2009 Holiday Gift Buying Guide – The Enthusiast

by Rafael Hernandez on November 30, 2009 · 0 comments

techETA Gift GuideAh the holidays. Getting the right gift for that special someone is tricky, getting one for your computer/gadget fiend family member is a maddening experience. Sure you could go the gift card route but that doesn’t exactly give you that certain sense of satisfaction when you see their face light up once they open a finely wrapped gift.

We’ve created a bit of a shopping list containing some of this year’s hottest computer gear and gadgets you may just want to keep in mind should you be buying for the technology purist.

Intel X25-M Solid State DriveIntel X25-M Solid State Drive

Storage drives haven’t been much of an exciting segment for the enthusiast computer user, the biggest kick they could get out of a hard drive was running some form of RAID 0 which, from a performance standpoint, is speedier but it gets a little dicey should one drive fail on you as you’ll be losing all of your data.

Solid State Drives changed the landscape by making use of flash memory chips all working in tandem to provide extremely fast access to the data stored on them. If you’re looking to improve your computer enthusiast’s system responsiveness and lower their wait time for programs, games, and operating system to load up there is no better upgrade out there today.

As far as speed is concerned there is no faster consumer level drive than Intel’s X25-M lineup. You’ll find the storage sizes aren’t exactly in the Terabyte level but its speed more than makes up for any size downfalls.

Intel X25-M 80GB Mainstream Solid State Drive $257
Intel X25-M 160GB Mainstream Solid State Drive $486

Microsoft Windows 7 UltimateMicrosoft Windows 7 Operating System

Its been talked about and tested so long you’d of thought it was released quite a while ago but last month’s launch of Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system brought users a thoroughly modern version of Windows that takes full advantage of today’s hardware and offers a better overall fit and polish anyone would enjoy.

Performance improvements, DirectX 11, and built-in support for tons of hardware make it a must have for the enthusiast who loves their computing almost as much as their friends and family…almost.

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade $200
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade $110
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade Family Pack $290

Synology Disk Station DS409Synology Disk Station Network Attached Storage

Looking at different methods for simplifying life usually leads to some rather expensive solutions but, if they do the trick, the cost of entry is usually worth it. Take for instance sharing files over a network. Being the media loving fiend your gift receiver is why would you put them through the trouble of serving files from their home computer when a dedicated machine would suffice?

A Network Attached Storage solution would do the trick allowing him (or her) to backup from and serve files to any other computer or media player, such as an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, on the network all from an energy efficient appliance. A sensible investment that minimizes the constant folder sharing/portable drive shuffle.

Synology Disk Station DS209 2-Bay (Diskless) Network Attached Storage $310
Synology Disk Station DS409 4-Bay (Diskless) Network Attached Storage $450

Intel Core i7 ProcessorIntel Core i7 860 Processor

The Intel Core i7 lineup has been the fastest processor choice for a year now with enough advanced features and speed to crunch through the most demanding of applications. Unfortunately the platform’s cost of entry made it a steep jump for many users, even those that always feel the need for speed.

Intel’s socket LGA1156 simplified things a bit bringing the cost of entry down but, more importantly, bringing along even more advanced features which makes things interesting for the gamers out there with its integrated PCI Express controller that eeks out some performance gains.

The Intel Core i7 860 represents the best mix of speed and features to help convince your gift recipient to put their current computer out to pasture.

Intel Core i7 860 2.80 GHz Processor $290

Microsoft Zune HDMicrosoft Zune HD

Personal media players have come a long way in the past few years but, amazingly enough, there are still ways to wow those gadget fiends that have literally seen it all. Microsoft’s Zune HD caught many off-guard with its OLED touch screen goodness.

If that’s not enough to convince you well the all flash memory gadget sports HD Radio reception for CD quality sound to go along with its sleek looks and game support meanwhile the optional monthly fee Zune Pass service lets you access tons of songs and gives you ten free tracks each month you keep the service active. A bargain!

Microsoft Zune HD 16 GB Video MP3 Player $198
Microsoft Zune HD 32 GB Video MP3 Player $289

CyberpowerPC GX1219 Gaming PCCyberpowerPC GX1219 Desktop Gaming PC

For those on your shopping list that have been exceptionally good there’s always the extravagant gift to lavish your love on them with, that or show them that you expect the same good cheer from them all year round.

A custom built screamer of a Gaming PC would light up anyone’s eyes and takes the burden off planning yet another upgrade cycle from your loved one. Of course you’ll want top of the line components so it can survive those brutal gaming sessions and provide the best experience possible.

CyberpowerPC GX1219 Desktop Gaming PC $2000

Of course the holidays are all about spending time with friends and family so even if you can’t swing anything extravagant this year we’re sure everyone will just be happy to be around each other…as long as the WiFi works.

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