The Bravo SE is a compact, small-run duplicator capable of burning and direct-to-disc printing (4,800 dpi) of up to 20 discs at a time. Primera has a full line of duplicators for publishing large jobs, but the SE is the company's most affordable product and perfect for those looking to produce small to medium runs. It's targeted at those looking to make small but professional-looking CD/DVD/Blu-ray disc runs and looking to offer a little added value for clients. The SE comes in CD/DVD and Blu-ray disc versions (the latter for PC only). The SE is bundled with PTPublisher' SureThing' CD label software for PC (including Windows Vista) and CharisMac Engineering's Discribe' Mac software for creating labels and running duplication jobs.

At just 11.5 pounds and 15'14.75'7 inches, the Bravo SE is compact enough to sit on top of a JBL 4408A monitor. That just happened to be the most convenient spot to place it when I opened the box and that's where it stayed during the test. The Bravo SE is fairly quiet and doesn't shimmy much when printing, so it was never in peril of falling off its convenient perch.

New with the Bravo SE is a software wizard that can walk anyone through the process of a duplication job. The burning software is powered by the Sonic Solutions engine and is similar to Sonic's MyDVD Roxio product in terms of workflow. The PC bundle was easy to use and set up. I ran it on a dual-core AMD 4400 Athlon PC with 2 GB of memory running Windows XP and a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 system with 2 GB of memory running XP.

The interface has friendly prompts and big buttons that couldn't be much simpler. You can navigate the decision tree and move ahead, burning any number of CD and DVD projects, including data, audio, video and ISO image files. The label maker, Sure Thing, stands alone and has to be closed before proceeding with a duplication job, a step I would like to see eliminated. However, integration with the wizard is fairly seamless and should be helpful to anyone new to using a duplicator, which I imagine would be a significant number of Bravo SE buyers.

During my tests, I produced several batches of CDs and DVDs with very good results. I did have one disc jam, in which the robotic arm did not place the disc perfectly, causing the unit to stop working. I aborted the job, rebooted and everything was back to normal.

For subsequent jobs, I could leave it unattended and return to an output bin full of 20 discs. The trusty unit made it easy to finish a mix, grab lunch during a duplication job and then send discs to clients. This can be a real time-saver for anyone who frequently provides small batches of discs for client approval when sharing FTP data is impractical or when a physical proof is required. Bravo SE's burn and print quality is very good. I used a wide range of consumer and professional gear, and experienced no playback errors. Using the new WaterShield media available from Taiyo Yuden yielded great-looking glossy discs that did not smear. Inkjet-based duplicators, such as the Bravo SE, combined with this type of media can yield an impressive and professional product at a reasonable price. Discs without this surface combined with inkjet printers tend to smear if exposed to water. We highly recommend the TY WaterShield media.

If you're looking for a Blu-ray disc publisher, two issues may hold you back from purchasing the SE. First, it is only PC-compatible for now. Secondly, TDK and Imation are the only manufacturers that offer a single-layer 25GB disc that is inkjet-printable, yet this disc was unavailable on Primera's Website.

All in all the Bravo SE is a good little unit for small run jobs.

Visit Primera for more information.
The Canon iP6700D is an excellent choice in the $150 range. Canon includes the traditional top feed paper tray along with a cassette that allows you to keep both regular letter size paper and 4x6 photo paper loaded at the same time. That's very convenient.

Now, we all know the game. You buy a printer at cost and then you quickly make up for it by using lots and lots of ink. The trade-off is typically between text/graphics style printing and photo printing. With 6 cartridges this unit will run you close to $70 each time you fully reload.
A few years ago Samsung released the 191t LCD display that turned heads with its thin bevel and outstanding picture quality. The 940t is pretty much the updated version of the 191t and subsequent 910t with an even smaller bevel, better specifications and a built in power supply. Death to all wall warts and power packs we say. This LCD sits in the sweet spot of 19-inch displays striking the perfect balance between price and performance.
What the heck is Pre-N' Pre-N is a very logical name if you follow the ratification process of networking standards. N, the successor to today's 802.11a/b/g standards, is the current speed and range king and will become an official standard sometime in 2007. For now Belkin, Netgear and others are releasing 'Pre-N' products until the standard is officially released.

Belkin's router implementation of MIMO, Multiple Input Multiple Output technology, uses three antennas on a box small enough to fit in a Leviton home networking box along with a twisted pair block and a Motorola Surf Board cable modem. However, the power supply is a fairly big brick and may be difficult to fit in smaller cabinets.
The US Robotics 9600 USB phone works very well with Skype and the sound quality is quite good. It has a weighted feel and resembles an entry-level cell phone plugged into a power supply. In this case the power supply is the USB port on the computer. A front USB port works best with this phone. The cord will require a bit of stretching when connected to the back of a PC.
The HP 2575 is a very capable all in one unit for the home or small office. HP has packed a lot of features into an attractive and ergonomic unit with a fairly small footprint. The 2575 sports both a USB and Ethernet port giving you the option of connecting it directly to a PC, network or print server.

We tested the 2575 using office applications and photo editing software. At first, we weren't able to test the rather large, 1GB plus, software bundle that HP includes with this unit due to some installation glitches. HP has some fixes posted on its web site but they didn't work on our machine. The software also automatically checks the website for any updates during each installation attempt but to no avail.
Last December when China's Lenovo Group and IBM jointly announced an agreement for Lenovo to acquire IBM's Personal Computing Division (PCD) a lot of ThinkPad fans freaked out. 'Oh know, better get a ThinkPad now before Lenovo ruins it.'

Well ThinkPad fans you'll be happy to know that it's pretty much business as usual. IBM's PC division just wasn't strategic for the company any longer and unless something like the Lenovo deal happened we might have ended up in a point-stick free world. Many consumers have never heard of Lenovo but the company is a dominant force in the desktop PC market in China.
In the duper wars, speed and the set-and-forget factor rule. No one wants to baby-sit a robot as it churns through a burn run of 100 discs, especially if it's printing labels. The BravoPro, the latest integrated duplicator and printer from Primera Technology, addresses these issues and more. Designed for businesses and studios in need of a turnkey solution for small-run duplication, the BravoPro features two Plextor 716 drives, Lexmark 4800 dpi print resolution and faster robotics than past efforts. The BravoPro also includes a Kiosk mode that allows it to print up to 100 DVDs and CDs in a single run.

I'm happy to see that Primera is now using Plextor drives, as Plextor diligently tests a wide range of media with its drives and publishes the results. The firmware seems to be stable, and the BravoPro can burn some discs beyond their rated speeds. However, your computer will have to keep up.
The SageTV PVR software combined with the Hauppauge PVR-150 is a powerful combination that gives a TiVo-like front end to a very capable MPEG card. The SageTV software is mostly for watching and recording TV but it can play other media on the PC as well.

The SageTV software can be purchased separately or as part of a bundle that includes a TV tuner card such as the Hauppauge 150 for capturing video in the MPEG format. We highly recommend the bundle. The folks at Frey Technologies, the developers of SageTV, sent us the Hauppauge PVR-150 bundle with the latest version of the SageTV software. Previously we tried SageTV with a Kworld card we tested here recently but couldn't get it to work. That's not surprising since the Kworld 883 barely works as it is. The folks at Frey Technologies tell us they plan to make SageTV compatible with a wider range of cards in the future but for now we suggest you stick with a bundled package. The Hauppauge PVR-150 is a pretty good card all by itself and comes with its own software suite. Combined with the SageTV software it really shines.


We once DJ'd a house party with an MP3 player and two Cambridge SoundWorks speaker systems in tandem. Yes, we know that sounds crazy but in a small this system packs quite a punch.

The PC SoundWorks package under $80 is one of the best values in PC sound. It's a simple three piece system with a pair of small satellite speakers and a subwoofer. The three 3-channel amp located in the subwoofer provides all the juice and the package includes a handy wired remote volume control.
When you buy a PC it all comes down to the components. You can build your own or have a third party do it for you. This review is as much about the Velocity Micro experience as much as it is the PC itself.

The Velocity Micro AMD 64 3800 + system we reviewed featured the ASUS A8V deluxe motherboard, 1gig of memory, an ATI 9600 dual head Radeon, on-board serial ATA RAID with two Western Digital WD1200JDs striped in a RAID 0 configuration, the SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS, and a 7-in-1 Floppy/Media all assembled in a slick black case featuring front access to both USB and Firewire ports.

Velocity Micro positions itself as a premium provider of PC systems using retail grade components, meticulous assembly and a 3 year limited warranty on parts and labor to back it all up. So how's that different from ordering a PC from say Dell or Alienware?
The Averatec 3270 is a lightweight full-featured notebook with a competitive feature set and decent screen. At 4.5 pounds it's easy to take with you. However, smaller and lighter isn't always better. The keyboard on the 3270 is designed for the smaller footprint and feels a bit cramped. If you're someone who plans on doing a lot of writing with your notebook this probably isn't the computer for you.

It's the typical cruel irony of smaller notebooks. While they're great for hauling around campus your fingers might be sore from taking copious notes. If Averatec could manage to squeeze a more comfortable keyboard into this package that would be very impressive. However, at this price that's asking a lot.

In the sub-$1000 marketplace it's all about bang for buck. Consumers want web, email, office and DVD functionality without a lot of fuss. It's even better in a lightweight package that can easily be taken on that big vacation. You know, the one where you plan to take a bunch of digital pictures and use the notebook computer as the photo bank so you don't run out of flash memory at the church in old town where you shouldn't be taking pictures in the first place. Oh, wait' maybe that's just me.

Anyway, the point is, this notebook beckons to be taken on the road. It's not a gaming machine or a media creation powerhouse. This machine is really a digital sidekick. It's a solid performer for everyday computing tasks and it won't break the bank. Our unit handled all of the above tasks with aplomb. Our only other gripe besides the cramped keyboard is sometimes the fan seems to get a bit loud. We noticed this when just the screensaver was running and nothing else.

The 3270 we tested featured a mobile AMD Sempron CPU with 512MB of memory and a 60-gig hard disk. It ran quietly and felt cool to the touch. With 3 USB 2.0 ports, a DVD dual format burner and media card reader there are plenty of I/O options. And last but not least, it all comes in an attractive case that looks a lot more expensive than it is.

Averatec is a subsidiary of the South Korean company TriGem. They only entered the US market last year and sold about a 1/4 million notebooks in 2004. The company is ramping up activity in Europe and hopes it's slim design and full featured notebooks will meet the expectations it creates with its aggressive marketing campaign. For the 3270 we'd say Averatec has done just that.

Visit Averatec for more information and all the specs on the 3270 series and other notebooks.
One of the biggest challenges in working on computer-based video editing system is the lack of analog controls. A mouse and keyboard is incredibly inadequate compared to a mixing board or even a simple wheel on a beta deck. Computers were originally designed for crunching numbers and writing reports not for making precise video edits.

World Tech Devices makes a line of specialty keyboards they've deemed the Specialist series that are designed to speed up the often laborious task of video editing. visit World Tech's web site for more information and all the specs.
One of the most overlooked components of a PC is a quality power supply. Quality power supplies provide clean, quiet power that can improve the performance and reliability of your computer.

The three brands we typically prefer are Antec, Enermax and Seasonic. All three suppliers offer quality supplies at a reasonable price. While retail stores may charge $65-$100 for a 300-400 watt power supply upgrade, online stores offer a more complete selection and better prices. And since ATX power supplies are small and weigh 4-5 pounds, (the well built ones anyway) shipping isn't much of an issue.

In the early 90s a high fidelity sound card in a PC was expensive and hard to come by. Not to mention a pain to configure in the early days of Windows. The folks at Digital Audio Labs were the pioneers in bringing truly clean and accurate audio to the desktop PC. And over the years it's nice to see they have stayed focused on quality as their primary objective. Four hundred dollars might seem like a lot of dough to spend on a PCI card with some chips and capacitors spread over its surface. But I'll tell ya, it's worth every penny.