With an angular, aggressive silver and black design, the Lenovo IdeaCentre B500 ($650 and up) has a love it or leave it design — but there's a lot to like underneath. Sporting an Intel Core 2 Quad processor, the B500 also packs discrete graphics, up to 8GB of RAM, 1TB of hard disk space, a 23-inch Full HD screen, integrated JBL speakers, and a 4-in-1 remote that acts as a motion-based game controller, VoIP handset, air mouse, and media remote.
While it's a little hard to tell from the front, the new Apple iMac ($1,200 - $2,000) has changed a lot from its predecessor. Available with either a 21.5- or 27-inch 16:9, glass-covered LED backlit display, a fully aluminum back panel, 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors standard with quad-core 2.66GHz Core i5 or 2.8GHz Core i7 processors as options, a built-in SD card slot, up to 16GB of RAM, an included Apple Wireless Keyboard and new multi-touch Magic Mouse, and more. The only bummer? You'll be waiting (with us) until November if you want a Core i5 or i7 model.
Great looks and true gaming prowess don't have to be mutually exclusive. The HP Firebird with Voodoo DNA ($1,800 and up) proves as much, with its sleek, elevated chassis and factory-sealed liquid cooling system. Other features include an Intel Core 2 Quad processor, dual NVIDIA GeForce 9800S small form factor graphics cards in an SLI setup, and hot-swappable 320 GB dual hard drives.
Lenovo has put its laptops on the backburner for a bit to take on the iMac. The Lenovo IdeaCentre A600 ($1,000; April) is a super-slim all-in-one with a 21.5-inch, 16:9 frameless HD screen. Powered by Intel Core2 Duo processors, it offers up to 4GB of fast DDR3 memory, up to 1TB of hard drive space, an integrated speaker system with sub, and can be ordered with an optional Blu-ray player. The A600 comes with a slick 4-in-1 remote for playing games, making VOIP phone calls, controlling Microsoft Vista Media Center, and using as an air mouse. The A600 also has built-in WiFi, a 6-in-1 media card reader, and VeriFace facial recognition technology for logging in.
Looking for great performance and case design from your next Windows machine? Check out the HP Blackbird 002 PC ($1,800 and up). With a stunning design that offers isolated thermal chambers, tool-free accessibility, and cable-free hard drive installation, these slick boxes are available with up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, an Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core 3.2GHz processor, liquid cooling for both the CPU and GPU, dual Nvidia high-end SLI graphics cards, and more.
It's one thing to have a liquid-cooling heatsink, but it's quite another to have your entire computer submerged in coolant. The Reactor PC ($4,550 and up) offers first-of-its-kind submersion technology to allow for the most reliable, most efficient overclocking around. Features include 7.1 digital surround sound, Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core processors running at up to 3.2 GHz, up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, 3 SATA connectors, an Nvidia 790I Ultra SLI chipset and up to three video cards, and a great-looking, blue-lit translucent case. Game on. [Thanks, Steven]
You think your Mac Pro is hardcore? No. This is hardcore. The Antec Skeleton ($180) is a futuristic, open-air PC enclosure that keeps your components cool — in more ways than one. Made of 0.8mm cold rolled steel, the Skeleton has a front 92mm fan, a top three speed 250mm fan with multicolor LED customization, layered component trays, rackmount quality side rails, 7 expansion slots, and room for 4 drive bays.
It's about time Dell made something you won't be embarrassed to have sitting around. The Dell Studio Hybrid PC ($500 and up) is the company's smallest and greenest desktop, and can be personalized with six interchangeable color sleeves or one in bamboo. The Studio Hybrid is about 80% smaller and uses about 70% less power than a typical desktop. Powered by either an Intel Pentium Dual Core (1.86GHz) or Intel Core 2 Duo (2GHz) processor, the mini PC features slot-load DVD, HDMI, an optional Blu-ray Disc drive and an optional TV tuner.
Finally, hardcore PC gaming in a box that doesn't look like a Chuck E. Cheese's attraction. The Voodoo Omen ($6,500-$20,000) is a serious gaming rig, with an Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core processor, a quad radiator for maximum cooling, a 7-inch, front-mounted auxiliary LCD, up to 8GB of memory, an optional Blu-ray burner, support for both Nvidia SLI and ATI CrossFireX video card setups, up to 3 TB of internal storage, and more. Windows gaming in an Apple-worthy design? We're in.
Looking for a new high-end PC gaming rig? You could do a lot worse than the new Acer Predator ($TBA). Performance options include an overclockable Intel Core 2 Quad processor, up to 8GB of RAM, up to four 1TB SATA hard drives with RAID capability, Three Nvidia GeForce 9800GTX graphics cards, a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum sound card, and more, with looks to match its blazing performance.
Combining the stunning looks of the company's high-end Bravia XBR LCD TVs with all the functionality of a PC, the new Sony Vaio VGC-LT29U PC/TV ($3300) is an all-in-one powerhouse. It boasts a 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a built-in Blu-ray burner. On the TV side of things, it offers CableCard support, one-touch recording to Blu-ray and (obviously) playback, and optical audio output. Perfect for situations where space is at a premium.
Looking for a all-in-one that isn't a Mac? Set your holiday-season shopping sights on the Gateway One (starts at $1300). Inside its sleek silver and black enclosure lies an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, at least 2GB of memory, a large SATA drive, a slot-loading, DVD-burning optical drive, a 5-in-1 card reader, 802.11n Wi-Fi, USB, Firewire, and a terrific 19" widescreen display.