Creative Sound Blaster X7
The Creative Sound Blaster X7 offers a ridiculous number of features for the money and sound quality is generally very good, but its appeal is limited.
Elgato EyeTV Hybrid
If you're a Mac user who's been looking for a way to add live TV and DVR functionality to your computer, the Elgato EyeTV Hybrid could be the solution you've been waiting for. However, in a world of ever-increasing streaming video options, you might find your needs for live TV recording to be ever diminishing.
EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 Superclocked
We don't think most gamers shopping for a midrange 3D card are looking for power efficiency, but for those conscientious few, the EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 Superclocked is the card for you. Otherwise, you can get noticeably more performance and capability from an only slightly more expensive ATI card.
BFG GeForce GTX 295 ( PCI-e 2.0, 1.7GB, GDDR3)
Nvidia's GeForce GTX 295 is the single fastest 3D card on the market, and for a relatively aggressive price. Added bonuses like power efficiency and PhysX support sweeten the deal, but even without those extra benefits, we'd still recommend this card for its processing power and comparative value.
Nyko Charge Base 2 ( PS3)
The Nyko Charge Base 2 is a convenient way to keep your wireless PS3 controllers charged without having to turn on your PlayStation 3.
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650
The CPU market is due for a lot of upheaval over the next 12 months, so you might be wise to wait for a clearer picture before plunking down $1,000 or so on Intel's new Core 2 Extreme QX9650 quad-core desktop processor. But if you want to claim ownership of the fastest multicore CPU around today, look no further.
XFX GeForce 8800 GTS ( 320MB, GDDR3)
No other 3D graphics card comes close to this bang for the buck, making the 320MB XFX GeForce 8800 GTS mostly an easy decision if you need a midrange upgrade. Nvidia still has to polish off its Vista software, and the sooner-or-later arrival of competing cards muddies the waters a bit, but if you need a midprice graphics card today, this should be your pick.
MSI GeForce 8800 GTX ( PCI-E, 768MB)
This one is easy. Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GTX not only beats ATI to market with its next-gen 3D graphics hardware, it also eliminates ATI's image-quality advantage in current-generation titles. Throw in its sheer horsepower, and Nvidia gives the high-end enthusiast every reason to make this purchase.
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700
If you thought dual cores were over the top, get ready. Intel presents the Core 2 Extreme QX6700, a single CPU with four distinct processing cores. At $999, the first quad-core CPU will remain an enthusiast part for a while, but as a glimpse of the future, it's clear that clock speed is out and core counts are in.
ATI Radeon X1950 XTX ( 512MB)
ATI's Radeon X1950 XTX is the fastest single-chip 3D card that you can buy. Unfortunately, with Windows Vista and its accompanying gaming technology, it's going to become obsolete in just five months. ATI adjusted the price of the Radeon X1950 XTX accordingly, but at $450, it's still not an insignificant purchase. We recommend it only if money is no object.