Maingear's HTPC is a serious gaming machine

Home Theater PCs and high-end gaming rigs generally sit on two opposite ends of the expensive computer spectrum. Maingear, however, has created a pretty impressive machine that can ably handle both. At its top-end, the AXESS HD Gamer model is ridiculously fast, sporting an Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition 3.3GHz processor and up to 12GB of DDR3 1333MHz RAM. Handling the graphics are two NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT 1GB chips arranged in an SLI. Translation: It will eat Left 4 Dead like a hungry zombie eats an unsuspecting victim.

But, despite its gaming capabilities, it's also a full-fledged media machine, with an onboard Realtek ALC885 that pumps out 8-channel audio. The Pioneer Black Blu-ray drive is a great component and it can handle up to 4TB of 7200 RPM storage. The base model starts at $1,800, but turning it into a dream machine will run you well north of $4,000. For that kind of firepower in a really sexy box, though, that doesn't sound like a bad deal. You even get a Phantom Lapboard keyboard as part of the standard package, which is a lot cooler than the standard Media Center remote.

--Stan Horaczek

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