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This week in gadget news

An Amish PC may sound like a contradiction in terms, but Truvia can make one for you--provided you have $55,000 to spare.

An Amish PC may sound like a contradiction in terms, but Truvia can make one for you--provided you have $55,000 to spare. The company specializes in building high-end PCs into handcrafted furniture, everything from simple Amish and Shaker cabinets to ornate Louis XV creations.

After several years of working with furniture makers and wood carvers on occasional projects, Truvia founder John Wojewidka decided there was a need for a systematic approach to custom-made desks that carefully conceal a high-end PC. The movement has attracted interest from companies such as Microsoft that are looking to popularize PCs as living-room objects.

For those who may find a $55,000 price tag a bit steep, Gateway ushered in four budget PCs under its eMachines brand, including one with a DVD burner and the low-end price tag of $499 after a $50 rebate. With the eMachines line, Gateway is hoping to gain market share with rock-bottom retail buyers.

Gateway isn't alone. Hewlett-Packard now lets customers upgrade CD-ROM drives to DVD drives for free on HPshopping.com. Last summer, PCs with DVD burners typically sold in the $600 to $700 range.

And while prices keep decreasing, the shrinking sizes of hard drives have just about bottomed out. Disk drive companies say there's little room for further reducing the size of the drive platters--the silver disks that spin around and hold data.

The problem is that reducing the diameter of a drive platter greatly reduces the surface area for storing data. And less available storage space makes it more difficult for drives to distinguish themselves against flash memory.