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One of the most significant trends witnessed in consumer hardware last year, was the unprecedented rise in interest in mobile computing devices. While components hardware made a stumbling comeback, consumer uptake of such seemed to remain less than enthusiastic. The year 2010 seemed to be one in which computer hardware components became increasingly relegated to niche field applications and to hobbyists and enthusiasts. Towards the end of the year, consumers saw more variety in the form of the beginnings of LED and 3D televisions, after years of HDTV talk. Gaming console hardware saw few changes as the year progressed, with console manufacturers bringing out one motion-based accessory after another. As for the rest, here are some of our picks of 2010.

Desktop Processor

This X58/LGA 1366 platform, quad-core, hyper threading processor offers the appeal of significant future-proofing, as well as high performance margins.

   
 

It features a clock speed of 2.8 gigahertz, 8 megabytes of cache, and a 4.8 gigatransfers-per-second Quick Path Interface link. The i7-930 also offers its users the upgrade potential of a dual PCI-Express 2.0 16x configuration, which is a great option for gamers.

Graphics Card
Last year, AMD’s DirectX 11 cards dominated the market. In some regards, they still do. This year, however, the ‘GPU of the year’ title goes to a product released in the latter half of 2010 – a product that gave its brand quite the comeback push it needed – the Nvidia GeForce GTX 460. The sub-20,000-rupee GTX 460, with 768-megabytes of GDDR5 video memory, is our graphics card choice. This 192-bit, SLI-capable GPU is a great choice for mid-to high-end gaming users, with an affordable price range among a variety of third-party manufacturers.

Laptop
Besides the standard list of specifications, a laptop is often only as good as the brand that stands behind it. Out pick Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro. Though pricey in comparison to some other laptops, this machine offers its users a complete experience.

   
 

Equipped with a 2.4-gigahertz dual core processor, 4 gigabytes of RAM, a 250-gigabyte hard drive, a GeForce 320M discrete GPU, an SD card slot, and Mac OS X Snow Leopard with the iLife suite of software, this laptop is the best deal for users who want the best out of their laptop purchase.

Tablet
The Dell Streak is a curious device; mobile, yet having considerable computing potential – it has unfortunately, been largely overlooked. The Dell Streak has a five-inch (diagonal) screen span, with 16 gigabytes of internal storage and an additional 32 gigabytes via SD card, a one-gigahertz Snapdragon processor. It ships with Android 1.6 (easily upgradeable to 2.2 Froyo), has Adobe Flash 10.1 support, and boasts a host of built-in extras. Compatible with local GSM carrier SIMs, as well as the advanced features of the Android OS, the Streak easily transcends the niche of the iPad and the limitations of the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Motherboard
There are plenty of motherboards that top the list when it comes to performance and features, but the P6X58D-E offers the best bang for your buck. In line with our chosen processor and graphics card, Asus’s P6X58D-E motherboard boasts a truck-load of features and potential.

The fact that the vendor tosses in things such as quad GPU support, an abundance of interfaces, SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0, along with extensive performance-boosting features for PC enthusiasts, all under the 25,000 rupee mark, makes this product a clear winner.

Netbook

The HP Mini 210-2000 series netboks sport lustrous colours, but more importantly are equipped with DDR3 memory, larger hard drive capacity, and extended battery life. These 10-inch netboks feature an Intel Atom processor with one-gigabyte of DDR3 RAM (upgradeable to two gigabytes), a 250 or 320-gigabyte hard drive, and a six-cell battery, among other things – all under a kilogram and a half. With a sturdy build and great hardware in the small form factor, this Mini is the Netbook that stood out this year.

Internal Hard Drive

This one terabyte portable hard drive is the cream of the mobile storage crop. Besides its massive capacity, the device is USB-powered, which means that it does not need a separate power source in order to be used. Simply plug the USB cord into the PC, Mac or laptop and start working. Rated to store up to 120 hours of HD quality video. This portable hard drive will be more than enough for anyone’s backup and storage needs on-the-go.

LCD Monitor

This 21.5 inch LCD monitor by Asus is, quite simply, good value for money. Priced lower than most of the other similar sized monitors, the MS228H is HD-ready at 1920x1080, with source options including HMDI alongside D-Sub, it features Asus SPLENDID modes colour management technology automatic display adjustment, and input selection. The MS228H boasts a reasonably high contrast ratio, with a 16:9 aspect ratio, and a two millisecond grey-to-grey response time. The monitor also packs in more pixels per square centimeter. To top it all off, the monitor sports an attractive design that will look great with most desktops. It is slim, with a well formed taper and a circular stand at the back.

Digital Camera

The Sony a290 (pronounced alpha 290), also known as DSLR-A290L, is a 14.2-megapixel digital single lens reflex camera with a CCD image sensor. A small and light DSLR camera for the entry level market, the a290 suits novice as well as skilled amateur photographers, with features such as image stabilization, on screen guides, autofocus, and 2.5 frames-per-second continuous shooting. The 2.7-inch LCD screen provides clarity when reviewing photographs taken with the camera. The a290 features a flash (with a four second recycling time), HDMI and USB 2.0 outputs, dual memory card slot. The camera comes with a DT18-55mm SAM Kit lens, a shoulder strap, USB interface cable, body cap, battery charger, a rechargeable battery, and a software CE-ROM.

Feature Phone

The Nokia C3 is a feature phone that packs some pretty compelling features. The C3 is one of the few branded phones that offer connectivity via Wi-Fi 802.11b/g. It falls into the category of messaging phones, and with its QWERTY keyboard, allow users to easily connect with contacts on social networking services and through messaging applications. The Nokia C3 sports 55 megabytes of internal storage (which can be expanded through external storage by up to eight gigabytes), a two-megapixel camera, and stereo FM radio. It is also possible to download apps from the Ovi Store using the C3.

Smartphone

Samsung has been churning out handset after handset this year, with particular focus on smartphones with Android and their own fledgling bada OS. The Galaxy S is one of the latest in their line of Android based mobile phones, and one of their most-anticipated. The Galaxy S became Samsung’s flagship Android Smartphone this summer, from the get-go, featuring a four-inch 800x480-pixel, Super AMOLED display, a one-gigahertz ARM processor, three times the graphics processor capability of any Smartphone at the time of its launch, 720p HD video recording and a full range of wireless connectivity options. Its powerful components, eventual upgrade from Android Éclair to Froyo promise to make it the Smartphone most capable of running Flash games and applications.


 
 
 
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