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Whats hot, What's Not...

Whats hot, What's Not... - PCSTATS
Abstract: Wondering what hardware you should really be thinking about getting? Our man from the 'front lines' in computer retailing has the scoop - with this week's round up!
Filed under: Editorial Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCstats Mar 27 2000   Bao Ly  
Home > Reviews > Editorial > PCstats

Ram, monitors and Video Cards

RAM
It's time to get memory! Prices are hovering around the dollar/Mbyte mark now. 64MB PC-100 and 128MB PC-100 are $69 CDN and $136 CDN respectively ($47 and $93 USD.) I highly recommend having at least 128MB of ram in your system. You might be comfortable with just 32 or 64MB of ram, but the comfort and security of having 128MB is well worth the upgrade. And hey, who can predict that the price of ram won't sky rocket like it did last fall? Buying PC-133 memory might not be a bad idea either, especially if you plan on using a KX-133 based motherboard in the near future, or plan on overclocking a PIII-E to the magical 133mhz FSB. For a few extra dollars, you get to eliminate ram as the bottleneck during your overclocking exploits.
Video Cards

For most computer enthusiasts, the video card is the most interesting and most commonly upgraded component. The Geforce video cards with DDR Ram provide the highest level of performance for gamers today. At a price of $355 CDN ($244 USD,) the Asus V6800 is the most attractively priced Geforce DDR card.

Ati's Rage Fury Maxx priced at $379 CDN ($260 USD) is doing horribly in terms of sales. The price is too high for a card that can't seem to outpace the Geforce DDR in Quake III. The only significant advantage that the Maxx holds over the Geforce is its ability to decode DVD video. The decision is up to the consumer, pay $24 CDN more for inferior Quake III performance, but gain superior DVD performance. For myself, I have a Geforce DDR card, and the DVD playback is superb at 1280*1024*32bit using WinDVD 2000. With the high sticker price, and lackluster Quake III performance of the Rage Fury Maxx, it's not surprising that the Asus V6800 is trouncing the Rage Fury Maxx in sales.

Monitors

Say good-bye to the 15-inch monitor days of yore. I hereby declare the 15inch monitor dead. You can purchase a brand new 17-inch monitor such as: the Viewsonic E771 (.27dp) or the Panasonic E70i (.27dp) for under $320 CDN ($220 USD). 17-inch monitors are so affordable; it would be shocking if anyone decided to purchase a 15-inch model.

People have said that Flat panel monitors are the "next thing" in computer displays, they're wrong, the "next thing" happens to be the "flat" CRT. I'm talking about Sony FD Trinitron, and Mitsubishi Dynaflat aperture grille based monitors. Samsung's NF series of monitors and Viewsonic's PF series of monitors are using the Mitsubishi Dynaflat AG tube. They are priced between $439 CDN to $689 CDN ($302 - $474 USD) for 17-inch to 19-inch models. Monitors using the Sony FD Trinitron tubes are priced similarly too, the 17-inch Mag Innovision 786 FD is going for $415 CDN, and the KDS 19-inch FD Trinitron model is priced at the $700 CDN mark ($285 - $481 USD.) The "flatness" of these monitors is amazing. Customer feedback leads me to believe that these monitors look great too!

From my own experience, my Sony E400 (.24AG FD Trinitron $769 CDN/$528 USD) does not look significantly better than the Samsung 900 NF (.25AG Dynaflat.) I purchased the E400 simply because it's the first 19-inch Sony monitor that has ever been affordable to the average computer user (yours truly.) I went from a 17-inch ADI 5GT (.25AG Trinitron 1600*1200*76hz) to the Sony E400. The image quality is great on both, however the size difference and the flatness of the Sony E400 made the upgrade worthwhile.

If you are debating whether or not to upgrade your monitor, I can't recommend any size except the 19-inch range of monitors. 21-inch monitors are just too expensive, and upgrading to a 17-inch would leave you wanting a 19-inch in a few months, and you'd kick yourself for not spending the extra $200 CDN in the first place (of course I'm drawing this from my own experiences :-)

It's true that you'll want a 21-inch in a few months, and then you'd want a 24-inch wide screen soon after that, but that's how it always is. The fact of the matter is that 21-inch monitors are priced well beyond the price range that is considered reasonable for most people. Ultimately the 19-inch models are just incredibly affordable right now, and they provide the best bang for you buck right now. Perhaps in two years 24-inch monitors with FD Trinitron tubes will dip below $1000 CDN ($687 USD.)

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Contents of Article: PCstats
 Pg 1.  Whats hot, What's Not...
 Pg 2.  — Ram, monitors and Video Cards
 Pg 3.  Sound Cards and DVD

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