which laptop?

Discussion in 'Hardware Discussion & Support' started by HardwareHeaven, May 9, 2002.

  1. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    ive the choice of a laptop for work. cost isnt important.


    any suggestions on models,spec, manufacturer?
     
  2. Crash Override

    Crash Override Banned

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  3. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    mighty fine looking laptop that crash !
     
  4. Crash Override

    Crash Override Banned

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    yup shes purty and has way way more than enough power and toys to keep ya busy
     
  5. Mize

    Mize The quiet one

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    I recently bought a Sony GRX570 for work. It's very nice: P4/1.6/ATi Mobility 7500 (only 32 MB though :()/16", 1600x1200 LCD. Heavy (8#), but a wonderful desktop substitute. I think the Alienware looks quite a bit better, but I was able to get the Sony on the same day I decided to upgrade (from a toshiba/gf2go) and I'm one of those impulsive-instant-gratification types :)

    Took me a week to discover it had no floppy drive...

    Mize
     
  6. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    well I most certainly want to play with one of the new laptops with one of those rockin ATI video cards, thats for sure :)
     
  7. Mize

    Mize The quiet one

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    The only advantage of the (much slower) Sony is the 16.1" LCD and the ability to run at 1600x1200 which looks absolutely stunning if you spend much time doing CAD work. I'll take the Alienware in the other categories.

    Mize
     
  8. Crash Override

    Crash Override Banned

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    This is the specs on the system


    High-Performance Laptop Chassis
    Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 2.4GHz 400MHz FSB w/ 512KB Cache
    Hi-Performance Heatsink/CPU Cooling Fan
    Intel® 845MP+ICH3M Chipset - FC-PGA 478PIN DDR
    Standard 1.44MB Floppy Drive
    512MB DDR PC-2100 - Two SO-DIMMs
    40GB IBM Travelstar 4200 RPM ATA100
    ATI Mobility RADEON 7500 64MB DDR
    Sound-Blaster Compatible 3D Audio
    3.5 3-Mode Floppy Disk Drive
    8X DVD / 8x4x24 CD-RW w/Software MPEG2 Decoder
    Integrated 10/100Mb Ethernet NIC
    56K Modem with V.92 Technology
    AlienAutopsy: Automated Technical Support Request System
    Aliencare Toll-Free 1-Year 24/7 DEPOT Warranty
    Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional
    Personalized Owner's Manual
    Optimized & Configured for High-Performance
    FREE Custom Alienware® Mouse Pad
    15" Hitachi SXGA+ 1400 x 1050 LCD Display
    Front Panel Audio DJ CD Player
    Synaptics Touchpad
    1 Type II PCMCIA Slots
    4 USB 1.1 Ports & 1 IEEE-1394 Port (4 PIN)
    Standard Smart Li-ION Battery
    Full Size 85-Key Clear-Keyboard
    Configurable Dual Smart Bay Support
    8ohm, 1.5W Stereo Speakers
    Auto Switch 110/220V AC Adapter/Cord
    Laptop Carrying Case
    Performance Benchmarks Documentation
    Personalized Owner's Manual & User's Manual
    All Latest Drivers Installed
    Dimension (H) x (W) x (D) : 1.7"x13"x11.4"
    Weight: 9.6lbs. w/ Battery

    Price: $2840.00
     
  9. peroni

    peroni New Member

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  10. zcog

    zcog New Member

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    Z,

    I own several laptops (only one that's fairly new) and I might have some advice. What type of things do you want to do with it? I go more for the "business type" of notebook and have an IBM Thinkpad A22m I purchased last fall. I really like it, but I don't play games on it.

    I dislike touchpads so my choices are usually between Thinkpads and Toshibas. There are a few things to look out for when purchasing one. I'll paste in a note I sent to a friend a couple of years ago. Some of it is outdated (e.g., I currently use and like Win2k), but if you're interested in more info let me know and I'll share my experiences and what to watch out for.

    zcog

    Old Note about buying a laptop:

    Things to Consider:

    You need keep in mind that many companies offer the same “Model Number†for many different laptop configurations. For example, IBM offers the Thinkpad A21m model, but this ranges from slower Celeron CPUs to fairly fast Pentium III CPUs…with different screen sizes, etc. Just keep an eye on the specifications of the exact model you look at.

    Manufacturer:

    Reputation: Some places have user service polls, like PC Magazine (www.pcmag.com).

    Warranty: Length and process if something breaks. If warranty is for 1-year, is there and extension offer? If so, how much and when must you purchase the extension? What is covered by the warranty? Can you bring it in to a nearby service center? Do you need to ship it back? How long will it take to return? Who pays shipping each way?

    Along with this is their replacement policy. Many hardware (not just laptop) vendors replace your product with used parts. That is you could buy a new laptop and if it’s DOA, they could replace it with a used/refurbished one!!!! Check on this policy. I’d even request all policies either in writing, or a URL to a web site that clearly lists all policies.

    Tech support: How good is it? What are the hours? Is it toll free? Is there web support with good FAQs? Can you download updated drivers and BIOSes, etc?

    Return Policy: Some places have a return policy, i.e., you can return it no-questions-asked from date of shipment/receipt. This is becoming more rare.

    Price Protection: Some places (rare) offer a price protection plan, i.e., if the price drops within 30 days, you can contact them and they will give you a refund. This is not automatic, it’s up to the consumer to watch the prices.


    Tech Stuff:

    Performance: Places like http://www.zdnet.com http://www.pcworld.com http://www.computers.com have occasional laptop reviews.

    Hard Drive: Get the biggest you can. Upgrading later usually is a BIG hassle and much more expensive than getting the space you need up front.

    Keyboard: Does it have a full keyboard? How does it feel?

    “Mouse:†What type of pointing device it there? I personally prefer “eraser head†devices over touchpads. But these are usually only offered by IBM and Toshiba. Some people have claimed that the eraser head gets in the way of typing. I’ve found that touchpads have that tendency. I haven’t used one in years, but I remember that when I accidentally “touched†the pad while typing, I would “click the mouse.†This is probably configurable. Some offer both pointing devices at the same time, but I’ve read that these can be a bit of a hassle.

    RAM: Get as much as possible. RAM, even for laptops is pretty cheap these days. Most laptops come with 64 or 128 megs. I’d add another 128 megs, which will probably cost between another $100-$150. That way you’ll end up with at least 192 megs. The more RAM, the less disk-spooling of course, but this also means your battery lasts longer per charge. Plus, laptop hard drives are slower than desktop drives.

    Operating System: These days you usually have a choice between Win98 SE and Windows 2000…depending entirely on the company and model. That is, you can probably only get certain models with Win98 and others with Win 2000. Both support USB. If you get Win98, make sure it’s the newer SE version. Win98 is NOT secure, if you’re worried about security. Windows 2000 is much more secure, but it’s a lot harder to get good drivers for Win 2000. Plus, it uses much more memory…or so I’ve read. My personal preference is to stay away from Win 2000 because much more hardware and software will run on Win 98.

    Battery Life: Battery life hasn’t really improved that much. A pretty good life is around 3-hours per charge. Intel has this new “Speed Step†technology that slows the CPU during battery use (configurable), but it doesn’t seem to help that much.

    Weight: These things can get pretty heavy when you carry them around. An average weight is around 7-lbs. without all the extras, like AC adapter, etc.

    Spindles: You’ll sometimes see reviews that refer to the “number of spindles†in a laptop. This just refers to the number of “built-in†drives. Each drive is 1-spindle. So a 3-spindle laptop means that it has a built-in hard drive, floppy drive and CD/DVD drive. I have a two spindle laptop which means I need to externally attach my floppy drive via cable when I want to use it…which isn’t really that often…but it’s still a big pain and I need to carry the floppy with me, which adds to the overall travel weight. I’d only buy a 3-spindle laptop these days. Today’s “light†laptops are usually 2-spindle drives.

    CD vs. DVD: There really isn’t that much software that uses DVD format at this point. With that said, I would only get a DVD drive, which doubles as a CD-ROM drive. I like encyclopedias and it’s so much easier putting in one DVD disk as opposed to constantly swapping several CDs. Of course, if you plan on watching DVD movies, you’d need a DVD drive. But keep in mind that the video in laptops is usually pretty inferior to a desktop video card and has much less memory.

    Video: As just mentioned, laptop video is usually inferior to desktop video. Many laptops offer 4 megs of video RAM. This is the bare minimum you’ll want. Some places offer 8 and 16 megs…mainly Dell, I think…but probably only on their high-end models. Usually reviews rate a laptop’s DVD movie performance. ATI currently seems to have the best laptop video on the market.

    Screen: This is a biggy. Unlike a regular monitor on a desktop, you can’t just change the resolution on a laptop and expect it to look very good. You’re usually stuck with what you get. It all depends on what you’re comfortable viewing. The standard resolution is 1024x768 with screen sizes ranging from 13.1 inches to about 14.1 inches (diagonal). You can also opt for “large fonts†in Windows, so that makes things easier to view. I’m a real bug on having an easy to read laptop, but that’s also because of my eyes. I’d recommend a 14-inch screen running at 1024x768, large fonts…but that’s just me. The lighter laptops frequently have 13-inch screens at the same resolution.

    Also, most places have a policy on how many “bad pixels†are acceptable on a screen. There are a couple of types of bad pixels. Ones that are stuck “off.†This leaves a tiny black spot on the screen that will always be there!!! Worse are the ones that are stuck “on,†which always shows a tiny bright spec on your screen. Bad pixel policies vary by vendor. Toshiba used to consider 7 or under bad pixels as acceptable!!!! Then there can be a difference of how many are within a square inch on the screen…etc. IBM used to say that o bad pixel is acceptable and they will replace any bad pixel laptop…but I don’t know whether it will be a “new†laptop!!!!!!!!! From what I understand, bad pixels are much more rare that they were a few years ago.

    End note.
     

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