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Description: What exactly do eSports gamers look for in a PC? iBuyPower thinks it has the answer with the Revolt 2.

Desktop PCs haven’t changed much since the days of beige boxes that bearded men assembled for you in small shops. They’re usually anonymous looking boxes with standardized components. My personal gaming PC’s Fractal Design R4 case borders on the generic, but that’s how I like it.

There are, of course, more outlandish PC cases on the market designed to display your expensive components or for maximum thermal performance. Since PC manufacturers, including boutiques, rely on using standardized components, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. But stand out is exactly what iBuyPower has done with its Revolt 2 gaming PC.

The iBuyPower Revolt 2 is a small form factor PC that measures 18'' x 9'' x 15'', which isn’t quite as small as a home theater PC, but still much smaller than a usual traditional mid tower case. It also features a unique angled design giving the computer an aggressive look without being too fussy, though it does look sort of like a futuristic toaster.

The Revolt 2 case looks great but it’s also functional as well. iBuyPower hails this as a PC with an eSports focus for a couple of reasons. The most useful and unique feature of the case is the ability to quickly swap out up to two SSDs from the front. Lift the hood and you have access to the SSD cradle and an unobstructed view of your graphics card. eSports teams can take advantage of quickly switching out SSDs to load a player’s personal preferences while using the same PC. SSDs cannot be hot swapped, so you'll still need to shut down the PC before switching out the drives, but it's faster than having to remove a side panel.

In practice, the SSD cradle is a pain to remove. While the cradle is held in place with a single thumb screw, it’s impossible to access without a screw driver. The SATA III interface is snug enough that you can simply remove the screw without worrying about the drive flying out during transport. But it’s also so snug it’s difficult to remove, requiring tons of force and a firm grip.

It’s equally frustrating to remove the side panels on the Revolt 2, since they’re recessed and the side panel cutouts don’t have enough room to use your fingers to remove the thumbscrews. These screws also aren’t captured, meaning you’ll probably end up dropping them inside the case if you’re not careful. You’ll also need a screwdriver to remove the side panels, which is a pain, but you’ll likely not have to open the case up unless you’re upgrading parts.

Customers can also customize their Revolt 2s with a logo of their favorite eSports teams, and will eventually be able to custom order your own designs. Or you can just put a bunch of stickers from your favorite peripheral companies on its blank white sides. Plus, you can take advantage of the case’s RGB LEDs to match your theme.

One of the biggest concerns with compact gaming PCs like the Revolt 2 is thermal performance. A smaller case means less room for fans and radiators, which could lead to higher running temps than normal.

I’m glad to report the Revolt 2 runs great with its bottom-mounted closed loop CPU cooler and MSI graphics card. I was actually surprised at how cool the system ran, even with it placed on the carpet in the IGN office. The bottom mounted radiator and fan work great and the MSI GPU’s huge fans keep the NVIDIA graphics card cool. I never saw the CPU or GPU break 60° Celsius at full load. Best of all, the system is quiet, even without sound dampening on the side panels (they’re thick plastic). This is great news for gamers who want to place the Revolt 2 in their living room or bedroom and don’t want to hear the sound of roaring fans.

Our middle of the road “Pro” configuration came with an Intel Core i7-6700K, 8GB DDR4 RAM, MSI GTX 970 graphics card, wireless AC, and a 240GB SSD + a 1TB HDD. The base price on this configuration is $1,399 but you can customize just about every component on iBuyPower’s site to suit your needs. The base level Revolt 2 costs $899 and the top of the line Extreme version costs $1,899.

Our configuration with the GTX 970 played everything we threw at it just fine at 1440p with settings cranked all the way up. It's not a barn-burner but it will play modern games without issue. Gamers with 4K monitors will need to step up to the Extreme configuration.

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