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"I think you'll find this the most honest, and comprehensive "gear of the year" ever."

Best Sound Card

Terratec Xlerate Pro
Review: Terratec Xlerate Pro

Price: $69

This was a dangerous decision. The Terratec Xlerate Pro supports A3D 2.0 audio acceleration, and all of its features including, advanced wave tracing with up to 64 reflections, in addition to digital audio out help make this one fine card. The Sound Blaster Live! Platinum you might think is better suited for the "best sound card of the year" award, but you would be wrong. While the Sound Blaster Live! Has a huge suite of features, most of which you (being a gamer) are unlikely to use, yet still pay for. The Sound Blaster Live Platinum is simply not worth the $199 price tag. Unless of course, you are a musician.

Best Motherboard

Abit BP6
Review: N/A
Price: $120

Never have I seen as much innovation and originality in a motherboard. Breaking all the rules, Abit's BP6 allows you to run 2 simultaneous Celerons in SMP mode without any special modifications. With support for up to 5 PCI devices, along with built in ATA/66 support Abit's BP6 is truly a masterpiece.

Best Hard Drive

Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 40
Review: N/A
Price: $349

This was one the toughest decisions I had to make. Should I go with a super speedy SCSI drive, or a newer drive based on ATA/66? Lately with the ATA/66 - 7200 RPM drives closing the performance gap between SCSI and ATA based drives, the choice for the DiamondMax Plus 40 was clear. Containing a massive 40GIGs worth a storage, you should have trouble filling this colossal drive up. Despite being enormous, this drive is no speed slouch. Utilizing ATA/66 and having a 7200 RPM spindle rate, this drive is on the top of the IDE HD benchmarks.

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