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My New PC under £250


A few years ago the best option for a computer was the Desktop (a large noisy box that we call Home PC), about 5 to 4 years a go the price of laptop went down dramatically and people started considering using a laptop as a replacement for that Home PC, to prove it right if you join a technology or service company today you as part of your first day orientation you will receive a laptop and a mobile phone (probably a smart phone or PDA) as you essential working tools.

well last year when i visited CES 2007 in Vegas i saw the next gen of UMPC (ultra mini personal computer) with the known Q1 and friends, but the price looked somehow high to what you get, and i couldn’t see how a stylus based pc will replace my beloved laptop.
so as far  i was concerned UMPC’s are a nice to have gadget (such as PSP) but not a good replacement for my laptop and especially for their price.
Well all that changed last week when  i went to do some window shopping with one of my best friends, who had an obsession to buy a UMPC (Ultra mini PC) to replace his longtime Dell laptop.
initially i was very sceptic , as my HP NC6400 was small enough to carry, yet big enough screen to work on and all the essential I/O ‘s that were available 2 years ago. also price wise a UMPC, web book or Laptop are very similar so why paying more for less (same delima you have when looking at smart cars compare to lets say a Vauxhall astra). 
Well we went from one shop to another in Tottenham Court road” as you do in London when electronic gadgets are in question. and looked at 3 main mature (ones that have more than 5 models to offer) brands: AsusAcer  and HP.
My mate had a clear vision of what he want – a Windows based machine, under £250 ,with Wi-Fi, buletooth, reasonable HDD (at least 20g), a reasonable screen resolution (1024X600) and 1G ram.
me, i had less demands, from looking at my common tasks all i need is a browser , word processor, spreadsheet , skype, and a presentation tool that can read and write MS Office files but not have to be MS Office – so i thought a Linux and open source tools like open office will do the job for me.
Well to start most of the PC’s you can hands on test in a shop are Linux based, and the same model with a WinXP installed on it is on average £100 more as we both have  a licenced XP SP2 media i said we can buy the Linux one and if it doesn’t feel good we can always install an XP on it.
easy to say but hard to implement if you think about it as non of the web Pc’s have a CD/DVD drive.
Than there is the question do you go for a large but small HDD (max 102GB) or do you go for a smaller SSD (Solid State Drive) which goes to about 40GB but cost more. for my mate it didn’t really matter (as an ex-Microsoft employee i guess he is used to wait for windows to start up), for me i wanted something fast and reliable that will work event if it gets smacked a bit.
well while my mate is still compering between the different options, i was quicker to decide (especially when i spent more than £250 on vodka in a club 2 days before). so i went for the Asus Eee PC 901 (linux based) with 20GB SDD , 1 GB ram, 1.3 MP build in camera and 8.5″ screen for £210 (after negotiation) and added a WD 320GB external drive (to hold the data).
i must say that once turned on it was less than 10 sec. to have a fully operational PC connected to my Wi-FI and works like a charm.
the next challenge was to learn how to install things on Linux in order to set it up the way i want… that is why i have geek friends for 🙂
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