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About three and a half years ago I was looking for a new Computer, my first computer purchase after my Dad had built a Computer for me before. I was looking for a new Computer that was available at a low price but was great value and tick all the important boxes. After a look around the likes of Currys, Comet and Staples I opted for a computer package in PC World which featured the desktop along with a monitor. I can't remember the exact price of the bundle but believe it was around £320 which I thought was an excellent deal for this kind of package compared to other similar priced desktop packages available. I wanted something that would look nice on the desk and I was attracted to the look of the monitor as well as the desktop. I have used the computer pretty much everyday and it is still going strong which is one of the main reasons for the review.
The desktop included Windows Vista Home Premium and is available with a 17inch monitor which is silver and has a sleek look. The package came with all the cables you would need to connect the monitor to the desktop and it also includes the wired keyboard and the mouse. Of course you can choose to replace these with wireless ones if you so choose. I have had no problems with either and haven't felt the need for a wireless keyboard or mouse. Like most computers it also comes with a load of bundled free software which I will go into next.
These are the usual programs which are inluded with any new Computer. You have an excellent option of a free 60 day trial version of Microsoft Office which is ideal and will give you the chance to try out the program for two months and then if you want to sign up to the whole package then you just pay a small fee and you will have the full version for as long as you want. All the others are the usual ones you will find on any Computer.
Microsoft Works and Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 60-Day Trial Version
Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0
Adobe Reader 8.0
HP Total Care Advisor
Photosmart Essential, Windows Photo Gallery
Windows Media Player
Windows Movie Maker, Windows DVD Maker
Cyberlink DVDSuite Deluxe
EasyBits Magic Desktop
Windows Media Center
All the other products are excellent as well and give you the ability to do all sorts of things with your computer, whether you watch movies on your computer, make movies yourself or perhaps you're a keen photographer in which case Photosmart Essential is an excellent option. Overall these programs give you all the basics for you to get on and use your computer from the off. It also features a trial of Norton Internet Security which is so important nowadays with all the viruses that can attack your computers it's a must that you get a good anti virus software package.
**Under the hood**
The most important thing about any Computer is what it has under the hood and this is a solid computer all round. It features a 160GB hard drive which I have had updated to 480GB. The graphics card is a solid one and the processor is an excellent AMD Sempron Dual Core processor 2200. There's also 1GB of Memory which may sound like not much but it does the job well enough. It features a DVD writer with Light scribe technology which allows you to personalise your recorded discs. I have never used this particular feature but I have heard it works really well and have seen some excellent results from it. There are six usb ports which is more than enough for most people. Four on the back and two at the front of the desktop. Also included at the front are several other slots for memory cards of various sizes. This is a great feature and works really well and means you don't have to fiddle round the back, You can just slot the card into the port and it loads onto the screen. The sound card enables High Definition Audio 7.1 which allows you to use a 7.1 surround sound system for your music and movies and of course games. I regularly connect my computer to my Hifi and it sounds excellent.
I have used this computer for pretty much everyday for the last three and a half years and it has stood the test of time. like any computer it's had a few slight problems but nothing terminal or for that long. I will be looking to replace it as my main computer in the next year or so but I will continue to use it even then. It has a decent future proof value which is evident from the extra hard drives which I have had installed. It sounds good and looks good too. I would recommend looking around for any deals you could find as I have seen you can get this computer for around £240 now. It's an excellent budget computer that punches above it's weight and allows various upgrade options making it future proof. Ideal for a second computer or a cheaper main computer.