Hardware

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Foxconn C51XEM2AA

If you want to judge nVidia’s vision for the new AM2 nForce 590 SLI chipset, look no further than Foxconn’s C51XEM2AA. This motherboard is the closest you’ll get to nVidia’s concept design. In fact, nVidia even wrote the BIOS for this board.

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May 2006 - Hardcore Hardware!

The complete PDF archive of the May 2006 edition of Maximum PC, every article included, every page posted! Download it now!

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Ideazon Merc

Ideazon’s previous product, the ZBoard, sported interchangeable $20 keysets with custom labels for different games. The company’s latest effort, the Merc, eschews that approach in favor of a customizable one-size-fits-all design.

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Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition

Asus’ modus operandi of late has been to rush out new board designs so far ahead of its competitors that the other guys just seem to give up. Witness the company’s A8N32-SLI Deluxe board. In the dual-x16 nForce category, it was the only game in town for months on end.

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Seagate Barracuda 750GB

Big companies rarely take chances, and Seagate—the world’s largest drive maker—is no exception. It has always played second fiddle to Hitachi when it comes to the 7,200rpm hard drive capacity war, and even though Seagate drives are reliable and semi-speedy, they’ve never delivered industry-leading or even outstanding performance. Well, those days are over.

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Wolfking Timber Wolf

If we were grading on sex appeal alone, the Timber Wolf would skip to the head of the class. Its unique shape and two-tone color scheme instantly catch the eye, and gaming on the keyboard is sublime. When it comes time to work, however, we’re not so easily seduced; indeed, we have serious concerns about embarking on a long-term relationship with this board.

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Diamond XtremeSound

We were so in love with the old Diamond Monster Sound that it wasn’t until our recent move that we finally sent the unsupported, driverless card to hardware Valhalla.

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Western Digital Caviar SE 16 500GB

This month, WD joins the 500GB party with its Caviar SE 16 drive. Because the 400GB model is already our favorite 7,200rpm drive, we expected big things from its four-platter successor—and we were mostly satisfied.

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Thermaltake Blue Orb II

We gave the Golden Orb II a mediocre 7 verdict back in October 2005, but the Blue Orb II is bigger and much, much better. It’s a massive cooler that squats over the CPU socket like a sumo wrestler, taking up every square millimeter of space.

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