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© 2010 Ugur Akinci
As a result of my recent research into what makes a good new desktop or laptop machine I’ve made an unexpected discovery that saved me a lot of time and energy, if not money: the category of computers (desktop, laptop, notebook) generally referred to as “game machines” are excellent for technical communicators.
They are not cheap and sometimes they come with over-the-top design features but overall they’re what I need as a PRODUCTION machine in this day and age where the best and the brightest gadgets are geared strictly for (media) CONSUMPTION (e.g., iPad).
By “production” I mean writing and designing any kind of technical document, help file, or doing any heavy duty media editing and manipulation. If for example you write a User Guide for any system and prepare figures, tables, and then insert photos, videos and Flash animation, and then single-source it, you’re deep into “production.”
Here are some of the reasons why such machines are excellent for tech writers and communicators:
Game machines (GM) are rugged and well-built. They have high-quality components inside that should last for a while.
- GMs have faster chips like AMD Phenom II or Intel’s Core i3, i5, i7 series. Most of these chips are turbo charged — which means they turn on the power depending on your work load and otherwise shift into a lighter energy-consumption mode. That should save you money in the long-run, given the high energy demands of all GMs.
- GMs have excellent graphic cards, the kinds that would bring immediate smile to a tech communicator’s face. That goes hand in hand with high screen resolution at the 1920 x 1200 level. For those tired eyes, such resolution is heaven sent.
- GMs have multi-core processors and come with huge hard disks (usually larger than 500 Gigs). That means you can open up multiple resource-hungry applications, switch back and forth and round-trip to your heart’s content without crashing or choking your system.
- GMs come with large screens which are great for gaming and document design alike.
The only setback I can think of to a GM is its price. Even for an usually-affordable Windows machine, expect to pay more than $1,000 if it’s packed with GM features.
Final note: among the relatively-affordable GM brands that caught my eye so far are Toshiba and ASUS.