The Compaq Presario 3050US Notebook PC is a beefy mobile computer that's just a bit behind the technological curve in some areas but delivers plenty of raw power for a comparatively affordable entry fee. A strong business-oriented machine, the system features such amenities as a fast Pentium 4 processor, high-resolution 16-inch display, spacious 60 GB hard drive, and enough memory for efficient multitasking. The unit is a bit bulky when compared to some of today's ultra-lightweight notebooks and it won't burn DVDs or smoothly display complex 3D graphics, but it's priced accordingly and is ready for tasks that would cripple less powerful notebooks.
At the heart of any computer lies the CPU (or processor), a massive collection of miniature transistors that governs the speed and power of the entire unit. Some of today's notebooks are equipped with high-end CPU's on par with those found in top-of-the-line desktop PCs, while others are quick enough only for basic duties such as word processing, email and the like. The Presario 3050US sports an Intel Pentium 4 processor operating at a speedy 3.06 GHz. This is not a particularly attractive CPU in terms of battery efficiency, and it isn't one of Intel's most recent Pentium 4s that feature new performance-enhancing technologies such as Hyper-Threading and upgraded Level 2 cache. Yet it's clock speed is so high that most users won't need to upgrade for years.
Computers typically store information on their hard drive, but they keep frequently and recently accessed data in Random Access Memory (RAM) for faster retrieval. More RAM means more efficient computing, superior multitasking and less strain on your hard drive. The Presario 3050US incorporates 512 MB of 266 333 MHz RAM. This is a typical allotment for today's high-end notebooks, though its rated speed is not especially fast. Nevertheless, it will provide satisfactory multitasking and keep you moving quickly during demanding situations.
CPU's are usually so busy doing basic calculations that they need assistance translating visual output to the viewing screen. This is the duty of the graphics card (or graphics controller). The best graphics controllers feature on-board "dedicated" video memory rather than "sharing" portions of the system's all-important main memory. This unit features an SiS 650 UMA Graphics 4X AGP controller with 64 MB of shared video memory, and thusly will have some trouble displaying high-end 3D applications such as advanced games and sophisticated animation. It is, however, perfectly sufficient for most 2D tasks and some 3D work.
One of this notebook's most obvious attractions is its display, a roomy 16-inch SXGA TFT screen with 1280 by 1024 maximum resolution for clear, detailed images.
The Presario 3050US features a large 60 GB hard disk. This level of data storage is a welcome perk indeed for those who require a smaller notebook but need to operate a broad range of applications and also keep a library of space-gobbling music and/or multimedia files.
An optical drive is essential in today's computing environment. A "CD-ROM" drive allows you to install CD-based applications and play music CDs. A "CD-RW" drive adds CD "burning", so you can also backup your important files to long-lasting discs and create personalized music CDs. With a DVD-ROM drive you can watch DVD movies. And with a DVD-RW drive, you can "write" home movies to durable discs and archive files to DVD (DVDs boast more than seven times the storage capacity of a CD). Some drives allow you to do a combination of all of these tasks. This system sports a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive through which you can play and burn CDs and play DVDs. DVD burning is not offered in this stock configuration.
The unit is equipped with two miniature stereo speakers, a mini microphone jack and a stereo mini headphone jack.
Keyboard and Controls
You'll control your notebook via an 88-key keyboard and touch pad with on/off button and dedicated scroll.
Connectivity and Expansion
The Presario 3050US offers a wide variety of ways to keep in touch, including a 56K modem for low-speed dial-up Internet and email access, an RJ-45 LAN port for high-speed wired network and Internet, and integrated 54g wireless technology for fast cord-free e-communication at home, at the office or on the road via a public hotspot. Other key amenities include four high-speed USB 2.0 ports for plug and play devices such as external drives and digital cameras and an IEEE 1394 FireWire port (commonly used for quick data uploads from digital camcorders).
Operating System and Software
Compaq has stocked the Presario 3050US with a variety of software, including Microsoft's Windows XP Home Edition operating system, Microsoft's Works 6.0 productivity suite, Microsoft's Money 2003 financial centre, and a selection of helpful utilities and time-limited trials.
Dimensions and Weight
Notebook computers are manufactured in a wide variety of sizes and weights. Many of today's most powerful notebooks are also the largest, weighing ten or twelve lbs or more and therefore too big and cumbersome for extensive, continuous traveling. These are often referred to as "desktop replacements". On the other extreme are "thin and lights" or "ultra-portables", super-miniaturized units that typically aren't as powerful as their larger brethren but weigh as little as two lbs and will often fit comfortably inside a large purse. At 13.83 by 11.82 by 1.73 and 8.2 lbs, the Presario 3050US is of average size.
The unit is equipped with a 12-cell Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery.