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Samsung Chromebook ($250)
Samsung's latest Chromebook is not only miserly on power consumption but it could also save you time and headaches, particularly if you are interested in a zero-maintenance computer.
At $250, the Samsung Exynos 5 ARM-powered notebook runs all of its applications using the Chrome browser on Google's cloud, with no local storage to worry about. It's ideal for those family members that no longer need a full-blown PC to run their basic applications and use the Internet. The Chromebook features USB 3.0 and HDMI connectivity options for plugging into a full-sized monitor and using external peripherals such as a full-sized keyboard and mouse. Plus it comes with 2 years free 100GB Google Drive storage and 10 coupons for GogoInflight internet access, worth the price of the device alone. It's like Google is actually paying you to buy it.
Windows 8 Upgrade ($40)
Microsoft's Windows 8 Professional operating system can give a big boost in performance to your aging PC running on Windows 7, Windows Vista or even Windows XP. At $40, this is the cheapest Windows OS upgrade in history, and is packed with a multitude of new features, including integrated antivirus and antimalware, superior power managment, lower memory resource utilization, support for SSD drives, faster boot time and improved networking and video performance.
For a list of new features and performance improvements in the new version of Microsoft Windows, check out Jason Perlow's article.