Budgeting add-ons

In the last issue we provided financial break-up of a personal computer (PC) for three different user levels. We round it off with options for must-have peripherals.

Print Edition: September 20, 2007

In the last issue we provided financial break-up of a personal computer (PC) for three different user levels. We round it off with options for must-have peripherals.

Speakers: The Voice

Computing requires no speakers, but who buys a PC only for computing any more? Listening to music or playing movies or making your own album or film, there is a speaker system to suit every level of computer usage.

Basic2.0 stereo speakers with volume control and LED displayRs 400
IntermediateSpeakers with built-in headphone and mic jackRs 1,600
Advanced5.1 channel (4 satellite speakers, 1 center speaker and 1 sub-woofer), LCD display, cordless remoteRs 3,700

Sound Card: The Throat

Facilitates input and output sound. Can be used to edit audio. A feature to look for is polyphony — the number of distinct voices or sounds that can be played back simultaneously and independently.

Basic32-bit audio sound supporting multi-channel speakers and can download wavetable synthesizerRs 300
Intermediate24-bit, 96kHz audio, 64 voices polyphony with 5.1 surround soundRs 5,500
Advanced24-bit, 192 kHz in stereo and 7.1 channel surround sound; multi-channel graphic equaliser and acoustic effectsRs 12,000

Microphones: The Ears

Must for web chats, the more senstivie the better for clearer converstaions. Also useful for dictating notes or commands in PCs with voice activated softwares.

BasicHeadset with volume control and flexible microphoneRs 100
IntermediateStereo earphone with ear clips and built-in microphone; 100mW outputRs 280
AdvancedCordless headphone (range 30m) with wireless microphone and FM radio receiverRs 1,000

Webcams: The Eyes

From simple video chats to running your own Internet TV show there is a cam for all needs.

BasicA low resolution webcam (160x120p to 640x480p) with a built-in micRs 400
IntermediateVGA (640x480p) video and 1.3mp image resolution; button for still photosRs 1250
Advanced1.3mp resolution, works in low light; face tracking technology enables webcam to move to keep you in view; ultra-wide view; built-in micRs 6,000

Printer/Scanner/Copier: The Multiplier

The world will never be paper-less, which means you will print, copy or scan. Here are three inkjet options; price of laser printers is falling too.

BasicPrint/Scan/Copy; 6-colour photos with 4800x1200 dpi print resolution; 48-bit colour and 16-bit grayscale scannerRs 3,200
IntermediateAll the above functions plus a phone/fax; print speed is up to 17 ppm for black; integrated phone handsetRs 8,000
AdvancedPrint/Scan/Copy/Fax; 2.4" image display; printing via PictBridge, Bluetooth and memory card; speed is 32 ppmRs 15,000

TV tuner cards: The Entertainer

If you keep running between your TV room and computer to catch the latest cricket score, news headline or a favourite show, spare the effort and just attach this card to your PC.

BasicSupports 125 channels; can capture still/video images; some cards also support FM radioRs 1,000
IntermediateCan compress TV programmes into MPEG-1/2/4; infra-red remote control; can receive 160 channelsRs 1,800
AdvancedCan pause a live TV programme; record directly to your hard drive; support FM and Internet radio; can program PC to record a showRs 3,500

Routers: The Connector

Routers (with modems) bring broadband to your PC and link it to a network — wired or wireless. Can make home wi-fi.

BasicDelivers high-speed broadband through ADSL phone line; has USB and LAN portsRs 1,800
IntermediateWireless-G (802.11g) access point and 4-port switch; data up to 54 Mbps with firewallRs 3,800
AdvancedDual-band with wireless-A/B/G networks; advanced security and built-in 4-port switchRs 10,500

UPS: The Backup

Can’t buy a PC without this. Your standard options are:

Basic500VA, 300W will give you an estimated run-time of one hourRs 2,200
Intermediate800VA, 540W will give an estimated run-time of two hoursRs 5,200
Advanced1500VA, 865W will run for a little more than two hoursRs 10,000

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