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Q. I am interested in recording some of my favourite TV programs available via the TV cable connection at home.
Install a TV-tuner card in your PC and it should help you record your favourite TV programs without any fuss. TV-tuner cards from vendors such as Pinnacle and Compro are quite expensive, priced between Rs 2,450 and Rs 3,925. While the Pinnacle is just a TV-tuner card, Compro’s Videomate TV Gold is a graphics card-cum-TV-tuner card. Pixelview also has some good cards, which are reasonably priced at Rs 2,000. The bottom end of the TV-tuner card market is dominated by Mercury and Intex priced at Rs 1,350 and Rs 1,250 respectively. I recommend the Pinnacle PCTV solution for its good balance of features and performance.
|UPS Buying Tips|
|Calculate your total power requirement to decide on the UPS you need.
220 V, 1.4 A is an example of monitor ratings. Just multiply them to get the VA ratings. For PCs, multiply their power supply rating (say 300 watts for example) by 1.4. Add the above two values to get a rough estimate of the total VA capacity for your UPS.
The PC’s power supply rated at 300 W is the peak that it can deliver, however under normal load it is seldom reached, hence a 500VA UPS will suffice for normal users. Gamers who use higher capacity power supplies may opt for a capacity of 700 VA and above.
UPS battery backup time should at least be 10 minutes, so that you save your work and properly shutdown the PC in the event of a blackout.
Look out for useful features such as surge protection, modem protection, etc.
Motherboard And CPU Decisions
Q. I am interested in buying a new computer and would like to know your view on my choice. Should I opt for a 915G motherboard with a 2.8 GHz processor or settle for a 3 GHz CPU on an 865G motherboard?
From the two options that you have mentioned, I suggest you opt for the 915 chipset motherboard. The reason being the CPU socket: As of today, Intel has discontinued the production of the Socket 478 processor and is pushing ones meant for the Socket LGA 775. The 865G comes equipped with Socket 478. Hence, there is no sense in investing in a dying technology. Recently,
I came across Intel kits comprising a 915 motherboard (that are equipped with SOcket LGA 775) and a 2.8 CPU that retailed for Rs 14,000. The ones with a 3 GHz CPU cost Rs 15,500.
While purchasing memory, avoid cheap Hynix RAM imitations. These are rampant in the Indian market. Opt for memory modules by Kingston or Transcend. They may make you shell out around Rs 500 extra, but are well worth their price.
|UPS Price List (Rs)|
|UPS Capacities: 500/600 VA|
A Free AnitVirus
Q. I want an Antivirus suite from my home PC, but I don’t want to spend more than Rs 1,000 on it. I use my PC for day-to-day office work and entertainment as well. I have a Pentium III 1 GHz CPU, 256 MB RAM, 40 GB and Windows XP. The antivirus should have an inbuilt e-mail scanner, but I don’t want it to hog system resources.
Why buy an antivirus when you can get one for free! Avast antivirus is one such free, robust and reliable antivirus software. All you need to do is register at their Web site www.avast.com and they will e-mail you a serial key. Enter the serial key for registration and that’s it. However this application is free for home users only; for commercial purposes, a small fee is applicable. I have been using it for over a year and (touch wood!) my PC has been infection-free.
Q. I How do I transfer photos from my Nokia 7610 mobile phone to my PC via Bluetooth. What do I need to buy so as to use Bluetooth on my PC?
You will need a Bluetooth adaptor for your PC. You have two options available, first a card that plugs into the PCI slot of a PC and has an external antenna for communication—cumbersome to use. The other option is the USB Bluetooth adaptors: these tiny devices plug into your USB port and work as an interface for Bluetooth communication with your laptop or cell phone. The advantage of using such an USB adaptor is that you can remove it when not needed and plug it into another PC or laptop without much of a hassle. These adaptors are rated on the range that they cover: a 10 m adaptor will cost you Rs 1,000, whereas adaptors with a 100 m range will set you back by Rs 1,800.
Running Out For A DVD-RW
Q. I like collecting movies and over the years have collected a huge repository of DivX prints. My 250 GB hard drive, which I use to store these movies, has started running out of space. I do not intend to invest in a hard drive, but would like to buy a DVD-RW. Please help me select a proper drive.
We have just concluded a DVD-RW test (Digit, November 2004) and have looked at most of the offerings from all major players in the market. In my opinion, you can settle for the Pioneer DVR-108 DVD-writer. Apart from being the best performing drive, it also allows overburning and does not cost a bomb. The drive also supports dual-layered DVD burning at 4X. This lets you store 8.5 GB of data per DVD and that does not take much time to burn either. Morever, the drive also supports multiple DVD formats.