PCs are a-changing
Remember, I’m writing about a factory PC like a Dell or a Gateway, and NOT one that you build. The type that you can build are even fancier, but that post failed to generate interest nor did it generate discussion, possibly no one’s into building PCs.
However, while looking around to try to find a suitable replacement for my old stuff, I noticed that the shape, size, and what one can do with a regular commercial PC are changing drastically.
First, there's the LCD monitor. <OL TYPE=1>
<LI>They are much easier on the eyes because they are flicker free.
<LI>Less danger of getting cancer because there are no EMI emissions.
<LI>The listed size is truly representative of their size. A 15” LCD monitor is comparable to a 17” CRT monitor, an 18” LCD is comparable to a 21” CRT monitor
<LI>prices of LCD monitors have finally dropped to a reasonable level.
Second, the shrinking case. While a year ago, this was a disadvantage. Today, however because of other advances, a smaller box-size is often highly desirous and often ergonometry designed so that they can sit right on top of the desktop rather than being hidden either underneath or on the side. Smaller size means much quieter operation, especially when using the Pentium 4 as opposed to the AMD Athlon.
A small case, in terms of the smaller ones, are designed to hold one hard drive, one floppy, and has external slot to hold either one CD/DVD drive or an adaptor to enable you to remove and replace hard drives.
These small cases often are loaded with the latest USB ports (get the PC with USB2.0), both on the back, and on the front as well. Some of the PCs also have the sound connectors on the front, and the most modern PC may find itself with Firewire built right in as well as a connector on the front panel.
USB, and especially firewire means hot-swap, plug and play. This means that you can, while the pc is on and running, unplug the hard drive or CD/DVD writer and plug it into another PC while it is still running. I tend to favor Firewire because, at least in the Firewire components I use, drivers are not required. The new USB 2.0 is FAST, comparable to Firewire, and ATA 100/133.
The new hard drives are jumbo and they are super fast as well. Winchester Digital offers their “SE” models which are much, much quicker than any other IDE drive under the sun with their 8 meg buffer. They are HUGE. The 200 GB, that’s 200 Giga Byte model was just released, but the 120 GB hard drive gets the most bang for the buck.
External CD writers have come way down in price, with the less expensive ones being not necessarily the cheapest. They are so fast that a full CD can be written to in a matter of only a few minutes. I like the tray-less variety. It has a slot in it like the CD player in your auto. Which one? Well, PCs for everyone has that.’
In CD writers, the new format to look for is the “Mt. Ranier” format. That’s the one to get. It is an attempt at standardizing all formats.
DVD is the in thing these days, and they come in both internal and external. For my money with the external version I’d go Firewire, but that is a personal selection. I like the idea that one can plug up to 63 devices together on Firewire.
The myriad of choices of DVD writers is mind-boggling, not to say at least confusing. The packages they come in, plus many salesman provide no clue of what’s inside nor which one to get. I never noticed the “+” or the “-“ sign in the description of writers before I was interested in in the DVD class of peripherals. Buy one and you may have purchased the wrong type. To sum it up [pun of course], there is a single DVD writer that outshines the rest of them, I believe it’s and internal Sony DVD in a red-to-white box, but what jumped off the page is that it is both “+” AND “-“ which means it can read and write most formats and plays in television DVD players after you burn your favorite video onto it.
Whoops!!! I’m just starting to get going on this and could spend all day writing on the new excitement in the PC world, but realized a few minutes ago that it was close to 5am. I’ve got to go to work so will have to cut this short, like right now.
Happy hunting for those in the market for a new PC.
------------------Allen Moulton at Uechi-ryu Etcetera loves email at <A HREF="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</A>