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Polywell H7700i-400B Review

Desktop power in a tiny box

We had a tough time figuring out how to categorize the Polywell H770i-400B PC. Its small size puts it clearly in the class of HTPCs or mini PCs that get tucked behind a monitor or TV.

What’s confusing about the Polywell H7700i-400B is its power curve. PCs in this class typically pack AMD’s Fusion CPUs or Intel’s lower-voltage CPUs to balance price, thermals, acoustics, and the typically modest performance requirements of a mini PC.

A handsome aluminum chassis is marred by chintzy rubber feet that easily come loose.

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Asus Zenbook UX32Vd Review

Now with discrete graphics!

When Asus’s Zenbook UX31E debuted last year, it seemed to almost single-handedly put Ultrabooks on the map. Its intriguing mix of good looks, performance, and price convinced many a skeptic, us included, that PCs could compete with the likes of Apple’s vaunted MacBook Air—at a price that catered to common folk.

The UX32Vd comes with a protective sleeve, as well as a small pouch for carrying two connector dongles: one USB-to-Ethernet, one Mini-VGA-to-VGA.

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Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 Review

MicroATX board shoots for your dollar

Gigabyte’s G1.Killer series of motherboards have always been love-it-or-leave-it affairs. While some laud the gun-shaped heatsinks of the series, others think them garish or just plain tacky.

The G1.Sniper M3 gets you SLI and CrossFireX in a compact package

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Fractal Design Define R4 Review

A good, quiet case that needs more ‘oomph’

Fractal Design’s Define R3 chassis, which we reviewed in January 2011, impressed us with its combination of functionality and customizability at a low price. The Define R4 is an updated version of that chassis, and like its predecessor is tricked out for noise control—if not enthusiast building.

The Define R4 isn't much to look at on the outside, but Fractal Design has made some good tweaks to the system's insides to take it above and beyond its predecessor.

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Geek Holiday Gift Guide 2012 - Games

Maximum PC Holiday Gift Guide

It's cold outside, your local grocery store is stocked with eggnog, and the mall is a madhouse. It can mean only one thing -- the holidays are coming! That also means you're running out time to finish buying gifts for family and friends, but what do you do if you're stuck on what to get that special geek in your life? What if you ARE that special geek? Don't sweat it, whether you're looking for gnarly gift ideas for someone else or want to treat yourself to something nice before embarking on a new year, we have you covered with a robust selection of gadgets, games, and toys guaranteed to delight whoever receives them. From Google Play gift cards to a severed Wampa arm fashioned into an ice scraper mitt, we have suggestions for all levels of geek!

To make things easier for you, we're separating our gift suggestions into handy categories, though we highly recommend browsing each of the galleries. You never know what you'll find until you click through!

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MISC Items
Gadgets
Toys

Games

James Bond had gadgets. So did Austin Powers and every other spy worth his salt. PC geeks need gadgets too. Not for spying or international espionage, mind you, but for everyday life, man. Things get crazy when you're around computers all day, and in this section, we gathered up essential (and non-essential, but fun!) gadgets and gear that will make any geek's life a little bit easier.

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Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 16GB Review

A secure-but-poky USB flash drive

Everything about the Aegis Secure Key telegraphs that Apricorn is serious about the whole data-security thing. The Secure Key has 256-bit AES full hardware encryption, so it doesn’t require software or drivers—it’s completely platform-independent, and it will even work with USB On-the-Go devices like Android tablets. This is a big deal—many drives ship with software encryption clients, but those rarely include software compatibility beyond Mac and Windows.

Enter the wrong PIN 10 times and the Aegis will shred your data to prevent brute-force attacks.

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Google Nexus 7 vs. Apple iPad

Google Nexus 7 vs. Apple iPad

We all know the Apple iPad sits atop the 10-inch tablet market like an MMA fighter straddling the octagon fence after a first-round TKO. That fight is over, for now, but the battle for 7-inch supremacy is still going strong and our new favorite contender is the Google Nexus 7, made by Asus. Since we now have two favorite tablets, and room for only one in our man purse, we must settle this the old-fashioned way—with a tab blood-letting.