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 Post subject: Laptop purchasing tutorial
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 12:40 pm 
Sharptooth
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Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:23 pm
Posts: 469
Location: Swanton, VT
Hi,
I'm planning on buying a laptop for Christmas and have been doing some research. I was surprised to see so many different types of processors. What i need is a quick tutorial. I want the cpu to be a core 2 duo and to be fast. The other thing i need is good graphics just in case i want to play any games or if i'm downloading any video or trailers off the internet. I want the visual quality to be very good. My budget will be under $1500 so hopefully you guys can come up with something because i'm really confused and time is running out. Last, which brand name is more reliable ? That of course includes customer service. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:57 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:44 pm
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A couple of other important constraints you haven't told us about:

Weight and battery life-Do you care how heavy this laptop will be? Some laptops rarely leave a desk. In this case, size doesn't matter, and battery life doesn't matter much either. You can get a desktop replacement.

Screen size-Related to above. A bigger screen means a bigger, heavier laptop, less battery life too. Something to consider. There are other aspects about the screen which will really influence visual quality too. Resolution, matte vs glossy finish.

Quick thoughts on Core 2 Duos:
I think you want something that Intel has designated T7300 and above. I would want my processor to be running on the 800mhz bus, and at least 2MB of L2 cache, which T7300 should ensure. 4MB is even better, but is likely out of your price range. A 667mhz bus is ok, sometimes you're restricted by the board the manufacturer is offering in their laptop. On a side note, you'll want 1gb of ram for XP, and probably 2gb for Vista.

On good graphics:
What games are you likely going to be playing? Aside from games, you won't need a gaming video chipset for computer videos, from the internet, or for dvds. An integrated chip (cheaper) can handle it fine. For discrete gaming video chipsets, I think most chipsets that offer you 256mb of video ram will be more than enough for what you expect from a laptop. I'm guesisng mid-7000 for Nvidia's GeForce Go series, and around X1900 series for ATI Radeon Mobility's (though the 2000s omit the X now).

Reliable brands:
I'm sure others with more experience will chime in. But in general, you get what you pay for. My friend will only consider Thinkpads from Lenovo, and Sony and Apple for laptops. Those companies have excellent quality control and support, but they also charge a high brand premium.

Everyone gets a Dell, so their laptops at least don't overheat (usually). Also, a lot of people are getting HP laptops now. I would just say, I don't like their huge media station desktop replacements that they were known for. I can't comment on Gateway's reliability, but they always seem to have cheap ones with great specs at Newegg, for well within $1500.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:12 pm 
Sharptooth
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Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:23 pm
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Location: Swanton, VT
Thanks nam112381,very informative. I have been doing some research and noticed the T7XXX chips to be faster. I'm a little confused about the graphics though, shouldn't the X2600 be better than the 8600 GT ? Looks like the only two options when it comes to graphics.

I noticed also the ASUS notebooks in Newegg. It seems that ASUS enjoys a following by reading some of those reviews. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with ASUS notebooks compared to the big sellers like Dell, Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba and HP. Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:47 pm 
Coppermine
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Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 4:48 pm
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I'm also in the market for a new laptop. It will be used for some office applications (word, excel), for a lot of internet surfing, and for watching DVDs and video on the net. It will not be used for gaming (other than the occasional solitaire and similar type games). I'd like Core 2 Duos, 2 GB of memory, at least a 5400 speed HD, and a battery that will last long enough for someone to watch a 2 1/2 hour DVD without worrying about running out of power before the DVD is done. Is there anything like this for under $800? Anything out there on Black Friday?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:46 pm 
Little Foot
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Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:23 pm
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Location: Southern California
More I read these type of posts, more I relalize that majority of members here are Intel users... and for obvious reasons of course.

For cost effective notebooks, has anyone looked at or tested AMD Turionâ„¢ 64 X2 Dual-Core based systems?

I have two notebooks with this technology processors and chipsets and I am getting an excellent performance. One of them is running XP Professional and Ubuntu and the other one (the newest member) is a Vista based and PCBSD.

The Vista based notebook required many OS mods... in order to harness its true performance and was able to get at least 2+ hours of heavy battery usage (running DVD movies, etc.).

These type of systems are not what I will call "fastest" performers, but for under $1,000 (with some aggressive search, you can get them below $800 easily), they are a very decent workhorse for office and home use. I will not recommend to play Halo or similar games with it, but for your ordinary tasks, they perform just fine.

I used HP, Acer and Toshiba... Somehow, my preference is Acer... I like their tech support, when needed, and online documentation and coupled with very reasonable price.

Just curious what you think of AMD Turionâ„¢ 64 X2 Dual-Core based systems, as there are few posts about them in this forum.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:26 pm 
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Performance wise, the AMD solutions simply cannot compete with Intel. The only thing that would make me consider AMD would be the price. And when it comes to laptops, that's about the only thing AMD has going for it.

When it comes to Laptops, there's just one company whose laptop I wouldn't even consider. The Sony Viao. These things suck. I'm sure someone will chime in with, "Had mine for a hundred years, works great, meets my needs....blah-blah-blah" but they suck.

HP has been impressive to me for the last three years. I'd seriously consider this model line with a T7500 and the 256Mb 8600Go graphics. For $1500, you aren't going to get much in the way of extreme gaming performance, but this as a base line model is nothing to sneeze at for less than $1500. With the free upgrades HP is offering, pay attention during the component selection process, you can get one outfitted pretty decently in your price range.

As with all products, you'll find some people with horror stories and some with great things to say. I've owned an HP ZD8000 for the last couples of years and it still plays games quite well and the performance is still respectable.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 8:34 am 
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I have some friends who have AMD Turion X2 based systems. They work just fine, and their battery life is good, they're just not as fast and power efficient as Intel's Core 2 or Core 2 Duo, there is just no comparison.

So yeah, like Quakeindude said, for AMD-based notebooks, and in everything else for that matter, the only thing they have going for them is price. But they work, and work well. Sometimes, performance tests call for a Mustang, but you get the Camry instead. The Camry certainly isn't a speed demon or anything, but it gets you around without any problems, and it saved you a wad. Sometimes, that's enough.


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