Portable gaming laptop deathmatch

A funny thing happened while I was lugging our most recent 17-inch PC gaming monster laptop off my desk. My replacement options were no longer limited to big, bulky 17- and 18-inch desktop replacement laptops. Instead, a new breed of 13- and 14-inch laptops with serious gaming cred is making waves, proving that you don't need a massive footprint to fit in the latest CPU and GPU parts.

Each of these semi-portable gaming laptop was reviewed in a configuration that included a quad-core CPU from Intel's fourth-generation Core i7 line, and a graphics card from Nvidia's current … Read more

PC gaming does Cyber Monday: Desktops and laptops

If you've been eyeing a high-end, hand-built gaming PC, today might be the day to pull the trigger. Here's a selection of the Cyber Monday deals available from the dedicated PC vendors.

Alienware Alienware's high-end desktops aren't as competitive as they used to be, but its laptops and budget-price desktops still have some appeal.

You'll find Alienware's best deals on its highest-end hardware. The M14x and M18x laptops, and the Aurora gaming desktop all offer discounts of above $400. The best deal of that bunch is the M14x, with a starting price of $2,… Read more

Maingear introduces first boutique gaming all-in-one PC

Mainstream vendors, Lenovo in particular, have attempted gaming-oriented all-in-one desktops. Maingear's Alpha 24 Super stock is the first from a true boutique PC vendor.

For starters, here are the highlights of the Alpha's spec sheet:

Intel Core i3 3240 3.4GHz, upgradeable to Intel Core i7 3770K Up to 256GB Crucial M4 mSATA SSD Up to 3TB mechanical HDD Full-size, Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Graphics, up to GeForce GTX 680 Expansion slots that include two mini PCIe slots and one PCIe x 16 slot Starting at $1,349

You don't normally find full-size graphics cards, and PCI-Express … Read more

Maingear joins the 11-inch gaming laptop battle with the Pulse 11

Add Maingear to the very short list of PC vendors selling an 11-inch gaming laptop, with the new Pulse 11.

The 11-inch gaming laptop has had a bit of an up-and-down history. First the Alienware M11X made a big splash at CES in 2010, then it was quietly discontinued this year, just as Intel's new Ivy Bridge CPUs hit. At the same time as the Alienware model was going away, boutique PC maker Origin introduced the Eon-11, an 11-inch gaming laptop in the same vein. … Read more

New Maingear gaming desktops bring design distinction

Yes, Maingear has added Intel's new Ivy Bridge third-generation Core CPUs to its desktop lineup. So will all other PC vendors if they haven't already. Click here for a list of Ivy Bridge systems currently on sale.

Far more interesting is that with its new case designs, also announced today, Maingear is demonstrating it understands the power of an easy-to-understand product lineup.

Joining Maingear's existing full-tower Shift gaming desktop are a new version of the standard-tower F131, and the new Potenza, which is smaller. The F131 has existed in name for a few years, but both it and the Potenza now come in vertically oriented case designs.

Not only do those designs have technical merits -- the narrowed chassis channels hot air up and out of the system for efficient cooling -- the size difference between them also makes it immediately clear where each model fits in the performance spectrum.… Read more

Maingear aims for a premium all-in-one with the new Solo 21

All-in-one computers (such as the Apple iMac) are the most visible part of the desktop market these days, thanks to excellent screen/PC hybrids from HP, Lenovo, and others. But these are largely mainstream machines, aimed at kiosk-like kitchen environments, or family video viewing.

Boutique PC maker Maingear is adding a different take, with its new Solo 21 all-in-one, which focuses on high-end multimedia. The company says: … Read more

Maingear revamps Vybe gaming desktop

Maingear has updated its mainstream Vybe gaming desktop line with a new chassis, up-to-date specs, and a new assortment of consumer-friendly purchasing and support policies.

The new Vybe comes in three different core models, the S, the SE, and the SS. The S is a non-customizable $949 model that ships the same day you order. The SE and SS are both configurable, but with three-day shipping with the default configurations. This is not unlike the Ode line from Digital Storm, which also features preconfigured models that simplify the ordering process for consumers who might not be the most tech-savvy PC gamers.… Read more

Two high-value, high-speed gaming desktops

It's become rare for a developer other than Blizzard to explicitly target PC gamers. Now we have two such PC-centric games on the horizon. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, from Atari and Polish-developer CD Projekt Red, promises visceral, adult-oriented role playing when it launches May 17. Electronic Arts and developer DICE have described this fall's Battlefield 3 as a "love letter" to PC gamers, a claim backed by a Battlefield 3 DirectX 11 presentation at this year's Game Developer's Conference.

With these, and hopefully other graphically modern PC games on the horizon, you … Read more

Intel Sandy Bridge desktop reviews preview

We're still cranking away on the performance testing on a handful of desktops using Intel's new Sandy Bridge chips. Look for the full reviews next week, but in the meantime, we thought we'd share our CineBench 11 scores for a few systems, given that's what Intel used today in its own press conference demo.

The charts below feature five recent performance gaming desktops. The Maingear F131 and the Digital Storm Special Ops systems both use older, overclocked Intel Core i7 950 CPUs. The Falcon Northwest Mach V and the Origin Genesis all use new Sandy Bridge Core i7 2600K chips, all overclocked from 3.4GHz to 4.6GHz and 4.7GHz, respectively. The Maingear Vybe uses a Sandy Bridge Core i5 2500K overclocked from 3.3GHz to 4.7GHz. Expect to see the occasional overclocked Sandy Bridge chip hit 5.0GHz or higher. Full specs for each system are listed at the end of this post.… Read more

Core wars: Multicore gaming PC shootout

Now that AMD and Intel both have six-core desktop CPUs, what will become of still-fast quad-core CPUs? For guidance, we turn to the recent crop of $1,000-to-$2,000 performance desktops.

We've compared five systems in recent desktop reviews, each with either a quad-core or a six-core CPU. The full list is as follows, with links to each respective reviews:

Dell Studio XPS SX8100-1986NBC ($1,149): 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860, ATI Radeon HD 5770 Gateway FX6831-01 ($1,299); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860, ATI RAdeon HD 5850 HP Pavilion Elite 190T ($2,105): 3.36GHz … Read more