In the lab: Corsair’s Bulldog mini-PC kit

Over the past few years, Corsair has expanded from its roots as a premium RAM provider to become nearly a one-stop shop for the PC builder. The company's closed-loop liquid coolers, power supplies, memory, cases, storage, and peripherals are all high-quality parts, and they're deservedly popular. The Bulldog PC kit takes all of the expertise the company has gathered making those discrete components and wraps it up into one neat, stealthy-looking box. Corsair has been teasing the Bulldog since last year's Computex, and after a long series of refinements, the company is finally ready to sic the Bulldog on the living room.

To let me see how this puppy behaves, Corsair sent me a Bulldog barebones that's similar to what buyers will get if they purchase the $400 "basic kit" version of the PC. That kit includes the case itself, an SF600 SFX power supply, and the H5 SF CPU cooler, plus a pre-installed Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Wifi motherboard. The company also sent me an Intel Core i7-6700K CPU, the G1 Gaming version of Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card, and its own Hydro GFX liquid-cooled GTX 980 Ti (produced in partnership with MSI) so that we could get a feel for whether 4K gaming in the living room is a prospect worth drooling over.

While you'll have to wait for our full review for all the details of how the Bulldog performs, I think Corsair has largely succeeded in its mission, all without without inviting unpleasant noise levels along for the ride—at least, so long as one goes all-in on liquid-cooled components. Running games like Grand Theft Auto V at 4K and 60FPS in the living room is the kind of experience console players can only dream of, for example, though we'd expect nothing less from a system that would ring in at over $1500 at retail. I've also discovered that the Bulldog makes a fairly tote-able VR demo rig for showing off what the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift can do outside of TR's labs.

We're headed across the Pacific this week in preparation for Computex, but we'll be publishing an in-depth review of the Bulldog as soon as we can. Stay tuned.

Comments closed
    • kleech
    • 4 years ago

    This case doesnt exist. It’s just a prototype.
    They are talking about this since June 2015…come on be real lol
    See the original article in Anandtech:
    [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/9298/corsair-unleashes-the-bulldog-diy-4k-gaming-pc[/url<]

    • Peter.Parker
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<] all without without inviting unpleasant noise levels [/quote<] .. is that a subtle double negation ?

    • BehemothJackal
    • 4 years ago

    But…1080 review. I needs, precious.

    • Waco
    • 4 years ago

    I just can’t get past the “why the hell would they market this as a HT-centric build” part of this. It can’t go in a media center and it looks out of place in an open HT rack.

    Who the heck is the market?

    • deruberhanyok
    • 4 years ago

    I think TR should stop using the term “mini” to refer to PCs like this, regardless of manufacturer model names. The Shuttle XPC kind of kicked off this whole mini-PC thing over ten years ago, and they’re still being made. The Z87 model (SZ87R6) dimensions:

    33.2 x 21,6 x 19.8 cm (LWH), 14.2 litres

    (and this is with room for 1 x 5.25″ optical drive and 2 x 3.5″ hard drives and a long-ish video card, as long as the included PSU can handle it)

    The Bulldog’s dimensions?

    381mm x 457mm x 133mm, or 23.1 litres.

    I propose that anything larger than that XPC no longer gets to call itself “mini”.

    • slowriot
    • 4 years ago

    The most Corsair a Corsair case there has ever been.

    Basically… it’s a cool concept that they ruined with unnecessary widgets, bulky gizmos and a reflective finish. Turning what should be a small and handsome mITX case into a gigantic and gaudy mess.

      • Chrispy_
      • 4 years ago

      I have to agree that this is a gigantic and gaudy mess, but I’m not sure that’s a trademark feature of Corsair’s. Whilst Corsair do have some ugly products I think they deserve credit for having more subdued and mature designs than a lot of brands.

        • slowriot
        • 4 years ago

        Being over sized is absolutely a Corsair design trend. They don’t make a single case that is noteworthy for being space efficient. Corsair used to make subdued designs but they’ve systematically replaced those with cases they market as minimalist designs which have excessive panel creases, edges, and gaps. A lot of their “silent” cases have the fan coverings which stick out like a sore thumb. Yes, they’re not the only guilty party there but when Corsair cases showed up they were innovative. Now they’re designed either with LED fans in mind or ugly Fractal Design Define clones.

          • Chrispy_
          • 4 years ago

          On the whole, I agree with you. Corsair make a lot of big, wasteful cases that completely miss the point of the form factor they’re designed for, but you’re also overstating the point quite a bit.

          Not a single case? The Graphite 230 and Carbide 100R are both very popular and can hold an impressive number of drives and large fans for their volume. The 88R I have never built into, but it looks to be a pretty efficient layout for an mATX case without being particularly large. There’s nothing about the 300R that screams “too big” because it’s pretty sensibly-sized.

          Perhaps what you mean is that Corsair don’t make a small, efficient mITX case, and there I’d agree with you; Corsair are not the only company guilty of taking an mITX board and designing an mITX-only case that’s larger than other full ATX towers, but that doesn’t excuse them.

            • slowriot
            • 4 years ago

            Those are not noteworthy though. They’re average.

            I wouldn’t use “sensible” to describe those cases either. Unless you also consider all those people who buy a Honda CR-V when their needs are fully met by a Civic as “sensible.” I mean honestly, you don’t need near the fan capacity these cases offer until you’re in very high end territory or building out a large storage array. Those users are a small fraction of Corsair’s customer base, especially those buying their budget priced options. And yet looking at Corsair’s case line up you think people are building SLI rigs on the regular.

            • Chrispy_
            • 4 years ago

            How are you claiming that the models I mentioned aren’t sensible when they’re no different to what’s on offer from Antec, Fractal, Bitfenix, Coolermaster, Rosewill etc…?

            About the only companies that you can classify as sensible these days are probably some of the NZXT models (compact, clean and modern) or Silverstone (actively trying to make multiple, innovative space-efficient designs).

            The reason I’m arguing with you is because it seems to me like you’re trying to [i<]exclusively blame Corsair[/i<] for the trends that plague [b<]the entire case market[/b<]. If you have a personal vendetta against Corsair that's fine but singling out Corsair whilst the rest of the market is doing exactly the same thing (catering for dual-radiator, SLI-ready giant towers) is kind of unfair and seems a little biased. I'm not trying to have a go at you, I'm just curious why you embody this behaviour as uniquely Corsair when almost every other manufacturer is doing the same thing. I truly wish we had more Silverstones in the market making intelligent designs rather than copying the status quo of wastefully-large, generic ATX cases designed for far more kit than any sensible build will ever require.

            • slowriot
            • 4 years ago

            [quote<]How are you claiming that the models I mentioned aren't sensible when they're no different to what's on offer from Antec, Fractal, Bitfenix, Coolermaster, Rosewill etc...?[/quote<] Largely all these companies make the same cases with minor differences. I blame all of them for a lack of innovation. There a handful of truly interesting models between all of those companies... and Corsair... combined. I'm not sure why you think I'm blaming Corsair exclusively. I haven't said anything that implicated just them. In fact, I've stated the opposite multiple times now. But this the comment section under a Corsair case, so starting out by pointing out how they are literally doing the same wrong things time and time again seemed on topic. I've got no problem also dragging all these case companies through the mud though.

            • Chrispy_
            • 4 years ago

            [quote<]I've got no problem also dragging all these case companies through the mud though[/quote<] Fair enough then. I took this: [quote<]The most Corsair a Corsair case there has ever been [/quote<] and this [quote<] unnecessary widgets, bulky gizmos and a reflective finish <snip> gigantic and gaudy mess.[/quote<] to mean that you thought these things were uniquely "Corsair" enough to warranty using Corsair as an adverb.

    • Thresher
    • 4 years ago

    Still ugly though.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 4 years ago

      Yeah, who the hell would want that as a set top box?

    • christos_thski
    • 4 years ago

    It’s been a whole full year since they first announced it, it was slowly turning into some kind of running gag. Hope it actually makes it to market, this time around, as it seems like a nice design.

    • nanoflower
    • 4 years ago

    It’s an interesting box and probably useful for anyone that needs an HTPC.

    Hopefully you’ll be coming back from Computex with a few Polaris samples.

      • NTMBK
      • 4 years ago

      Meh, no optical, no place under my TV. Silverstone managed to fit one in.

      • blahsaysblah
      • 4 years ago

      What does it do for sound and cooling above the mythical cardboard box?

      It doesnt look like it has any special contraptions… Here’s free idea, they should have designed it with 240 or 360 water cooler radiator/fan mohawk. I’d buy that. Atleast that would enhance cooling.

      At first glance i t looks like it needs to sit all by itself on open table with room all around it to not contaminate intake with exhaust.

      And they locked you into a Gigabyte Z170 board. They should have given Corsair “gaming” RAM instead.

      The Gigabyte board is the deal breaker. If it was a custom with 4 DIMMs it would be one thing.

      Pixel counting says it needs like 1/2″ to 1″ more height to just have the GPU vertical and just have a plain micro-ATX MB instead.

    • chuckula
    • 4 years ago

    I’m not saying you should make a substitution but… you should make a substitution.

    A certain GTX-1080 review sample might be able to fit in place of that GTX-980Ti. I’m just sayin’

    • tipoo
    • 4 years ago

    All I can think of looking at this

    [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hRD4nIsIWQ[/url<]

    • Anovoca
    • 4 years ago

    I went the route of finding a tv stand that fit my PC rather than a PC to fit my TV stand. Either way, I am curious to see what this can do and at what noise/temp. My current CM-HAF EVOcase with a Noctua D15 runs about as loudly as the actual TV and is a cool 24C

    • mkk
    • 4 years ago

    I’ve seen it before, but my first association to that picture was head crab. Odd, since I don’t care for HL3.

      • Sargent Duck
      • 4 years ago

      -1 to you because I’m still in mourning over HL3 and any mention of HL3 that isn’t 100% crazy fanboi obsession (or am I delusional…), deserves a -1.

      OMG, that brings your thumbs up to +3. GUYS, HL3 CONFIRMED!

        • Neutronbeam
        • 4 years ago

        It was always confirmed. The government, the media, Chinese hackers and some old guy in a trailer park in North Dakota named Julius have been keeping the truth from us.

    • Mad_Dane
    • 4 years ago

    Plastic and edgy design, no thanks not for me!

    Doesn’t strike me as the usual Corsair case design, IMO this case would have looked better in their regular more clean style.

      • kmm
      • 4 years ago

      Looks better than it did before with the red trim and feet styling IMHO. At least now it’s more like distinctive in a way I don’t particularly like either rather than straight-up garish.

      Pics from before:
      [url<]https://techreport.com/news/28362/corsair-lets-the-bulldog-out[/url<]

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