Deal of the week: Vista upgrades and CPU cooling

As you might have learned, Microsoft has teamed up with PC makers and system integrators to provide users with free upgrades from Windows XP to Windows Vista. The move is more or less a measure to keep PC sales up during the holiday season, but it's a godsend for users who'd rather avoid having to cough up at least $99.95 for an upgrade to Vista next year. What some might not know is that this deal is also available to users who purchase OEM copies of Windows XP from online retailers.

Newegg presently offers Vista upgrade coupons with OEM copies of Windows XP Home ($89.99), Windows XP Media Center Edition ($109.99), Windows XP Professional ($139.99), and Windows XP Professional x64 ($139.99). The coupons included with XP MCE, XP Pro, and XP Pro x64 guarantee free (minus $20 shipping and handling) upgrades to Vista Home Premium, Vista Business, and Vista Business 64-bit, respectively. Coupons included with XP Home will give users the option to pay either $49 to upgrade to Vista Home Basic or $79 to Vista Home Premium. Considering the criticism Windows Vista Home Basic has received, the nicest deal in there appears to be the one tied to Windows XP Media Center Edition. Not only does it get you a copy of Windows XP plus an upgrade to Vista for $109.99, but XP MCE also includes a plethora of features, from TV recording to functionality borrowed from XP Pro, such as remote desktop connectivity

If you're not too keen on an operating system upgrade right now, we've also spotted a nice deal on Zalman's CNPS9500 LED cooler. Newegg currently has a $20 instant savings rebate on the heatsink that takes its price down to $43.99. That's still a fair amount of money for a processor cooler, but as we found in our review, the CNPS9500 offers both excellent cooling performance and very low noise levels. The integrated 92mm fan may not be up to the standards of some purists, but it's hard to beat either the CNPS9500's performance or its motherboard compatibility—it'll clip onto pretty much any mobo with an Intel LGA775 or 478 socket or an AMD 940, 939, or 754 socket. Those with a Socket AM2 AMD system will have to cough up an extra $10 for the CNPS9500 AM2, though.

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