Review by Dude Love Fan
PCs. Is there anything they can't do?
I have been using PCs since Kindergarten, and have had one of my own for about the last 8 years. I will say right now, that I have a hard time remembering how I got by before I had one, and I am sure many people can say the same. The benefit of having one machine that can do most anything is the PCs biggest strength, while having to regularly or semi regularly upgrade and sometimes even retire an entire machine is the Achilles heel of the platform.
The PC is the fastest moving platform in terms of graphics. With consoles you have one set of hardware that will not change for an entire generation, with PCs you have bleeding edge hardware always coming out, allowing for the best graphics around. However, this beauty comes with a price, upgrading. If you want to have the best graphics available you have to in turn have the best hardware out there, which can be very costly some times. That being said, it doesn't take a million dollar machine to have great graphics. It seems no matter which year it is, or what the current standards are, you can always build a solid gaming machine for around $500 if you shop around and buy your parts wisely.
Personally every time I review the sound capabilities on any platform released after the Playstation I see the need to do so decline. The PSX ushered in CD quality sound in gaming the masses, and the next round of consoles brought in surround sound. Since we have reached that point, reviewing sound seems almost a waste of time. At this point all that really needs to be said is "It's there". With that in mind, PCs can play music and sounds with flawless perfection and surround you in it given the right hardware, and if something new comes along, you can bet your bottom dollar PCs will support it.
Game Library: 10/10
There are untold numbers of PC games with tons being released even as I type this. There are shooters, RPGs, simulations, strategy games, driving, puzzle, adventure, and any other genre you can think of on the PC. What's more, there are thousands of games that can be downloaded for free from the hundreds of freeware sites around the internet. As the word Freeware crosses my mind I can think of no better word in the world of PCs, some great gaming experiences are out there to be had at no cost to you other than your time(not to devalue your time, mind you), so as one song says, "You don't need a penny just to hang around". Even better, if you you posses the talent to do so, you can make your own games and give them to others or even sell them.
Flawless, you can control games with the mouse and keyboard you use every day to navigate around your computer, or you can easily purchase a game controller just like the ones you may already be used to. FPSers will praise the keyboard and mouse for it's accuracy till the end of time, but even if that isn't your thing, you have options. There isn't much more to be said about it in all honesty.
People often jokingly throw out 11/10 in reviews for some feature they feel really psyched about, but in all seriousness, there is so much flexibility in PCs that a simple 10 doesn't do it justice. Anyone who uses a PC knows they can do pretty much anything they want with their PC. Example: I am listening to Thinkin' Problem by David Ball right now as I write this review, and when I go to play a game later with some friends I will put on a headset and talk to my friends in a teamspeak server. If I wanted to I could turn on my TV which is hooked to my PC and watch some shows on it using the TV tuner I have installed in my PC. The cooler things haven't even been mentioned yet. Do you like a few tracks on all of your CDs, but don't want to have to trudge through songs you don't like to get there? Simply grab iTunes or Windows Media Player and make a mix cd of only the songs you like. Have some photos you would like to send to a family member who doesn't have a computer? Take some software and make a DVD they can pop in their DVD player and show them all your memories. The amount of choice you have with a PC is nearly infinite, and given the right hardware a PC can handle nearly every aspect of your "digital lifestyle" from pictures, to gaming, to TV, to music, to web browsing, to contacting family with email or video conferencing. Given the sheer amount of versatility in PCs they deserve that %110 score.
Operating System: Windows Vista 9/10
The true reason I wanted to write this review was I wanted an outlet to review Vista in, but other than the PC hardware I didn't have an option. Many people have many ideas on the newest iteration of Windows, from those who think it is the beginning of the end for Microsoft, to those who feel that Windows is nothing more than a copy of Mac OSX. After using Vista as my only OS since it's launch date, I can safely say it gives me a sleek interface to do all the things I want to do. As for ripping things off of mac, all I have to say is this: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In terms of gaming and software compatibility, I haven't run into any real issues, but that isn't to say there aren't any problems. Your best bet is to check with whomever made your product to see if they have a Vista compatible version, or just check the version you have, as a lot of things run without issue. Overall Vista is a fabulous OS, even though it still does have a few rough edges to be worked out.
Operating System: Windows XP 9/10
At the time of this writing this is what most of the Windows camp is running, and it's easy to see why, for the most part, it just works. Windows may have the edge in that it is installed on all new machines, and XP has a very large user base because of this. That isn't a slight at XP, because in terms of stability and working right, it gets the job done most all the time. The main edge XP has over Vista is compatibility, both in hardware and software. Hardware wise XP can run on most any modern machine, a feature which Vista can't easily match, and in terms of software, XP has the widest variety out there. For the time being XP gets the job done, and until support for the OS dries up it will still do well.
Operating System: Linux 7/10
Linux is the grassroots OS of the future in the eyes of some users, to others it's a way of "fighting the man", and to yet others it's a secure server worthy OS that they can "set and forget". Linux is a solid OS for general desktop use, it has a solid office suite, good web browsers, and nice multimedia software. So for those who generally just browse the web, listen to some music and use Word, Linux is a fine choice for a desktop OS. In terms of stability, Linux is rock solid, and as such works well as a server. The main issue with the system is it's lack of games, while occasionally you will find a company that will port it's game to the OS, most don't. That being said there are efforts in the community to remedy that such as Cedega and Wine, but when push comes to shove, it just isn't as easy as popping a disc in and installing; which may be an plus or a minus depending on your style. The only reason I didn't put Linux up there with Windows is simply in terms of application support(mainly gaming) Linux just can't hold it's own yet.
Overall the PC is an all in one powerhouse that the console can't touch. Whether you use it to make movies, games, CDs, or touch up your photos, the PC has something for you. It has the capability to blow you away graphically, and help you in your day to day life with things such as email, word processing, and web browsing. The only knock you can really stick on PCs is that to keep a gaming PC up to date is a never ending saga, with a never ending financial drain. Otherwise the PC is the box that has changed the world, and became a permanent part of our lives.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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