Hardware – 1996

In the last year PC’s have made amazing advancements in the area of multimedia and video capabilities. Macs no longer have such a distinct desktop publishing advantage over PCs, nor do Unix boxes like the Sun Sparc stations have overwhelming computational leads. PC’s have been getting cheaper and faster all year.

This month has hit record lows for prices while power continues to rise.

  • Pentium Pro processors from Intel have been received very well by the public and have driven down the prices of older yet blazingly fast pentiums.
  • RAM is the lowest I’ve seen it in ages. I found two quotes today for 4 meg EDO ram at $110 and 8 meg chips at $220. Three months ago they were over $150 and $325 respectively via mail order.
  • Hard drive space is cheaper than ever boasting less than a shiny quarter per meg.
  • Color printers have plummeted in price making high quality presentations and graphics affordable to even the humblest of bubble/ink jet models.
  • Scanners have dropped hundreds of dollars in the last few months making a flatbed 24-bit color scanner a reality to thousands of cash-impaired computer folks.
  • Modems have hit a technological ceiling with regular phone lines and have steadily been dropping prices to reflect the fact. A 28.8 modem sells today at about $120 and a 14.4 under $50.

This month is a great time to buy a system. If you are in the market to buy a PC, look for the following specs: (You wont feel like you missed something later on)

  • 32 megs of RAM (Don’t bother with 16 when prices are so cheap)
  • Soundblaster 32AWE soundcard (Full duplex audio = free long distance)
  • 2 megs VRAM video. (If you want more juice go with a 4meg VRAM, not DRAM)
  • 6X CD-ROM (The 8X are actually not faster, but they are more money)
  • 1.2 gig SCSI-3 hard drive (ULTRAwide SCSI just came out, these babies humm like you wouldn’t believe and Quantum makes an inexpensive SCSI-3 drive)
  • 17″ screen. (You stare at it all the time, dont skimp)
  • Pentium (not Pro) processor 150 Mhtz. (Three words: Bargain Bargain Bargain)
  • Color bubble/ink jet printer. (I made my own Holiday cards last year, lovely)

Other very interesting pieces include Iomega’s new Jaz and Zip drives.(Portable disk drives, why use a floppy?) And don’t forget the all important 8 dollar microphone! 🙂

Of course, this article is only the tip of the hardware iceberg. Contact us for more indepth reviews.

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