After Hours

What's on your go-to equipment list?

When replacing or upgrading hardware components, do you have a ready list of vendors and manufacturers that you go to or are you constantly on the lookout for a better product (or just a better deal)? What's on your "best-of-kit" list?

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes has updated his "Best of Kit" list in his blog on ZDNet. It's pretty comprehensive and breaks down each component category into high-end, mid-range, and budget items. Here is an example for his entry on graphics cards:

Extreme - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295

There's a lot to like about NVIDIA's latest powerhouse graphics card. The GTX 295 is the fastest, most powerful single card solution currently available, boasting the very best 3D performance currently available.

The GTX 295 is a dual-GPU solution, but since the two GPUs are integrated onto the single card, and the software drivers handle all the SLI stuff, getting dual-GPU power is now easier than ever.

Price: $500

Mid-range - NVIDIA GeForce 9800GTX+

Can't spring for a GTX 295, but want something a little bit special? Check out the GeForce 9800GTX+. This card is ideal for the gamer running a 22″ screen and can pump out the pixels at a rate to keep the current game lineup running smoothly.

A great card and a fantastic price.

Price: $180

Budget - NVIDIA GeForce 9800GT

The NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT is great performer. In fact, for the price point it's by far the best card you could choose for the job.

This card will happily run the likes of Crysis, Far Cry 2 and Fallout 3 and deliver graphics that are more than acceptable as long as you keep the settings to a modest level.

Brand wise, I suggest you look at the 9800 GT offerings from EVGA or XFX.

Do you have a standard list of manufacturers and favorite components that you go back to time after time, or do you always shop around to see what's the latest and greatest? Check out Adrian's picks and see if you think there are any big misses on the list. You can share them here.


Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...


I run a 3-monitor setup on my home PC (I like to multi-task). Two ATi video cards on a NVidia SLI motherboard which has two 16x PCIe slots. Can't use a normal PCI card with a PCIe cause Vista is picky about it's drivers. To get the two cards to work seperate, instead of as one card, I need to literally split the bus into two 8x slots instead of the SLI shared 16x. Now this configuration works so-so. I run 1600x1200 on all three monitors, and I can do my games, graphics, video editing, whatnot, however I experience an effectively reduced framerate, sometimes as much as half of what I'd normally get on just one card. The soulution I'd like to do, is to splurge myself and get a nice quad-output graphics card so I could be on just one 16x bus instead of my reduced "split-bus". Any thoughts? Card recomendations?


I know that some folks swear by Asus for motherboards. I personally have had great service with BFG Tech's video cards, and their limited lifetime warranty is the best (I have never had to use it, but it's great to know that they stand behind their products.) As for hard drives, for me, it's Seagate or nothing.

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