Buying a Computer for Vista ... and Beyond

With careful planning, you can buy PCs that will both support Windows Vista and last well beyond today's standard life span

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Should you be looking for a notebook computer, a trip to Lenovo revealed a ThinkPad T60p for $2,670, laid out like this:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo processor T7600 (2.33 GHz, 4MB L2, 667-MHz FSB)
  • Windows XP Professional
  • 1GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM 667-MHz SODIMM memory
  • 100GB hard disk drive, 7,200 rpm
  • ATI Mobility Fire GL V5250 256MB video card
  • DVD-recordable 8x Max dual-layer optical drive, Ultrabay Slim
  • 14.1-in. SXGA+ TFT display
  • ThinkPad 11a/b/g Wi-Fi wireless LAN Mini-PCIe US/EMEA/LA/ANZ
  • Integrated Wi-Fi wireless a/b/g
  • Integrated Bluetooth PAN
  • Integrated fingerprint reader
  • UltraNav (TrackPoint and TouchPad)
  • Six-cell Li-Ion primary battery
  • Warranty service upgrade; two-year on-site repair, 9x5/next business day

There's also a slightly more upscale configuration (with a larger display, plus a TV tuner and upgrade to Vista Home Premium included) available at Dell with its XPS M1710 for about $320 more than the Lenovo model:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo T7600 (2.33 GHz, 4MB L2 Cache, 667-MHz FSB)
  • Windows XP Media Center, plus express upgrade to Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 1GB DDR2 SDRAM at 667 MHZ, two DIMM
  • 100GB 7,200-rpm SATA hard drive
  • 256MB nVidia GeForce Go 7900 GS video card
  • 24x CD burner/DVD Combo optical drive
  • 17-in. UltraSharp widescreen UXGA display
  • Integrated 10/100/1000 network card and modem
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 3945a/g
  • Integrated audio
  • 80 WHr 9-cell Li-Ion primary battery
  • External USB TV tuner, remote
  • One-year limited warranty and at-home service

Of course, these two notebooks do skirt the $3,000 upgrade price that some have speculated for Vista-capable hardware. They also don't include whatever additional warranty coverage you might desire. Still, they're more than adequate configurations -- and don't forget that there are less expensive AMD equivalents to these Intel-based systems available. You can also apply these configurations to models from other PC vendors.

As Your Vista Anxiety Draws to a Close

Hopefully you've noticed by now that while Vista is not necessarily the package of sliced bread that Microsoft would like you to believe it is, it's also not the horrific destroyer of hardware and budgets that others have foretold. In fact, we went through much of the same anxiety with Windows XP when it first poked its head out of Redmond.

Over time, everything resolves itself. The guidelines we've set forth above will let you ride out the inevitable rough waters and still end up with a viable computer for the long term.

Bill O'Brien has written a half dozen books and more than 2,000 articles on computers and technology, ranging from Apple ][ computers, to PCs, to Linux, to commentary on IT hardware decisions. You can reach him at TechNudge.net.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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