Alienware's tricked-out Hangar18 HTPC launched last month, and Computer Shopper was first to put a unit through its paces. The reviewer had praise for the sheer number of inputs and outputs, nifty Gyration remote, and the terrific sound from the 1000W amp, but found that the AMD Athlon X2 4600+ and NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS were a little slow for games and other compute-intensive tasks -- in fact, benchmark results were "close to entry-level." We're not certain that's what Alienware was aiming for with its $3,199 flagship HTPC, but the Hangar18 did shine when used as a media player: the only other faults Computer Shopper found were the lack of QAM tuners and a finicky DVD drive. With a final score of 8.6, it looks like the Hangar18 lives up to its advance billing -- now here's hoping Alienware rolls out those promised Blu-ray and CableCARD options sooner rather than later.

"Laughing bullets" considered by Pentagon