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LG GGC-H20L

So your DVD burner is getting a little long in the tooth and you’re ready for an upgrade, but you’re not all that keen on adopting next-gen tech. And who can blame you? Even the falling price of hardware doesn’t make up for the relatively slow burn times, costly media, and compatibility issues that plague Blu-ray burners (and the same would be true of HD DVD burners if you could even find them!). Trouble is, you’ve got a brand-new 27-inch LCD that’s just begging to display high-def movies. What’s a consumer to do? Well, you could buy a combo drive—one that lets you read next-gen discs and write data to fast, friendly CD and DVD, like the two models we review this month.

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Seagate Momentus 7000.2

Seagate wasn’t the first to the 7,200rpm mark, but that hasn’t stopped it from making the fastest hard drive around. The Momentus 7200.2 has a well-deserved reputation as the notebook hard-drive performance king. What you give up in space, you gain in speed—the Momentus easily eclipses the ginormous Western Digital Scorpio in read speed, access time, and all around zippiness. (Seagate has announced but not shipped a 200GB version of this drive.)

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Western Digital WD2500BEVS Scorpio

Western Digital has pulled off a significant coup with its 250GB Scorpio notebook hard drive; the device is the current capacity champion. (Fujitsu has also announced a 250GB drive but has not shipped it yet.) Packing 250GB into two platters, the areal density of the Scorpio easily outstrips that of the other hard drive reviewed here—Seagate’s two-platter 160GB Momentus drive.

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Mtron MSD-S25032

An early 16GB SATA solid-state drive from Mtron wowed us, but that was just the beginning. The company’s 32GB version of the drive slays all other contenders for the speed crown.

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Swiftech H2O-120

A lot of the enclosed “for newbs” water-cooling kits we see at Maximum PC are pretty lame. You get a pump/heatsink combination that’s mildly irritating to install, connected by tubing that’s slightly wider than the veins in your arm. The tubing goes to a radiator that’s often unable to handle the heat output of the processor—even with a noisy 12cm fan pushing more air through it than a jet engine. You spend half an hour installing the device for a whopping cooling difference of three degrees versus what you get from a stock air cooler.

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