown by building the highest-end PC in this quarter's System Builder Marathon for $1,000. Can he out-do the value of Paul's $600 config or Don's $800 effort using solid-state storage?
System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $800 Enthusiast PC
Feb 26, 2013 - in Reviews
Last quarter, Don had $1,000 to spend on a mid-range enthusiast-oriented PC. This time around, we challenged him to build something better with $800. Is that even possible? Our System Builder Marathon continues, as we benchmark three hand-picked setups.
System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $600 Gaming PC
Feb 25, 2013 - in Reviews
After one quarter after another of Pentium-based budget-oriented gaming builds, Paul Henningsen is ready to put together something a little more potent. We gave him an extra $100 and asked him to show us how to spend that money. He obliged, gladly.
Quick Look: Hands-On With LG's 22AM33NB All-In-One Chassis
Dec 18, 2012 - in Reviews
We just finished building our second all-in-one using the Thin Mini-ITX form factor and a box of off-the-shelf components. Although we still don't have the graphics performance we crave, LG's 22AM33NB chassis is a clean example of a productivity machine.
System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: System Value Compared
Dec 6, 2012 - in Reviews
This quarter is full of surprises, from a value-oriented $500 build that includes a Radeon HD 7850 to a $1,000 machine based on AMD's FX-8350 and a $2,000 box armed with a pair of Radeon HD 7970s. We mix it up by adding new benchmarks. It's anyone's game!
System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: $1,000 Enthusiast PC
Dec 4, 2012 - in Reviews
Tired of seeing Intel CPUs dominate our System Builder Marathon? Finally, we have a processor from AMD able to go up against the fastest Core i5. We give its new FX-8350 a chance to distinguish itself in our final System Builder Marathon of 2012.