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Hands-on with CORSAIR's Bulldog and Lapdog living room PC kits

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Designed for 4K living room gaming and VR

This is part two of a Computex series.

Here's a quick first look at CORSAIR's VR-Ready PC. At a glance, it looks like a beefy new gaming console. Sold as a full PC or as a kit, this horizontal chassis is called the BULLDOG, presumably for its tough looks and tiny legs. 

BULLDOG is interesting in that it's designed to sneak into living room furniture as an understated piece of hardware (no RGB LED here) but still be stylish enough where you'll want people to notice it.

Inside, there's liquid cooling for both the processor and graphics card, so like a good puppy you'll never hear a peep. It really is whisper quiet: I couldn't even tell the system was powered on. An actual PC rig that's quieter than current-gen consoles, what an exciting time to be alive!

Woof.

This is what the water-cooled hardware looks like inside:

Quite the layer cake! But taking it apart is not that difficult, and this video shows how everything fits inside:

Outside, the lower right-hand corner conceals front-facing ports designed to work with a massive lap desk accessory, which is sold separately.

That accessory is the BULLDOG's sidekick desk-to-sofa replacement, the LAPDOG, which puts a powered USB hub under your keyboard on a bed of memory foam and steel. This is not your IKEA sofa lap table: it snugs a keyboard in for a seamless steel polished finish, and the foam snaps on with magnets. The mouse area is 11 inches squared, and the space above the keyboard has a massive gap for cable management. A hex key is also hidden within the unit, making it painless to maintain the screws.

On my test play (I finally got to play Overwatch for the first time while the PR rep squirmed at how much I suck) I found it very comfortable to use. Aesthetically it looks fantastic and the memory foam is very comfortable, but Taiwan is too freaking warm for all the material under this thing. Luckily, the memory foam was removable, and after that it was much more comfortable. Maybe I was just nervous because we experienced a friggin' 6.1 earthquake while on the 25th floor five minutes into their presentation. Whatever, the show must go on!

BULLDOG is on sale now as a kit, which comes with the chassis, Hydro Series H5 SF Liquid CPU Cooler, SF600 600-Watt Power Supply, and Motherboard with Intel Z170 Chipset for $399. Later this year, the company will ship fully assembled kits. I've also spotted a version that comes with a red stripe! No final word yet on specs or cost for the complete systems, but four high end MSI video cards were mentioned in this recent press release.

The LAPDOG is $119 which doesn't include the keyboard, but be purchased with the metal-matched K65 or K70 board if you need one. The price might be something to bark at, but for the person already spending $169 for a keyboard and who knows how much for a 4K gaming PC, this is probably going to be among the cheaper line items. The key here is for extra precision when gaming: if you're going to shove a wireless keyboard inside of this, then there really is no point.

Side rant on the current state of VR cable management

Neither Oculus or HTC decided to use Thunderbolt 3 hubs to have an all-in-one cable, instead both opted for HDMI and USB cables. As a result, people are tripping over these massive umbilical cords all over the living room, and there's nothing either of these kits can do about that, despite the BULLDOG being intended for VR.

Sure, it's a lot trickier to code for Thunderbolt, but down the line that would make for less beefy tables across the living room. Obviously it came down to price, as Thunderbolt 3 hubs are still pretty expensive so we're left with a wad of USB and HDMI cables to manage.

The LAPDOG tries to compensate for this with a generous 16-foot powered cable and hidden cable management compartment. Still, the omission of an HDMI passthrough means you're still fumbling with yet another cable for VR, which makes me want to Kelly Clarkson.

Look for more detailed reviews of both products on Destructoid in the coming weeks. 

[Disclosure: Travel was provided by CORSAIR. No gifts or an exchange of products, peripherals, advertising, Pokemans, etc, or any other sort of direct/indirect compensation was provided by the company.]


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Papa Niero
Papa NieroMeat Vessel   gamer profile

I've been writing about video games on Destructoid for almost 12 years. It would be insane to stop now. I do a lot of stuff behind the scenes here, but mostly my job is to keep Destructoid wei... more + disclosures


 



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