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Alienware Aurora M7700

We’ve come to realize that there are two kinds of Maximum PC readers: The first is the standard Joe or Jane who has four desktop machines at home to do all the heavy lifting. For these users, a small, low-power notebook is more than sufficient.

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Maxtor One Touch III Turbo

Backup drives are usually pretty bland and uninteresting, consisting of just a drive mounted inside a plastic shell. Not this time! Maxtor has managed to tickle our Geek-spot by wedging two 500GB drives inside a sexy rubber lunchbox, and adding a dash of RAID for spice. It all amounts to one hell of a drive, and it’s the new end-all, be-all backup drive as far as we’re concerned.

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HP nc6320 Notebook

Hewlett-Packard certainly isn’t known for making high-end gaming notebooks, but the company does know its way around corporate configs. This nc6320 has everything we love in a notebook—including Intel’s popular Core Duo dual-core mobile CPU, but it uses a technology so outdated we dare not speak its name. OK, we’ll say it: onboard video—a parts choice that makes 3D gaming literally impossible.

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Kodak EasyShare One

Wireless is the new tech race in the compact digital camera field, and Kodak was first out of the Wi-Fi gate with the EasyShare One. This 4 megapixel “compact” camera has 802.11b connectivity that not only lets you print your images wirelessly but also share them on the web.

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Creative Zen Vision: M

You know a device has a great user interface when someone utterly unfamiliar with it accomplishes a task within 10 seconds of picking it up. Apple’s iPods pass this test with aplomb; Creative’s Zen Vision: M utterly fails it. It’s a significant flaw in an otherwise terrific media player.

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Gigabyte i-RAM

As seekers of all-out performance, it’s only natural that we’d covet super-fast RAM for storage duties, but there have always been obstacles to this fantasy scenario. The first is cost, as RAM is crazy-expensive per gig compared with hard drives. Second, RAM is volatile memory: When it loses its electric charge all the data goes bye-bye, so if you put your OS on a RAM drive and then unplug the machine—D’oh! Simply put, RAM drives just aren’t very practical. Still, the idea is intriguing, and Gigabyte’s i-RAM actually works extremely well and overcomes the aforementioned obstacles, but we do have a few complaints.

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Thermaltake Bigwater 745

The previous version of Thermaltake’s Bigwater received a smackdown from us last year, and though this new kit is significantly improved, it still suffers a fatal flaw.

The biggest change to the kit is the addition of a second radiator. That’s right, the kit sports two radiators—one large, one small. You’ll bolt the small one to the rear of your case, and set up the second double-wide radiator on four little feet outside your case.

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Stealth Surfer II Privacy Stick

Are you being watched? Between the Feds conducting warrant-less wiretaps and companies monitoring their employees’ web-surfing habits, the notion of privacy is as quaint as a PS/2 port. The Stealth Surfer II can’t help with your phone conversations, but it will cover your online tracks—at least most of them.

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Arctic Cooling Accelero VGA Coolers

Arctic Cooling has retired its Silencer series of VGA coolers, reportedly because their massive size was causing worldwide plastic shortages (we kid, but they were huge coolers). To replace the Silencer, Arctic Cooling just introduced the Accelero X1 (for nVidia cards) and X2 (for ATI cards).

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Swiftech Apex Ultra

When Swiftech said it was sending us the most extreme kit it has ever built, the drooling commenced. The kit arrived, and sure enough, it’s extreme—and it performs extremely well, to boot. But while it’s the best-performing kit we’ve ever tested, it’s not perfect.

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