Welcome to another edition of Mik's picks, where we find some of the weekend's best gaming hardware sales. I hope everyone had a good fourth of July -- but now it's time to get back to GN's reality: System building. What better way than to see what great deals are out there for you to check out?
UPDATE: Rosewill has read our review and is addressing the quality issues in an upcoming "version 2" of the Armor Evolution case. We will review this case once it is complete and in our hands.
As noted in our post-CES case round-up, mid-tower and full tower / enthusiast cases were all the rage this year; in a frighteningly unstable desktop PC market—one which sees Intel's exit from the motherboard market, despite their huge motherboard push to us in 2011—we were taken aback by the fierce competition in the enclosure marketplace, each manufacturer fighting for the rising enthusiast market. As we see a move away from mainstream desktops, the market's direction is becoming clear: There will be mobile devices and there will be high-end machines; the middle-ground, mainstream desktop user is effectively extinct (or very endangered, in the least).
This is traditional of any aging market -- the same goes for cars. We went from hundreds of car companies in the mid-20th century to just a handful, and while all manner of economics plays into the merging and folding of companies, the advancement of technology and consumer demands plays an equally large role. And so as the world of desktop machines goes forward, having now given it some thought, it makes sense that competition for the gaming and high-end DIY markets would embolden itself as manufacturers prepare to grab hold of whatever small foothold they can in a shrinking marketplace. Besides, we have it on good authority that the enthusiast market is growing, even while the mainstream desktop user vanishes; this means good things for all of us.
Building budget gaming PCs has become a bit of a hobby of ours -- our latest Guild Wars 2 PC build utilized Zalman's Z11 Plus, we've previously used the HAF 22 and 12 cases, Antec's renowned 300, and many more; when we first spotted the Rosewill R5 at PAX East 2012, we were blown away by its promised features and targeted price-point of $70. Things changed, though, and that prototype version had a few more features added to it (and the red LEDs removed) -- as such, the case is now an $80 mid-entry level gaming enclosure.
Evolutions in PC gaming technology make staggering, industry-driving lunges forward with each passing year; somehow, though, enthusiasts continue to demand increasingly-more from hardware companies as time drones on, and luckily, they're listening.
Or, at least, we think they are. Some of them.
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