The 3 Coolest Things You Can Do to Your PC Right Now

What do you really want from your computer? Productivity?

What do you really want from your computer? Productivity? Efficiency? Business functionality? Heck no! You want cool. You want muscle. You want to impress.

Read on for three of the coolest things you can add to your computer right now:

Flat panel monitor. They save space, they look cool and they give you top-notch graphics and color images. The LCDs will still cost you more (starting around $1,000) than the bulky CRT displays, but there are indications flat-panel prices may have finally peaked. Click for more. Just be patient. According to a New York Times report earlier this week, flat panels are in such high demand right now that factories in Asia are working non-stop at full capacity -- and still can't keep up with the orders. Two flat-panels I've been admiring:

DVD. This space has gotten a bit complicated of late with DVD-ROM drives, DVD players, DVD-RAM and DVD+RW. Don't get carried away. I've been telling you all year that DVD-ROM -- the CD-ROM successor -- is ready for prime time, offering about 20 times the audio, video or PC data packed in a CD. In recent months, prices on read-only DVD-ROM drives have dropped significantly, making it a relatively inexpensive upgrade but one you'll definitely notice. And Disney's plans to put some of its animated films on DVD could kickstart the DVD-player market. But my advice is to steer clear of DVD rewriteables until the standards battle is over. Meantime, there's a lot of interest in Toshiba America's CD-RW drive with DVD-ROM readability, which is expected to ship this month at under $400. Click for more.

USB: Okay, you and I know that adding USB (Universal Serial Bus) functionality to your PC isn't going to have the guy at the next desk dripping with envy. Until he sees how easily you add peripherals to your system. And if you've shopped for computer equipment lately, you know how pervasive USB devices have become. It gets better, too: Backers of the USB 2.0 spec due later this month claim it will improve performance by about 20 times over current USB capabilities and broaden the range of peripherals that can be connected to a PC. Click for more.