HotHardware Holiday Gift Guide 2009

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As the holiday season rapidly approaches, there’s one question that you’ll hear very frequently: Have you been naughty or nice? Of course, we all know that a lot hinges on this seemingly simple question. If you’ve been nice, then perhaps Santa will bring you an awesome gift, that one piece of hardware you've been jonesing for, like a Core i7 975 processor or perhaps the world-beating ATI Radeon HD 5970 Dual-GPU. On the other hand, if you’ve been naughty and have cursed your computer (hey, who hasn’t?) or ignored your significant other because Left 4 Dead 2 or Modern Warfare 2 beckoned, then you’d better shape up before it's too late. Otherwise, the only thing you’ll have to look forward to is a lump of coal in your stocking.  Believe us--we've been there...

As we look back on this past year, and wonder why each year seems shorter than the last, we also reflect on our many traditions here at HotHardware. One of our favorites is our annual Holiday Buyer’s Guide.  Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for that special geek in your life, or if you’re dreaming of putting together a new system for yourself, we hope this guide will help you make some informed buying decisions.

2009 Holiday Gift Guide Table of Contents:
  1. Processors
  2. Motherboards
  3. RAM
  4. Video Cards
  5. Audio
  6. Hard Drives & Optical Storage
  7. Cases & Power Supplies
  8. Monitors
  9. Notebooks and Netbooks
  10. Smartphones
  11. Cameras
  12. Gaming Desktops

Lenovo IdeaPad U150 in Holiday Red

This year, we’ll cover the various components that you’ll need to build a few different types of systems, along with notebooks and netbooks for those who are looking for greater portability. In each category, we’ll cover high-end, mid-range, and budget models, so that you can easily find the parts you want at a price you can afford (or can attempt to afford).  But of course, there’s no reason you can’t mix and match.

We're also tossing in suggestions in the cellphone and camera category (hey, some friends already have new rigs!), and we'll be closing things out by selecting a few nice pre-built PCs for those who are down to the wire and have no time to actually piece a machine together. We hope you find our suggestions useful and that you have a little fun putting together your wish-list!  Happy shopping & Happy Holidays!

Article Index:

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$600 for a motherboardIck!

I am actually thinking about grabbing that $99 Phenom x4 for Jens PC.

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I still think that Thermaltake case is so bizarre, impractical and ridiculously over priced.

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Ridiculously over-priced yes, but I think it's cool!

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I like the CoolerMaster Storm Sniper that my CyberPower PC came in.

As a matter of fact, I like the whole thing, and thanks again HotHardware, Dave, and Marco for changing my mind about Intel Based PC's, and giving me a whole new insight into PC Gaming.

I still have a moment when I head into the 'Computer Lair' and see it sitting there.

 

Thanksgiving indeed!!

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I considered the Thernaltake Level 10, but (1) it's more expensive than someone who shoves their case under their desk would want, (2) not really sure bout the airflow, and (c) it's too flagey. See, when your case gets dusty, you can just run a Clorox Wipe over it, taking about thirty seconds out of your busy day... if it's a traditional box case. This, you'd have to reach into all the nooks and crannies. That'd take far too much time out of our very important WoW levelling process. Same with the Aurora ALS ("Lou Gehrig's Disease") case, though it'd be amusing to watch the fins open and close like the machine was breathing.

 

It's also kinda troubling that only one item on the Guide overlaps with what I' using for my new rig. Oh well! I wasn't going to go $600 for a motherboard. Or anything, for that matter.

 

I should also mention that Micro Center has some great prices on processors; their i7 920 goes for under $200.

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