The lowdown on super PCs
What are they?
The super PCs of the moment come with Intel Pentium 4 processors with multithreading technology running as fast as 3.06 GHz, or AMD Athlon XP 3000+ and 3200+ processors. They should have 512M or more of RAM, a large, 7,200-rpm or faster hard drive, at least one fast CD-RW optical drive, and one DVD-ROM read-only drive or a rewritable DVD drive. Video and sound cards with plenty of on-board RAM, dial-up and 10/100 Ethernet cards, and plenty of IEEE 1394 FireWire and Universal Serial Bus ports should round up the their basic features.How much do they cost?
Most of the base units I configured for this guide cost around $2,000. But most super PCs will cost over $3,000 once they are fully configured with monitors, software and other extras.When do you need one?
You need a super PC for high-end graphics, computer-aided design, music copying, digital photo editing and digital video capture and editing tasks.When don't you need one?
If your main computing tasks require standard word processing, spreadsheet and e-mail applications, save your money and buy a unit priced around $1,000.Must-know info?
You can buy a super PC off-the-shelf from most retail computer outlets. For the best price and features, however, configure your PC online and then order it from a reputable vendor.