Tim Verry’s Picks
Our news editor Tim is an avid writer and computer geek. In addition to being tech support for friends and family, he enjoys PC gaming and is eagerly waiting for the day when he has enough RAM to create a the one RAM drive to rule them all.
Google Nexus 7 Tablet 16GB WiFi – $199
While I recommended Amazon's Kindle Fire in last year's holiday gift guide it has since been surpassed by Google's Nexus 7 as the cheap go-to 7" tablet. It sports an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage, and a 1280×800 IPS touchscreen display. It weighs 340grams, and best of all, is running the stock Android 4.1 operating system.
SiliconDust HomeRun PRIME HDHR3 – $129
One of the best purchases I've made this year was a CableCard tuner which allowed me to make my own HTPC and avoid Comcast's expensive cable box. Specifically, I went with SiliconDust's HD HomeRune Prime after my research. It offers up three networked tuners that I can share with multiple PCs running WMC around the house. In turn, the PCs can share live or recorded TV on the living room TV using the Xbox 360 as an extender. If you are not ready to cut the cord, you may as well make your family's existing cable TV service as cheap as possible by going with your own hardware. The only downside is not having access to On Demand, but the warm and fuzzy feeling of not paying Comcast $15 a month for five year old hardware more than makes up for it!
For most of the year it was priced at $199, but it has since come down to $129 at many online retailers, and at that price it is a steal for the features!
Kerbal Space Program – $23
Kerbal Space Program is an indie game being developed by Squad that has tanked my productivity more than any other game this year. A rocket and space plane simulator that does not take itself too seriously, KSP allows you to run your own space program and build your own rockets. If you have family members or friends that are interested in games and rockets, Kerbal Space Program is the perfect holiday gift.
Similar to Minecraft, the game is available now in beta status with new features being added periodically. The price is currently $23. Also, be sure to check out the Spacecraft Exchange on the KSP forums to see some great creations users have shared.
Beyond those specific picks, individual PC components make for good gifts though a gift card to Amazon or Newegg might be a better option so that your loved ones can get exactly the upgrade they want for their computers. With that said, Solid State Drives and RAM are parts that are not likely to be turned down by enthusiasts! After all, you can never have enough RAM.