AVADirect’s Mini Cube Gaming PC: Good Looks, Price, And Performance

AVADirect's Mini Cube Gaming PC Offers Objective Value

AVADirect’s three-year warranty is long enough for our liking, but does require you to send the system back for support. The firm pays the return shipping bill, but a lower overall cost and the price of downtime leads us to value the protection package at around 10% of the complete system. The bundled operating system factors in as well; it's worth about 4% of the system price. So, any of our builds, which don't include warranties or software, need to beat AVADirect's submission by at least 14% to make up the difference.

When overall performance sets the benchmark, AVADirect’s choice of hardware does provide better value than our own System Builder Marathon configuration. The system we pieced together using ASRock's M8 barebones platform lands even higher on the value scale, but only because it’s also in a lower performance bracket. Moreover, AVADirect is able to match computing giant Lenovo in this regard.

The value of AVADirect’s mini gaming machine only falters in games at high resolutions. Our $2550 System Builder Marathon setup packed three graphics cards specifically to address this discipline. Lenovo also calls its Erazer X700 a gaming machine, though its creation takes last place in high-resolution gaming value.

When we tabulate the scores, calculate the value, and take a critical look inside AVADirect's Mini Cube Gaming PC, we see that the company is fully capable of building a quality machine without compromising value. Factoring in warranty coverage and a bundled operating system to the cost, it appears that we're getting hours of assembly labor nearly free. That sounds like a bargain specifically for anyone who lacks either the time or skill to replicate a boutique builder's efforts.

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  • Someone Somewhere
    Page four. The ASRock system has an i7-4770K. How is the CPU cooler an 'AMD Boxed Cooler"?

    Also, many of those seem somewhat unbalanced, especially for a gaming system.

    EDIT: Toss an R9 290X or 780 in the M8 and drop to a 4670K, and you'd have a real value winner.
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  • Crashman
    930500 said:
    Page four. The ASRock system has an i7-4770K. How is the CPU cooler an 'AMD Boxed Cooler"? Also, many of those seem somewhat unbalanced, especially for a gaming system. EDIT: Toss an R9 290X or 780 in the M8 and drop to a 4670K, and you'd have a real value winner.
    Thanks for catching the pasting errors, it helped me fix two articles :) As for the rest of the ASRock build, I used what was available. Remember that A WHOPPING 1/3 of the benchmark set does benefit from the i7's added cache and/or HT, and that ONLY 1/3 of the benchmarks benefit from a higher-model graphics card :p
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  • bemused_fred
    930500 said:
    Page four. The ASRock system has an i7-4770K. How is the CPU cooler an 'AMD Boxed Cooler"? Also, many of those seem somewhat unbalanced, especially for a gaming system. EDIT: Toss an R9 290X or 780 in the M8 and drop to a 4670K, and you'd have a real value winner.


    A 290-X in a mini-ITX case?!? He wants a P.C., not a space heater!
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  • Menigmand
    "Good looks" are highly subjective... I would say that case is not pretty. If the AVA sticker can be removed, and there's an option without the optical drive, then it would be better.
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  • vaughn2k
    We'll.. this is another good example of implementing modular cables. But I really don't like the idea of blocking the inside of the computer with a power supply, unless it is designed the way like Thermaltake Elite 120 does...
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  • vertexx
    Nice article. I'm not for the fake chrome vinyl wrap look, and I would question how long that would last.

    Overall though, it's good to see these guys putting together a nice compact, high performing PC.
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  • vertexx
    The same parts plus OS can be purchased for ~$1,900. Still, for someone who doesn't want to mess with building a system, it looks like a decent value.
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  • Steveymoo
    So expensive >< Jesus Christ.
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  • MooseMuffin
    These guys seem pretty price competitive actually. I just ran through their configurator with a system I put together for myself recently and it came within $150. Not bad considering you get the warranty, and that every other boutique seems to mark up way more with fewer part options.
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  • g-unit1111
    Love that case. The polished aluminum look should be on all high end builds regardless of chassis size, in my opinion.
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  • ta152h
    Just looked at the first page, saw the picture, and realized this ugly rubbish wouldn't have any place in my home.

    Ugly things don't sell well. PC makers, and case makers need to make attractive designs instead of wanting people to put these eyesores in their houses. Efficiency is great, but it's secondary to appearance.

    How many people go to the car dealership and base their decision mainly on the aerodynamics of the car? Next to none? Appearance? Lots, even if they refuse to admit it? Efficiency in a case matters even less, but they keep making these ugly monstrosities that we're supposed to pollute our workspace with.
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  • Adroid
    Not bad. A bit more money than I would spend on a PC, but it's a higher end model. Probably a good buy if you took it and adjusted the OC a bit.
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  • mouse24
    229700 said:
    Just looked at the first page, saw the picture, and realized this ugly rubbish wouldn't have any place in my home. Ugly things don't sell well. PC makers, and case makers need to make attractive designs instead of wanting people to put these eyesores in their houses. Efficiency is great, but it's secondary to appearance. How many people go to the car dealership and base their decision mainly on the aerodynamics of the car? Next to none? Appearance? Lots, even if they refuse to admit it? Efficiency in a case matters even less, but they keep making these ugly monstrosities that we're supposed to pollute our workspace with.


    See thats the thing about opinions, everyones got them. I quite like the case. Also I couldn't care less what my PC looks like as long as it runs. How often do you even look at your PC? Maybe once or twice a day when you turn it on and off.
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  • Someone Somewhere
    537231 said:
    Love that case. The polished aluminum look should be on all high end builds regardless of chassis size, in my opinion.


    229700 said:
    Just looked at the first page, saw the picture, and realized this ugly rubbish wouldn't have any place in my home.


    And this is why the choice of looks in cases is so varied.
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  • g-unit1111
    930500 said:
    And this is why the choice of looks in cases is so varied.


    What's that saying "one man's trash is another man's treasure"? :lol:
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  • dennphill
    Very nice build. Great review, Tom. I like the case - and for reasons others might pooh-pooh - the size and form factor is just right for me. Don't quite need the performance here though, and just spent an hour or so trying to find a configurator on AVADirect that gets me to this case and mobo combo to configure at a slightly lower price and performance levels. Can't find the case available on any of their configurators, though they do list the Lian case as an available part. Schade. Guess I'll just have to contact them, but you'd think with this exposure and such a favorable review, they'd get ahead of the power curve. (Like, for example, an ad with link to the particular configurator on their site!)
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  • Crashman
    885869 said:
    "Good looks" are highly subjective... I would say that case is not pretty. If the AVA sticker can be removed, and there's an option without the optical drive, then it would be better.


    727185 said:
    Very nice build. Great review, Tom. I like the case - and for reasons others might pooh-pooh - the size and form factor is just right for me. Don't quite need the performance here though, and just spent an hour or so trying to find a configurator on AVADirect that gets me to this case and mobo combo to configure at a slightly lower price and performance levels. Can't find the case available on any of their configurators, though they do list the Lian case as an available part. Schade. Guess I'll just have to contact them, but you'd think with this exposure and such a favorable review, they'd get ahead of the power curve. (Like, for example, an ad with link to the particular configurator on their site!)


    Yeh, it's a PITA to copy a configuration on their site, you just start out with the "LGA 1150 Mini Cube" or whatever they're calling it that day, pick the black version of the case and if you want the simulated chrome you add that, etc.
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