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Intel Core i5 3470

While the i5 3470 will give system integrators some wiggle room on price, we're fans of sticking to the i5 3570K for everyone else.

Vantec NexStar Hard Drive Dock NST-D300S3

The Vantec NexStar Hard Drive Dock is a good, affordable tool for computer technicians and those who work with internal hard drives.

AMD A8-3850

We recommend the AMD A8-3850 to mainstream desktop PC users in search of capable gaming power and multithreaded application performance.

Corsair Vengeance C70

We're quite sure the Vengeance C70 will be home to some great mods — considering the price though, we'd have hoped for some more fit and finish.

ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT

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.

PNY Verto GeForce 7800 GT 256MB

With a couple of exceptions, PNY's Verto GeForce 7800 GT card provides everything we like to see from a 3D-card package, including fast performance.

Matrox Millennium G550 AGP 4x, 32 MB

Dedicated 3D gamers need not bother, but home or business users will appreciate the solid 2D performance and a new approach to face-to-face communication over the Internet.

BFG GeForce 6800 GT Overclocked graphics card

Overclocking gives the BFG GeForce 6800 GT OC a slight performance boost over comparably priced stock 6800 GT models, but you'll have to supply your own games.

Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro

Plugged into a USB port, the ultracompact Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro affordably adds a shared headphone jack/optical digital-audio output to your PC or laptop.

Roxio Game Capture

While the Roxio Game Capture system might satisfy the ultranovice game capturer, many average users and do-it-yourselfers will be better served seeking alternatives.

Editors' Choice

Intel Core i7-965 Extreme Edition

Thanks to an expensive new motherboard requirement, Intel's new Core i7 desktop processors will remain enthusiast and professional-level parts until more affordable complementary hardware comes out later next year. Speed never comes cheap, however, and if you're willing to spend for it now, you'll find yourself in possession of the fastest CPU on the market.

Adaptec GameBridgeTV AVC-1410

Adaptec's GameBridgeTV is unique in letting you connect game consoles to a PC, but its DVR performance is inconsistent.

Asus ROG Avalon

The proof-of-concept motherboard-chassis hybrid combines to make it easier to install new components, but it's not perfect.

GeForce 8800 GTS

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.

Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 955

Intel's new second-generation dual-core chip draws less power, leaving the door open for system builders to use it in new desktop designs. The performance picture still needs clearing up, but our preliminary results show some improvement over Intel's lackluster first-generation dual-core Pentiums.

Editors' Choice
$349.00 MSRP

ATI Radeon X800 XL 256MB, PCI

The ATI Radeon X800 XL is unmatched when it comes to providing top-notch 3D speed at a low price. It's our current favorite standalone card.

Editors' Choice

GeForce 8800 GTX

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.

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro

Creative's new X-Fi processor makes the X-Fi Elite Pro the most advanced and priciest Sound Blaster ever.

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