Q. I am interested in buying a notebook computer. Which one do you think is better? Acer Aspire 5000 with AMD Athlon Turion 64-bit processor or Acer Travelmate 4151LCi with a Centrino processor? Would there be any backward integration problems with the 64-bit processor?
Dr Vasant Patel
As far as AMD Turion is concerned, we haven't tested a solution based on this new platform and I will reserve my comments on the performance of the new chip from AMD. However, from what I have heard about it, it is good. I don't think there will be any backward compatibility issues either.
The Acer Travelmate 4151LCi is based on a tried-and-tested Centrino platform and I don't see any problems if you would like to purchase it. However, you should consider laptops from other brands such as HP-Compaq, Dell and Lenovo (IBM) as well.
Music On The Move
Q. I am interested in buying a HDD MP3 player. I have around 20 GB of classic rock and would like to carry it around and also be able to play it on my car tape deck. One more feature I am looking for is the ability to record lectures on the fly. Ease-of-use and battery life are important to me. I have narrowed down my choices to the iRiver and Creative because I am not so sure about the Apple iPod.
Dr A K George
Among the various HDD MP3 players, iPod from Apple is considered to be the best. It looks great, is extremely simple to use and offers superb battery life. However, it does not offer any additional features such as FM reception or voice recording.
Creative's Zen is another good MP3 player, which, according to me, fits the bill as it also allows voice recording although via an optional remote.
As far as the iRiver is concerned, they have recently launched their outlets in India and might not have a national presence as of now. Due to this, their service network also might not be up to scratch.
As for your buying decision, I suggest you go for the Creative Zen. However, if you are ready to sacrifice the voice recording feature, nothing beats the iPod. For playing MP3s in your car, a converter is also available with most shops selling car stereos. For Creative, contact your local dealer. Apple India can reached at 080-25550575.
Q. I am planning to buy a computer with AMD 64 3200 , 1 GB RAM, 6600GT nVidia graphics card, but I am unable to decide on a motherboard.
What I would like, though, should have a PCI-e slot for the graphics card. Moreover, it should support 939-pin AMD processors and preferably, be based around the nVidia chipset. I have allocated approximately Rs 8 K for the board. Also, could you suggest me a good cabinet in the Rs 3-4 K range, ideally from Antec?
For motherboards based on nVidia nForce4 chipsets, I would suggest you to go for the MSI K8N Neo4. It has all the features you have asked for and hopefully, should fit in your budget too. As far as the cabinet is concerned, I don't think you will get an Antec cabinet for Rs 3-4 K with the power supply.
I would suggest you buy a Mercury cabinet with good ventilation and then add an Antec power supply to it. A standard mercury cabinet should set you back by Rs 500-700 and the Smart Power 350W PS from Antec will cost you around Rs 3.6 K.
Q. I am planning to buy a multifunctional device for my small office with a budget of around Rs 7K. Please suggest one that is capable of photo quality printing, has standalone copy function and preferably runs on low ink.
From our experience, we can say that Epson MFDs are good at extending the life of the ink cartridge, but don't give you exemplary printing quality. Lexmark has some great looking devices, give good print quality but are ink guzzlers. HP offers the best all-round performance, though, with good prints and acceptable ink drain.
Nevertheless, among all these, Canon is the best when it comes to print quality, speed and cartridge life. Before you buy an MFD, look for the brand with easy availability of ink cartridges and a proper service network.
3G Or Not To 3G?
Q. I need to buy a mobile phone but I am confused between the Nokia 6630 and 6681. Both phones are just awesome and offer almost the same feature set; only difference being the 6681 one doesn't support 3G. Should I go for 3G phone? In India, as far as I know, there are hardly any companies offering true 3G capabilities and it will take a long time for 3G to be fully functional. I am not planning on changing the phone frequently.
As far as 3G is concerned, I think we are unanimous about it: it's a long way before Indian cell companies offer something that is 'more go than show'. Therefore, investing in a cell phone supporting 3G might not be the smartest thing to do.
But, since you have mentioned that you won't be changing the phone frequently, I suggest you buy the 6630 with 3G support, which might come handy whenever cell companies in India offer 3G. Also, the price difference between the two models is not much and having that extra headroom might be a boon in disguise in the long run.