PC World October 2003 Contents

What's On the CD

COVER STORY

Build your own media centre PC
- We test the latest home-theatre pcs

A media centre PC sounds like a compelling proposition - a device that can capture and play back digital audio and video. You don't need to buy a dedicated media centre PC to take advantage of all that digital media goodness, though: if your current PC meets minimum specs, it can probably do the job with some upgrades.

FEATURES

Web and you: E-mail evolves

New products and Web services are designed to help you fight the battle of in-box overload. A flock of new programs and Web services promise to help you control, sort, and search your incoming message flood so you can save time and get more real work done.

Pain-free Windows tweaks: Registry fixes

Want to fix nagging Windows irritations and automate everyday tasks? With these surprisingly simple Registry and batch file tips, it's not brain surgery. We've got 15 Registry tweaks and tools, and for a more nimble Windows, try our five downloadable batch files.

Music encoding guide: Too many MP3s?

By now, most of us have a sizeable collection of MP3s cluttering our hard drives. You can claw back some disk space by shrinking file sizes but, as we show here, there's an art to compressing tracks so they sound as good as the original.

Get with the program: DIY programming

We generally rely on prepackaged software's built-in features to perform specific tasks. Though there's no longer any need to have programming knowledge, having even the most basic skills will enable you to automate tasks and customise your PC. Our beginners' guide shows the way.

FIRST LOOKS

Hardware
RIM BlackBerry 7230
QDI Slim PC, Intel Desktop Board D865PERL
Canon PowerShot G5, Apple iSight

Software
Macromedia Contribute 2, Zone Labs ZoneAlarm Pro 4
Microsoft Windows Server 2003

Quick Takes
Hardware: iRiver SlimX iMP-550, Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen NX, Creative I-Trigue L3500, Logitech Dual Action Gamepad, Sony Clié PEG-SJ22, Belkin 8-in-1, Canon Bubble Jet i6500, La Cie DVD-RW/DVD+RW drive, Eizo FlexScan L695; Software: WinZip 9.0 beta, Presto PageManager 6


HERE'S HOW

IN DEPTH: Improve your Outlook
WINDOWS XP home: Plus! Digital Media Edition
WINDOWS XP pro: Enable next-generation networking
LINUX: Easy-to-use Knoppix 3.2
MAC OS: From Mac to videophone
AUDIO: Sound cards explained
GRAPHICS: Importing digital photographs with XP
PHP: PHP file system functions
DIGITAL VIDEO: Improvements in Premiere Pro
HELP SCREEN

BEST BUYS

To find out more about how we test and rate products for the Best Buys section, check out the PC World Best Buys Legend.

Tech.Files
Install a SATA drive on Windows XP

Sweet Spot
CPUs
Graphics cards
Motherboards
System RAM
Optical drives
Hard drives
Monitors

PCs: OVER $3500
Plus Corporation Inspire P32
Plus Corporation Astra H31
Dell Dimension 8300
Xenon Atomic 675x
Plus Corporation Astra H11

PCs: $1500-$3500
Infocom Gaming Beast 1.2
Trinity International P4 Power Pack
PC eXpress Invader 2800C
Plus Corporation Inspire A36
Infocom M-110
Acer Veriton 7600G
Protac Excel PF1-28C
SATO-Ritmo SN41G
IBM ThinkCentre A50p
Dell OptiPlex GX270

PCs: SUB-$1500
PC eXpress Avatar 2600
Trinity International P4 Deluxe Pack
Hotmicks Value 2083
Trinity International P4 Dream Pack
PMP Beat IT

Notebooks: OVER $4000
Hi-Grade UltiNote M6600
Acer TravelMate 803LCi
Hi-Grade Notino C6700
Sony Vaio PCG-GRT30P
Toshiba Satellite P20

Notebooks: $2500-$4000
Dell Inspiron 8600
Hi-Grade Notino R5400
Mitac MiNote 8080
ITC Millennia 7000
Dell Inspiron 5150

Notebooks: SUB-$2500
Targa Visionary XP
Dell Inspiron 5100
ASUS L3501
Emagen N1000
Hi-Grade Notino 4400

Colour laser printers
Brother HL-2600CN
Canon LBP-2410
Epson Aculaser C4000
Fuji Xerox Phaser 8200DP
HP LaserJet 1500
Kyocera-Mita FS-C5016N Ecosys
Lanier LP020c
Minolta-QMS 2300DL
OKI C5300
Panasonic KX-CL500N
Ricoh Aficio CL3000DN
Tally T8006e

DEPARTMENTS

  • EDITORIAL
  • NEWS plus Broadband
  • LINUXWORLD.COM.AU
  • READERS' FORUM Plus Dilbert
  • BACKBYTES: Book Review, Skills, Web Review, Gadgets and Gizmos, Games,
  • Bytesback
  • ADVERTISERS INDEX

COMING IN THE NOVEMBER ISSUE:

  • Second annual buying guide: essential reading for tech shoppers
  • Fast fab upgrades: get a new power PC in an hour- or less
  • PDA software: software to make a handheld your new best friend
  • Web and you: tips to beat the broadband blues
  • Test centre: graphics cards

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

PCWorld staff

PC World

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