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Friday, July 24, 2009

Intel's P10,000 PC: good or bad idea?

Remember Intel's NetTop from last year? Well, they just launched the second iteration of the cheapo personal computer targeting the Philippine market at large.

The idea is that they want to increase PC and Internet penetration rates in the country by providing the most affordable computer. There's a news piece available from ABS-CBN News.

The company says that this little machine should be perfect for basic computing tasks like Emails, chat, VoIP and word processing. Maybe you could throw in DVD movies and music. But the gist is that it isn't made for power gaming or video editing.

If you ask me, this isn't exactly a good idea. At the price it's currently pegged at, the Nettop 2 will save you about Php5,000 when compared to a basic off-the-shelf rig from the mall.

Why not?

When buying a computer, you don't just think of the cash you're shelling out. Like anyone with enough common sense, you will want to ask yourself: "will this be worth my money?". At 10k, you are getting a barebones package. Put that side-by-side with a basic box, you're actually losing money when looking at the value you get for the price.

Another thing you'd want to look out for is the machine's capacity to get upgraded. Say you want to buy a PC for the whole family. Sure, all you want is Web surfing, maybe word processing, a few slide presentations here and there, instant messaging (chat) with your aunt abroad; you still get all these from NetTop 2.

But what happens when your high school kid gets to college, and suddenly learns he/she needs to run Photoshop, AutoCAD, or some business software that needs better processing and handling capability? You would want your computer to be able to take upgrades like additional memory, better video card(s), processor replacement and a plethora more.

Basic today isn't all that basic anymore
Come on, admit it. What people called "simple computing" 5 years ago is not the same thing as what it is today. Back then, no one could expect a 14-year old kid to make the next Christmas part photo movie, or for your daughter to be in charge of music remixing and editing for the big school project. It's no longer as simple as it was before. I could imagine NetTop doing the basic, basic stuff just fine. But what about that Christmas show, or that school project?

My take: don't scrimp out on your next PC investment. The longer your computer lives to serve, the longer it will pay off.

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