Hardware

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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everything we love in a notebook—including Intel’s popular Core Duo dual-core mobile CPU, but it uses a technology so outdated we dare not speak its name.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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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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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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Cooler Master Hyper L3

Typically, people swap out their heatsink/fan apparatus for one that is either quieter than the stock cooler or capable of better cooling performance. Cooler Master’s Intel-only Hyper L3 doesn’t grant enough improvement on either front to warrant a switch.

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Dell Inspiron E1705

If you’re limited to a notebook PC, you’ve no doubt been wrought with envy as your desktop buddies brag about their dual-core processors. Well, suffer no more! You aren’t stuck with single-core anymore!

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Sanyo Xacti C5

Hybrid digital camera/video recorders have historically let us down. They tend to be slow performers that fulfill neither role well. We did, however, think that Sanyo was on to something with its original C1 hybrid, released in the U.S. by Fisher as the FVD-C1. The second-generation Xacti C5 proves our hunch was right.

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Alienware Ozma 7 Headphones

If you know your Wizard of Oz lore, you’ll recall that Ozma was the young princess and rightful heir to the throne of Oz. Exactly what this has to do with audio and aliens is anyone’s guess, but these headphones did take us over the rainbow.

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Cooler Master Susurro

Cooler Master says that the word Susurro means “silent” in Latin. And we believe it, based on this cooler’s sound profile (and the fact that we looked the word up). The Susurro specs list the noise output at 16dbA, and that sounds about right. Unfortunately, while this cooler is quiet and easy to mount, its cooling performance is lacking.

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