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recommend a laptop?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by hl5, Mar 22, 2006.

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  1. hl5

    hl5 Thread Starter

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    Sep 24, 2004
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    Not too long ago on here, I promised I'd be upgrading this old Win98 machine pretty soon. I think it's about time to do it, and I'm looking to replace this old desktop with a nice laptop.

    I've looked mainly at Thinkpads (now made by Lenovo), Sonys, and Toshibas. The main things I want are:

    - pretty big screen: hopefully 15" or more (widescreen slightly preferred but doesn't matter)
    - good video chip (probably 256 MB dedicated)
    - good reliability and support
    - looks cool (it just has to)

    Size and weight aren't the most important thing, but I would prefer a real laptop to one of the 10 pounder quasi-laptops.

    Any thoughts or what I should look for in particular? I haven't bought a computer in awhile so I don't know quite the specs to shoot for. I want to go pretty high end but not over the top. I'm thinking 1 GB, dual layer DVD burner, somewhere around 80-200 GB hard drive depending on the options (haven't scoped them out).

    I'm not a big fan of companies that will keep me on hold for an hour and then give me the runaround.

    Anybody know how video chips work in a laptop? I know they used to always be soldered in but I see some models have upgradeable video. Are the ones with the fancy video chips usually upgradeable or does it depend? (I know the ones with integrated Intel are soldered in and probably not upgradeable.) The word PCI Express has come up. Does that thing have the equivalent of AGP or whatever? I know you can't just stick a video card in a normal expansion slot and get anything worth watching.

    Does 64 bits matter (in the main CPU, that is)? Or any of that other mumbo jumbo like dual core? I tend to think it's overrated since most computers these days are fast enough for most things I'd need to do -- state of the art 3D basically just needs a good video card. Video editing or something might be a little faster with a faster CPU but otherwise I doubt I'd generally notice it.

    Serial ATA, 7200 RPM? I think going for one (or both) of those two could speed things up a little. Not sure how common either is, but definitely seen them come up a lot.

    Half-decent sound in the internal speakers would be nice, but as long as I can make it out I can probably live with it.

    Any other suggestions welcome. I don't know what the current coolest wireless standard is. There were a few competing last I checked. I guess Bluetooth would probably make sense (as well), no?

    Screen update speed? Does resolution matter a lot? Can it be too high? In old versions of Windows that makes a lot of things too small, but I assume it's better now.

    Alright, I'm just tossing things out there. Any advice you have is appreciated. I also looked at Dell and MPC, but probably won't go in those directions. And I am curious about compact desktop models as well -- I doubt that's what I'll get right now, but I haven't seen as many cool ones as I expected to. Apple has pulled that off a lot better than the PC world has I think...

    Thanks for any input!

    p.s. I was also looking at a digital camera to go with it. I like the Canons, but also looked at an HP and a Casio which looked OK. I think I'll save that for another time though...

    p.p.s. Some of these laptops come with features I consider frivolous for my needs, like fingerprint scanners, built-in webcams, and infrared ports. If anyone has any thoughts on those though I welcome them.
     
  2. pehbond

    pehbond

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    have you had a look at the gadget show's website. they did have a section on buying a laptop and what to look for. i think it is at www.five.tv/gadgetshow
     
  3. pehbond

    pehbond

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  4. hl5

    hl5 Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2004
    Messages:
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    Thanks for the reply. I'll check it out. (I just opened the link but I'll look in more detail.)

    I know I threw a lot out there. My buying habits are that I like to buy good stuff and then keep it a long time. Right now I'm chugging along on a computer I still like but is a Pentium II if you can remember back that far.

    Basically I just want good video because I think that's more important for graphics performance than CPU speed. And it's harder to upgrade -- when it's possible at all (without a motherboard swap).

    I might get by with a small desktop instead of laptop but I think a laptop will probably be more flexible.

    Curious about service and support, and reliability, and things like that, and also just how much memory or hardware modern software needs to run well. It's been awhile since I had a computer that could run modern software. (I usually hang out in the Win 98/ME forums which I notice are dwindling!)

    Thanks again for the tip, pehbond. I'll go check it out.
     
  5. pehbond

    pehbond

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    how did you get on with the laptop?
     
  6. etaf

    etaf Moderator

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    Messages:
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    First Name:
    Wayne
    The gateway was the machine I went out to buy - but noone had it in stock - been listed in many magazines as a best buy, best value for money etc
    so in the end
    i just purchased a HP dv5094ea - it has a great spec at a low price - i have had about 5 laptops in the last 4 years and this is a great spec.

    see what you think

    I noticed staples {which was had the best price for the gateway a few weeks ago - had some in locally this afternoon}

    But if you want something that looks cool and slim and light then I guess sony Viao - but not so good spec for the £

    I purchased from johnlewis in UK for £799
    http://www.johnlewis.com/Computing/Computers/Computers/Laptops/230230147/Product.aspx
    with 2 year warranty included

    http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/uk/en/ho/WF06b/21675-38187-38191-38191-38191-12319008-68282603.html


    I liked the fact it had a seperate video card 128MB
    1GB of main memory
    100GB of harddrive


    for XP dont buy anthing with less that 512MB - also be very careful with the video all sorts of descriptions and I found in shops on three machines it said seperate video and when i looked under control panel > system> it was clear it was intergrated and used the main memory.
     
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