Selecting a suitable computer system

Task: Find three computer systems which are currently for sale and evaluate their specifications and select the one which you think is most suitable for Ben and Jerry. Write a detailed report to the family identifying the computers you have selected and explaining which computer that you consider to be the most suitable, justifying your choice. (Distinction Criteria)
Dear Andrew,
I received your letter regarding a new computer for your children and I looked up several computers matching the criteria you provided. I trimmed the list to just three computers and I gave you my honest thoughts about them including a critical, technical analysis of each computer. I hope you find my advice helpful.

The first computer I wanted you to look at was the Apple Mac Pro which at �5691 is a high end, top of the line PC that is very expensive but very powerful nonetheless.
The Mac Pro has a powerful quad core processor with two dual core processors capable of 16 GB of SDRAM. To have 16 GBs is unheard of in the computing world so Ben should find that whatever demanding application he uses, the computer still handles smoothly. At 2 TB it has a huge hard disk space that dwarfs other mainstream hard drive sizes. Having this amount of space would allow Ben to store as many games as he wants without worrying about the size of it. The graphics card is the impressive 512MB nVidia Quadro FX 4500 that has a 128 bit memory interface when most these days only have 64 bit. This graphics card however seems more appropriate for casual gamer, and those who are not in the market for the latest graphics card. I’m unsure that Ben is just a casual gamer or if he’s a games enthusiast who is very interested in his gaming. Nonetheless, this graphics card is not only supportive of the latest graphics but it also possesses enough processing power to generate smooth gaming without any noticeable lagging.
The Mac Pro comes with one of the best professional video editing software programmes that’s used by many Hollywood movie editors. Final Cut Pro is one of the leading video editing applications with thousands of effects and although, it looks complicated to begin with, eventually it does become much easier to use. Its image editing package is impressive as well with Adobe Fireworks, Illustrator and Photoshop available for Jerry to play around with. Illustrator is a vector based image editor and Photoshop is simply the best application for the editing of digital images.

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One mustn’t discount the Photobooth feature which uses its webcam to take pictures and videos. It has a range of standard effects such as sepia tone, black and white, thermal camera, X ray, comic, mirror etc. There are range of backdrops like clouds, colour dots and rollercoaster available. This would please Jerry since he preferred a PC with a webcam to record. The price includes an Apple DVI to Video adaptor to connect the PC to your Television in order to view the movies you downloaded.
An excellent aspect of this PC is the operating system it uses. The Mac OS snow leopard is a far more efficient OS when compared to Windows due to the fact that it’s not susceptible to viruses and its stunning user interface. Every button has a glassy feel and all applications are organised very well. The finder application searches through the hard drive at incredible speeds to look for a document or another application. It has a futuristic feel that Windows Vista and 7 have recently tried to emulate, however, the original is always the best. It was largely well received by many critics and was referred to as the most advanced OS in the world.
Apple Macs are reputed to have excellent screen quality and its 23 inch screen is suitable for gaming and having such a wide screen would allow Jerry to have a spacious desktop and to work freely when editing his images or videos.
The next computer that maybe worth a look in is the Dell XPS 430 Desktop which at �670 is very much cheaper than the Apple Mac Pro; in truth this is a very competitive price for a powerful machine such as this. In addition to this, Dell is market leader manufacturing high quality PCs with a glowing worldwide reputation.
Most of the features match up to your criteria. For example, you said that Jerry has an interest in photo editing. The XPS 430 has the latest Adobe Elements package including Photoshop which is tailored for a person like Jerry. Adobe Photoshop is industry standard editing software that has a plethora of editing effects and capabilities and I assure you that it’s perfect for an image editing enthusiast like Jerry. Granted Adobe Premiere elements is a scaled down version of the industry standard Adobe Premier Pro, however, it’s still the best selling consumer video editing software because it has a range of advantages over its competitors. Features like real time rendering would help Jerry to immediately preview his edits to the timeline. This machine also has a deck-top docking area to conveniently dock, charge and cable route for portable devices – such as digital camera, in the case of Jerry. This undoubtedly makes things much easier where all Jerry would have to do is to dock the camera and then edit straight from there!
In addition to this, the XPS is a self-titled gaming computer which is perfect for Ben. By using ATI2 and NVIDIA2 graphic solutions, the XPS 430 is capable of delivering high end multimedia features including next generation graphics and HD quality video. Most impressive of all, the machine’s processor is a top of the line Intel Quad Core 2 processor that was specifically built to handle the most demanding games. High detailed games are rendered by four hardware threads, which in turn distribute the AI and physics evenly. This powerful processor is tailor made for Ben who thrives on the latest games. Nowadays, many games take up several GB’s of space meaning smaller hard drives would struggle. The XPS 430 has 2 TB’s (that’s a 2000 GB) of hard drive space which is more than three times the size of a hard drive on normal computer. Plus, there are plenty of USB ports (5 internal, 7 external to be precise) in case Ben wants to plug in a games controller or joystick. The speaker that comes with the package is the Bose Companion 3 Series II which is a multimedia speaker system that is unlike any other conventional speaker in the sense that it delivers crisp sound and stunning ambience that creates a life like atmosphere, be it playing games or watching a HD movie.
Also, since the computer has a Blu-Ray disk drive, it has the ability to play games or watch films in true high definition. I’m also impressed with the Dell Ultrasharp widescreen display that completes the High definition capability of the PC. Since the monitor’s widescreen, you get the sense that it’s almost a widescreen television not a PC monitor. Its operating system Windows Vista is reputed to be a media centric OS so Jerry and Ben would enjoy using its 3D user interface which has an Apple Mac feel. The XPS 430’s RAM is well above average too with 8GB. Most computers have 2, maybe 3 GB because that’s an acceptable amount. RAM is a good indicator of how good a computer is because it shows how many programmes a machine can run without having to slow down. So the more RAM on store, the more programmes you can run without worrying about it slowing things down.
Finally, we mustn’t ignore the digital video capture capability in this PC. It has a built in 2.0 mega pixel camera which is capable of taking pictures, record videos and it’s perfect when added with VOIP(Voice over Internet Protocol) software such as Skype.
The XPS 430 also has 1 VGA and HDMI output to connect the PC to your TV, allowing you to watch downloaded films on your TV; This PC certainly ticks all your boxes.
The last PC I picked out was the HP Pavilion Elite which is nearly twice as expensive as the Dell at �1279.
The feature you immediately notice is the processor which is twice as capable as the Intel Quad Core 2 processor that was in the Dell XPS 430. The Intel Core i7-860 Processor is a processor that was specifically designed for multi-tasking purposes. That’s why unlike the Intel Quad Core 2 it has 8 threads to share the workload. One of its features, Intel Smart Cache, was optimized to deliver a higher quality gaming performance with an improved capable cache system. In addition to this, other features like HD Boost and Turbo Boost technology handle the most demanding programmes maximising the performance leading to an overall improvement of a plethora of multimedia and computer intensive programmes. Its clock speed of 2.8 GHz is also marginally better than the Quad Core 2 Processor (2.66 GHz) – the clock speed measures how fast a PC can complete basic calculations and operations. This processor would be incredibly useful for both your children as it’s perfect for high detail HD gaming and image editing which would need multiple applications to be open.
The OS system Microsoft 7 Home premium is the latest OS from windows and has a range of multimedia applications that would satisfy both Ben and Jerry. The latest Windows media centre can act as a hub for all your children’s multimedia needs. Here they can watch videos, photos and even play games! Applications that are included with the OS under Microsoft like Movie Maker, DVD Maker and photo gallery are standard multimedia programmes that are still competent in helping the user to maximise their multimedia experience.
The graphics card would no doubt excite Ben who I understand is a games enthusiast. The NVIDIA GeForce GT 230 is a graphics card with Purevideo HD technology which like the graphics card in the XPS 430 allows the user to immerse themselves in true high definition gaming. Another added benefit to gaming, is the “7.1 HD audio support” that would undoubtedly create a unique gaming atmosphere.
The disk drive size of 1.5 TB is enormous even though it’s not as much the XPS 430 (2 TB in size) and it would mean that both your children can store plenty of games, videos and images without worrying about how big they are. It has an equal RAM capability to the XPS 430 at 8 GB, allowing the computer to run many programmes at the same time without worrying about it slowing things down. This is ideal for Jerry in particular who would be using multiple, highly demanding applications to edit his videos and images.
This particular PC comes with a HP games console that has hours of free gameplay that would certainly entertain Ben. The fact that it has 10 external USB ports is useful if he were to plug in his joystick or games controller. This PC may however disappoint Jerry due to the fact that it doesn’t have an image editing software included. However, it does have one of the world’s best video editing software in Cyberlink DVDSuite. This application is not as competent as Adobe Premiere Elements but I still feel that it’s an excellent video editing software that is suited for an amateur video editing enthusiast.
This machine also doesn’t have a webcam which is a downside but it does have a VGA and a HDMI port to plug the PC on to your television.
In conclusion, the HP pavilion would not be recommended by me due to the absence of an image editing software. I feel for �1279 it doesn’t suit the criteria and so would be a waste of money. It doesn’t have a webcam either further deteriorating its credibility. However, this PC is very suited for Ben because of the quality of the graphics card, the audio support and the free HP games console that’s included and not to forget the brilliant PC monitor.
On the other extreme, the Apple Mac Pro is nearly �6000 and for that money you’re getting the best OS in the world, superb image editing software and a world class video editing application in Final Cut pro. Its Imagebooth applications boast the ability to take pictures and videos and have a range of effects. This makes it perfect for Jerry who loves editing videos and images. However, I don’t believe it’s suitable for Ben as the graphics card is a just a mainstream graphics card that may struggle with certain demanding games. The fact that it doesn’t have a blu-ray disc drive is a negative as well as it would be unable to play HD games. For the amount of money, you’d expect this PC to be perfect but it’s far from it.
That leaves me with the Dell XPS 430 which I reckon is the most suitable PC as it satisfies the needs of both Jerry and Ben equally well. Its graphics card is incredibly powerful and the RAM it possesses is enough to handle the most highly detailed games. It even has a blu-ray disc drive to play HD games and its quad core 2 processor is one of the best for gaming. Ben is sure to be impressed with these specifications. Jerry on the other hand will be excited to have Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere which are excellent programmes for image and video editing. The XPS 430 even has deck-top docking area to conveniently dock portable devices like a digital camera.
This would without doubt be convenient for Jerry as he can simply plug in his camera and get editing without wasting much time. It has a VGA and HDMI output to connect to the television and watch movies and its sound system gives an incredible atmosphere. Whether it’s watching videos or playing games this sound system would simply maximise the viewing experience. One mustn’t forget that it also has a 2.0 mega pixel camera that records and takes pictures and is suitable for applications like Skype. The icing on the cake without doubt has to be the fact that it’s the cheapest PC from the ones I’ve listed at �670 and that’s why I recommend that you purchase the Dell XPS 430.


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