Anyone wanting to buy a new PC at the moment is faced with a dilemma - with prices continuing to fall, should they buy now or to wait until next month, when the same PC is likely to be cheaper still? PC buyers also are faced with a range of microprocessors to choose from, besides the all-powerful Intel Pentium chip. Rival chip-makers AMD and Cyrix offer low-cost alternatives to the Pentium which give similar levels of performance. Many of these non-Pentium based PCs are beginning to appear in Hong Kong stores, offering local buyers a welcome change from the 'Intel Inside' sticker. Josmart in Windsor House has the Compaq 2236 - which has a 200 MHz Media GX chip from Cyrix, 16 MB of EDO Ram, 2.1 Gb hard drive and a 33.6 kbps modem - for $5,999. It also stocks the IBM Aptiva E, which features a 266 MHz K6 chip from AMD, 32 MB of SDRam, 3.2 Gb hard drive and K56 flex modem, for $6,989. For those who do not need a brand-name PC, the stores in 298 Computer Zone offer even bigger bargains. Paradise Computer System on the second floor of the Zone offers an AMD K6-based PC with 64 MB of SDRam, 3.2 Gb hard drive, and a 15-inch SVGA monitor for $6,850. For an extra $380, the store will add a V.90 56 kbps modem. In fact, the store appears to be one of the few in Hong Kong selling modems built to the V.90 standard, as opposed to the older and now defunct X2 and K56-flex standards. A-Tech computer, also in the Zone, is advertising a PC based on a 200 MHz Cyrix Media GX chip for $4,330. That includes 64 MB of SDRam, 3.2 Gb hard drive and 24-speed CD-Rom drive. However, it is not just desktop PCs that are benefiting from these low-cost chips. The Houston Crest store in Star House has a Compaq Presario 1230 notebook for less than $10,000. It comes loaded with a 233 MHz Media GX chip, 32 MB SDRam, 2.1 Gb hard drive and a 12.1-inch screen. In response to these low-cost competitors, Intel recently launched its own low-end chip, the Celeron, and PCs based on this chip are starting to appear in Hong Kong. Digital Star in 298 Computer Zone will put together a PC based on a 300 MHz Celeron for $6,790. This includes 32 MB of SDRam, 3.2 Gb hard drive and a 14-inch monitor. For those who must have the best branded chips, Houston Crest has the Hewlett-Packard Pavilion 8220 for $15,998. With a 333 MHz Pentium II processor, 64 MB of SDRam, 8.0 Gb hard drive and K56-flex modem, this seems quite a bargain. Houston Crest also is the place to go for a cheap entry to digital photography. It is selling the Casio QV-100 digital camera for $990, which compares with $46,500 the same store is asking for the Kodak DC260 camera, or the $4,480 price of the Sony Digital Mavica.