View Full Version : Laptops
05-09-2006, 08:23 AM
My girlfriend is buying a new laptop. If this were a desktop, I could easily know what parts to get her and put it together for her. However, I don't know how to do this with laptops, so she's going have to order a pre-built one.
This laptop is going to be used for schoolwork, playing music, surfing the web, and using instant-messenging. That's about it, so it doesn't need anything crazy on the video aspect of it, nor does it need a crazy amount of RAM.
So, knowing that she has to go with pre-built, I have a couple of questions:
1. Which companies are best to look at? Right now she has looked at Toshiba, Sony, and Dell. She is leaning towards getting a Dell.
2. What processor should she be looking at that will get the job done? She's looking at using this laptop for the next 4 years while she's at grad school, so presumably the processor will have to be pretty top-notch, but without breaking the wallet. I'm not up on laptop processors so, yeah.
3. What ripoffs should she watch out for from these companies? I know with Desktops, for example, Dell likes to market mid-range cards, such as the Radeon x1600, as super-powerful gaming cards and then they charge a premium for them. So what does she need to watch out for from laptops?
Any input would be very helpful. Thanks.
05-09-2006, 08:52 AM
I don't know laptops very well, either, but I've got a couple of suggestions. Since she isn't using it for gaming, most of the stuff like better video card isn't going to matter. Concentrate on warranty and battery life. Go with the Centrino setup (Pentium M). It is very good for laptop use, giving you power without power consumption. She'll want a DVD drive in the unit, probably at least a gig of RAM (I'm not sure what the standard is; I wouldn't go less than 512 megs regardless, and I'd still recommend a gig if possible) even if not gaming. I'd personally lean towards Dell on this, but I don't know how the Sony laptops compare. Make certain it has Wi-Fi capability.
05-09-2006, 09:04 AM
Well all my experience with laptops lies in what I have and what previous years of my Uni has.
My Nec is absolute ****, keeps crashing and constantly gives BSOD's (no it's not just me).
Last year they had IBM thinkpad, damn those things are awesome....
That's all I know O.o
05-09-2006, 09:05 AM
Yeah, I'm taking a look at laptops. Apparently the processors out are the Celeron M, Pentium M, and then the new dual core processors. The dual cores supposedly consume power very easily, so I guess it's the Pentium M for her.
All the systems come with a DVD drive/CD burner. It's a question if she wants a DVD burner, too. The other thing to think of is the future.
I'm stuck between whether she should get 1GB of RAM or 512MB. On the one hand, since she's only using basic apps 1GB is overkill right now. On the other hand, in 2 years it might not be, especially if she upgrades to a new version of windows and it is even more of a memory hog (entirely possible given Bill Gates track record).
Since she loves music, and the computer has to last a while, I'm gonna go with a 60GB hard drive.
Obviously, she will just use integrated video and sound, because she won't be gaming.
Warranties by these companies are usually ripoffs (it involves some tech support person in India reading from a book telling you to reformat your HD and then sticking in the automated system recovery disk), and it won't help her considering her grad school is out of the USA anyway. Therefore, I told her to not bother with the warranty.
If she can find a copy of microsoft office lying around, I was able to build a laptop for her for just under $1k. That includes a 3-year subscription to McAfee anti-virus and 1GB RAM.
05-09-2006, 10:15 AM
Open Office 2.0 . It'll do everything Office (tm) will do, and it's free. I've got a copy of M$ Office here, but I'll never buy another one.
05-09-2006, 11:19 AM
Actually, after further investigation, turns out I was wrong about the Duo processors. They actually consume less power than the Pentium M, and they perform better, too.
Anyway, this is what I've helped her get thus far. I also looked at Toshiba and IBM, but comparable computers from either company will be $300-500 more:
Dell Inspiron E1405
Cost: $1,108 after 20% discount
Intel Core Duo T2400 @ 1.83 Ghz
1024 MB DDR2 SDRAM
Integrated sound and video
60GB Hard Drive
14.1" screen (she stressed that she wanted the laptop to be light)
Docking station with stand (tried to talk her out of it, but she wanted it)
Internal Wireless b/g NIC
Windows XP Media Edition (downgrading to home unfortunately didn't save any money)
McAfee antivirus w/ 3-yr update subscription
1-yr warrantee that came w/ the system
Any other useless **** Dell puts on their laptops
Anything I should be amending before she makes the purchase?
05-09-2006, 11:35 AM
Talk about timing ... I need to build a computer for Uni this fall, and Desktops are out because our dorms don't have internet access provided. I was just about to make a thread about this.
05-09-2006, 11:44 AM
Well, if you're gonna use it for gaming, then that's a whole new can of worms. Luckily for my gf, the focus was:
Plenty of storage
Will hold her over for 4 years
The E1505 would've cost like $50 more with a 15.4" screen, but she didn't want the extra weight.
05-10-2006, 05:38 AM
Used tons of dell laptops. Never seen anything wrong with them.
05-10-2006, 06:12 AM
i would suggest Dell or HP. I think they both have great options as far as standard use laptops and they both run nice and cool. If you get an HP maybe get it from Best Buy or CompUSA with an in house return policy. That will save you alot of trouble trying to get it fixed or repaired.
If you were for any reason interested in a gaming laptop then check out Prostar or Sager. They both make HIGH end desktops basicly in the shape of a notebook. I got my prostar two and a half years ago with at the time pretty high specs. P4 3GHz, 1024 MB of 400MHz RAM, 128 MB 9700M with a full keyboard and a 17" WXGA screen. Even today it will still run Oblivion at pretty high settings.
05-11-2006, 01:29 PM
See, I know nothing about computers to begin with, Desktop or Laptop. But I'm beyond positive that to build a good gaming laptop costs much more than a desktop with equal performance. If it was affordable, I'd jump at getting a gaming laptop, but I think for Uni I'm just going to need to settle for a laptop that I can put all my music and notes and stuff on.
So pretty much exactly what Spek's gf got.
Does having a soundcard compared to onboard really make a noticeable difference? And can I improve this laptop noticeably for around the same price if I don't care about weight that much? I'll be looking at a larger screen but is there anything else I could upgrade?