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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Gadgets

Get an Asus 15.6-inch laptop for $319.99

Unlike other dirt-cheap laptops, this one has a dual-core processor, ample RAM, a big hard drive, and Windows 7. The only catch is the unknown warranty.

The Asus K50I-RBBGR05 offers a lot of bang for the buck.
The Asus K50I-RBBGR05 offers a lot of bang for the buck. Asus

I love a good laptop deal, and here's one of the better ones I've seen lately: today only, CowBoom has a refurbished Asus K50I-RBBGR05 15.6-inch laptop for $319.99 shipped. (California customers will have to pony up an extra $16 for some reason.)

At the price, you'd expect a pokey Celeron processor, dinky hard drive, and the like, but the Asus does pretty well in the spec department.

It's packing a 2.2GHz Pentium T4400 dual-core CPU, 3GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive. Its 15.6-inch screen is backlit by LEDs, and its Wi-Fi is the 802.11n variety.

The Windows 7 Home Premium-powered system also includes a DVD burner, 4 USB ports, and a 6-cell battery, which Asus says is good for about three hours of runtime.

The only real letdown, spec-wise, is the integrated Intel GMA 4500M graphics processor. It's fine for everyday computing tasks but way too wimpy for modern games, higher-end video apps, and so on.

Annoyingly, CowBoom doesn't list any warranty information (save for the option to buy an extended one--but extended from what?). My guess is the laptop has a 90-day manufacturer's warranty, which is the case on other vendors' sites, but you should definitely check with CowBoom if you're concerned. For what it's worth, there is a 30-day return policy.

Assuming the warranty is indeed 90 days, this is one helluva deal on a nicely appointed laptop. Remember, though: it's today only, and it could easily sell out. (If it does, keep checking back. CowBoom tends to add more stock throughout the day.)

Bonus deal: Mercury Magazines is offering a free six-month subscription to PC World in exchange for filling out a short survey. Nepotism alert: I'm a columnist for the magazine.

Bonus deal #2: If you missed that hard drive deal from the other day, have no fear: Dell is offering a 1TB Western Digital Elements USB hard drive for $59.99 shipped.