Josh’s Holiday Gift Picks
Our graphics card connoisseur Josh not only likes watching benchmarks run, but loves putting all those graphics cards to work in gaming. His holiday picks include a great gaming processor, a sharp monitor, and a blu-ray drive to watch movies on in what little down time he can find after digging himself out of the pile of graphics cards boxes that are slowly taking over his computer room!.
1. LG Super BD-R/DVD/CD – $70 USD
This Blu-Ray reader and DVD/CD burner is made for desktops with an available 5.25" drive bay.
Nice to see we are finally at the point where buying a BD-R drive won’t cost 3 C notes.
2. ASUS ML249H – $171 USD (after rebate)
This 24" desktop monitor employs an LED backlit, MVA panel to deliver a resolution of 1920×1080. Inputs include VGA, HDMI, and DVI (with included DVI-HDMI cable).
I bought one of these for a secretary at my day job… it is a stunning monitor for the price. Colors are great, it is bright, and has none of the issues of TN monitors. MVA isn’t perfect, but it sure is better than TN!
3. Intel Core i5 2500K – $219 USD
The Core i5 "Sandy Bridge" processor is from Intel’s current mainstream 1155 lineup, and provides 4 cores, 6 MB cache, and 3.3 GHz of computing horsepower. As a "K" series CPU, it has an unlocked multiplier meaning it can be easily overclocked. Because PC games generally do not use more than four cores, the i5 2500k has been an extremely popular processor in gaming and/or overclocked rigs!
The Phenom II X6 1090T was a great processor for the price, but those are getting rare. Instead, go for a great gaming/productivity CPU that can overclock to high levels and have 95% of the performance of a $1K part. It’s hard not to suggest this as the basis for any enthusiast system on a budget!