Top 100 Products of 2006


Nos. 21 - 30

Corsair's ultimate enthusiast memory line features their new and innovative Dual-path Heat Xchange (DHX) cooling technology for superior heat dissipation that actually works. Besides great overclocking potential, Dominator DDR2 DIMMs also support NVIDIA's EPP specifications for even better performance when used with high-end nForce 500 and 600 series chipsets.
OCZ cranked up the heat in 2006 with extreme overclocking memory and then cooled it back down with their innovative FlexXLC DDR2 DIMMs. These babies start at 1150MHz and sport a hybrid heatspreader that can be used like a standard air-cooled solution or setup for extreme water-cooling. Either way, this is the most radical cooling for the most hardcore overclocker.
While not as fancy as Corsair's Dominator or OCZ's FlexXLC memory, Kingston has the crown for the world's fastest DDR2 memory with their HyperX KHX9600D2/XX line of memory modules that are being tested and qualified to operate at a blazing speed of 1200MHz.
Although the NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI is the latest and greatest chipset from NVIDIA, the nForce 590 SLI is the one that actually introduced some of the best innovations to be integrated into a core logic chipset. With the nForce 590 SLI, NVIDIA introduced EPP memory profiles, dual Gigabit MACs with teaming and load balancing capabilities, hardware TCP acceleration and FirstPacket packet prioritization technology. With LinkBoost automatic overclocking and other features, the nForce 590 SLI was a real eye opener.
As one of the first few socket AM2 motherboards to appear in the market, the NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI based MSI K9N SLI Platinum is one of the more matured and better performing boards for AMD's AM2 processors. Today, the K9N SLI Platinum offers the AMD crowd a board with high-end performance and SLI compatibility at affordable prices.
One of the most successful implementations of the excellent ULi M1697 chipset, the MSI K9NU Neo is the best alternative budget board available in its range if you don't want to go down the nForce or Radeon Xpress route. Although part of MSI's entry-level Value series, the K9NU Neo's solid build, good hardware compatibility and strong performance make it an ideal candidate for our list this year.
The ASUS WL-700gE is the most versatile router we've seen in 2006. This baby combines a WiFi router, network storage, USB hub, streaming media server, web server and BitTorrent client into one device, complete with its own internal 160GB HDD. Yes, it is 'merely' an 802.11g router, but its wireless performance is among the strongest in its range and certainly enough for a small home network.
When Archos launched their new Generation 4 line of PMPs, the Archos 604 WiFi instantly became one of the most desirable gadgets of the year. 4.3-inch 16M-million color wide touchscreen display, vastly improved interface, versatile playback, recording all in a beautiful and slim 18mm construct. Its WiFi capability is icing on the cake, allowing you to surf the net or even wirelessly control your media.
The 2006 successor to the Creative Zen Vision:M, the Zen Vision W is all about widescreen entertainment. Its larger 4.3-inch TFT display has excellent image quality and color vibrancy compared to its predecessor. While physically on the bulkier side, the Zen Vision W has one of the widest media format support in a PMP to playback almost anything you throw at it.
The Auzentech X-Meridian 7.1 has to be the most significant consumer sound card to be launched in 2006. Custom engineered to take full advantage of the Oxygen HD chipset, the X-Meridian 7.1 has user-swappable DIP OPAMPs to allow the greatest degree of analog audio quality in any sound card in the market. It is also capable of DTS Connect and real-time Dolby Digital encoding, plus full 24bit, 192kHz audio in all eight channels.