2009 Xmas/Boxing Day Console Buyers Guide

By Mike on 12:00 pm

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Late this year, but here we are with our annual gaming buyers guide. What should you pick up for your gamer? Let's take a look at the contenders.

TV Top Console

Best Budget System: Xbox 360 Arcade
As it stands, the Wii is still grossly overpriced and gimmicky. The 360 has taken the supreme crown for the best family friendly and best budget systems. With it's wide array of XBLA games, low cost titles, the best online experience, and excellent graphics, picking one of these up for $199 is an excellent choice.

Best Console Overall: PS3
The PS3 has had a vary good year. Now at $299, the price is a little more palatable. With it, you get an excellent gaming system that boasts the highest number of top rated games on any system. To top it off, it also makes the best media centre out of all the consoles with it's Blu-ray functionality being top notch. The PS3 is still an excellent value.

Systems to Avoid: PS2, Wii
The Playstation 2 is still going strong but it's dated now. Only get it if you can't afford anything better. The Wii is just too expensive and gimmicky. Most people say that their Wiis get the least amount of play after the initial novelty wears off. It also has the weakest game library.


Best Budget System: Sony PSP-3000
The oblong brother to the Go still stands as packing the best value out of all other portables. It plays movies, games, music, and surfs the web. Plus you can buy full games online over Wifi as well as use disc based games. The base system is just $170 for all that. $199 gets you great combo packs with two games and a 1gb memory stick. It also has a large library of good low cost games such as Patapon, LocoRoco, WipEout, and others.

Best Overall: Nintendo DSi
The improved DS is one of the most family friendly systems and will get lots of use from both kids and adults alike. It doesn't have the best graphics but it has a vary strong lineup of games, great online connectivity, plays music, and has a built in camera. A good choice for anyone on your list, especially if they're not a gamer. The system is $180. For a more budget friendly option, the DS Lite is still a good choice. It trades the camera, music, and downloadable games for Gameboy Advance compatibility. It's much cheaper at about $120.

Systems to Avoid: PSP Go
The Go is overpriced and poorly developed. People who already own an older PSP will not want this. It doesn't support older disc based games and Sony has not done a good job stocking the library on their online store. Some report it not being vary ergonomic. Spend your $250 on something else.

PC Gaming

Best Budget Graphics: TIE: ATI Radeon HD 5770 / nVidia Geforce GTX 260
These two upper mid range card pack a lot of punch. One supports the latest DirectX 11 series graphics, the other is DX10 but slightly faster. Both come at a comfortable price point of $190.

Best Graphics Overall: Radeon HD 5870
If you have deep pockets and you're feeling in a giving mood, this is the fastest single GPU graphics card money can buy. It also supports DirectX 11, which comes with Windows 7. It's expensive, setting you back $450.

A Note on PC Parts: Gift certificates to big computer stores like NewEgg are an excellent choice as it will allow your gamer to pick their own parts. Especially given how each PC is different. You wouldn't want to accidentally buy an Intel CPU for someone who has an AMD system, or vice versa.

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