posted by Eugenia Loli on Sun 8th Dec 2002 06:18 UTC
IconSaturday evening here, nothing more exciting to do... let's suggest some geek/tech gifts for you or your loved ones, for this Christmas.

1. Digital Camera
Olympus C-4000 Zoom (4.1MP, 3200x2400, 3x Opt, 16MB SM). Great features and a reasonable price for $370+tax.

2. PDA
This is one of the cheapest "real" PDAs you can find around. Palm introduced Zire (2 MB) for around $90 USD. The Palm m105 for the same money is pretty good too (8 MB). For those who want an mp3 player instead, I would recommend the Jukebox Studio 20 Recorder with 20GB HD MP3 Player for only $235.

3. T-Mobile's and Danger's Wireless PDA/Phone
Now, this one is great! It costs more than the Zire, but it is not just a PDA, but also a T-Mobile cellphone and it is even able to send and receive email, IM and web content. In fact, we have special support for the SideKick/Hiptop device that renders OSNews beautifully and with no ads or the vertical left sidebar (just use the special link above)! Great value for the features included, at $199.

4. Laptop (affordable)
Who wouldn't want a new laptop, right? But laptops can be a bit expensive, so I will suggest two different ones. One very affordable and another one more expensive, but which is still a... steal for its features.

So, check out this HP ze1210 for the affordable one. Its list price is $1,049 after rebates, but I found it at Frys a few days ago as low as $999. I believe for what it offers, this is a great (branded) laptop for the price. It has a combo DVD/CD-RW drive, 20 GB disk, an AthlonXP 1400+ CPU, 15" 1024x768 LCD screen, NIC, modem, 256 MB RAM, ALi chipset with integrated gfx chipset etc. Another great choice for $999 is the HP ze4102 with a Radeon gfx card and a Celeron 1.6 GHz.

5. Laptop (high-end)
For the less affordable, but absolutely amazing for the features laptop (and in fact this is the one my husband wanted to buy for me for Christmas), I would highly recommend this Compaq Pressario 1525us: P4 2.4 GHz CPU, 512MB DDR SDRAM at 266MHz, 40GB hard drive Ultra DMA 4200 RPM, 8X DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive, ATi Radeon Mobility 7500 32 MB, 15.0" SXGA+ TFT (max res. 1400 x 1050), Firewire, NIC, modem, weighs 7.5 pounds. Their web site states that it does 1600x1200, but this is incorrect (the external monitor would go to that res, not the LCD of the laptop).

While trying to find better deals a few days ago, I stubbed against this Gateway and this Dell one, but the Compaq Pressario offers much more for the buck. Indeed, highly recommended, yours for only $1700. (Note: It is cheap because the CPU used is made for desktops and not for laptops. This means that when you are on battery, the BIOS takes care on "halting" the CPU some of the time - not a biggie though, it just slightly "kills" interrupt latency).

6. LCD monitor
Of course, the Proview VM541, 15" LCD monitor @ 1024x768, is a great first LCD monitor at only $250 USD.

7. High-end monitor
If you want to go easily on 1600x1200@85 Hz with no eye strain, this SONY CPD-E540 21" CRT Trinitron flat monitor is your best bet! It has a respectable 0.24mm dot pitch (the site incorrectly states it is 0.25) and it can go up to 1920x1440, but the 1600x1200 res is recommended. You can find it for around $460 USD.

If you instead are after a cheap 17" monitor that can do some respectable resolutions with not much eye strain, try this flat ViewSonic one: E75f. It can do 1600x1200 @ 68Hz but of course I would only recommend it at 1280x1024 @ 80Hz which is already absolutely great for the $140 price!

8. Dual DVD+RW/-RW Combo Drive
This SONY drive is amazing! It supports both protocols for DVD writing, it is pretty fast (24x/10x/32x CDRW) and it is also a CD-RW and a DVD player and.... Anyways, it is great for $320.

9. A Mac
I am sure a lot of people would want a Mac. So, I would suggest actually two purchases, and you go for the one you like:
Either get the middle range iBook (the one that lists for $1299) and make sure you put more memory in it (don't even think running MacOSX with only 128 MB of RAM), or get the lowest end PowerMac, for $1699. As in the case of the iBook, if you do go for the PowerMac, make sure you also add more memory and you might want to think about on upgrading its graphics card to 64 MB ATi Radeon 9000 PRO dual-display, as Quartz Extreme always needs more graphics card and speed. And don't forget Carmack who said to not even think about buying a GeForce4MX to play Doom-3. For $100 more, you get this much speedier ATi Radeon which has good 3D support, but most importantly for QE, more graphics RAM.

On the other hand, you might want to wait a month before buying a Mac, as at the MacWorld at San Francisco in January, new models will surely be announced.

10. Red Hat Linux Personal or SuSE Linux Personal
Can't make up my mind which one is best. Some days I prefer Red Hat 8, other days I prefer SuSE 8.1. Just get the one you like and support the leading Linux distro of your choice.

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