Get an HP quad-core desktop for $329.99
This nicely appointed system might make the perfect upgrade for someone who's not ready to make the move to a laptop.
Games, video production, CAD work, graphic design -- computing tasks like these need all the horsepower you can throw at them, and for most users that means a desktop.
While supplies last, Woot spin-off site Moofi has the refurbished HP Pavilion P6-2427C quad-core desktop for $329.99, plus $5 for shipping. That's a pretty amazing price for a tower with this kind of power.
For starters, the Pavilion serves up 3.2GHz of AMD A8-5500 processing goodness, along with 8GB of DDR3 SDRAM, a 1TB hard drive, built-in Wi-Fi, and a SuperMulti DVD burner.
As for graphics, HP supplies an integrated Radeon HD 7560D subsystem, which is better than average but might prove a little anemic for users with higher-end needs. My advice: wait and see. You can always drop a more powerful video card into one of the Pavilion's expansion slots.
Speaking of expansion, the shiny black tower offers six USB ports, two of them of the USB 3.0 variety. It also has a memory-card reader, headphone and microphone jacks, and a set of 5.1-channel audio jacks.
Unsurprisingly, the system runs Windows 8. I'm not happy about it, either, but you can always to restore the Start menu and boot directly to the desktop -- in which case you've effectively got yourself Windows 7.
Because this is a refurb, it comes with a 90-day warranty. But here's a tip: some credit cards, and I think all American Express cards, will double your warranty on purchases like this. Might be worth investigating.
Although this isn't the single most powerful desktop I've seen, it's definitely one of the best-equipped for the price. Even if you end up spending another $100 on a graphics card, I still think you come out ahead.
Bonus deal: The Parrot AR.Drone has been high (no pun intended) on my wish list for as long as I can remember. Today only, and while supplies last, JustDeals has the Parrot AR.Drone for $149.99, plus $5 for shipping. (If something else comes up, mouse over the top item on the right.) It's the first-generation model, but it's new, not refurbished. This "quadricopter" is controlled by your Android or iOS device and comes with a built-in camera for live video streaming and even game-playing. Would I rather have the 2.0 model? Sure, but it costs twice as much.
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