Holiday Buyer's Guide 2007: Part 1


by Ed Tittel

Welcome to the first installment of the 2007 Holiday Buyer’s Guide from Tom’s Hardware. Working in tandem with editors from our companion sites at Tom’s Guide and Tom’s Games, we’ve put together a six-part series of holiday gift candidates for our decidedly computer, gear, and gadget oriented audience. Those who seek help in choosing gifts for friends, family, or loved ones with geeky inclinations will find plenty of peerless gifting options to ponder in this guide, and the other installments to follow.

And.... Sarah’s back as our Holiday Buyer’s Guide model.

Be sure to watch the video The Making of Tom’s Holiday Buyer’s Guide right here or at a theater near you soon :-).

Before we dig into this go-round, here are the topics and dates of all six of our holiday buyer’s guides.

  1. CPUs, Memory, Motherboards, Coolers, Tom’s Hardware, November 1, 2007
  2. Home and Portable Video, Audio, and Networking, Tom’s Guide, November 12, 2007
  3. Games and Accessories, Tom’s Games, November 23, 2007
  4. Graphics Cards, Peripherals and High-End Desktops, Tom’s Hardware, December 3, 2007
  5. Consoles, Gaming PCs, and Gaming Accessories, Tom’s Games, December 12, 2007
  6. Notebooks, Digital Cameras, and Camcorders, Tom’s Guide, December 21, 2007

So, in addition to PC specific components, cards, and peripherals, we’ll provide pointers to all kinds of PC and console games and related gear and accessories, as well as gadgets and equipment with a more mobile or network-oriented focus. Across the board, we hope to bring you information about interesting and worthwhile gifts for those around you, along with some nice photos that present the products we cover with a decidedly holiday flair.

In this first installment, you’ll find several types of computer memory, and a couple of chilly and attractive CPU coolers. You’ll also find a trio of terrific motherboards, as well as a super mid-tower case and an absolutely stellar power supply. For those who like to build their own PCs, or who are thinking about upgrading what they’ve already got, you’re sure to find some good ideas and possibly a prospective gift or two. Happy shopping !

Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400 DDR2 Memory

by Don Woligroski

While those in the know are more interested in memory speed and latency, PC novices proudly declare how many gigabytes of RAM they have installed their new PC. Quantity is marketed more successfully than quality to most users, and lots of PCs are hampered by slow RAM. What’s a PC enthusiast to do ?

Who wouldn’t like to find some fast, low-latency memory in the Christmas stocking ?

Upgrade, of course ! RAM prices have dropped considerably, and unlike the old days, you don’t have to break the bank to get your hands on some decent RAM. A case in point is Corsair’s XMS (Xtreme Memory Speed) series. Two gigabytes of Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400 can be had for under $100 - and that’s in two 1 GB sticks, so that they can be run in dual channel mode.

With a lot of budget DDR2 still running at higher latencies, both sticks in the TWIN2X2048-6400C4 memory kit are tested together to run at an advertised 4-4-4-12 at 2.1 V - and we’ve seen reports of hitting these latencies at lower voltages with stable operation. In addition, we’ve seen users tweak the settings and go over 1 GHz with Corsair’s XMS2 PC2-6400 memory. These are impressive results for relatively low cost RAM.

Corsair boasts that the memory sticks are packaged together once they’ve been tested together, ensuring that the end user get compatible memory modules. Considering these factors, in addition to Corsair’s reputation for upholding the lifetime warranty it offers, we have no reservations about recommending Corsair’s XMS2 memory modules for our holiday buyer’s guide

Join our discussion on this article !

  • Mike-TH
    I know this is an old review, I just wanted to warn potential second-hand buyers that the fans in this case are simply crap. If the side panel is left on, my system overheats rapidly. I have seen it get to 80c in a short while when playing WoW. If the panel is left off, it stays under 65c.

    I have a stock i7-920 cpu, GTX-275 graphics and 6gb ram. a velociraptor 300g and 2 WD 2tb 7200rpm drives, along with a DVD-RW drive. Nothing fancy, nothing overclocked, nothing out of the ordinary.

    I bought a box of replacement fans that should help with cooling, once I get off my lazy bum and actually DO the replacing.