The good: It's affordable and brings innovation to slim-tower PCs by offering a full-size graphics card. The bad: Despite the big 3-D card, the slim-tower chassis still has a limited upgrade path.

The cost: $999.

The bottom line: This affordable, suitably stylized package is worthy of a recommendation to anyone in the market for a mainstream gaming PC.

  • 4 stars

Falcon Northwest Mach V

The good: It features Intel's new six-core CPU, a new motherboard chipset and high-end components.

The bad: Gamers won't see much benefit from Intel's new chip compared with the old flagship Core i7, and the imposing Mach V case isn't for everyone.

The cost: $4,995.

The bottom line: Well-heeled gamers with professional-level application performance needs should look into the Falcon. But you can spend far less and still enjoy top-notch gaming with an older CPU.

  • 4 stars


The good: It offers best-in-class gaming performance in a tidy, overclocked package.

The bad: Despite the nice variety of options, gamers using multiple monitors will want to look for a system with room for multiple graphics cards.

The cost: $884 to $1,199.

The bottom line: It's a fast, affordable and compact little desktop that can be recommended to any PC gamer.

  • 4 stars


The good: It offers bang for the buck in an upper-midrange gaming desktop.

The bad: It's not very quiet.

The cost: $1,799.

The bottom line: It's a laser-focused gaming PC with a relatively attainable price, well-suited to enthusiasts.