Those of you who have been around here for a while will recall our Christmas giveaways of yore, when we handed out some killer prize packages of top-notch PC components in the spirit of the season. Those past attempts have been good, but this year’s prize haul blows ’em all away. We have well over five grand worth of PC hardware ready to spring on unsuspecting TR readers. Not only that, but we’ve teamed up with our sponsors to support a very good cause at the same time. In true TR fashion, we have details aplenty about every aspect of this complex and intriguing mix of elements we’re calling TR Tech Share 2007. Read on for the whole scoop.
Let’s start with the prizes we’re giving away, since you’re no doubt interested in the free stuff. We’ve collected an astounding bounty of top-shelf PC hardware from a host of quality sponsors, including Intel, Gigabyte, Corsair, XFX, Shuttle, Western Digital, PC Power & Cooling, Cooler Master, OCZ, and A-Data. We’ve separated these components into three different prize packages, roughly modeled on three of our usual System Guide configs. Each package could form the core of a very nice enthusiast’s PC, and the first-prize bundle is a towering, err, tower full of computing power. Here’s a look at each of the prize packages.
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650||$1,295.00|
|Memory||2GB Corsair Dominator DDR2-1142||$349.00|
|Graphics||XFX GeForce 8800 GTX||$534.99|
|Storage||Western Digital Caviar SE16 750GB||$159.99|
|A-Data FP1 2GB||$34.99|
|Power||PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750||$168.99|
|Enclosure||Cooler Master Cosmos 1000||$189.99|
|Cooler||Cooler Master Hyper 212||$41.99|
Our first-prize combo is packed with three grand worth of some of the best hardware available today, providing more or less everything you need for a state-of-the-art gaming rig. Intel’s Core 2 Extreme QX9650 processor is by far the fastest desktop chip around, and it’s based on Intel’s latest and greatest 45nm process technology, to boot. Gigabyte’s TR Recommended award-winning GA-X38-DQ6 motherboard delivers a wealth of overclocking and I/O options, and two gigs of 1142MHz Corsair Dominator DDR2 memory will help keep the QX9650’s four cores fed with oodles of bandwidth. We even have a third-party processor cooler: Cooler Master’s Hyper 212, whose humongous tower-style design and 120mm fan should contribute to this system’s overclocking potential.
Gigabyte’s excellent GA-X38-DQ6 anchors our first-prize combo
If that’s not enough to make your mouth water, we’ve thrown in XFX’s GeForce 8800 GTX, one of the fastest graphics cards on the market today. Our first-prize combo also includes two options to store your collection of Linux ISOs: a quiet and speedy 750GB Caviar SE16 hard drive from Western Digital and one of A-Data’s 2GB FP1 flash drives, which can keep your data safe by means of a fingerprint identification sensor. Housing and powering all this hardware will be two TR Editor’s Choice award winners: PC Power & Cooling’s 750W Silencer power supply and Cooler Master’s Cosmos 1000 enclosure.
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo E6600||$234.99|
|Memory||2GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800||$72.00|
|Graphics||XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB||$299.99|
|Storage||Western Digital Caviar SE16 750GB||$159.99|
|A-Data FP1 2GB||$34.99|
The second-prize combo isn’t quite as lavish as the mountain of high-end hardware in the first prize bundle, but it still packs a very mean punch, and it does so with a minimal footprint. Shuttle’s SG33G5 barebones system takes care of the motherboard, enclosure, and power supply, all while measuring a very manageable 12.2″ x 7.9″ x 7.3″ (31 x 20 x 18.5 cm). Don’t be fooled, though: inside the enclosure will sit a Core 2 Duo E6600 processor from Intel, 2GB of Corsair XMS DDR2-800 memory, and a GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB graphics card from XFXenough to handle pretty much any game you throw at it for the foreseeable future.
With Shuttle’s SG33G5, you’ll be computing in high style
On the storage front, the second-prize combo features the very same 750GB Western Digital Caviar SE16 hard drive and 2GB A-Data FP1 flash drive as our first prize bundle. Three quarters of a terabyte of storage and plenty of gaming horsepower makes our second prize combo ideal for a small-form-factor gaming PC or LAN party system.
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo E4500||$124.99|
|Memory||2GB Corsair ValueSelect DDR2-667||$39.99|
|Graphics||XFX GeForce 8600 GTS||$169.00|
|Storage||Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB||$109.99|
|A-Data FP1 2GB||$34.99|
|Power||OCZ StealthXStream 600W||$89.99|
Our third-prize combo is powered by Intel’s Core 2 Duo E4500 processor and Gigabyte’s GA-P35-DS3L motherboard, which both provide enough overclocking potential to compete with the speediest dual-core systems out there. Overclocking will be aided by our 600W StealthXStream power supply from OCZ, which can deliver a profusion of stable current (not to mention loads of room for expansion). The 2GB kit of Corsair ValueSelect DDR2-667 memory we’ve included will help keep everything nice and snappy, too.
Once you’re done overclocking the bejeezus out of the Core 2 Duo E4500, you’ll be able to sit back and slip into your favorite multiplayer game with the included GeForce 8600 GTS from XFX. This card may not run Crysis at 2560×1600 with the detail maxed out, but it still has enough horsepower to play virtually everything out there, provided you don’t mind turning the detail down a little.
Finally, the third-prize combo is rife with quiet and fast storage thanks to a 500GB Caviar SE16 hard drive from Western Digital and the same 2GB A-Data FP1 flash drive we included in our other combos. Hard drive makers may be rolling out bigger and bigger hard drives, but half a terabyte of storage is still nothing to scoff at. And the FP1’s fingerprint identification system is just plain cool.
Not bad, eh?
And you can win one of these packages simply by signing up. Before we get to that part, though, let’s talk about our charity tie-in.
We were hoping to do something a little different with our holiday fund-raising efforts this year, and I think we’ve found just the thing. When TR biz guy Adam Eiberger and I traveled to Uganda in the summer of 1993, we met a gentleman named Sam Adior who was working with “street kids” in the capital city of Kampala. These kids were, for one reason or another, abandoned to live on the streets of the city at an early age. Sam helped to clothe, feed, and educate them. We stayed in touch with Sam over the years as he continued working with kids, married his wife Grace, and furthered his own education. Today, Sam and Grace Adior are involved in running a school in the Kampala area known as the Ebenezer Educational Center. This school provides an affordable elementary education for its students. Here’s a quick introduction.
Ebenezer Educational Center (EEC) is located in Nsambya-Kevina, one of the poor suburbs east of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. It was founded in 2002 by Sam and Grace Adior and Charles Hashya. Sam and Grace had been teachers at a previous school, and Charles was a small business owner. Sam is currently in the UK working on a graduate degree in business, and Grace is also pursuing further education, working toward a degree in counseling through evening classes in Kampala so she can continue to teach during the day.
The school offers classes for primary 1 through primary 7 and currently has 180 students, ages 5 to 14. There are nine teachers, two of whom (including Grace) volunteer their time without receiving any pay. Normally students would leave a primary school at age 12 or 13, but the Adiors’ vision for the EEC is to provide vocational courses, like tailoring, knitting, catering, and technical training such as typesetting and design for children who are able to continue with their educations. They are already experimenting with some of these subjects for the older kids.
The students pay about $19 per term (which is three months). The average rate for private schools is $55 per term. The school receives no government grants or regular support from secular or religious organizations. They are reliant on the tuition payments and donations from a handful of private individuals.
There is a government school nearby which offers “free” primary education. However, it only accepts four children per family, which excludes many from larger families. Also, they require parents to pay for school uniforms, meals, curriculum and school supplies, the total of which is almost the same cost one incurs to send a child to EEC.
The scores on the primary leaving exams conducted by EEC so far have been higher than the average for similarly-sized private schools. The regional government education officer has visited the school for special programs and events and is supportive of the center growing and expanding their services.
Many of the children come from single-parent homes, and some are orphaned. Many adults in this area are infected with HIV/AIDS, which contributes to instability in the families and the children’s education.
For many of these kids, the education they receive at EEC will be the best foundation they have for building a better life. The Adiors and their friends at EEC have already done the hard work of establishing the school. We’d like to participate by providing EEC with computers for use in the classroom.
These computers could do a world of good for a number of reasons. When combined with Internet access, computers can offer access to a wealth of information right in the classroom, including resources like Wikipedia and the web. Internet-connected computers are also, as you know, extremely powerful communication tools that could give EEC students the ability to connect with people and communities around the globe. And teaching the kids computer skills would give them a leg up in their future educational and professional endeavors, especially in connection with EEC’s vocational development efforts.
What we’d like to do is raise enough money to outfit an EEC classroom with computers. To that end, we’ve teamed up with the folks at Asus, who were more than happy to support the cause and to set aside Eee PC systems for us in the face of very high demand. Asus’s Eee PC subnotebook computers have created quite a buzz because they’re a very affordable way of achieving on-the-go Internet access and basic computing capabilities. The Eee PC’s mobile-class hardware is modest but inexpensive, and Asus has kept the price low and functionality high by using a Linux-based operating system and wrapping it up in a Windows-like interface with a suite of basic productivity and communications apps.
We think these systems are perfect for the students at EEC. Their small keyboards are right-sized for kids’ hands, and the Eee PC’s affordability should allow us to buy enough of them to give each student some time at the keyboard. Their battery power should allow them to be used even when the electrical grid isn’t supplying power, and they’re small and light enough to be locked away in secure storage when not in use.
Our primary goal is to raise enough money to buy ten Eee PC 4G Surf laptops. These systems come with a Celeron M ULV processor, 512MB of RAM, a 4GB solid state drive, a 7″ display with LED backlight, a Fast Ethernet port, and Wi-Fi connectivity built in. Importantly, the 4G Surf model has socketed memory and can be upgraded to 2GB of RAM in the future. The 4G Surf retails for $349.99 each.
Our first fund-raising goal is $4000. That should be enough to provide the school with at least ten laptops and to cover shipping to Uganda. Of course, we’d love to have enough money to buy the school 20 or more laptops and to provide extra funds for Internet access, printers, and other related infrastructure, but we’ll start there.
So here’s the deal
Initially our plan was to raffle off our three prize packages and use the proceeds to supply computers to EEC. However, we found that legal restrictions made using the raffle format problematic. A raffle of questionable legality might draw attention to the gun-running and moonshine operations that fund TR’s publishing activities, so we decided against it. Instead, we’re simply going to open up giveaway entries to everybody and rely on your goodwill to prompt you to donate to our EEC school computer fund drive. We’re giving you guys something, and we’re asking for a little something in return. It’s by no means required, but if each giveaway entrant would contribute just $25, we should be able to buy quite a few computers for EEC. If you can afford to donate even more, well, it’s certainly for a good cause. If we can simply raise the cash equivalent of the PC hardware we’re giving away, we should be able to outfit a classroom at EEC handsomely. And if we can double that amount, we’ll be closer to talking about, well, one laptop per child in the class. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
The rules for the giveaway and the sign-up form are below, as is the “Donate” button you can use to contribute to the EEC school computer fund drive. Please use them both. Donating to the cause won’t increase your chances to win, but we figure karma has a way of working these things out.
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 recentand always entertainingarticles.
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 will be accepting TR Tech Share giveaway entries between now and December 31st at noon CST. We’ll then choose our three winners in a random drawing. The winners will be announced on the site and will also be notified via e-mail. Each winner must claim his prize by the end of the day on Monday, January 7, 2008, 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.
We will accept entries from any state or country, with the caveat that 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-esteemand neither are our sponsors. We will answer questions and offer clarifications of the rules in this comments thread.
So you’ll know how good your chances are and how much money we’ve raised to buy computers for Ebenezer Education Center, we’ll be providing updates about our progress on the site.
Donate to our EEC school computer fund drive:
Enter to win one of our three prize packages:
Sorry, but the giveaway is now complete and entries are no longer being accepted.