I was looking for a new computer that could cope with memory-intensive programs such as Photoshop, since my old computer was struggling to keep up with me! So, I purchased the HP Pavilion a6442 primarily for its top notch specification.
That specification includes:
* A quad processor (2.6GHz) - four processors working together = a nice fast computer!
* 4GB RAM - perfect for memory-intensive software and games
* 500GB hard drive - more than you'll ever need!
* 16x DVDRW - a must-have for making your own DVDs and backing up files
* GeForce 8600GT graphics card - this means that you can run the latest games and they'll run smoothly, due to the additional 512MB RAM provided by the card
* Memory card reader - for accessing storage cards such as those used in a digital camera
I chose the base unit only, as I already had an up to date monitor. If your monitor is more than a couple of years old, you WILL need to get a new one. Old monitors struggle to cope with modern graphics cards such as the one installed in this machine.
The one drawback with this machine is that it comes with Windows Vista. Vista was a problem from the very first time I switched the computer on, when it failed to load. It worked fine on a reboot, but this was the first of many times I'd be cursing the Vista operating system! Eventually I reformatted the hard drive and installed Windows XP instead. Since doing that, I've been able to enjoy the full potential of this computer! It's fast - even when I'm opening extremely large graphics files for editing. It's efficient and reliable with minimal crashes.
In terms of design, the base unit has curved corners which is nice and modern. It's black in colour with a silver edge to the front panel. There are two USB slots and one USB 2.0 slot at the front, with even more available at the rear, so there's plenty for your average user. As well as the built-in DVDRW, there is also an additional spare media drive space in case you want to add another DVDRW or something else. The DVDRW is actually a lightscribe-capable DVD writer, so you can use the DVD writer to edge writing or pictures onto the top of your lightscribe CDs and DVDs!
All in all, this is a top notch computer (once you get rid of Vista!) and highly recommended for gaming and memory-intensive applications.