Hardware

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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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Akasa AK-873 AMD Cooler

The AMD-only AK-873 is small enough to fit comfortably in your palm, but its large copper base plate (zinc-coated to ward off corrosion) makes it surprisingly heavy. Two plump 8mm heat pipes carry the heat from the base plate to the upper area of the aluminum heatsink.

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Toshiba Qosmio G35-AV600

Monster notebooks skew two ways these days: They’re either gaming-friendly, desktop-replacement machines that breathe fire, or they’re big-ass Media Center jobbies.

We haven’t yet seen a Toshiba notebook that’s competitive in gaming performance, but the latest Qosmio (pronounced Cosmio) just might be the best Media Center notebook we’ve seen to date.

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Sprint PC-5740 EVDO Card

If you’re the kind of road warrior who has spent an hour driving around aimlessly looking for an unsecured wireless router to check your email, it might be time to invest in EVDO service.

EVDO, which stands for evolution data optimized, offers “broadband-like” speeds using the CDMA mobile phone network. Such technology has been available for some time but never at the affordable prices it is today.

Sprint’s Mobile Broadband package is available two ways: $40 for 40MB of usage and one-tenth of a cent per additional kilobyte, or all you can eat for $60 (provided you have a voice account with Sprint.)

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ThermalTakeTyphoon Mini

This cooler’s predecessor is the Big Typhoon—a great cooler, as long as your PC doesn’t have a side door. You see, that cooler is so damn big that it extends almost all the way to the door of most cases, depriving the cooler of a source of fresh air. Thermaltake recognized the issue and thus the Mini Typhoon was born.

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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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