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Posted: 10/24/2006 2:53:54 PM EST

I'm a traditionalist when it comes to laptops--form follows function, for the most part. My current laptop is the K6/2-350 that I bought in 1999. Still works fine (a few upgrades later).

I've always found IBM Thinkpads and Toshiba laptops to be reasonaly reliable with good features. Now, I'm hearing horror stories about the current Thinkpads, which leaves me with just Toshiba as an option.

Except for one thing...I'm drooling over a MacBook now.

Yes, a long-time PC geek, drooling over a Unix-running, affordably-priced Macintosh.

What I'd like to know is two things:

1. What laptop brands do you think of as being high quality?

2. Does anyone here own/run a Macbook, especially if you're already a unix geek, and what do you think of that computer as a daily-use, portable machine?

Jim
Link Posted: 10/24/2006 3:45:45 PM EST
I have a MacBook Pro and enjoy it thoroughly. It is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It runs Windows and OS X (I spend all my time in OS X now, honestly). The Darwin core is nice if you are going to do some more advanced stuff (and of course UNIX reliability). Fink and other projects bring Linux apps over.

The regular MacBook is nice as well, it lacks the aluminum body, backlit keyboard, ATI graphics card, dual-link DVI, and perhaps some other things... but it is a nice laptop IMO if you don't care about that stuff.
Link Posted: 10/24/2006 11:34:16 PM EST

Oh, I'd LIKE a better video card, but not so much I'm willing to double the price for it. The other stuff (case, keyboard) doesn't matter much to me.

If the processor is decent and the memory is plentiful, then I can do all of the scientific computing I need to do with it, and that's what matters most. I just need to make sure the linux version of Matlab I have will install and run on OSX.

Jim
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 3:13:40 AM EST
i personally would never buy a macintosh. the windoz operating system is as stable and secure as the operator.

laptops i would buy: dell, ibm, acer. not a fan of toshiba's.

Any new laptop i buy i would also get a "notebook cooler" from newegg. you can get them from $30 bucks and up. a must have for laptops now adays

Get alot of memory at least 512MB (a absoslute bare minimum in memory), get a faster hd at least the 5400rpm. 7200 is avail but a big more expensive.

higher end video cards are available, but that just adds more heat inside that little laptop. again the reason to buy the laptop cooler. it will extend the life of your pc, and components!!
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 5:26:17 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/25/2006 6:33:14 AM EST by dolanp]

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
Oh, I'd LIKE a better video card, but not so much I'm willing to double the price for it. The other stuff (case, keyboard) doesn't matter much to me.

If the processor is decent and the memory is plentiful, then I can do all of the scientific computing I need to do with it, and that's what matters most. I just need to make sure the linux version of Matlab I have will install and run on OSX.

Jim


Well, worst case, you can put Linux on there, it's pretty compatible.

eta: Oh and since someone mentioned fans it made me think: this is the quietest laptop I have ever owned or used. It never makes a sound. You can *barely* hear the hard drive and only if it's totally quiet in the room. Battery life is good and the laptop actually gets quite cooler when running on battery power.
Link Posted: 10/25/2006 6:28:14 AM EST
I know a lot of guys are gonna scream when I say this, but HP makes a pretty darn good laptop for the money now days. My 14" DV1610 has been though hell and back in the last 10 months, transported and set up in just about every laptop unfriendly environment imaginable without so much as a hiccup.

The one time I did have an issue (My fault for downloading crappy infested files off WinMX, not HP's.) The service was great. The guy may have been in India, but he provided service like there was a supervisor with a whip standing behind him, ready to implement torture if he said no to anything....Seriously they bent over backward to help me out.

Runs cool, fans work, nice screen. wireless works very well.

Link Posted: 10/25/2006 8:41:49 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/25/2006 8:47:51 AM EST by torstin]
although i havent updated the thread yet, i do have openstep running on the macbook 2.0. performance is pretty good and i do feel the machine is quite capable. the current adobe apps do run slow under rosetta though, so you may be disappointed there if you use them. it is an excellent value which is hard to dispute. i wouldn't hesitate to recommend one. where i have found a few minor issues is with the design of the machine itself.

though its the smallest machine currently in the apple line, i still think its too big to fit my definition of portable. unfortunately, there aren't any other options. the 15" powerbook is even bigger. the rectangular wide aspect screen is nice for some things, but to me isnt worth the size and weight trade off. especailly with a max internal resolution of only 1280 x 800. at the same time though, all of my remote needs are covered by a 12" powerbook. (i'm sure many would just consider that too small. if i need a bigger screen, i just use an external display.)

the keyboard design can be limiting in some ways, too. i'm currently using the black model and it is hard to see in dim light. (no back lit models are available in the macbook line.) if you are in any type of non standard position, which i frequently am while reading web news and lying on the sofa, it can be annoying. also, the front edge of the machine, where youd rest your wrists while typing, was notably sharp when it arrived. it was uncomfortable enough that i ended up pulling out a scraper and several grades of sandpaper to round it off for a feel similar to what i'm used to with the powerbooks.

beyond that, i honestly dont have anything to complain about. depending on how portable you need to be, waiting until january for the possible anouncement of an apple ultra light might be worth considering. but for a mostly stationary machine that will occasionally go on the road, it's very hard to beat.

as for the unix aspect, os x has its own subtle flavor.

eta. matlab just announced a beta for intel macs. www.mathworks.com/support/faq/macintel.html


Link Posted: 10/25/2006 2:03:21 PM EST

I'll have to see if the plain linux version of the Matlab I currently own will run under OSX on Intel Mac.

I don't want to buy another license! Not for a couple of years yet.
Link Posted: 10/26/2006 11:59:54 PM EST
I got a Compaq (HP) Presario V2000 a few weeks ago. So far, it's great. It came with a couple of rebates so the price was good. You can get them configured with upgraded screen, RAM, HD, etc. so you can get them pretty much tailored to your needs and wants.

I've heard of some complaints about Compaq but this thing is great and I've never had a problem with the dozen or so of their desktops that I've bought over the years for home and office use. Highly recommended.
Link Posted: 10/28/2006 6:13:56 AM EST

Originally Posted By cruze5:
i personally would never buy a macintosh. the windoz operating system is as stable and secure as the operator.

laptops i would buy: dell, ibm, acer. not a fan of toshiba's.

Any new laptop i buy i would also get a "notebook cooler" from newegg. you can get them from $30 bucks and up. a must have for laptops now adays

Get alot of memory at least 512MB (a absoslute bare minimum in memory), get a faster hd at least the 5400rpm. 7200 is avail but a big more expensive.

higher end video cards are available, but that just adds more heat inside that little laptop. again the reason to buy the laptop cooler. it will extend the life of your pc, and components!!


I just picked up an Antec cooler for my Acer. It's amazing how much cooler it runs now.
Haven't heard the notebook's fan come on since I got that gadget.

Link Posted: 10/28/2006 6:48:43 AM EST
The Macbook Pro is great. I am only buying Mac's these days...
Link Posted: 10/30/2006 12:05:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/30/2006 12:06:17 PM EST by Landrace]

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
I'll have to see if the plain linux version of the Matlab I currently own will run under OSX on Intel Mac.

I don't want to buy another license! Not for a couple of years yet.


You can install both Linux and Windows on the MacBook. If you get the MacBook or MacBook Pro, get the least memory possible and then upgrade it yourself. Apple charges an arm and a leg for memory.

If you're a student, I think you get $50 discount on the MacBook and a $200 discount on the MacBook Pro. I believe there's also a teacher discount, but I'm not sure what it is.
Link Posted: 10/30/2006 4:26:45 PM EST
Too bad they don't stack discounts.

Teacher discount, student discount, state employee discount...heck, Apple should just GIVE me a Macbook and a couple of hundred dollars for my trouble. :)

Jim
Link Posted: 10/30/2006 4:47:32 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/30/2006 4:48:08 PM EST by dolanp]

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
Too bad they don't stack discounts.

Teacher discount, student discount, state employee discount...heck, Apple should just GIVE me a Macbook and a couple of hundred dollars for my trouble. :)

Jim


What sucks is that unless you're lucky enough to live in a state like NH you can't use those discounts without getting taxed and cancelling out the savings. Geniuses at Apple set up a shipping place in like every state so you get taxed.

I could have used the student discount but it ended up being cheaper through Amazon because there was no tax and they were giving a $150 rebate.
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