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In pro digital photography, megahertz matters - Continued

Four computers: two of today's fastest, and two from yesteryear.


Alienware Area-51m 3.06GHz P4 w/1GB RAM, 40GB/5400 RPM hard drive, Windows XP Professional.

The Area-51m crams the fastest available desktop Pentium processor into a hefty laptop package, making it one of the speediest PC's in production. In standard benchmarking software, this laptop trails the fastest desktop running the same processor by only a few percentage points.

Estimated price as configured for this test: US$3300


Apple Macintosh Power Mac G4 1.25GHz (dual processors) w/1GB RAM, 120GB/7200 RPM hard drive, OS X 10.2.3. This is the fastest shipping Mac as I write this.

Estimated price as configured for this test: US$3600 (not including a monitor)


Apple Macintosh Powerbook G4/800MHz w/1GB RAM, 60GB/5400 RPM hard drive, OS X 10.2.3. Prior to November 2002, this was the fastest Powerbook, and it remains one of the best-equipped laptops of its size.

Estimated price as configured for this test: n/a (discontinued model)


Dell Dimension 8200 1.8GHz P4 w/512MB RAM, 40GB/5400 RPM hard drive, Windows XP Professional. In 2001, this was among the speedier desktops; now, a 1.8GHz Pentium 4-equipped desktop is an entry-level machine in most manufacturer's lineups.

Estimated price as configured for this test: n/a (discontinued model)


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