Announcing TR's Christmas Giveaway 2008


Sign up to win a whoppin' prize package of PC goodness
— 11:44 AM on December 16, 2008

The holiday season is upon us, and it's time once again for our annual TR Christmas giveaway. This time around, we're giving away a gratuitously awesome bundle of components that will allow our winner to assemble one of the most powerful custom-built PCs in the land, complete with a Core i7 processor and dual Radeon HD 4870 graphics cards.

Since I'm sure you're curious to know exactly what the prize package includes, let's get that part out of the way up front. Many of these parts have been hand-picked by the TR staff, and you'll see why as you browse through the list. Here's what our lucky winner will receive:

  • Intel Core i7-920 quad-core processor — Yep, it's Intel's brand-new microarchitecture, a native quad-core processor with a clock speed that ranges between 2.66GHz and 2.93GHz via its Turbo Mode mechanism, making it one of the fastest processors on the planet. This puppy is primed for overclocking, too.

  • Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard — Based on Intel's X58 chipset and ready for both SLI and CrossFire multi-GPU configurations, the P6T Deluxe allowed us to take an early sample of the Core i7-920 to 3.3GHz, and the mobo itself was ready to go even higher. Stuffed to the gills with all of the latest high-end goodies, the P6T Deluxe came away from our review with a TR Recommended award.

  • Corsair Dominator 6GB DDR3 1600MHz DIMMs — Specifically tailored for the Core i7, these are some of the choicest DIMMs we've seen yet. They're rated to reach 1600MHz with 8-8-8-24 timings at only 1.65V, and they should offer tremendous overclocking headroom in this system. The three-pack config takes full advantage of the Core i7's triple-channel memory controller.

  • Dual Asus Radeon HD 4870 512MB Dark Knight TOP edition graphics cards — Asus' amped-up version of the Radeon HD 4870 runs at clock speeds 9% higher than stock cards, and it features a gorgeous custom cooler with heat pipes and a single, large fan. And, of course, it's a Radeon HD 4870, one of the fastest GPUs anywhere. We're throwing in two of these bad boys for some CrossFire action.

  • Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB, 10K-RPM hard drive — WD's latest Raptor is one of the fastest SATA hard drives ever, and this latest revision doubles the Raptor's capacity while substantially reducing its acoustic profile and power consumption.

  • Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB hard drive — Sporting a terabyte of capacity, the Caviar Green is the perfect complement to the VelociRaptor. It's also one of the quietest, most power efficient mechanical hard drives we've ever tested. Oh, and yeah: a terabyte, people.

  • Thermaltake V1 AX CPU cooler — With a wicked dual "fan of fins" design and a cooling fan sandwiched in between, the V1 AX is a work of art. Fortunately, it's also an effective and quiet cooler, which is why it's the Core i7 CPU cooler of choice in Damage Labs.

  • Cooler Master Cosmos full-tower case — This TR Editor's Choice winner should need no introduction. The Cosmos should easily swallow all of the gear we're throwing at you and keep it cool without breaking a fan-speed threshold. And it should offer ample room for expansion, too. The handsome design and smart USB/eSATA/Firewire port placement up front doesn't hurt, either.

  • PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 power supply unit — This two-time TR Editor's Choice winner has been pretty much our favorite PSU for quite some time now, and it will easily power all of these components without whining about it—literally. The Silencer's cable reach is longer than most, too, so it should fit nicely into the Cosmos.

  • Enermax Caesar KB005U keyboard — This unique, mesh-wrapped USB keyboard takes its design inspiration from our awesome but obscure Cash-versus-Vader meme, and its substantial 3.2-pound weight should keep it firmly anchored on your desk as you pound away furiously at a lengthy comment explaining why our latest blog post totally misses the point.

  • Windows Vista Home Premium and a $150 gift card courtesy of NCIX and NCIXUS — You can round out your system with a copy of Windows Vista Home Premium and a $150 shopping spree courtesy of the folks at NCIX. This is your chance to buy that last bit of hardware you need to finish off this build or to buy a few games to play on it. Take your pick!

Wow, so. Yeah. Nice. Check out this image gallery for pictures of the goods.

Nearly all of these excellent products came from their manufacturers, who agreed to help sponsor this year's giveaway. Many thanks to Intel, Asus, Corsair, WD, Thermaltake, Cooler Master, OCZ/PC Power & Cooling, Enermax, and NCIX for their participation and support.

As you may know, we have in years past included a charity tie-in with our Christmas giveaway. We had hoped to continue that tradition this year, but a number of factors intervened. Most notably, we are still working away on the project made possible by our Tech Share project from last Christmas. Turns out that transferring an entire computer lab worth of equipment to a school in Uganda involves some tricky logistics.

Back in September, we finally cleared most of the initial administrative barriers, configured our lab-in-a-box, and shipped it to Uganda. At present, the computers are still in the bowels of the Ugandan customs department, awaiting their second assessment for taxation. (That's right: they were assessed, we wired money to the school to pay the fee, and then customs officials decided to look more closely at what they could tax. Ugh.) We're still optimistic that we'll get the computers to the school and achieve our goals—including getting the school wired for Internet access—before all is said and done. But frankly, thanks to the various delays, we haven't yet exhausted our funds, and we don't think it's time yet to raise more money for this project. Instead, we'd like to hold back and reserve the option of doing a second fund raiser at some point in 2009, once we're confident we've achieved our initial goals.

So this Christmas, we're just going to give away a bitchin' computer.

The rules and regs
Entering the giveaway is easy. You just have to fill out a form and correctly answer three easy questions about the latest PC hardware. The answers for these questions are readily found by reading through several of TR's recent—and always enthralling—articles.

Please note, however, that you may only enter once. Multiple entries per person are not permitted, and please don't try gaming the system by entering your girlfriend, wife, and kids. We'll probably decide to disqualify you if you do. We're wise to such things.

We will be accepting giveaway entries between now and December 31st at noon CST. We'll then choose our winner in a random drawing. The winner will be announced on the site and will also be notified via e-mail. The winner must claim his prize by the end of the day on January 7, 2009, or he will forfeit his prize and we will draw a new winner.

You must include your full name and a shipping address with your entry. We will not share your address or other information with any of our sponsors. In fact, we won't disclose your personal information to anyone. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. TR also reserves the right to disqualify entries that appear to be attempts to game the system or circumvent the rules in any way.

The staff of The Tech Report and their immediate families may not enter the giveaway and are not eligible to win.

Unfortunately, we've had to limit entrants this time to residents of the U.S. and Canada. We've found that paying for shipping and customs taxes on a complete system can be prohibitively expensive in many locations, and customs agents often like to hold and flag computer hardware for additional bureaucratic irritation, as we've so vividly learned. To heck with that. Sorry, folks.

Of course, this whole thing is void where prohibited by law. TR is not responsible for damage in shipping, damage caused by installing these parts in your computer, or damage to your self-esteem—and neither are our sponsors. We will answer questions and offer clarifications of the rules in the comments.

Now, here are our three questions:

1. What is the proper "uncore" (memory controller and L3 cache) clock speed—in GHz—of the Core i7-940?

2. How many "stream processors" does the Radeon HD 4870 have?

3. What is the name of the most expensive system config from our most recent system guide?

The giveaway has ended. We announced the winner here.TR

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