Maingear's Ephex combines aggressive overclocking and a refined sense of what gamers want in a high-end PC. Crysis remains a challenge for even a top-of-the-line PC like this one, but if you can get past that hitch (and the multi-thousand-dollar price tag), we'd recommend this system in a second.
Pricing not available
Despite the usual caveats of an ever-fluctuating 3D market, for the moment, at least, ATI's new Radeon HD 3850 graphics card delivers the best bang-for-the buck in PC graphics hardware. Until now we haven't had an acceptable sub-$200 option for PC gaming this year. Thanks to AMD, now we do.
Reference product review
See products in this family starting at: $60
New drivers in test builds of OS X suggest upcoming Mac systems from Apple may ship with AMD's high-end graphics cards.
The 3D graphics card market changes too rapidly for us to get bullish about a card with premature driver software. The ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 shows promise, even outscoring Nvidia on many PC games, but we would still wait until AMD works out the kinks before handing over your $450.
Click here to see this card from ATI's partners.
If you're looking to build a home theater PC, we recommend ATI's Radeon HD 2600 XT as the midrange card to use, thanks to its nearly perfect HD video image and its no-fuss installation. But for 3D gaming, you'd be much better off looking for a good deal on a faster, older graphics card.
If you're looking for a gaming card to run Vista and play most games, ATI's Radeon X1950 Pro will get you there, but not perfectly, and its real-world pricing is higher than we'd like. We're more interested to see ATI's next-gen cards use the newly refined CrossFire dual-card technology, debuted here, but that will have to wait.
ATI's flagship TV tuner card offers the best image quality we've seen from a TV tuner card and includes over-the-air HDTV support, but it's still not as good as a direct cable-box-to-TV signal.
ATI's Radeon lineup features a confusing array of cards. The budget Radeon X1300 XT is a good card for the money, but we recommend the faster Radeon X1650 Pro because it costs only $10 more.
Click here for a list of 3D cards with this chip from ATI's partners.
ATI's budget TV tuner card is fine for occasional TV watching or recording, but serious viewers will find that much better devices aren't much more expensive.
Though it improves upon the category leader, with CableCard's technology for PCs on the horizon, ATI's latest TV tuner chip, the Theater 650 Pro, is only a stopgap solution for those looking to add TV to their PC.
Pricing not available