MP3:Keep It Simple

Published Date
01 - Feb - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Feb - 2006
MP3:Keep It Simple
I have never used a MP3 player before, so would like to get one that's simple to use.
Abhimanyu Dogra

Any flash-based MP3 player will do for you. I would suggest the iRiver T30 256 MB player; it is reasonably priced (Rs 5K) and offers good performance. Your other option could be MSI's MegaStick 512 MB, which offers double the capacity and equally good performance for nearly the same price. If you like Apple products, go for the iPod Shuffle 512 MB (Rs 5K). The only major difference between the iPod Shuffle and other products is the lack of a display screen on the former. As far as using these devices go, don't worry-they are designed to be simple to use.

Since Microsoft doesn't sell the Media Center edition of Windows XP in the retail market, assembling a Media Center PC is not possible

A Massive Overhaul
Q. I have a Compaq Presario 6000 with a Pentium IV 1.7 GHz, 512 MB memory, etc. I want to upgrade it to an AMD 64-bit dual core processor and also add in a better graphics card. Considering I already have a monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers, can you suggest me a good processor-motherboard combo and a decent graphics card? My budget is around Rs 50,000. Also, do I need to buy a new cabinet and a power supply?
Ajitem Sahasrabuddhe

I'm assuming you have DDR memory. You'll have to wait for AMD dual-core processors-they are a rarity in the Indian market. Regarding the motherboard, I would recommend either the Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe or the MSI K8N Diamond Plus, based on the nVidia nForce4 SLI X16 chipset. Both these boards are top-of-the-line, and have almost all features you'd expect.
You will need to buy a new power supply, as these motherboards require a 24-pin power connector. If you want to build a good machine, invest in a good power supply-for example, an Antec. As far as graphics is concerned, settle for a card based on nVidia 6800 or 6600 GT. All these components should fit within your 50K budget.

A Media Center Laptop?
Q. I want to buy a new PC complete with the latest features and which offers good performance. I came across the new HP m7280IN PC in the newspapers, but it's pricey. Can I get a laptop with all its features for the same price? Also, can I assemble a good machine with the those features within a modest budget?
Manish Chandnani

The HP m7280IN PC you've mentioned is a Media Center PC. It is designed to converge the PC with your TV and hi-fi stereo. Since Microsoft doesn't sell the Media Center edition of Windows XP in the retail market, assembling a Media Center PC is not possible.
Comparing a laptop with a Media Center PC is not possible-these are targeted at different audiences. It is possible to assemble a PC better than the m7280IN for the money it retails for; however, don't expect the package to look as good as the m7280IN does. We have reviewed this HP PC in our January 2006 issue.

Of AGP, 64-Bit, And DDR II
Q. I want to buy a motherboard with an AGP slot. It should support 64-bit AMD processors as well as DDR II. I prefer MSI, but are there are better products by other manufacturers? My budget is around Rs 5,500. 

There are lot of motherboards for AMD's 64-bit processor supporting an AGP slot; however, none of them will support DDR II. The 64-bit AMD processors have the memory controller built into the processor itself, since it currently only supports the DDR I standard.
There are rumours about new AMD processors with DDR II controllers to be launched this year; you might therefore get a board for your purpose.
I'd suggest a PCIe-based board instead of an AGP. Go in for motherboards based on the nVidia 6150 or ATi RS480 chipsets. The onboard display adapters on these boards will be definitely better than your older card. Moreover, since they support PCI-e, they'll future-proof your investment. 

Apples Are Red, PCs Are Blue...
Q. I am interested in photography and designing work, and I will be using Photoshop and other designing software. Please advise a system configuration that's best for my work. I have a budget of around Rs 50,000. What would be better-an LCD or a CRT monitor, and why? What is the difference between Apple and PC? Is Apple better for graphics purposes?
Niranjan Kumar

Refer to the table below for your PC configuration. For your kind of work and your budget, I'd recommend a 19-inch CRT monitor, simply because it is relatively cheap and reliable.
Apple products are based on a completely different architecture from that of PCs, and require very different software, specifically developed for Apple computers. Since their inception, Apple products have been widely used in the designing industry, which led to optimisation of the hardware and software for that very purpose.
There are perceptible performance differences between Apple computers and PCs when it comes to displaying colours, processing data in Photoshop, etc. But due to its proprietary nature, Apple products tend to be expensive and out of reach for most.

A Computer For Design Professionals
Component Make  Cost (Rs) 
CPU  AMD 939 pin Athlon64 3200
Motherboard MSI K8NGM2-IL or Gigabyte
RAM 512 MB DDR 400 Hynix
HDD 160 GB SATA Samsung/Seagate
Monitor 19-inch Acer or Samsung 997-DF~14,000 
Keyboard Logitech
Mouse Logitech Optical Mouse300 
Cabinet Any cabinet you like!
Power Supply Antec / VIP 350 W power supply
3,500 / 2,000 
Optical Drive LiteOn / Sony Combo drive
Speakers Creative Inspire 2.1
Total  ~46,550 
Graphics Card XFX Geforce 6600 card 6,000 

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