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Old 2007-12-01, 13:15   Link #1
mario1234
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
New Laptop

Alright, for Christmas, my family is thinking of getting a new laptop.
Price range is pretty much not an issue, but then again, my dad probably won't buy anything over $1500....

That in mind, what we need:
- 1 gb RAM
- hard drive space is irrelevant. We have like 20 gigs used up right now, only....
- decent processor
- good enough video card that I can watch my anime on the laptop
- DVD drive
- preferably windows xp, if they still sell new laptops with xp, that is....
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Old 2007-12-01, 13:20   Link #2
martino
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mario1234 View Post
- good enough video card that I can watch my anime on the laptop
How many times does one have to say that a graphics card has very little to do with video decoding? *sighs*

Get a one with a faster CPU in that case, unless you play graphics intensive games.
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Old 2007-12-01, 13:37   Link #3
hobbes_fan
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The bare minimum processor you should be looking at is a coreduo. It's pretty pointless to get anything lower.

That being said I'm also looking for one and most PC mags I've seen are rating rating the Toshiba Satellite A200 and Asus F5R very highly under 1.5K. I'm deciding between these two. More likely to go with F5R as it has Vista Home Premium instead of Home basic or XP and a slightly bigger HDD (160gb). And Asus has had a good run with me, most of my PC's and current laptop are predominantly asus parts.

I don't know why you want XP particularly if your hardware is capable of running it, unless you're running some obscure software from the windows 2000 era. But, most manufacturers offer a rollback disk to xp if required.

None of these are what I'd call light at around 2.5kgs, but not ridiculously heavy either. And forget playing games either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by martino View Post
How many times does one have to say that a graphics card has very little to do with video decoding? *sighs*

Get a one with a faster CPU in that case, unless you play graphics intensive games.
That's not exactly true. It is in this case but there are exceptions to this rule
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Last edited by hobbes_fan; 2007-12-01 at 14:11.
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Old 2007-12-01, 13:47   Link #4
Zero Shinohara
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Quote:
How many times does one have to say that a graphics card has very little to do with video decoding? *sighs*
True, although I'd say that with a price cap of $1500 you can get one with a pretty good video card and overall pretty good hardware.

The question does come up to the usual "What are you using it for?". If it's just for normal internet + video + anime watching use, you'd probably be fine with a laptop that sells on the mid 800s, high 900s at most. There're actually some pretty good choices out there, you just need to look. If you want to do graphics work and play games casually, you'll definitely need a dedicated graphics card that will keep you running for a while.

And also, there's the issue of buying it on a retail store, buying it online and your location. I believe most of the IT guys here will post suggestions they find in websites like Newegg, TigerDirect and other well known e-retailers that are known to have pretty good deals on that stuff. So the availability for you might change based on where you live.

And unfortunately, I don't think you can find a laptop with XP pre-installed in it. I know it's a bummer, but they need to sell Vista >somehow<, right? :grin:

Anyway.

I'd recommend getting something with Bluetooth and 802.11 N just for the heck of it. 2 Gigs of ram is a must for Vista, so try to avoid going with less than that.

Circuit City's Pavillion 17" Screen

If I'm not mistaken, CC is having a sale on a pretty good laptop system in the mid 700's. A friend of mine showed it to me at the store about two days ago, but I cant' seem to find them online at the moment. It's an HP, so...

Newegg's DV9640US

This one has a 8600 GS in it. It's in the midpoint between performance and cost, at $1299 and has received a good reviews. The battery is an 8-cell Lithium, which should last you a good couple of hours too. The graphics card isn't top-of-the-line, but since I can't say much about ATI at the moment, I'll leave it at your discretion on what to choose.

Newegg's Asus F3SV-B3

Faster CPU speed, which is good, along with 4MB of cache instead of above's 2. But it's also at the top of your price range, at $1409. However, ASUS laptops are known to be of good quality. Supports GLan and 802.11/N, which is a pro.

A bit of advice... Never buy laptops for the speakers

Good luck.
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Old 2007-12-02, 02:48   Link #5
mario1234
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Quote:
How many times does one have to say that a graphics card has very little to do with video decoding? *sighs*
Sorry, I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to computer hardware. Hence why I started a topic about what laptop to get, rather than scrounging around on my own.

Quote:
I don't know why you want XP particularly if your hardware is capable of running it, unless you're running some obscure software from the windows 2000 era. But, most manufacturers offer a rollback disk to xp if required.
I've heard that Vista is crap from many, many people. As far as I'm concerned, XP is not. I am comfortable with XP, I know a lot about XP, etc. Also, I'm not 100% if all the programs I use are available for Vista yet. I'm sure most are, though...
Then again, Vista is the new thing. It's pretty much inevitable that I'm going to have to use it (well, unless I get a Mac or start using Linux...but I have no plans to do that)...so this isn't a make or break point for me.

Quote:
A bit of advice... Never buy laptops for the speakers
Yeah, I know what you mean . I primarily use headphones when I use laptops, unless I don't have headphones on me...


Quote:
The question does come up to the usual "What are you using it for?"
- Internet (bittorrent and instant messaging included)
- some graphics work with GIMP
- watching anime
- playing non graphics intensive games, like Stepmania
- listening to music and podcasts

That sounds like a lot, but then again, keep in mind that I can do all of that with my current laptop (Dell Inspiron 6000, windows xp, 512 ram, 80gb hard drive, 1.5 intel pentium ghz processor, not sure about the graphics card)...
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Old 2007-12-02, 03:31   Link #6
Ledgem
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Age: 28
It sounds like most of what you're doing will need a good processor, and not be involved so much with the graphics. I'd recommend going with a Core 2 Duo processor, if you can. Also, since you are doing graphics work, try to get a system with a graphics card on it that does not use shared memory. Chips using shared memory as well as on-board graphics solutions will take a bit out of your RAM (usually 32-64 MB). While their performance isn't as good as a regular graphics chip, my main concern would be that you're losing some RAM.

As for Windows Vista vs. XP, your choice. I recently had the chance to explore Vista (without the Aero interface) and it's actually not as terrible as people made it out to be, although performance-wise XP still comes out ahead. The interface was much nicer, but it actually feels a lot like a combination between Mac OS X's interface and Linux with KDE's interface (FYI I use both system types; these days Mac OS X is my primary system). Vista is not an inevitable upgrade for you, either. Windows XP's third service pack is due out sometime in the near future, which should add a bit more life to it. Work on "Windows Seven" - the next version of Windows after Vista - began a while ago, and if I remember right we're supposed to be seeing something about it as early as 2009. So who knows - I know that I used Windows 95 and jumped straight to Windows ME, skipping Windows 98, and then went from Windows ME to Windows XP, skipping 2000. If I were sticking with Windows, I'd probably go from Windows XP to Windows Seven, skipping Vista.

That aside, have you considered getting a Macbook? I believe the prices are below $1500 for those, although if you want a Macbook Pro it may be more. There are a few differences, the most important being that the Macbook Pros come with a bit more RAM by default and have a graphics card in them while the Macbooks seem to use Intel's integrated card solution. The rest is cosmetic (different keyboards, different colors and look).

Before you ditch the idea of a Mac right off, hear me out. I was a solid Windows user who was just starting to venture into Linux when I received my Macbook Pro. I had no use for the Mac side - virtually all of my software was on the Windows end. I got my system with some virtualization software called Parallels, which allows you to run Windows (among other operating systems) right there on the Mac. You can even fullscreen it and nobody would ever know you were running it on top of Mac OS X. Performance-wise, you'd never know that you weren't running Windows natively, unless you were into hard-core gaming.

So when I started out, I basically had Parallels open 90% of the time and I was doing all of my work in Windows. Within two weeks, the time I was spending in Windows was less than 50%. Now, I very rarely use it, but it is very handy to have around when I need to use some esoteric software that is Windows-only, or to do some specialized tasks that I only know how to do on the Windows end.

The Windows Vista experience I mentioned? That was through a virtual machine, using this Mac system. I carry a virtual machine of Windows XP around with me, but have Vista and some other Linux virtual machines on a separate drive - for playing around with and learning, and in case I ever run across something specialized that requires any of those operating systems. You can't do that quite so easily with a regular PC system (although you may not need to) - it makes the utility of the Mac that much greater. And even though I'm making a big deal about virtual machines, you have Mac OS X underneath it all. It's become a very nice operating system. (And if you go with virtualization software, try out VMware Fusion - I recently switched over and much prefer it.)

I don't think I'd go with Apple systems for desktops, simply because I like to tinker with my computers and Apple systems are pretty closed. As far as laptops go, from now on I'll probably try to stick with Apple.
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Old 2007-12-02, 08:24   Link #7
panzerfan
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Well, I may have my reservations about Mac, but I definitely recommend doing virtualization!

For a budget of 1500 dollars, you can get yourself a very nice machine. You are looking at 2gb of RAM space, a hard drive that should be 200 GB in size, a core 2 duo, some version of windows Vista, and of course, discrete graphics card at that price. Even HD-DVD ROM drive actually!

Even if you are interested with digital media on your laptop, it will be nice to know whether or not if you will be using this machine on the go alot or mostly as a desktop replacement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mario1234
- Internet (bittorrent and instant messaging included)
- some graphics work with GIMP
- watching anime
- playing non graphics intensive games, like Stepmania
- listening to music and podcast
I think you may even want to consider putting a bit of money aside for a wacom tablet if you are big on graphics. It is a great input device in my opinion comparing to the touchpad. Of course, you should also invest in mouse and keyboard since having those actually means you wear the keyboard on your laptop less.
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Old 2007-12-02, 12:40   Link #8
Claies
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Join Date: May 2007
Age: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by mario1234 View Post
- Internet (bittorrent and instant messaging included)
- some graphics work with GIMP
- watching anime
- playing non graphics intensive games, like Stepmania
- listening to music and podcasts
One last question for you: Are you using this in university, or is this staying in the house?

If it's the latter then battery life becomes far less of a concern, but I suggest that you give this a bit of consideration. My Toshiba Satellite's battery lasts barely 2 hours, and for me in campus that's unacceptable, so I have to pack that charger with me too.

Do get a Toshiba Satellite A200 or an ASUS if you have no other concerns though, as it's good at the entertainment part.
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Old 2007-12-02, 15:42   Link #9
guest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero Shinohara View Post
And unfortunately, I don't think you can find a laptop with XP pre-installed in it. I know it's a bummer, but they need to sell Vista >somehow<, right? :grin:
Actually, most of companies are still offering new computers with XP. Vista really isn't as good as we expected. Most of customers are still demanding XP over Vista. It is very easy to find brand new laptops with XP.

As someone who bought a new desktop with Vista, I recommend XP. As Vista just came out less than a year ago, it is still very buggy. On the top of that, most of your software is most likely compatible with XP but not Vista. You probably will have to spend extra money on upgrade your software just so you can use it with Vista. It really depends what you have. To me, that really cost me a lot because a lot of software I have just isn't compatible with Vista. I ended up spending a lot on software and still have not get all of them upgrade to Vista ready yet.

But I agree that you should have your new computer ready for Vista. If you intend to use Windows for a long while, you will have to upgrade to Vista anyway.
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Old 2007-12-02, 19:12   Link #10
mario1234
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Quote:
That aside, have you considered getting a Macbook?
Meh, kinda. I've toyed with the idea and did some research. For now I kinda want to stick with windows, though.

Quote:
t will be nice to know whether or not if you will be using this machine on the go alot or mostly as a desktop replacement.
Mainly as a desktop replacement...

Quote:
if you are big on graphics
Not too much, really. I do some photo editing and I make signatures for forums every now and then. A tablet would be nice, but for the time being I'm not really considering one.

Quote:
Are you using this in university, or is this staying in the house?
House, as a desktop replacement.


And finally, please don't try to convince me to get a desktop. I need something to bring on vacations, and a desktop would be a pain in the ass...
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Old 2007-12-02, 19:41   Link #11
panzerfan
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Age: 29
For desktop replacement, the F3 series will do just fine.

Acer makes a 5920 model that has very powerful discrete 8600M video card, a HD-DVD Rom drive as well as HDMI port, with a display resolution of 1280*800, with the CPU being a T5250 and has 2GB of ram. I have a version that doesn't come with the HD-DVD rom drive instead.
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