PAX Australia 2023 saw the massive gaming and community event return to Melbourne this past weekend. One of the big highlights this year was the sheer abundance of cool PC hardware and GeForce RTX-powered tech that sat alongside all of the games - big and small, from Counter-Striker 2 and Assassin’s Creed Mirage to Super Mario Odyssey and an extensive list of locally grown indies - including the crab-tastic The Dungeon Experience and the hellishly good-looking strategy of Solium Infernum.
"One of the big highlights this year was the sheer abundance of cool PC hardware and GeForce RTX-powered tech that sat alongside all of the games - big and small."
This year, I was on hand to simply take in the sights and sound of the show (and paint this little number at Bethesda’s cool Brushes & Brews event
) and walk away dreaming of slim GeForce RTX 40 Series rigs, mechanized game pods, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and putting a giant sneaker on my desk. One that just so happens to feature the impressive RTX On power of a GeForce RTX 4070.
I even held the box containing ASUS’s absolute monster of a $6,000 liquid metal-cooled GeForce RTX 4090 ROG MATRIX PLATINUM - which ships with a 360mm radiator and is overclocked to deliver the absolute best performance possible. I seriously contemplated trying to run off with it and start a new life somewhere on an island (with power and a decent fibre connection). The ASUS rep (pictured), saw the look in my eyes and stopped me.
Cooler Master’s Awesome Sneaker X and Cooling X Builds
Outside of the fact that Cooler Master’s Sneaker X is a fully customized PC rig modeled to look like a giant sneaker, the incredible part is that you can order one for yourself. Naturally, it costs quite a bit of money (the GeForce RTX 40970 variant you see here has a price tag of $4,999 AUD), but this comes down to the incredible engineering and style where Cooler Master had to design and manufacture each component precisely.
Cooler Master has another custom build you can buy called the Cooling X, which puts the power of a liquid-cooled GeForce RTX 4080 GPU with an impressive 64GB of DDR5 memory and 4TB of storage into a PC the size of an Xbox Series X console. And with liquid cooling and radiators hidden inside the side panels, it’s quiet. But again, it is a costly proposition, with this custom build carrying a price tag of $9,499 AUD.
MSI Brings Affordable PC Goodness - Hidden Cable Management and Slimmer GeForce Cards
PCs with see-through panels, uniform lighting, liquid cooling, and RGB fans aplenty - putting together a new rig in 2023 is as much about style as it is about choosing the right components. Cable management is one of the hardest parts of getting a build to look as good as possible - look inside any modern PC, and you’ll notice a sea of cables.
"Outside of the fact that Cooler Master’s Sneaker X is a fully customized PC rig modeled to look like a giant sneaker, the incredible part is that you can order one for yourself.”
This is where MSI’s Project Zero and the new GeForce RTX 40 Series Gaming X SLIM range come in - because you’re looking at a case and motherboard and graphics card series design to show off each part and minimise the cable clutter. With a special motherboard, all the power connectors are on the back, so you don’t see them. The new Gaming X SLIM range of GPUs brings all the DLSS 3.5 ray-tracing of Cyberpunk 2077 and the super responsive NVIDIA Reflex action of Counter-Strike 2 into a slimmer form factor.
The MSI Project Zero Motherboard
(in Intel and AMD flavour) is set to launch this December globally, with a price point of $349 AUD/$179 AUD. The MSI Project Zero Case
also arrives in December, with a $139 AUD/$99-109 USD price point.
Samsung’s Epic 57-Inch Odyssey Neo G9 Playing Ratchet & Clank with DLSS 3
UltraWide is one of those things where once you experience it for a reasonable time, it’s hard to go back to a standard 16:9 aspect ratio display. At PAX Australia 2023, the most impressive displays (outside the esports rigs) were UltraWide QLED or OLED with high-refresh rates, NVIDIA G-Sync, HDR, and impressive colour accuracy. The new 57" Odyssey Neo G95NC Curved QLED Gaming Monitor might be one of the most impressive because two 4K displays are slapped together.
"At PAX Australia 2023, the most impressive displays (outside the esports rigs) were UltraWide QLED or OLED with high-refresh rates, NVIDIA G-Sync, HDR, and impressive colour accuracy.”
Sure, it won’t fit on every desk and might be too wide (if such a thing were possible), but it’s hard to argue against it delivering one of the show's most immersive PC gaming experiences. When paired with a high-end GeForce RTX 40 Series GPU running Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart from real-time ray-tracing and DLSS 3 Frame Generation, the result is one of the best-looking PC games of 2023 presented in a way that feels genuinely immersive.
ASUS’s Epic ROG Evangelion Rig with GeForce RTX 4090 Graphics
ASUS’s Republic of Gamers or ROG range represents some of the most premium gaming components you can buy - and the company’s limited edition Neon Genesis Evangelion lineup (covering case, cooling, motherboard, and powerful GeForce RTX 4090 GPU) was on display at PAX Australia 2023.
This EVA-02 EDITION rig was put together by ASUS’s partners over at Scorptec (a local PC retailer), and the red accents and lighting made it one of the standout PC builds of the show. From the full-colour display on the CPU cooler that gives you a readout of temperatures and how that matches the GPU bracket for the RTX 4090, the PC was connected to an ASUS ROG Strix UltraWide that was also running Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart with full ray-tracing and DLSS to max out the 180 Hz refresh rate.
Custom Rigs for Cult of the Lamb, The Plucky Squire, Fallout, and Street Fighter Gear
Finally, here’s a look at some of the very cool custom builds from local company Aftershock PC - including an awesome (sand wooly) liquid-cooled Cult of the Lamb PC (check out our review of this locally developed gem
), a fun one for The Plucky Squire, a cool looking Fallout rig, and Cooler Master’s custom Street fighter 6 gear. Having the only Blanka thing be a power supply is genius.