More today, even more tomorrow. Something to keep in mind when looking at these is that usefulness often begins in the mind of the user.
The most useful computer accessory I have is a TrackIR 4. I’m a flight sim addict (IL2). The TrackIR 4 is a USB peripheral that converts the motion of one’s head into movement on the screen permitting a virtual “look around” simply by moving one’s head.
It’s a marvelous addition to a gamer’s enjoyment; it would be just as useful for a first person shooter as a flight simmer.
There are lots of bells and whistles available for our computers; for me the TrackIR 4 is the most useful add-on I have.
I was thinking input devices probably have the most room for improvement.
The most useful computer related item I bough was the Ergodex. I use it to play Warcraft3 I did a full summary : with pictures here (scroll ½ way down for the second set of pictures). I don’t know the state of the company; the site was down for over a month, but (it’s back up now. They still don’t have Vista drivers, so that’s the only negative.
The only other useful item I want to buy and I think lots of people might not know about is the Logitech G15, It’s really the only keyboard worth buying if you’re a hard core gamer. Fully programmable, macros, etc.. Pretty much an ergodex except you can’t move the keys.
It’s gotta be either:
Razer Deathadder Mouse – Feels like you’re dragging a mouse over an air hockey table – it’s that good.
My Aerogate I Front bay fan controller which only cost $10 and lets me have my PC silent when i need it or Uber good cooling when I bust out BF2.
When I was online gaming, my Nostromo N52 controller was like a godsend for me. Going from using the keyboard to finally finding a well designed controller boosted my game play that it almost felt like I was cheating somehow. It was especially nice to program a couple of the buttons to cycle every .1s so I didn’t have to pound them like mad anymore.
Belkin Nostromo N52 Speedpad, for Gaming I am certain that I have bought 11 or more of these and have one on all 4 computers… I use this for Gaming and Autocad as the Macro capabilities are textwise very powerful
G-15 Logitech Keyboard…. super fast macro creation and use in nearly every application… and the keys are lit….
I started tinkering with HTPCs a while back and when I was able to deliver a solution that was wife friendly, it was a “seal on the deal”. We now use HTPCs as our only method of watching or listening to anything in the house. They manage all of our TV recordings better than anything that comes from a cable or sat company.
Having the full and comprehensive capabilities and storage that HTPCs provide has, ironically, allowed a greater freedom from the TV. One would first think that it would encourage greater attachment to the TV but with large storage and near flawless series recording scheduling, HTPCs provide the vaunted “On Demand” programming far better than the current OD services from the cable companies.
I think it would be a TV tuner card that turns my old PC into a mythTV box. It is so useful with my wireless mouse that I can now reuse everything and reuse my old PC for entertainment, like watching download movies and TV episode, using it to do torrent, rip DVDs, play mp3s, all in one.
Silence is golden, and this video card is absolute silence and was perfect for my HTPC
Silence is golden part 2, NH-U9F from Noctua was the perfect cooler for my HTTP
Because of it silent 92mm fan and smaller dimensions it was the best cooler that fits the cramped space of a HTPC
And actual worth some of your time to be tested.
(got some overclock without noise pollution from my 4400 X2)
I feel the most useful item I have purchased was tuner cards. since
early adoption of tuners I had a WINTV Go and i couldn’t live without
it. I since then upgraded throughout a few tuners (NV TV Single,
PVR150MCE) and it has made my life easier when it comes to
items in my room. I love the timeshifting features included with GBPVR
and I use the web interface to record and schedule. in my room, the TV
has been outdated since the late 90’s and i couldn’t be happier.
My Zalman ZM600 Power Supply is the most useful computer upgrade I have ever bought as it meant that I could use my HTPC as a viable source for my stereo. My old Silverstone Zeus was way too loud.
I have always found that I never regret purchasing an expensive product to get the job done right. Its only ever the compromises I regret.
A printer with two sided printing capability: I didn’t know how much I needed and wanted to print on both sides until after I was able to do it. Printing out large documents, like my tax return, is now a more compact affair.
Color Laser Printer. Replaced all the Ink Jets mess. Sure is nice not fighting head clogs and ink running out. Slow prints etc. It cut costs down too. Only drawback is it’s BIG (Samsung CLP510). 70lbs. But we got a place for it.
I buy a lot of stuff, but most of it has marginal difference in my life outside of perpetuating a hobby. i’d say the biggest thing with an actual effect is the laser printer i bought. i mail a lot of things on ebay and with personal lasers as cheap as they are now i finally replaced my inkjet so i could make prepaid labels. it saves quite a bit of time and aggravation at the post office.
Not So Portable Drives
2X 500 Gig Samsung HD’s
Massive storage, great price, quite, cool running and havent had a lick of problems with them. One is my target drive for WMC2005 DVR and one is in an external enclosure (fanless) and functions as a network drive for backing up files
I just purchased a very useful item for all the sharing people out there. It is a Norco 12 Bay 3-U RAID rack. Now it might seem a bit over kill but if you have tons of stuff like I do it is a real plus I purchased it from Newegg. Before that, I had about 14 drives in my LianLi case making tons of heat & noise.. The setup was easy & quick it is no louder than my other systems that I have running and it has made every thing a lot EASIER….
4 250gb HD’s installed on Intel Matrix Raid. 100gb for operating system (which always seems to need reloading every year), & video editing. And about 650gb for raid 5. Now all my stuff is always backed up & installed whenever I have to reload WinXP.
P.S. I know, this isn’t the perfect backup, and I do have a master backup on a separate single hard driver connected to esata…but a WHOLE lot easier considering “My documents” is on the raid 5 section all the time anyway. Been a real timesaver.
The most useful thing I’ve purchased was an SATA hotswap rack for my many HDDs. It fits in a 5 1/4″ bay and doesn’t require any special drive rails or whatnot like most hotswap racks I’ve seen. You just put the bare drive in, close the door on the front which secures the drive in place and pushes it back onto the SATA connectors at the back of the rack, which are connected to the motherboard internally.