Laptop Purchasing Advice

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gutterballk7
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Laptop Purchasing Advice

Post by gutterballk7 »

Okay, I have endlessly pestered my friends for the past few months about buying a laptop and which brand I should buy. They are getting sick of me so I decided to start fresh, and I thought everyone at phpBB dev board would be helpful and opinionated... so let's give it a go.

I'm heading off to college this fall and I'm looking for a laptop. I'll do some gaming (probably have to find some games to play) and probably be doing some homework too.

I was looking at HP laptops for quite a while. Then, somehow, I did a complete 180 and started looking at Lenovo ThinkPads. I noticed they are quite a bit pricey!! Now, I have started looking at Dell computers and started ignoring HP.

What do you guys think? Should I spend money on a good ThinkPad? Or save some money and get a equally good Dell laptop? I've already customized one and the price seems decent compared to ThinkPads. However, I'm not quite as sure how sturdy the Dell laptops are.

Anyone have suggestions for me? Either Dell or ThinkPad... (maybe you want to explain the necessity of a service plan for either brand. I don't think I'm that hard on my stuff; I'm not completely careless.)

Thanks

(See, I would buy an ThinkPad if I knew the technology wasn't going to be outdated quickly after spending that much money. Well, I dunno what I should do. I can buy a ThinkPad... lot of money, but it will physically remain durable. Dell, well, it's cheaper for the newer technology, so when it becomes outdated, it is easier to replace, but it could be more likely to physically break first. See my dilemma? :? Someone please help. Thx)

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SHS`
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Re: Laptop Purchasing Advice

Post by SHS` »

You've made absolutely no mention of budget, which basically means any recommendation would be shooting in the dark. That said, anything Intel "Core 2" would have more than enough grunt, and coupled with a decent mobile GPU (say an nVidia 7600 GO)... and you have a respectable gaming laptop.

Still, people can make recommendations till they are blue in the face, however... it'll be you using it day-to-day, so best thing to do would be to head outside, try various models of laptop out, then hunt down the cheapest place to buy it online. :P
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gutterballk7
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Re: Laptop Purchasing Advice

Post by gutterballk7 »

Oh, I have the money, it's just that I don't want to waste it. I guess I'm merely asking for someone's experiences with these laptops if they have used them and what they think in general.

ThinkPad = reliable, costs a lot if it is going to be outdated
Dell = reliable???, costs less for the same performance as a ThinkPad

So, I'm asking, how reliable is a Dell laptop for the money you are spending (and do I want a service plan)? Now I'm looking for firsthand experience...

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Re: Laptop Purchasing Advice

Post by Martin Blank »

Dells tend to be solid systems, though support has been sketchy over the last few years since they started routing almost everything through India. This presents a problem for those who know what they're doing and don't want to wait on hold for 15 minutes to go through a scripted conversation for another 15 minutes before finally being passed stateside to someone who is allowed a more free-form conversation.

My experience with them goes back to about 2000, and runs much of the Latitude and Inspiron lines for both business and home use. The screens on the newer systems (those from the last 18 months or so) are fantastic and much easier to read than those on the older, matte-style screens.

We've also begun using HP notebooks at work, and while their performance lags behind the Dells, I can't complain much about power, functionality, or looks. They may have enhanced functionality in that their alloy cases may be good for whacking someone upside the head, but I have not explored this option fully. I have no experience with HP's notebook support, as we've had no reason to call that group.

Do keep in mind that the 64-bit Merom notebook CPUs will be out in 2-3 months, and the Santa Rosa platform (for which Merom was originally intended) is about six months out. Both involve significant shifts in notebook computer technologies.
You can never go home again... but I guess you can shop there.

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SHS`
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Re: Laptop Purchasing Advice

Post by SHS` »

gutterballk7 wrote: Oh, I have the money, it's just that I don't want to waste it. I guess I'm merely asking for someone's experiences with these laptops if they have used them and what they think in general.
... yet you still provide no budget. :roll:

There are top-end laptop which if decked-out costs somewhere in the region of $7k

At the other end, there are perfectly capable dual-cored lappies for ~$700...

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/ ... G&x=13&y=7" target="_blank
Martin Blank wrote: Do keep in mind that the 64-bit Merom notebook CPUs will be out in 2-3 months, and the Santa Rosa platform (for which Merom was originally intended) is about six months out. Both involve significant shifts in notebook computer technologies.
Whilst I'm holding out for Merom (for the NX and Virtualisation stuff)... 64bit is still rather "pointless" on a laptop less you are decking it out with >=2GB of RAM. On the otherhand, if one is planning on playing with Windows Vista, 64bit hardware would be the route to go (the same DVD has both i386/x86 and x64 binaries) as Vista loves RAM with all the Aero Glass stuff on.
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.Zach
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Re: Laptop Purchasing Advice

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gutterballk7
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Re: Laptop Purchasing Advice

Post by gutterballk7 »

Martin Blank did a great job at getting some of my questions about Dell answered.
SHS'... really, I can afford any laptop in that range, but I probably don't want to spend more than $1500. I need the majority of my money for college itself.
I will look at Zach's link now. :D

Okay, the HP laptops Zack pointed out - our school has them for some of the teachers. I looked at them and I was like wow... 17 inches of widescreeen... unnecessary - they also commented that if I were to carry books on my laptop or something, I'd likely break my screen due to the lack of support in the middle of the screen.

However, I have looked at HP's for a long while and those were my intended purchase.... but now I'm strongly leaning towards Dell since my confidence in them is a little higher at the moment.

I would like to ask though... Final Question: When do you think is the best time to buy a laptop? (Like, in June, or July, or August.) Other than that, I'm quite happy with the answers.

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SHS`
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Re: Laptop Purchasing Advice

Post by SHS` »

The new XPS M1210 would make a nice portable gaming laptop:

http://www.dell.com/content/products/pr ... ecs#tabtop" target="_blank

12" WXGA, with an option of nVidia 7400 GO (as opposed to Intel IGP). And it's Vista ready... so you can play with Beta2 once MS pull their finger out and unleash that upon us. :P Asus are a decent make too, and they have Core Duo based models of all sorts.

There's never really a "best" time to buy, bleeding edge hardware is out of date the moment it's released. ;) Though as said earlier, Merom (Core 2 Duo) will replace the current Yonah (Core Duo) in a couple months... basic aim for that is bringing 64bit to power-efficient laptops.
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gutterballk7
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Re: Laptop Purchasing Advice

Post by gutterballk7 »

With best time to buy, I was merely referring "Back to School deals"... I'm not sure if that is something to wait for or not... I'd like to get my laptop in July so I can use it and enjoy it over the summer, as well as make sure it isn't a lemon! :o

Martin Blank
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Re: Laptop Purchasing Advice

Post by Martin Blank »

SHS` wrote: Whilst I'm holding out for Merom (for the NX and Virtualisation stuff)... 64bit is still rather "pointless" on a laptop less you are decking it out with >=2GB of RAM.
Depends on how long you plan to hold onto it. A year from now, 32-bit OSes will still be the most common. It will probably be the same two years from now. But I suspect major changes will be coming even inside of that, and eventually 64-bit OSes will be the most common.

I run a 64-bit OS on my server. With a coming system rebuild, I plan on running 64-bit locally. It's ahead of the pack, yes, but someone has to lead the way.
You can never go home again... but I guess you can shop there.

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