Holiday Gift Guide 2013: Matt's recommendations

By on December 13, 2013, 11:15 AM

Welcome back to TechSpot's 2013 Holiday Gift Guide! All of this year's tech gift recommendations are coming individually from our staff members and editors with their own picks on gifts they would like to receive or give. Matt is a regular at TechSpot, keeping our PC Buying Guide up to date, hooking you up with great gaming deals every Friday, and otherwise contributing with thorough reviews and articles.

Find his picks below and be sure to check out the rest of our staff's gift guide posts.

1

A Standing Desk $50+

Sitting kills apparently, and it doesn't have to cost an arm or a leg to type on your feet all day: DIY solutions start at less than $100 if you have a weekend and a power drill. Adjustable options like the Geek Desk are attractive, but a sheet of birch, stain, and mounting brackets are a fraction of the cost without sacrificing much. Taller chairs exist if you need to sit at your keyboard, but I'm usually hungry, foggy or otherwise due for a break by the time my legs get stiff, so I use the opportunity to wander.

2

Asus Xonar DX $85

Enthusiasts on a budget often overlook sound cards because there are smarter places to spend if you care about general performance and comfort. Nonetheless, there's no denying that the Xonar DX sounds better than many of the integrated solutions around, including the Realtek chip on my Asrock P55 Pro. We just published a glimpse at what the upgrade might be like for someone using onboard sound, and many others have chimed in with their experience of discovering discrete audio for the first time.

Product Finder score: 83

3

Filco Majestouch 2 Tenkeyless $150-$200

Clickity clack... what was that? The brand new Filco keyboard on your recipient's (standing?) desk! Cherry MX Blue and Brown models tend to be favored among first-time buyers and while I prefer the sharper feedback of the former, the latter is probably safer if noise is a concern. Many gamers prefer the tenkeyless layout for the comfort of its narrower footprint and while purists will argue Filco's quality and reputation, you can find quality sub-$100 alternatives including the QuickFire Rapid series and Leopold boards.

4

Cooler Master HAF-XB $120

Know someone who's been meaning to start a new build? Gift them motivation with the HAF-XB. Cooler Master's testbed chassis ousted my Thermaltake Tai-Chi earlier this year and although computing is more of a habit than a hobby for me these days, Steve is always wading knee deep in performance gear and it's one of his favorites too. We both have active builds with the case and there's no way around the fact that its stock cooling could use a boost. CM's MegaFlow 200mm fan makes a fine complement.

Product Finder score: 90

5

An Enthusiast's PC $1,000+

Think they'll keep procrastinating? Guilt them into action with an entire computer. The holidays are supposed to be about quality time and while it's a pricey way to go about it, you can bank on a fun day of building and testing. Think it's weird to hand someone a dozen wrapped components? Building a new PC has never been easier with buying guides, tech forums and review aggregators at your disposal, and it would seem you have just enough time to surprise your lucky geek with a fully assembled machine.

6

Steam Wallet Card $20+

Gift cards may seem impersonal, but the PC gamer who supposedly has everything isn't likely to complain about having extra cash in their Steam Wallet as the distributor's winter sale approaches. Refuse to stoop that low? Most active Steam users maintain a wishlist and it only takes a few clicks to gift a title -- or a publisher's entire catalog for that matter. If you'd rather stay DRM-free, there's always a Humble Bundle happening and it wouldn't be hard to surprise someone with a forgotten classic from GOG.

TechSpot's Holiday Gift Guide 2013 is sponsored by Best Buy.




User Comments: 4

Got something to say? Post a comment
davislane1 davislane1 said:

Pretty disappointing that this list doesn't include an S-Class, a Model S, or an F12. Those would all be great and much appreciated Christmas gifts.

In all seriousness, though, I could really go for a standing desk. I have to spend most of the day at the computer and sitting for hours on end isn't my idea of ideal comfort (I prefer to be on my feet in most situations). The treadmill attachment for the linked product is a bit overkill though.

1 person liked this | TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Like the Cooler Master Testbed Chassis. If I had more room available, that would certainly be gift purchase possibility. For myself, of course.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

I'm with you on that one Tom.

1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

These are far better choices than the over priced ostentatious crud we've seen until now apart from those PC parts built into a thinly disguised scaffold, it looks like a generator to me.

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