Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Top Tips for Festive Computer Shopping; BYTE ME

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Top Tips for Festive Computer Shopping; BYTE ME

Article excerpt

Byline: with BRUCE kERR

THE year is racing toward completion and when I look through my office window, I see Musgrave St traffic at far busier levels. Christmas shopping brings a lot of extra activity and retailers go to great lengths to "window-dress" their latest wares. No retail sector tries harder at this than the technology industry - pushing the latest techno terms as "must-haves" and offering free this and that to help sway your decision.

When it comes to car sales, offers such as fixed price servicing or free window tinting etc has a value that is real and tangible - but how do you evaluate free Norton or a free upgrade to Windows 8.1 or double your ram for $1 extra? That last one is certainly worthwhile, although I wouldn't consider the Norton or the 8.1 to be worth two cents! So, what do we look for when deciding on a laptop or desktop PC for Christmas? This is the question many readers have written in about.

The trouble is, a PC is so many things to so many people. For business it is a tool, for gamers it is a toy, for home users an entertainment device, for everyone a gateway to the world and for too many a darned annoyance. There is no such thing as a PC that will suit everyone - although manufacturers try to suggest this is the case by bundling dozens of software applications with their offerings, which mostly conspire to complicate and SLOW the PC.

When shopping for a new PC, I would take little notice of the included software, as mostly anything really worthwhile (such as Microsoft Office) will be in trial mode only and still require you to pay full price to activate. What you are looking for is performance, reliability, screen size, capacity and (for some) features. I say for some, as most modern PCs have similar feature sets (network cards, DVD burners, sound cards) but video cards still offer the biggest differences (for gamers).

If you want to play fast paced and realistic computer games, you will need an expensive a[approximately]dedicated' video card - but for everyone else, any of the standard a[approximately]integrated' video cards in either desktops or laptops will offer exactly the same performance for their different uses. …

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