There's little doubt that high-end PCs continue to sell, even as the market as a whole is contracting. Better graphics, 4K gaming, rendering and editing - they're all things that mobile devices and consoles can't match, although to be fair, your average high-end gaming PC also costs a lot more. There are plenty of people out there willing to pay for these little boxes of bragging rights, though, and Los Angeles-based Steiger Dynamics focusses on a rather unusual niche in the PC industry.
Its HTPCs give most gaming PCs a run for their money and some of the top end models include multiple graphics cards and even custom water cooling. The idea behind them is something co-founder and CEO Martin Gossner told us when we spoke to him recently:
''Our Windows-based HTPCs can basically integrate all the functionality of today’s living room devices like HD Satellite and Cable TV, Blu-ray disc playback, media center, home server, home automation, and high-end gaming
Those are not only integrated, but done better: Watch and record up to 8 HD TV channels simultaneously or spread the signals to TVs in the house. When it comes to gaming and processing power, our base systems already outpace the new generations of consoles while our top-of-the line system is about 10 times faster than the new Xbox One.''
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HTPC's might lack the finesse of the latest smart TV's and set-top boxes, but their flexibility still means that they're the all-rounders of the living room and from the sheer number of HTPC-based projects in our modding forum, we're pretty sure that bit-tech reader's are keen on them too. So lets take a closer look at the LEET Pure HTPC.
Amazingly, despite the price tag, the Pure is actually at the lower end of the LEET range of systems, with the top-end Reference range offering LGA2011 systems along with pre-overclocked CPUs, custom water cooling and SLI graphics. That said, it's certainly no slouch if you're looking for some gaming grunt in your living room to deal with the latest Steam titles but if you're just after the case, then Steiger Dynamics offers these separately too.
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The large touch screen has been tweaked to show a custom system display made by Steiger Dynamics but as it stems from Soundgraph, you can tap into the software it offers too. Steiger Dynamics also offers WMC remotes and TV tuner cards too as options so the system is fairly flexible, just as an Origen AE case would be. For warranty, there's a full three year's cover in the US. Steiger Dynamics does ship both LEET Systems and cases worldwide, and with the former, you'd need to identify the fault yourself, with or without guidance from its customer care service and either ship the faulty part back at cost for a replacement, or contact the local service centre for that hardware. It's not ideal but in all fairness, with a lone US base, it's going to be very challenging for anyone to offer a full warranty to overseas customers.
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Our sample of the LEET Pure included a Intel Core i7-4770K overclocked to 4.3GHz sitting in an Asus Z87 Pro motherboard with 16GB of Corsair Vengeance 1,600MHz memory and an EVGA GeForce GTX 770 2GB at the helm. There's no discrete sound card as standard, but Steiger Dynamics offers options of an Asus Xonar Essence STX 2.1 and RME HDSPe AES Professional Sound Card if you're planning on hooking the system up to some quality audio hardware.
CPU Intel Core i7-4770K @ 4.3GHz
Motherboard Asus Z87 Pro
RAM 16GB (2 x 8GB) Corsair Vengeance 1,600MHz
Graphics card EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 2GB
Case LEET Reference
CPU Cooler Corsair H80i with Scythe Gentle Typhoon fan
Storage 2 x 120GB Kingston HyperX 3K SSD in RAID 0, 4TB WD Red hard disk
Optical DrivePioneer BDR-208DBK Blu-ray player/DVD Rewriter
Operating system Windows 8 64-bit
Warranty US - 3 year parts and labour, worldwide - local manufacturer part replacement / return to base part replacement