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Laptops

Mark Spritzler
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Joined: Feb 05, 2001
Posts: 17256
    
    6

Any good sites for deals or information about what is good in today's laptops, what I definitely have to have, and what I need to avoid? Is Intel's chips better or worse than AMDs chips for laptops?

Thanks

Mark


Perfect World Programming, LLC - Two Laptop Bag - Tube Organizer
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Colin Fletcher
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 10, 2004
Posts: 200
Mark,

I like the CNet site for a summary of products.

There are pros and cons to different technologies you can get on a laptop. However it really depends on what you want the laptop for.

I really like the ability to turn off the wireless card from a button on the laptop. I also like having the sound controls and mute buttons on the laptop.

Intel Centrino really does extend the life of the battery... If you are going to be unplugged for a long period of time (up to 4 hours I think), Centrino is good.

There are some laptops that have an XWGA option, really nice for compiling and looking at reference/email/ at the same time, without loosing real estate.

What do you plan on using the laptop for ? Are you going to be a road warrior? Are you going to use it at work ? A new toy ? :-)


SCJP 1.4 SCWCD 1.4
Mark Spritzler
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Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2001
Posts: 17256
    
    6

Thanks Colin for that information.

I will be using it to do some code, not like work, where the code is huge, but smaller applications. I will use it to make presentations, and I will use it for the standard home stuff, Watching DVDs on the plane or bus ride to skiing, Word Processing, Mame playing.

I am going to run a Web Server on it, but again, not public, so there might be a couple of hits at a time, and a small web application running on it. Mostly for testing and demonstration/presentations.

I hope that helps.

I am going to check out the Cnet site and check out their reviews. I use them when checking out Cell Phone reviews.

Mark
Colin Fletcher
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 10, 2004
Posts: 200
If you want to use it for 'riding the bus' I would target the smaller laptops... One of the downsides, of course, is reduced screen size.

Check this one out IBM Think pad
[ March 28, 2005: Message edited by: Colin Fletcher ]
Sri Addanki
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 27, 2001
Posts: 195
Hi Colin,

I was following this thread, as even I'm interested in getting one, for my Own, but its mainly for work purposes, what do you suggest? IBM Or HP?

The work is ofcourse in java, developing some J2EE applications.

thanks,
Sri
Mark Fletcher
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 08, 2001
Posts: 897
Its a little known fact, but a lot of the laptops that come from HP, Compaq, Dell etc, are rebranded laptops made by a few manufacturers in Taiwan.

Power Notebooks sells unbranded laptops, you might find a good deal there.

Mark


Mark Fletcher - http://www.markfletcher.org/blog
I had some Java certs, but they're too old now...
Sri Addanki
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 27, 2001
Posts: 195
Hi Mark,

I've checked the url, that you posted here. I'm also looking in for some warranty on those laptops.

Also, I'm a little less confident to get an unbranded one!

I was thinking between IBM and HP, because HP has a higher end RAM than IBM. But I'm still confused...

Can you please share your opinions 0n these...

thanks,
Sri
Colin Fletcher
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 10, 2004
Posts: 200
There are benefits to either.

IBM tends to be a trend setter as far as technology goes... I saw an add on TV where this IBM laptop had a fingerprint reader is the most current example I can think of.

HP is decent quality. I had one with my previous company and liked it. (I had it for about 3 months and travelled with it every weekend).

I would suggest that you identify (to yourself) what your key requirements are and then price compare. Feel free to post and I am sure we will comment
Steven Bell
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 29, 2004
Posts: 1071
For processor I would go with either Pentium M (also called centrino) or the AMD Athlon64. Both are power savers, the Pentium M should do better on battery life, but the 64 should give a bit more performance (especially if you plan to upgrade to Win64 or if you want to throw a 64bit version of Linux on there).

For memory I would look at the configuration more than the amount given. Look for something with two user available slots. It is usually cheaper to get a laptop with very little memory and then add your own (It's also very easy to do). As a final result you want at least 512 and probabaly 1GB of memory.

Determine whether you would rather have a portable light notebook or something with a good size screen, that will narrow down the selection a fair amount.
Mark Fletcher
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 08, 2001
Posts: 897
Originally posted by Sri Addanki:
Hi Mark,

I've checked the url, that you posted here. I'm also looking in for some warranty on those laptops.




Hi Sri,

To be honest, I havent bought from PowerNotebooks before, but you can buy a warranty from them on the goods that they sell. At the end of the day, YMMV.

Cheers,

Mark
Sri Addanki
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 27, 2001
Posts: 195
Hi Mark, Steven, Colin and Others,

Thanks! How's Toshiba A75-S211. http://espn.com.com/Toshiba_Satellite_A75_S211/4505-3121_7-31264915.html

Can you please help me with your suggestions?
The main purpose of buying this laptop is for the development. (Work and personal stuff-mainly Java, J2EE technologies). As you said earlier, I think Pentium 4-M,512MB RAM, 40GB Harddrive, DVD/CD R-W, 3.3.GHz would be decent enough for serving both the needs (Work and personal). What do you say?

Specs:
Mobile Intel� Pentium� 4 Processor 538 supporting HT Technology (3.20GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 533MHz FSB)
Microsoft� Windows� XP Home Edition (SP2)
No Microsoft� Office software
512MB PC2700 DDR333 SDRAM (256MB on board+256MB in slot) , expandable to 1G
15.4" Wide-screen XGA Display w/TruBrite� (1280x800)
ATI MOBILITY� RADEON� 9000 IGP w/up to 128MB video memory (64MB default)
80GB HDD (4200rpm)
DVD-SuperMulti drive
Atheros� Wireless LAN (802.11b/g) supporting Atheros SuperG� technology

thanks,
Sri
[ May 17, 2005: Message edited by: Sri Addanki ]
Steven Bell
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 29, 2004
Posts: 1071
That looks pretty good. I generally like Toshiba's and the 'Truebright' srceens are really nice. The only thing I don't really like about that one is that if you want to upgrade the memory you will have to throw one of the sticks away. If there is an option to get the memory in a single chip I would do that, otherwise looks good.
Mark Spritzler
ranger
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2001
Posts: 17256
    
    6

Looks good to me too.

Personally, I got a Sony Viao with Centrino 730 1.6 with 512MB, 15.4 screen, etc..

Mark
Neeraj Dheer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2005
Posts: 225

Specs:
Mobile Intel� Pentium� 4 Processor 538 supporting HT Technology (3.20GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 533MHz FSB)
Microsoft� Windows� XP Home Edition (SP2)
No Microsoft� Office software
512MB PC2700 DDR333 SDRAM (256MB on board+256MB in slot) , expandable to 1G
15.4" Wide-screen XGA Display w/TruBrite� (1280x800)
ATI MOBILITY� RADEON� 9000 IGP w/up to 128MB video memory (64MB default)
80GB HDD (4200rpm)
DVD-SuperMulti drive
Atheros� Wireless LAN (802.11b/g) supporting Atheros SuperG� technology



a few tweaks:

512MB PC2700 DDR333 SDRAM (256MB on board+256MB in slot) , expandable to 1G

instead of 333MHz FSB, why not get RAM with 533MHz FSB since that is supported by the Motherboard?

80GB HDD (4200rpm)

80GB GOOD!!! but why not get an 80GB at 7200rpm(i guess these are also called Baracuda HDDs)?

DVD-SuperMulti drive

i am assuming this is a DVD Writer kinda thing?? if not, that is almost a must nowadays.


I would personally go in for an HP-Compaq laptop and here are my reasons:
1. better/more readily available service.
2. same features for (substantially in case of Toshiba) lesser cost.
3. has some unique features like built-in bluetooth support. not a must, but i would like that so that i can connect my mobile phone without having to buy anything else. Also useful for data transfers between PCs. No need for a network or wired connection etc.
Sri Addanki
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 27, 2001
Posts: 195
Hi Steven, Mark, Neeraj,

Thanks for your valuable inputs!

Steven, I haven't really looked into this single slot memory chip option. Looks like a nice one...I'll take this.

Mark, Congrats on getting a Sony laptop! What do you think about Toshiba, any issues, system getting heated up etc., How's Centrino, better than a Pentium 4?

Neeraj, I have some questions:

1. How's Toshiba service? (I heard HP servcie ian't that good...so I haven't really considered them?)
2. Yes, its a 3.20GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 533MHz FSB)
3. I didn't know about the Baracuda HDDs? Looks like a very good factor for performance...Thanks, I just overlooked this feature..Do we need to buy them and get it installed ( custom made laptops) or do I need to consider gettign an other one because I don't see many notebooks with 7200rpm HD? why?
4. Yes, its a DVD R-W
5. And I assumed this laptop has a built in blue tooth, I need to double check on this, thanks!

sri
David O'Meara
Rancher

Joined: Mar 06, 2001
Posts: 13459

Definitely get the 7200 if you can, even if it means getting a slightly smaller drive. Definitely not a 4200! Settle for a 5400rpm if forced to, but you'll learn to hate the drive if you get the 4200.
Ashok Mash
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
Originally posted by Sri Addanki:
Work and personal stuff-mainly Java, J2EE technologies). As you said earlier, I think Pentium 4-M,512MB RAM, 40GB Harddrive, DVD/CD R-W, 3.3.GHz would be decent enough for serving both the needs (Work and personal).


IMHO, to improve that configuration, I would suggest upgrading to a gig of RAM and a faster hard drive.


[ flickr ]
Sri Addanki
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 27, 2001
Posts: 195
Hi David, Ashok,

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll 'definitely' consider them!

Yes, now I started to look for a 7200rpm, just browsing the net for different models, can you help me with a suitable model?

thanks,
Sri
Sri Addanki
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 27, 2001
Posts: 195
By the way, did anyone get Dell Notebook? Please let us know your inputs too...

thanks, sri
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Sri Addanki:
By the way, did anyone get Dell Notebook? Please let us know your inputs too...

thanks, sri


I have a nearly maxed out Dell Inspiron 9300 on the way. It should be here next week or the week after.
Sri Addanki
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 27, 2001
Posts: 195
Hey Jason, Congrats on getting Dell!
Heard Dell is very good! Can you give us your feedback once you get the notebook...

By the way did you customize your notebook, if so, can you write the specs?

thanks,
Sri
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Thanks. I'll post my thoughts when it arrives. Here are the custom specs:

Inspiron 9300,Pentium M 760 (2GHz/533MHz FSB)
17 inch True Life Wide Screen UXGA
1GB, DDR2, 533MHz 2 Dimm
256MB NVIDIA 6800
100GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive
Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 2
Integrated 10/100 Network Cardand Modem
8X DVD Drive
Intel PRO/Wireless 2915 Internal Wireless (802.11 a/b/g,54Mbps)
80 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
80 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion Additional Battery
Microsoft Office 2003 Basic Edition

I didn't get the DVD writer. I'm going to install one myself at a later date if I have the need.
Mark Spritzler
ranger
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2001
Posts: 17256
    
    6

Centrino is the first and only chipset built specifically for a Laptop, so it is supposed to be cooler and use less battery.

Mark
Steven Bell
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 29, 2004
Posts: 1071
Technically 'Centrino' is the label for a specific set hardware pieces. A laptop manufacture must have all the pieces to label their product as having 'Centrino Techonolgy'

The pieces are:
Pentium M processor
Intel chipset motherboard (I think it was/is the 885 series)
Intel Pro wireless card (used to be only 802.11b but I think they've added the g)
Neeraj Dheer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2005
Posts: 225
Hi Sri!

I dont know where you are located. My suggestion for HP was based on the assumption that you are in India. Continuing on the same:

1. Dell is really good. Cheaper than IBM/Sony/Toshiba and same quality if not better. But again, in India, Dell does not have any dealers/contact centres. So you have to talk to the company directly. So, in case of a problem( chances are none actually), you have to call them up and do it over the phone etc.

2. Toshiba service is very good as well.

3. Still recommend HP (though i dont 'like' it) because their network is very well spread out. Since my company has a fixed HP Dealer, even my personal works gets done on a priority basis and quite satisfactorily.

4. I dont think the Toshiba has bluetooth.

5. yes, i would recommend 1GB of RAM. and if possible, let the RAM FSB be 533MHz, since that is supported by your motherboard. the RAM u have right now works on 333MHz.
James Carman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 20, 2001
Posts: 580
Originally posted by Mark Spritzler:
Any good sites for deals or information about what is good in today's laptops, what I definitely have to have, and what I need to avoid? Is Intel's chips better or worse than AMDs chips for laptops?

Thanks

Mark


I have a Dell Inspiron 600m for sale!


James Carman, President<br />Carman Consulting, Inc.
Sri Addanki
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 27, 2001
Posts: 195
Hi All,

Thanks a lot! I really appreciate all your inputs...this really helps me..

Neeraj, I live in PA. And probably I may go in for a Toshiba or a Dell?
Also, can we upgrade the RAM FSB to 533MHz? how? Is it a good idea to buy a bluetooth adapter, if its not provided with the notebook?

James, How much are you asking for the Dell? Also, can you please share your experience with Dell.

How's Toshiba Satellite, M45-351? Any comments?
http://reviews.cnet.com/Toshiba_Satellite_M45_S351/4507-3121_7-31263275.html?tag=tab

thanks,
Sri
Steven Bell
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 29, 2004
Posts: 1071
Here are the detailed specs for that Toshiba (pdf).

- 4200rpm Hard Drive
+ Two memory slots capable of 1GB each
- Both slots may be full when you buy it (256 each).
- Memory is 333 rather than 533 (I find it odd that so many laptops are pairing 333 memory with 533 boards).

On Bluetooth. I wouldn't worry about it unless you already have a need for it. If you have a cool bluetooth phone or PDA and you want to do wireless sync's go ahead.

One big plus for Dell is that you can configure the laptop to meet what you want. If you do that I would recommend getting as little memory as you can, it's cheaper if you buy it seperate from somewhere else by alot.
Sri Addanki
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 27, 2001
Posts: 195
Thanks Steven, for that link and the tips...I'll look into this and get back to you...

thanks,
Sri
James Carman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 20, 2001
Posts: 580
Originally posted by Sri Addanki:

James, How much are you asking for the Dell? Also, can you please share your experience with Dell.



I'm asking for $1000. Here are some specs...

- Pentium M 1.7 GHz Processor
- 1 GB RAM
- 64 MB ATI MOBILITY RADEON 9000 AGP
- 40 GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive
- 24X CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive
- Dell TrueMobile 1300 WLAN Mini-PCI Card (802.11 b/g)
- Broadcom 570x Gigabit Integrated Controller (10/100/1000)
- Microsoft Windows XP Professional

I also have the Advanced Port Replicator w/Monitor Stand ($100)

Also, I have had nothing but good experiences with Dell. Their customer service is great and they put quality components into their systems (at least the ones I buy).

[ May 19, 2005: Message edited by: James Carman ]
[ May 19, 2005: Message edited by: James Carman ]
Sri Addanki
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 27, 2001
Posts: 195
James, Looks great! Thanks for the info...

I'm still not yet decided...contemplating between Dell and other brands...

thanks, Sri
Jack Daniel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 15, 2002
Posts: 163
Did anybody think about: HP Compaq Business Notebook nc6220

I am thinking about buying it soon... any comments??

The configuration & price is confusing??? I am thinking of buying at www.hp.com

Great config:



price is only $1299.. showing $385 instant savings !!!...

What do u guys say about this..?? is the price correct??

Thanks for your opinions..
Neeraj Dheer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2005
Posts: 225
Neeraj, I live in PA. And probably I may go in for a Toshiba or a Dell?

Dell then!!! forget HP i Dont think anyone ever has a problem with Dell!!!
Also, can we upgrade the RAM FSB to 533MHz? how?

yes. you can upgrade it. they are just sticks similar to 333MHz. I think the dealer/compnay can do that for you.
Is it a good idea to buy a bluetooth adapter, if its not provided with the notebook?

makes sense. they are not very expensive and IF you have that kind of a cell phone/PDA, you can do loads of cool stuff. (more for the cell phone/PDA than the laptop)
- Memory is 333 rather than 533 (I find it odd that so many laptops are pairing 333 memory with 533 boards).

odd but true. the reason seems to be that the 333Mhz RAM is cheaper and most ppl dont notice the FSB and even if they do, dont know what to make out of it.
other examples of this are : advertising processor but supressing the motherboard info. Declaring that it has sound and graphics on-board. what that normally means is tht it has some 32-64MB of VRAM on the board without additional slots. so, have a high-end processor on a very low-end motherboard.
then the classic HDD thing...80GB@4200RPM...THAT IS SLOW!!!
Neeraj Dheer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2005
Posts: 225
Jack, why dont you also check out the Dell site? last time i saw they were offering a lot mroe for that price.
Sri Addanki
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 27, 2001
Posts: 195
Hi Neeraj,

Thanks a lot for the valuable information! Then I would really like to increase the processor speed ( from 333 MHz to 533 MHz) and HDD speed ( from 4200 rpm to 7200 rpm). I need to check the price too...

Also, once we get a laptop, then can't we upgrade all this later?

Do you happen to any one/dealer who can install this, as circuitcity doesn't seem to do that. Also what do you mean when you say:

what that normally means is tht it has some 32-64MB of VRAM on the board without additional slots. so, have a high-end processor on a very low-end motherboard.
then the classic HDD thing...80GB@4200RPM...THAT IS SLOW!!!

How to make sure if the mother board has additional slots?

thanks, Sri
Neeraj Dheer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2005
Posts: 225
Hi!!!

sorry for the late reply. was 'away on business'.

yes you can install/upgrade later. but these would be the basic things I would look at while buying a laptop. So maybe my upgrades later would be things like even more RAM/HDD etc. My recommendation would be to get these things done in the beginning.

How to make sure if the mother board has additional slots?



normally you have sound and graphics on-board for 'normal' lower-end motherboards. These boards are not meant for 'high'end' sound and design and perform pretty well for average users(some games run slow/not that well though).
Higher end boards have higer performance features (FSB, cooling etc) and so, normally dont have 'on-board' sound and graphics, but only slots for them. so you are free to put in as much or as little as you want.

the manufacturer's site is the best way to find out bout the motherboard. I have used the Asus and Intel sites very often and found they have exact specifications on all their motherboards.

Then I would really like to increase the processor speed ( from 333 MHz to 533 MHz) and HDD speed ( from 4200 rpm to 7200 rpm). I need to check the price too...


your processor already runs at 533MHz(make sure the motherboard supports 533MHz, mine doesnt. my processor supports upto 800MHz, and my RAM is 400MHz, but motherboard supports upto 333MHz)

you will need to upgrade the RAM to support 533 MHz because your RAM runs at 333MHz.
Rajan Chinna
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 01, 2004
Posts: 320
I am looking for a Black color notebook, other than IBM is there any other brands available in black color?
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8829
    
    5
Macs come in black...

And they use an actual operating system!


Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Rajan Chinna
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 01, 2004
Posts: 320
Sorry for not being specific, I'm looking for Gates OS.
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8829
    
    5
I'm looking for Gates OS


Isn't that an oxymoron?
 
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