Cybernaut 

Christmas tech savings

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Xbox 360 and PS3 owners can also buy games online for cheap, some of which have gotten amazing reviews. The best Xbox Live games this past year include Castle Crashers, Braid and Rez HD, which each deliver a dozen or more hours of fun and cost anywhere from $5 to $12, while Jewel Quest is amazing value for about $8. The top PSN games like Pixel Junk Monsters, Pain, Wild Arms, and Everyday Shooter are similar in price.

Next generation console owners can also buy downloadable content for their existing games, like three new multiplayer levels for Halo 3 that extend the life of those games for about $5. Two years later, the best overall value is probably still Valve’s Orange Box, which includes three full-length Half-Life Games, Portal and Team Fortress 2.

 

Computers

The best advice I can give if you’re in the market for a new computer now is to wait until January when all the 2008 stock is sold off below cost, in which case gift certificates might be the best way to go. There’s also the operating system angle — Microsoft 7 should be released sometime in 2009 in Beta, and you want to buy a system that comes with it, or at least promises you a free upgrade when it’s available. As well, more details on Apple’s next update, Snow Leopard, should be announced at their annual MacWorld Expo.

If you’re somewhat handy and not afraid to delve into the guts of your computer, you can also save a fortune by buying a cheaper system and upgrading it yourself. An article on Gizmodo (www.gizmodo.com), Why You Should Stop Buying Your Computers Fully Loaded, shows how you can custom build your own desktop and get a better system for $900 less than purchasing a comparable system from Dell.ca.

Computers have long-since stopped being luxury items for most people, but buying the latest and greatest of everything may no longer be practical. If money is tight it makes more sense to upgrade an older computer than to buy a new one.

Many upgrades are the result of meeting minimum system requirements for new software, so think about running older software, playing older games, etc. for a while. If you need to upgrade, you can get more memory, new processors or graphics cards at a fraction of the cost of buying new (try www.tigerdirect.ca first), but always be aware of limiting factors like the number of expansion slots and limitations to your motherboard. Some hardware will not work with other hardware. To find out, do a Google search to find out what the system requirements are for each piece of hardware you’d like to buy.

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