PC World November 2003 Contents

What's On the CD


The PC buyers' superguide: How to buy the best tech gear

Our second annual buying special has advice for buying everything - from PCs and notebooks to printers, scanners, cameras and MP3 players. You'll find all the specs explained so you can make a better buying decision, whatever your price range. Don't go shopping before perusing these pages!

Web and you: Beat the broadband blues

There's more to good broadband service than eliminating the wait for a dial-up connection, or loading your favourite Web sites in less than 30 seconds. Here's how to make the most of your connection, and what to do if it's time to switch providers.

60-minute upgrades: Boost your pc power

Get new PC power in an hour - or less - with these upgrades covering maximum storage, speed boosters, audio/visual power, and wireless. With a little planning and research, the process can go quickly and smoothly.

Pump up your PDA: Handheld heroes

Slinkier and smarter than ever with an expanding range of software, your handheld PC can help you conduct business on the road or find your way around foreign parts while keeping you entertained with music and movie clips.

Inside Office 2003: Upgrade or skip?

Microsoft's new release boasts a brighter Outlook, potent workgroup tools, and a few surprises. For the first time, changes to the package's bread-and-butter apps are so slight that you could miss them. This upgrade isn't for everybody.


AMD Athlon 64 FX-51 processor
PC Range Billion 743GE + wireless adapters
AOC LM729 and Sony SDMX53 LCD monitors
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro, QDI A520

Ulead PhotoImpact XL beta, Ahead Nero 6 Ultra Edition
CyberLink PowerDVD 5.0, Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2004

Quick Takes
Hardware: Palm Tungsten T2, ViewSonic Pocket PC V35, Kodak EasyShare DX4530, HP DVD Movie Writer Dc3000, Canon CanoScan 9900F, LG Super Multi DVD Writer Plus GSA-4040B; Software: Steganos Security Suite 5.0, Ontrack EasyRecovery Lite, Office FrontPage 2003, Office Visio 2003 Standard


UPGRADER: Installing a graphics card
IN DEPTH: User comfort and connectivity
WINDOWS XP Home: Windows XP Q & As
WINDOWS XP Pro: Replacing system files
LINUX: Security with E-Smith SME Server
MAC OS: Using Apple Soundtrack
AUDIO: Introducing Audacity
GRAPHICS: Feathering an image
PHP: Symbolic links
DIGITAL VIDEO: Easy editing with Adobe Premiere Pro


Graphics cards breakdown

Sweet Spot
Graphics cards
System RAM
Optical drives
Hard drives

PCs: OVER $3500
Plus Corporation Inspire P32
ARC Computers P4 3GHz
Plus Corporation Astra H31
Dell Dimension 8300
Plus Corporation Advantage P32

PCs: $1500-$3500
Infocom Gaming Beast 1.2
Trinity International P4 Power Pack
ARC Computers 3000+ XP AMD
PC eXpress Invader 2800C
Plus Corporation Inspire A36
Infocom M-110
Acer Veriton 7600G
Protac Excel PF1-28C
SATO-Ritmo SN41G
IBM ThinkCentre A50p

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

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
ITC Millennia 6000
ITC Millennia 7000
Pioneer Power-470

Notebooks: SUB-$2500
Mitac MiNote 8080
Stone M3400
Targa Visionary XP
Dell Inspiron 5100
Emagen N1000

Graphics cards: ATI Radeon-based
Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9200SE
Hercules 3D Prophet 9600 256MB
Octek 9600 Pro
PowerColor 9600 Pro
S-Media 9600
Gigabyte GV-R98P256D
Hercules 3D Prophet 9800 Pro 128MB
HIS Excalibur 9800 Pro
PowerColor All-In-Wonder 9800 Pro

Graphics cards: NVIDIA GeForce-based
Albatron FX 5900 Turbo
AOpen Aeolus 5900
ASUS 9560 Video Suite
Gainward Golden Sample Ultra/760 XP

Leadtek WinFast A310TD (5600) 256MB
MSI FX 5200 VT-128
MSI nBox 5600 Ultra
Sparkle GeForce FX 5600
Auriga 5600
ASUS V9950 Ultra
Leadtek WinFast A350 Ultra TDH

plus: Matrox Millennium P750

And exclusive to our PC World online readers: check out this month's Web-only graphics cards Best Buys reviews.


  • NEWS plus Broadband
  • READERS' FORUM Plus Dilbert
  • BACKBYTES: Book Review, Skills, Web Review, Gadgets and Gizmos, Games,
  • Bytesback

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PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

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The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

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A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

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I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

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As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

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