Best microtower: Digital Storm Bolt II
Price as reviewed: $2857
One of the biggest developments in the gaming PCs of the last few years was the micro-tower. Unlike the bulky, bread-box-shaped (and we've actually seen bread boxes, so believe us) small-form-factor machines, microtowers resemble game consoles more than anything. On the inside though, they pack tremendous firepower. Perhaps the best microtower we saw this year was Digital Storm's Bolt II. Although larger than previous microtower rigs we've reviewed, you can also thank the slightly bigger chassis for better cooling and acoustics, too. Let's not even mention that the Bolt II is a custom designed chassis and built right here. Yup, 'murica.
Best convertible PC: Origin PC Genesis
Price as reviewed: $8365
Many boutique PC vendors tend to take the best big chassis available from a case vendor such as Corsair, Silverstone or Cooler Master, paint it and call it a day. Not so with Origin PC's new Genesis. Its new custom Genesis is truly unique. When ordered, the customer can pick whether to mount the motherboard to face either right or left side of the case. Even crazier, you can pick whether you want the video cards to vent out the rear or the top. The last trick of the case is the bottom slice, which can be configured with either a hard drive or with radiators for cooling. If you don't want that bottom slice, Origin can remove it, which turns it into a smaller PC called the Millennium.
Best quiet gaming PC : AVA Direct Quiet Gaming PC
Price as reviewed: $2440
Like the name says. What's amazing, though, is AVA Direct pulls off its acoustic trick without resorting to liquid cooling. No, it's air cooling on the CPU and the video card, yet you can game at 2560x1600 without listening to the constant whine of fans. Even better, for a gaming rig, it's actually somewhat affordable. This PC does have one weakness (which you'll have to read about in the review), but it won't affect many gamers.
Best HTPC: Steiger Dynamics LEET Home Theater PC
Price as reviewed: $7295
If you have to ask how much, you know it's not for you. With that out of the way, Steiger Dynamics LEET Home Theater PC is perhaps one of the most gorgeous HTPC's we've ever seen. Ahh, but now you're wondering why this is in a writeup about gaming PCs. You see, the LEET Home Theater PC is no mere HTPC — it also has the gaming chops to play AAA games without compromise.
Best wildcard: Alienware Alpha
Price as reviewed: $550
Every made-up, end-of-the-year, SEO-optimized, click-bait link list has a wildcard. For me, it's Alienware's Alpha, perhaps one of the strangest gaming-PC-cum-console creatures out there today.
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