Geek Toys to Pick Up for the Holidays

It is always tough to find nice gifts for the holidays that your geek friends will appreciate. Even if you would like to buy something special this Christmas, just for yourself, we will help you choose. Jon Campbell has put together a list of… geek-oriented devices and softare to make your life easier when choosing gifts. Inside you will find which PC game, gaming console, software, mp3 player etc you could buy for the holidays.

PC Game
Max Payne
Over the course of the year I try out a lot of new games. Max Payne is a game unlike any other (review here). It’s half a movie and half a game. Max Payne has a great storyline based upon you, Max Payne, being framed for a crime you never committed. This game isn’t one of those games that are all happy and bright. The painted style storyboard fits seamlessly into the gameplay and keeps you involved in the game as you go along. The graphics and audio on max payne are top notch, especially the bullet time effects. Bullet time is a mode that allows Max to slow down time and dodge bullets, like on the matrix and other movies. When in bullet time everything slows down and you have time to make the moves that can save your life. Max uses painkillers to heal his wounds and also uses a huge arsenal of weapons throughout the game including sniper rifles, grenades, shotguns, and your standard pistols. Max Paynes only weakness is its lack of multiplayer support and below average game length. Average Price: $50 US.

Gaming Console
Microsoft Xbox
There’s a lot of controversy going around as to what gaming console deserves your hard earned cash this holiday season. I’ve chosen the Xbox as the system of choice for many reasons. First off these holiday gift ideas are for geeks and most people who oppose the xbox say it’s just a computer and only geeks will buy it. The xbox has a 733 Mhz Intel processor, built in Ethernet port, built in 8 gig hard drive, front loading DVD drive, high quality surround sound, HDTV support and more. Some of the top games for the Xbox are Halo, Dead or Alive3, Tony Hawk 2x, and NFL Fever 2002. Some people claim the controllers too large and bulky. I am a large handed guy and it fit my hands perfectly, but if you have problems with it there is other 3rd party controllers available. Average Price: $300 US.

Microsoft WindowsXP
You may not like Micro$oft or Windoze but the majority of you still use Windows to get on the net and for everyday use. Windows XP offers better stability and performance for windows 95/98/Me users, and better compatibility and ease of use to Windows NT/2k users. The Windows XP Styles allow you to change the way your windows XP looks, from the start button, to the taskbar, to the close button on your web browser. The new folder views give you easy access to common tasks for whatever filetypes are in your folder. When your in you’re My Pictures folder it can show the pictures in thumbnail view, when your in you’re My Music folder it offers you the option to play your songs, look for music online, and more. Windows XP has great hardware installation improvements over windows 95/98 and NT/2k. I hooked up a digital camera to my USB port and 20 seconds later, without using a driver disk, I was moving pictures to my computer. If your going to be using a Microsoft OS why not have the latest, easiest to use, and least buggy version available? Prices vary depending on what version and license you require.

MP3 Player
Apple Ipod
Apple has created another masterpiece of design, the Apple iPod (more here). It’s easy on the ears and the eyes. It’s functionality and ease of use make it worth the price. The Apple iPod is not revolutionary or world changing, it just utilizes modern technology to create an excellent media player. The iPod is the first mp3 player to automatically syncs to your jukebox software (iTunes), has a 5 gig hard drive, and a firewire connection for extremely faster transfer of music files. It only takes 10 minutes to transfer 5 gigabytes of songs to the iPod a task that would take 5 hours on a USB connection. The iPods downfall is its lack of compatibility with windows and linux operating systems. Steve Jobs stated that the iPod will be made usable on Windows (and probably Linux) down the road, we just don’t know when. With the iPod you can hold, as the commercials say, “a thousand songs in your pocket.” Price: around $400 US at most retailers.

Computer Upgrade
HP DVD-Writer DVD100i drive

This new drive from HP can act as a CD-Rom drive, a CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, and DVD+RW (more here). So you can play/run cds, record to CD’s, Rerecord to CD-RW’s, Record DVD’s, and Record ReWritable DVD’s. That’s a lot of functionality for one drive. It burns at 2.4x (close to 3.2MB per second), which is faster than most DVD Writers out there. There isn’t many DVD writers out there yet, especially at this price, and with this functionality. Included with the drive is Cyberlink PowerDVD, one of the most popular software DVD players on the market. Recommended system requirements: Pentium III, with 128 megabytes of RAM, Windows 98/NT or newer. Average Price: $500 US.

Hardcore Geek
PC60 All Aluminum Computer Case

This case (Lian Li’s PC60 case) is for hardcore geeks. It’s for people that want a nice looking case or are into modding their PC. This case is excellent for over clocking, and high end CPU’s that produce a lot of heat because the aluminum case conducts heat out of the box 3 times faster than your standard steel case. This case can fit many different sizes of motherboards and won’t be obsolete when you purchase a new computer; you just put your new computer into your PC60 case. The case has thumbscrews so it requires no tools for maintenance. The case comes with fans built in, and the front fans can operate at variable speeds (turn them down to reduce the noise level). The motherboard tray slides all the way out the back of the case for easy upgrades and repairs. There is an optional Window Kit available so you can check out the inside of your PC anytime. Price without the window kit: $194.99 US

About the Author

Jon Campbell is web designer and graphic artist at and a reporter for Currently Jon uses Windows XP in combination with the sharpE shell. You can reach him at [email protected].


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