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AVADirect Avatar VR desktop review: A big, powerful VR desktop that puts the VR ports up front

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MSRP: $2,529.00
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The Good The bold-looking Avatar has VR-friendly features, including many front- and top-mounted ports. It's easy to access the interior for upgrades.

The Bad The bulky chassis has a massive desktop footprint, and the front-facing VR connection panel doesn't feel sturdy enough.

The Bottom Line The AVADirect Avatar is a VR-ready desktop with a striking design that puts the ports front and center -- just make sure you have enough room for it.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.1 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 9

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Everyone seems to be marketing a gaming desktop with top-end parts as "built for VR." AVADirect, like a small handful of other PC makers, has actually put some thought into that idea, most notably including a front panel with VR-ready HDMI and USB ports. That should make plugging in easier, especially if the desktop's rear panel is facing a wall, under a desk, or otherwise hard to access -- but it's a better idea in theory than in practice.

That front panel, with two USB ports and one HDMI output, is an optional piece from component maker EVGA that comes bundled with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980Ti graphics card included with this configuration. Unfortunately, I found the front VR ports a little shaky and quickly switched back to the rear-facing ones. The VR front panel on the Velocity Micro Raptor was similarly flaky.

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Like most gaming desktops, AVADirect offers a choice of different processors, graphics cards, power supplies and storage on its configurator page. This high-end configuration, with the 980Ti, an Intel Core i7 6700K CPU, liquid cooling, and a 1TB HDD/500GB SSD storage combo is currently $2,549 in the US (the company doesn't ship internationally, but that works out to around £1,768 or AU$3,511), which is very reasonable for that set of components. Note that prices and selection for custom PC configurations can vary even week by week. Configurations of the Avatar start at $1,599.

AVADirect Avatar VR Desktop

Price as reviewed $2,549
PC CPU 4GHz Intel Core i7-6700K
PC Memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz
Graphics 6GB Nivida GeForce GTX 980
Storage 500GB SSD + 1TB 7,200rpm HDD
Operating system Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

The chassis is really striking -- it's a matte-black box with a curved front panel, raised feet in the front and back, and very little distracting decoration, aside from a lighted side panel with the company's name etched into the plastic window. It's a customized version of the Dead Silence Black Edition from case-maker Aerocool, and promises both sound-dampening and extra airflow via a mesh top panel for airflow.

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