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Posted: 1/17/2006 6:16:25 PM EDT
I am going to by a laptop soon. It is not meant for a desktop replacement but more as a travel computer. I'd like something mid range and am thinking something around the 1000 - 1300 range. I'd like a 17" screen (not absolutely necessary but would be nice) DVD player (don't need a DVD writer, have one on my desktop), a decent video card, a 60mb and up HD, and 512 RAM minimum . I will be using it to play DVD's, music, connect to the internet (wireless connectivity a must), and run spreadsheets and other business applications.

This will be my first laptop. I've always just built my desktops so this is a bit of a change for me. What brands should I consider? I'm looking at Dell, Toshiba, and HP. Any comments or suggestions would be much appreicated. Also, if anyone has any specific models that I should look at or stay away from, let me know.

Thanks,
Nick
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 6:23:35 PM EDT
Toshiba S2,

Everything but the 17" screen. Those are too large for traveling with anyway.

Check out newegg.com for it around $1050 right now.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 6:31:08 PM EDT
I have a Compaq Presario Notebook, the Z2111US model. It does everything that you ask. It plays DVD movies, spreadsheets, connects to the internet. Has 512mb of RAM, but has a shared video card that takes 128mb, so I upgraded to 1gb, but I ran it at 512 and it was fine. I can't play Half-life 2 or anything, but it works great. Internal wireless, the whole works. After rebates, cost me $600.

If all you are going to do is cruise the internet, watch dvds and document processing, there is no reason to spend more than a $1000 on a laptop.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 6:35:38 PM EDT
do not get a 17" unless you plan to have it sit on a desk. I have a 15" for classes now and its to big.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 6:45:28 PM EDT
With the comments I'm already getting, maybe I was a bit over zealous with wanting a 17". I'll look at 15"s too. I guess lugging a 17" around would get a little old after a while.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 6:48:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Nicholastheczar:
With the comments I'm already getting, maybe I was a bit over zealous with wanting a 17". I'll look at 15"s too. I guess lugging a 17" around would get a little old after a while.


Even a 15 is bad trust me. I carry it every day and it sucks. I realize they make them lighter than mine now but still requires a larger case. I would do a 14 or even 13 or smaller. They are the new cool. small is in haha
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 7:01:42 PM EDT
Sager
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 7:07:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:
Sager



+1 Sager laptops are premium.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 7:08:00 PM EDT
I've had great luck with the Compaq (Now HP) Presario X1000 series. Don't know if you can get them anymore but I just love mine.

On the other hand...customer service these days suck for the most part...unless you enjoy speaking to people from India that cannot understand what you are saying and vice versa. However when my first Compaq 1800T went crazy...and after about 2 months of bitching, I got this $3500 laptop (Presario X1000) for free. I guess it might have been worth the trouble.

I do not suggest a Sony at all. I've seen a lot of those around campus...sure they look great and perform pretty well. However cheap parts and lots of annoying little small problems. Keyboards are the # 1 thing to go bad.

Dell isn't very good either. Talked to a buddy of mine...says that 13% of all computers shipped out come directly back to the factory with problems. That's huge. Don't know how accurate it is for sure...but if it's true...they need to stop making them all together.

Just my .02



PS - I love my 15.4 screen...don't have any problems with it. It's nice being able to put two ARFCOM threads up at once!

Link Posted: 1/17/2006 7:19:51 PM EDT
Get a Factory Refurbished IBM ThinkPad. I'm typing on a T30 that is been running *flawlessly for almost five years. The T23's aren't to bad either, I had one of those for work when I was with American Express and again later while I was at Wells Fargo until they replaced it with a T41.

They only have 14" screens but these Thinkpads are like Timex watches and they are an Industry Standard so replacement parts are relatively inexpensive and if you know where/how to look you can find completed Maintenance Manuals on how to remove replace a part that has failed.

*The CPU Fan on my T30 started making grinding noises about two months ago. In retro-spect it was no surprise since it is my primary home computer and has been for quite some time. I leave it running all the time.

Attempt to clean the dust out by removing the pannel under the HardDrive that partialy exposes the the CPU Fan failed correct the problem even though I was able to erradicate a signifigant amount of dust from years of neglect.

Then I was thinking well maybe I need to replace the CPUFan/Heatsink assembly. Note: I am not a PC Technician but I can use a screwdriver and follow instructions. It took a about an hour but eventually I found a link to and Adobe file on the Lenova (IBM contracts Lenova to manufacture Thinkpads) web site with completed detailed intructions on how to disassemble the T30 Laptop.

Armed with this information I was able to safely disassemble my T30 to the point of removing the CPUFan/Heatsink assembly, parts (access panels, both the primary and backup batteries, the Hard Drive, CD/DVD Drive and DIMMS) were scattered all over my home office. When doing so you have to pay careful attention to what screws go where keeping re-assembly in mind but just of the matter is. I was able to remove the part, clean it with canned air, record the part number and re-assemble it.

When I put it all back together the fan continued to make the noise as if some dust was logded in the fan bearings or a bearing was displaced so I started Googling for CPUFan/Heatsink Assemblies for sale using the part number. I found replacements available from $28 refurbished to $45 new but before I placed an order, suddenly the sound stopped. Immediately I stripped it down again and blew the thing out as best I could with canned air again. Since then, I haven't heard a peep out of that CPUFan. These ThinkPad's are work horses.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 5:17:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:
Sager



I've never even heard of these, but then again I've never had a need for a laptop. Are they good / reliable / quality?
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 6:17:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Nicholastheczar:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:
Sager



I've never even heard of these, but then again I've never had a need for a laptop. Are they good / reliable / quality?



Oh yes, they are of the highest quality.

www.sagernotebook.com/index.html
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 6:46:19 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 7:58:07 AM EDT
tag. Daughter needs laptop.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 10:03:39 AM EDT
So it seems, at least from the posts already, that just about everyone has their own preference when it comes to brand, which is to be expected. I'll have sit down and compare specs side by side on some of the ones mentioned and find out which one gives me the most bang for the buck. When I get narrowed down, I'll post my top 3 and go from there.

Keep the replies coming!

Nick
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 12:29:08 PM EDT
Look at Acer note books.

For the size Mine has alot of power.

1.9ghz Pentium M
X700 viedo

and it wieghs about 6 pounds, and is less than a inch thick at the thickest
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 1:39:45 PM EDT
Laptops


Sorry, couldn't resist.

On a serious note, I've had good luck with the Compaq Presario also.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 3:42:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/18/2006 4:28:06 PM EDT by Nicholastheczar]
Here is one of the systems I am looking at. I've compared HP with Dell, Toshiba, and Sager and it looks like you get more bang for you buck from HP.

HP dv5000z
OS - Windows XP Home Edition with SP2
CPU - AMD Turion 64 ML-37 (2.0GHz/1MB L2 Cache)
Display - 15.4" WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280x800)
Graphics Card - 128MB ATI RADEON(R) XPRESS 200M w/Hypermemory
RAM - 256MB DDR SDRAM (1x256MB)
Hard Drive - 80 GB 5400 RPM
CD/DVD - DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive
Networking - 54g(TM) 802.11b/g WLAN w/ 125HSM/SpeedBooster
Primary Battery - 12 Cell Lithium Ion Battery

You'll notice the RAM is only 256mb. I plan on buying 1gb from Newegg as soon as I order a laptop to bump it up.

The total cost of this system is $1004 +$82 for the RAM from newegg. Shipping is free and there is no tax. This was configured directly from HP's website. It seems like it beats Bestbuy and Circuit City's prices by about $150 -$200 and I get exactly what I want and I don't have to pay tax which would be about another $90 - $100.

I will look for a few more configurations from some other vendors and see what I can come up with.


Edited to add the following laptop:

Here is another. It is cheap enough but I am not sure on Compaq. How is there quality? Are they the same as HP?

Compaq Presario V5000Z customizable Notebook PC
– Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Home Edition with SP2
– AMD Turion(TM) 64 ML-40 (2.2GHz/1MB L2 Cache)
– 15.4" WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280x800)
– 128MB ATI RADEON(R) XPRESS 200M w/Hypermemory
– 256MB DDR SDRAM (1x256MB)
– 80 GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive
– DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive
– 54g(TM) 802.11b/g WLAN w/ 125HSM/SpeedBooster
– 12 Cell Lithium Ion Battery

This one is about the same as the HP but it has a 2.2ghz vs. the HP's 2.0ghz CPU.
The price on this is $933 + $82 for the 1gb of RAM from newegg. Again, free shipping and no tax. So, this one is $71 cheaper than the HP but has more CPU.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 6:56:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Nicholastheczar:
Here is another. It is cheap enough but I am not sure on Compaq. How is there quality? Are they the same as HP?



They are the same as HP. HP makes all of the HP/Compaq laptop line. They merged and are the same company.


If you have a desktop that's powerfull, there is no need to purchuse a laptop with that much processing power. You could get a laptop for $600 that will do the same thing.
I have the AMD Turion64 (1.4 ghz,, 512k cache) and I watch movies, play medium level games, and cruise the net with it. No problems at all.

Link Posted: 1/19/2006 5:12:40 PM EDT
I'm after a new laptop also and no zilch about these things so I am just now starting my research which leads to my question. You folks that are talking about "built in wireless"...well what does this mean? No more need for that aircard type doohickey?
And my apology to Nicholastheczar for hijacking the thread.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 5:23:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ChuckyT:
I'm after a new laptop also and no zilch about these things so I am just now starting my research which leads to my question. You folks that are talking about "built in wireless"...well what does this mean? No more need for that aircard type doohickey?
And my apology to Nicholastheczar for hijacking the thread.



Nope, no more need for the aircard doohickey.

Intel Centrino laptops have intel pro wireless built right in (it has to in order to be called centrino), and just about every other laptop has an internal wireless option available.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 5:46:32 PM EDT
Very cool- that helps me out. Thanks adair_usmc!
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 3:21:58 PM EDT
Well after looking at everything, I ended up going with the following:

HP Pavilion dv5000z customizable Notebook PC

– Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Home Edition with SP2
– AMD Turion(TM) 64 ML-37 (2.0GHz/1MB L2 Cache)
– 15.4" WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280x800)
– 128MB ATI RADEON(R) XPRESS 200M w/Hypermemory(TM)
– 256MB DDR SDRAM (1x256MB)
– 80 GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive
– LightScribe 8x DVD+/-RW&CD-RW Combo w/Double Layer
– 54g(TM) 802.11b/g WLAN w/ 125HSM/SpeedBooster(TM)
– None
– 12 Cell Lithium Ion Battery

I ordered a stick of 1gb RAM from Newegg to bring this up to speed. I got it for $1058 no tax no shipping charges directly from HP. From what I looked at, it seemed to be one of the best packages I could build.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 1:09:35 AM EDT
I only buy IBM laptops. My current 1 is a T-30 and is still under warranty. They have a couple cheaper series, but most come with a transferrable 3 year warranty. I had a wireless card go out and the part was delivered the next day. Paid 580.00 and it still had a year left of warranty.

1.8 gig pentium M
14.5 inch screen
30 gig HD
DVD/CDRW
wireless
etc.....
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