HotHardware's Best Of 2009 Awards

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RAM And Cooling

There's a little rule in PC building: you can never have too much system memory. Over the years, we've found that to be as accurate as can be, and if you're looking for a quick upgrade with minimum outlay, additional RAM may be just the ticket.

OCZ Blade DDR3 PC3-17000 / 2133MHz
OCZ's Blade DDR3 PC3-17000 / 2133MHz takes the top spot this year, with robust performance and stability that's a perfect match for Core i7 CPUs and Intel's X58 Express chipset. This ultra fast 2133MHz kit is also priced well given the high-end nature of the RAM, and if you're looking for peace of mind (and who isn't?), these babies are designed to operate at the low 1.65v voltage required to safely operate run Core i7's triple channel mode.

Corsair CMG6GX3M3A1866C7 Memory Kit

Corsair's CMG6GX3M3A1866C7 CAS 7 PC3-15000 / 2000MHz kit, which is a member of the company's Dominator GT family, is a well rounded, high-performance triple-channel memory kit. The modules are designed to handle extreme overclocks and feature Corsair's DHX cooling technology. These memory sticks aren't cheap, but you'll be glad you splurged while overclocking.

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) F3-10666CL8D-4GBH
G.SKILL may not be as well known as OCZ or Corsair, but the gaming crowd knows them well. This 4GB kit is plenty to get you started on your new 64-bit rig, and the bundled heatspreaders ensure that things don't get too toasty. These modules were designed to run cool and stable, and at under $100 for the kit, it'll be tough to find a better bargain from 2009 in the RAM department.

Cooling may be an afterthought for some, but those who love to overclock know exactly how important keeping things cool really is. From CPUs to RAM modules to GPUs, keeping your most important components cool can help your entire system run better (and more reliably).

Corsair H50
Corsair tapped Asetek for help on the Hydro Series H50 CPU cooler, and the result is a stylish and simplistic piece that outperforms mainstream CPU coolers by a significant margin. Utilizing a copper CPU cooling plate and integrated pump connected to a 120mm radiator and high-efficiency, low-noise fan, the Hydro Series H50 delivers excellent cooling for those looking to test the liquid-cooling waters. It's also a closed-loop system that comes pre-filled and requires little to no maintenance. $60 is a small price to pay to for this kind of device.

Thermalrite Venomous-X
Afraid of liquid? Don't worry, you aren't alone. The Venomous-X is one of the most monolithic CPU heatsinks to come from Thermalrite, and it can be installed to work with both Intel and AMD chips. There's a six-heatpipe design, all of which are nickel plated, and a massive amount of surface area thanks to its myriad heatsink fins. Just make sure you have enough headroom in your case to shove this monster in there.

FreeZone Elite
If you're just one step away from dipping your entire rig in liquid nitrogen and boosting the CPU clock speed to 8GHz, the CoolIT Freezone Elite is a great stepping stone. Burdened with a lofty price tag, this is one of the higher-end units on the market, and with a thermal dissipation potential of around 250W, you can understand why. The maintenance free system comes pre-plumbed and charged, but you should probably be extra careful during the install. Wouldn't want to ruin a $350 part, now would you?

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