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LINKSYS WAG160N

 

Linksys’s WAG160N ADSL router is easy to configure, with a standard set of features including QoS and local wireless traffic shaping, both of which help to prioritise high-bandwidth services such as video streaming. It produced some of the fastest 2.4GHz transfer speeds we’ve ever seen, both with our Centrino 2 laptop and with Linksys’s WUSB600N USB wireless adaptor. The WAG160NUK can’t transmit on the 5GHz band, but it’s easy to use, inexpensive and very fast.

SOLWISE SEC-C1062W

Solwise’s SEC-C1062W is a professional-grade wireless IP camera with motorised pan and tilt, suitable for ceiling-mounting. It easily justifies its price.

 

Video quality is brilliant, with accurate colours and minimal graininess. To make the most of it, you’ll need an FTP server to which it can upload JPEG snapshots when it detects motion. You can even connect external sensors, so snapshots are automatically triggered by events such as a window being opened.

 

 

 

 

Solwise’s Piggy adaptors have been among our favourite HomePlug AV devices since they were first released a couple of years ago.With a fast 66.32Mbit/s throughput, they’re easily fast enough for large file transfers and HD video streaming, and their pass through power sockets mean they won’t take up any much-needed power sockets.

GIGABYTE GA-H55M-S2

 

This inexpensive microATX LGA1156 motherboard is ideal for a media centre PC or simply building a desktop PC on a budget. It supports Intel’s on-chip graphics processing and hasVGA and DVI ports. It doesn’t support SATA III or USB3 but you can add these with expansion cards. There are eight USB ports, but no digital audio outputs. The single PCI-E x16 slot could accept a graphics card, and it also has two PCI slots and a PCI-E x1 slot.With only two memory slots, though, you’re limited to 8GB of RAM.At just £58 it’s a great choice for building a compact, low-cost PC.

Even if you’re not keen on the Contac 29’s colour, its simple installation is a plus.Attaching the fittings for your processor involves four fiddly screws, but
fixing the heatsink is no more complicated than installing a stock cooler.A second 120mm fan can be attached if needed.

 

Although it has only three heatpipes, they’re much thicker than those on other coolers.With its large 120mm fan, it had no trouble keeping our processor cool.When idle, its temperature reached just 22°C at a fan speed of 888rpm. Under load, the processor reached 43°C with a reasonably low fan speed of 1,298rpm.Although very quiet, it wasn’t silent and emitted a low whiny hum. It’s not loud enough to be intrusive, though.

ZALMAN ZM-F3 BL

This fan is our current favourite. It has a transparent frame and blades and is available with either red, green or blue LED lights. It comes with vibration dampening silicone pins and an adaptor that enables Silent Mode. There’s no Molex adaptor.
Silent Mode is very quiet. Without the adaptor, the fan makes a low-pitched hum that’s tolerable once the fan is inside a PC. It spins at 1,000rpm in Silent Mode and pushes 6.8 litres of air per second. In normal operation at 1,800rpm it manages 12.3l/s. The flexibility of the two speed modes makes this fan ideal for either a powerful PC or a quiet media centre. If you don’t want LEDs.

ANTEC Solo

 

ANTEC Solo

 

The Solo is among the sturdiest cases we’ve seen. Its thick side panels do an excellent job of insulating noise, and it comes with rubber grommets on which to mount your hard disks to reduce vibrations.Your disks are easily accessed through the front panel. The front vent has a removable dust filter, making it easy to keep clean. It may lack fancy features, but the Solo is well designedwith great build quality.

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