AVADirect Avant Mini Tower – Review
There are few things that get me out of my spider hole as being the website’s original founder and now just me being in charge of keeping the doors open and the lights on. I’m also the man in charge of making sure the plug that says “the Internet” stays plugged in at all times…except that one time a few months ago…but that wasn’t my fault, that was Kyle’s fault. I warn these guys about walking and texting at the same time.
Sorry, went off on a tangent there. There are few things that get me out of hiding quicker than a computer company sending direct emails to me asking if I want to try out their product. That’s exactly what happened with AVADirect and the computer they sent me in April.
Full disclosure here, I did have a review product but had to send it back after only getting so very little time with it in my grubby opaque hands. I had just barely started hitting my stride with the PC before I had to ship it back. Yes people, you don’t normally get to keep a $1.5k computer after the review, that’s not how the business works.
Not being sure of what I was going to get from AVADirect, I didn’t have any expectations. I had toyed around on their website for a bit and made myself a few fantasy computers but one form factor I hadn’t looked at was the Avant Mini Tower, which is what I received unexpectedly one day.
After calling the Clark Kent job (you know, the one that pays the bills) and letting them know that I would in-fact be NOT coming to work that evening as I had suddenly been afflicted with a serious condition that made work impossible that night, I started the unboxing.
I know one big issue with many people when it comes to ordering PCs over the Internet is the worry that your system might be mishandled by the shipping client and arrive on your doorstep in a less than excellent condition. There is no worry here. It was double boxed with an air cushion layer in the first box, and a foam layer in the second. Even more so was that they packed inside the system itself a few of those instant molding packing foams that make sure nothing jostles out of place.
It’s always a good idea to double check the connections in any system you get in the mail and there were absolutely no loose connections anywhere inside…oh and with the fact that both sides of the case they use come off easy (not TOO easy to fall off when you don’t want) and get you access to EVERYTHING inside easily.
Since we’re talking insides, here’s what mine came with. Keep in mind that the starting price for this system in particular is $969, but the one they sent my was was just over $1,600.
- Intel i5-6600k Quad Core 3.5gHz CPU
- 8GB DDR4
- 250GB SSD
- 1TB HDD
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
That’s not saying anything about the case lighting and remote or the version of Windows 10 Pro that comes equipped. If you were looking at turning a few heads at LAN parties, this would definitely do the trick. I’m not one for flashy or gaudy so besides setting the lighting off I didn’t play with it too much.
The case is cooled by dual 140mm fans (one in the front and one in the back) and it’s quiet as a whisper…even when you crank the cooling up all the way which is done via a button on the top of the case. I really enjoyed the form factor quite a bit as it doesn’t eat up a ton of surface area in my studio which is primarily what I used this guy for.
I do a lot of video work and audio work on YouTube shows and podcasts and this PC did great work as a workhorse for many of the projects I was working on…I forget sometimes how nice it is to have an actual standalone graphics card. My lappy that does most of my work has a 870M not the actual full size card.
It worked extremely well capturing full HD video and high bit rate audio without ever giving me any issues and any type of rendering I needed to do worked much faster than I’m used to. Anyone who’s done any type of video editing knows that you’ll be waiting no matter what type of machine you can afford, but with this guy my wait was considerably shorter. Keep in mind I’m rendering a 3 hour show from multiple sources of video and audio.
I bet you’re here wondering how it did with games. Well considering one of the huge selling points for this system for me is that it is VR Ready meaning it has the oomph to handle dual monitor full HD at a high enough refresh rate to work with headsets like Oculus or the HTC Vive.
Unfortunately for me, I’m not deep pocketed enough for that so instead I plugged the computer into my 4k TV and had a blast going through various games on my Steam…primarily the Batman games and my personal favorite, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. What, not new enough for you? Admittedly my library isn’t full of new games to play, but this machine handled everything I could throw at it.
I’m not one for doing any kind of overclocking or pushing the machine really hard, but seeing how this rig can do everything I need and more, I’m going to be looking at one really hard when I need to replace my old Gateway in the office. I highly suggest that if you’re looking or are in the market for a new gaming PC that you check out AVADirect, they make a great computer that hit everything on my pro list and nothing on my con. Even the price point is excellent considering most VR ready systems will run you almost $1,200 just for the most basic system. Considering I spent over $2,000 on the laptop that I’m writing this review on, $1,600 is dirt cheap for a computer that can run everything AND THEN SOME. Go check them out whenever you get a second.