Date: June 19, 2006
Author(s): Greg King
“The entire time we talked, he emphasized the uniqueness of each and every PC build in the AAC shops. Kyle takes great pride in the fact that his PC’s offer many things that you cannot find anywhere else.”
It’s not everyday that a top tier custom PC builder allows us at Techgage free roam of their shop. That is exactly what has happened last month when I drove out to Terre Haute, Indiana to visit Kyle Felstein with All American Computers.
Started back in 1999, AAC as been in the computer business for a good deal of time, offering business solutions as well as making some of the best gaming PCs ever assembled. Back in 2001, when I was attending Indiana State University in Terre Haute, AAC was a small computer shop providing tech support to the local community. While business was steady, Kyle was not satisfied. He had seen the custom PCs companies were building and thought that he could do a better job. The culmination of this progression is the LiquidXS.
The LiquidXS has been reviewed by large sites such as Tom’s and has been requested by large hardware vendors who take the PCs with them to trade shows to show off not only the hardware being produced but the quality of build done by AAC.
Our journey starts in Plainfield, Indiana, an hour east of Terre Haute. Thanks to the wonderful Indiana spring weather, it is raining. Hard. On my way west on I-70, the rain decides to let off a bit and that’s a welcome relief as I do not care to drive in the rain. After an hour of so of driving, I reach Terre Haute and proceed down US-40 towards AAC.
As I said earlier, I attended Indiana State University in Terre Haute so I am familiar with the area and can easily find my way around town. It was nice to go back, at least for nostalgia’s sake. Perhaps there will be time for a Champagne Velvet, the local brew, or two afterwards but beer is not the reason I am here, so let’s get back on track.
All American Computers is located a few miles east of Indiana State’s campus and is rather easy to find. Just off of Wabash Avenue, the first thing I noticed was the large AAC sign and the obvious hardware inside.
Once inside, I was courteously met by Kyle, AAC’s owner and driving force. Once there, he gave me a tour of the small but efficient shop.
From the front of the store, I followed Kyle behind the counter and to the testing and assembling area of the AAC shop. This is the area where all orders are queued, assembled and tested. This is also where the bulk of their inventory is sorted and stored.
Don’t let the disorderly look fool you however; everything is clearly labeled allowing the handful of employees that help Kyle around AAC to locate anything that they might be searching for.
Once the tour was completed, we sat down with some of the current builds that they are assembling for clients to see what they offered that other companies did not. From the orders that have been placed, more people have been purchasing the LiquidXS gaming PC that is AAC’s flagship offering to the gaming community. While the LiquidXS is their top of the line offering to the gaming community, Kyle was quick to point out that AAC is much more diverse and offers many other choices to those who might not have ultra-deep pockets. This ‘budget’ offering is branded the PureXS and is available for a much more inviting price for those who are working with a set budget.
While talking, he walked me through the building process from start to finish. The entire time we talked, he emphasized the uniqueness of each and every PC build in the AAC shops. Kyle takes great pride in the fact that his PC’s offer many things that you cannot find anywhere else. The clearest example of this is the custom case that the LiquidXS PCs are built in. Kyle has worked with his custom PC builders for a long time trying to perfect the custom acrylic cases that are used in the LiquidXS line of computers. The total design is completely unique and was designed by Kyle himself and over the different generations of cases, the LiquidXS is a fine example of creativity and solid looks.
Kyle insists on using only the best products in his builds. While he is not necessarily locked into one builder or manufacturer, the repetitiveness of his hardware is noticeable. There were a lot of DFI motherboards; XFX NVIDIA based cards and ATi GPUs as well. The Creative X-Fi was the sound card of choice and AMD was the primary CPU being used. Enermax and Antec were the PSUs of choice too. As stated earlier however, the primary use of these brands does not mean, in any way, that one cannot get different parts from different makers. AAC runs a consumer driven business and they can accommodate most all requests concerning product manufacturers. The products that go into the builds are, for the most part, what the consumer wants, not what the consumer is forced into choosing.
Looking into the LiquidXS PCs, I am amazed at the attention to detail that is given to the PCs, ultimately benefiting the lucky recipient of such a top level PC.
As you can see, a lot of time and effort goes into these PCs and Kyle prides himself on the fact that the PCs made in the AAC shop, will not, under any circumstances, leave the premises if they cannot pass the strict burn-in tests that each and every PC is put through. This is what is done at the top level, all the way down to the bottom level. The CPUs are stressed, the GPU(s) are stressed and the water work is guaranteed leak proof. There is also an extreme attention to detail when it comes to cable management. I know that hiding the wiring is difficult in a completely clear acrylic case but AAC does a good job taking all of the mess out of the picture, allowing all the ‘eye candy’ to shine as it was meant to do.
AAC is very supportive of the LAN party scene as well. Back in 2003, they even provided free tech support for the Million Man LAN 2. Since then, they have been a presence, in one way or another, in many other events. This further proves that Kyle is passionate about the gaming community and will go to great lengths to support it.
All of AAC’s computers are 100% custom and cannot be found anywhere else, by any maker. This is exemplified by the fact that orders have been coming in from all over the world. Literally.
When all was said and done, I came away from this experience with a yearning for more. The PCs that AAC builds and the quality in which they build them is second to none and after witnessing the building process and the man hours that they put into each and every PC, regardless of price range, this cannot be argued. Yes there are larger companies out there that will be more than happy to offer you a custom PC, but the chances of you seeing a PC like the ones that AAC build can be found somewhere between slim and none.
I would like to end this with a collection of pictures that I was able to take while at AAC. These are further testaments, and quality examples of what you and I could expect to receive if we were ever to purchase a PC from AAC.
I would like to thank Kyle, Owner and CEO of All American Computers for the time out of his day to accommodate my visit. I am looking forward to any future cooperation between All American Computers and Techgage. Please check back soon for more news and coverage on AAC and their LiquidXS line of uber high-end gaming PCs.
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