PC for entertainment!

We conducted a straw poll among friends to find out what they used their home computers for most of the time. Work, we fondly thought. But no. Some used them to download and organize music, others played games, and almost all watched movies. If this lot represents a larger universe (and chances are that they do), it’s the entertainment aspect of a PC that seems to be the most coveted and appreciated. So here’s a look at all that you need to turn your existing machine into a media centre – or what you’ll need to look for if you’re in the market for a new computer

The Heart Of A PC

. Is its processor. And this is what lets you watch the latest videos on one window, even as you have some six browser tabs, a couple of spreadsheets and image files open. The speed of the processor determines, among other things, how fast you can switch between windows when the resident slave-driver appears on the horizon. So, if you want to be able to do more than one thing at a time without waiting forever, you need a dual core processor. Even better, splurge on a quad core, and you’ll not need to upgrade for a while.

Memory Matters

If you’re one of those waiting eagerly for The Kite Runner to be released, you’ll either have to have immense patience or download an illegal version of the movie. Unless you want all other work to come to a screeching halt for the two or more hours it takes to download the movie, increase the memory of your computer to at least 2 GB, ideally 4 GB. With an 80 GB iPod, 16 GB in your digicam, and who knows how much in your mobile phone, you deserve to have a hard drive of 320 GB or so. After that, as Google says, you’ll never need to delete another file.

What You See

Whether you’re trying to get the essence of Truffaut or laughing your guts out at Mr Bean, it helps to watch movies on a large screen. Thankfully, TFT and LCD monitors are getting cheaper and better. A 14”-15” wide screen for a laptop and a 17”-19” screen for a desktop should do the trick – and will also help prevent eye strain.

Sound And Light

: So, you’ve created a brilliant playlist of indie music – Andrew Bird, The Automatic, The Moldy Peaches and Vampire Weekend – and want to listen to it in the car. With the right accessories, this should be a breeze. After all, it’s a pretty sad computer that comes without a CD or DVD writer. If yours doesn’t include these devices, get one installed. You can’t go too wrong with LightScribe DVD drives and writers.

ADD-ONS Count

Gheorghe Zamfir will sound like he’s playing a penny-whistle if you listen to music on those tinny computer speakers. Even if you aren’t a hard-core audiophile, invest in a decent set of Creative speakers. The 2.1 system is good for most of us; if you’re a music snob, blow up a small fortune on the 7.1 system. Add an iBall webcam and a Logitech or Trenty microphone and you’re all set.

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