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Choosing the Right Computer
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Choosing the Right Computer

Which ones are best for work, gaming, and entertainment?

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Has your old computer become a clunker? Time to replace it! Different needs require different types of computers. Here’s some advice to help you choose the right one for your needs.


You have finally bitten the bullet and are planning to buy a new computer, and face a few issues. Cost, of course, is almost always foremost, but usage is almost as big an issue, bigger in some cases. People keep questioning why someone would upgrade a computer when they have such powerful processors, massive storage capacity and a huge amount of memory. Then you talk with someone that manipulates images and processes photos and they always seem to want more.
 
However even people that do graphic-intensive tasks often want a secondary system that might have fewer features but has something else they might desire, such as portability or as a low-cost system for a backup at home. Then there are the PC wars pitting Macintosh user versus PC user…and let’s not forget the ultra-light road warrior who might be looking at a netbook or a tablet. Overall, it is a huge area and so we will try and touch on a few products representing all groups.


Netbooks

Netbooks have a range of pro and con features: On the upside, this class of system is very light, has a long battery life and is as portable a system as a user could want. On the flip side, they do not have the bells and whistles even most entry level notebooks have, and while they are underpowered when compared to some of the massive performance systems available today they have plenty of powerful processing capabilities for mainstream users.  Read the Adorama Learning Center's Netbook Buying Guide 2012.

Hewlett-Packard Pavilion Mini 110-450nr

A solid workhorse in the netbook family is the Hewlett-Packard Pavilion Mini 110-450nr. The 3 pound portable device is powered by a 1.6GHz dual core Intel Atom N2600 processor and has a 10.1-inch WSVGA BrightView backlit LED display with 1024 x 600 resolution.

It has a maximum of 11 hours of battery life and comes with 1GB of DDR 3 RAM and a 320GB hard drive. It has a miniweb cam with an integrated microphone and comes with Microsoft Office Starter software preinstalled.

Tablets

The tablet space has probably been the fastest growing segment of the computer space in the last year and remains very hot. Read iPad, Android or Windows? Tablet Computer Buying Guide 2012 for an in-depth review .  One of the hottest offerings to come out this year has been the Asus Google Nexus 7,  a member of the 7-inch line of tablets that is available at Adorama for $250.

Asus Google Nexus 7

The Asus Google Nexus 7 runs the Android operating system and comes with 16GB of storage and 1GB of RAM. Its 7-inch display has a 1280 x 800 resolution and the tablet comes with a front facing 1.2 MP camera. The battery provides 9.5 hours of operating time.

Macintosh Notebook Computers

Apple pretty much pioneered the sleek, beautiful looking notebook, and along with style its products also offer very good features and performance that even top graphics professionals will appreciate when the notebooks are used as an everyday workhorse.

Apple MC975LL/A 15.4 MacBook Pro

A solid offering in Apple’s arsenal is the Apple MC975LL/A 15.4 MacBook Pro that features Apple’s Retina display with 2880 x 1800 resolution. The computer is powered by an Intel 2.3GHGz quad core i7 processor and has 8GB RAM with a 256GB flash storage drive.
 
Macintosh Desktops

For users that crave the extra power and storage available in a desktop Apple offers the Apple Mac Pro Quad-Core Desktop that is powered by an Intel Xeon Quad Core 3.2GHz W3565 processor. Capable of supporting six displays with a digital resolution of 2560 x 1600 it is a multitaskers dream.

Apple Mac Pro Quad-Core Desktop

The computer features 1TB of internal storage along with 6GB of RAM that is expandable to 64GB. It includes an ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics video card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory, two PCI Express 2.0 ports, Mini DisplayPort outputs and one dual-link DVI port.


PC Notebooks

Notebook choices abound on the PC side, with offerings as low as some of the netbooks to very pricy models. One of the most popular offerings is the Toshiba Qosmio X875-Q7290 a powerful package that will not break the bank. It features a 17.3-inch display that has 1920 x 1080 resolution.

Toshiba Qosmio X875-Q7290

The Toshiba Qosmio X875-Q7290 features a quad-core Intel i7 processor running at 2.3GHz and comes with 16GB RAM and both a 1TB hard drive and a 750GB drive, capable of storing all but the largest video or image library. Its graphics subsystem has plenty of power with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M/3D Vision card with 3GB of dedicated GDDR5 RAM

PC Desktops

PC desktops have turned into bargains in recent years with plenty of power but at a low price. A good example of this is the HP Touchsmart 320-105. The Hewlett-Packard desktop has a 2.1GHz AMD A6-3600 Accelerated Processor and comes with 6GB of RAM that is expandable to 8GB and a 1TB hard drive.

HP Touchsmart 320-105

What sets this system apart is its integrated 20-inch touch screen display that has 1600 x 900 resolution and enables either keyboard or touch as input methods. For multisystem users it includes the HP LinkUp software lets you access the content and programs on your notebook from your TouchSmart PC-without file mix-ups or complex synchronization issues.

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