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Dyne

Going to Buy A Laptop, Need Help

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So...I'm debating on what kind of laptop to get.

Basically, my price range goes up to $2,500. It's going to be primarily used as a mobile studio and sometimes for gaming. So, any ideas would be extremely helpful.

I've heard mixed reviews for Dell, Sony and HP. I really don't know much about Acer, and I won't touch Compaq. So, any ideas would, again, be EXTREMELY HELPFUL, and well appreciated.

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Other than, after two years of (ab)use, a headphone jack that has a loose connection, I haven't had any issues with my Dell Inspiron 9300. If you get a Dell, though, just... get rid of most of the crap software they load onto it, m'kay?

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Personally, I'd never go back to buying computers from the mainline companies. All the bulkware they load on combined with sub-par hardware will slow you down a lot.

A few years ago, I bought a computer (HP or compaq or something, can't remember) 3.0 gHz 1 gig ram blah blah. It just wasn't running that fast. There always was a pause before it would respond to commands, like right-clicking the desktop. I ended up formatting and reinstalling windows and it ran about twice as fast as before - but still not so great. Fortunately, the monitor went out while I was still under warranty at the store, so I took it back.

Ended up putting together and ordering a custom rig (from cyberpowersystem.com I think) with the same exact specs as the other comp, except they just load windows and office if you order it, and you get better quality hardware. It was lightyears ahead of the store-bought computer in speed.

Anyway, I'd recommend looking at getting a laptop from abs (www.abs.com) or cyber power (www.cyberpowerpc.com) or something. Anyway, just my 2c.

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Oddly enough I'd say get a Macbook Pro and install Windows XP/Vista on it with Bootcamp, so you have a dualboot environment(Or just Windows, whichever you fancy more). For the amount of features you get, the price can't really be beaten. And if you're a student, you get a free iPod Nano with it at the moment. The current versions also allow a nice big memory upgrade(Hint: Buy RAM not from Apple, any laptop RAM with the same specs works, and it's user-replacable)

I personally wouldn't really recommend Acer. The preloaded software is mostly crap/badly translated crap, and the battery life's not that great. Sony's also quite shitty, HP is overpriced. Either way, most laptops come with a hell of a lot of useless crap preinstalled that's sometimes hard to remove.

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I've gotten a lot of mileage out of my HP Pavilion; I would still recommend that as the way to go. However, because you're concerned with gaming, keep an eye on the graphics card, because right now that's where the greatest disparity between desktops and notebooks lies (or so it seems to me). I'm actually considering a new computer (desktop or notebook, haven't decided yet) solely on account of getting something with a new graphics card.

Also, HP and Compaq are the same company, although some of their models (I think) still come out with the "Compaq" label.

Anyway, the good thing about the HP Pavilions is that they're designed with entertainment and media in mind; besides the usual specs, the widescreen and remote are nice additions. Also, by comparison to other notebooks with similar specs, the price isn't too unreasonable (although I can't say the same for other models).

I still have to say, Nutritious's advice seems pretty good, so you may want to look into that first before checking HP, Dell, etc. KF

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keep an eye on the graphics card

Just a note here:

Avoid the Intel GMA950 and GMA900 like the plague. They choke if you try to do anything even remotely in 3 dimensions. The ATI 1150 xpress is a bit better, but not much. Given a choice between the two, I would take the ATI.

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Well, I've checked about both ABS and CyberPower. I like both companies.

CyberPower Config (I can config up to 4GB of ram, which makes me plenty happy, but there's no upgrading the video card :(.)

ABS Config (For intents, I like the $1699 config, which I can reconfig with a little more omph.)

Question now is...what's better?

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...I think now I'm gonna be looking through both ABS and CyberPowerPC for a new computer. Some of the ones on there look really good.

Avoid the Intel GMA950 and GMA900 like the plague. They choke if you try to do anything even remotely in 3 dimensions. The ATI 1150 xpress is a bit better, but not much. Given a choice between the two, I would take the ATI.

Video cards, unfortunately, are the one thing I know the least about... Do you have any particular recommendations on what to get? I don't do any online MMORPGing, but I do want to run things like Civilization IV without having to nerf down the graphics settings--and that requires a card that does well with 3D and T&L.

Regarding everything else, I'm pretty certain on the kind of specs I want: 120GB HD (preferably > 5400rpm), at least 2GB of RAM, 2~3 hour battery life; only the vid card is what I'm unsure about.

Oddly enough, the notebooks listed on ABS seem to have a really short battery life (73 minutes?). Is that right, or am I misreading something? KF

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I'd like to add that my experience only extends to desktops I've bought, so I can't say for sure what quality those laptops are (though I have no reason to believe they'd be bad).

Here and Here are other threads that may be helpful for you.

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Ok... I'd like a little advice on how to progress from here.

I've been looking through models on both ABS and CyberPowerPC, and messing with configs, and I have my eyes set on one model in particular. It's the "Xplorer X7-7500" Notebook from CyberPowerPC (http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/ntbkx57500.asp?v=d#configurator_top).

Here are the main specs on it that I'm concerned about:

- DISPLAY LCD: 17" WSXGA+ Widescreen TFT Display 1680x1050 Pixels

- CPU: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Mobile T7200 Dual-Core Processor @ 2.00GHz 667FSB 4MB L2 Cache EM64T

- MOTHERBOARD: Mobile Intel 945PM Express Chipset Mainboard

- MEMORY: 4GB (2x2GB) PC5300 DDR2-667 SODIMM Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)

- VIDEO CARD: Built-in Mobility™ NVIDIA GeForce GO 7600 256MB PCI-Express X16 Video

- HARD DRIVE: 100GB 7200RPM SATA150 HARD DRIVE

(Price = $1576.00)

So... I have a couple questions that I was hoping some folks here might be able to answer.

First, the video card. I admit, I know very little about vid cards. I'd like something that can handle the high-end graphics options for Civilization IV, and any good strategy games that might come out in the next year or two--without any slowdown.

Second, I really like the idea of having 4 gigs of RAM. This model was originally configured with 2 gigs (2 1GB processors). Does the 2×2GB processors seem like overkill? I don't mind the extra expense here (made up for it by going down from 2.16GHz to 2).

Third, Windows Vista. Has anyone had any real bad experiences with this? Should I just stick with Windows XP Home, or should I go ahead and have Vista on here? (I'm not going with a Mac or installing Ubuntu on here, so please don't suggest those, even if they might be better.)

Thanks for any response... Really my main question is about the video card, but I wouldn't mind any input on the 4GB of RAM or Vista. KF

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First, the video card. I admit, I know very little about vid cards. I'd like something that can handle the high-end graphics options for Civilization IV, and any good strategy games that might come out in the next year or two--without any slowdown.

If you want to play games, buy a desktop, if you are going to use it like a desktop, buy a desktop, if you want to upgrade like a desktop...buy a god damn desktop. I suggest you really evaluate if you actually need a notebook(ya, I saw mobile studio, but how often?), if you don't need a notebook then its a HUGE waste of money.

Second, I really like the idea of having 4 gigs of RAM. This model was originally configured with 2 gigs (2 1GB processors). Does the 2×2GB processors seem like overkill? I don't mind the extra expense here (made up for it by going down from 2.16GHz to 2).

A purchase of 4gigs of memory is currently a waste of money, 32-bit systems will only ever see 3.25gigs of it and on average you never get near 2gigs anyways. There are exceptions, I am just going with regular use here.

Third, Windows Vista. Has anyone had any real bad experiences with this? Should I just stick with Windows XP Home, or should I go ahead and have Vista on here? (I'm not going with a Mac or installing Ubuntu on here, so please don't suggest those, even if they might be better.)

Vista has been kinda hit or miss depending on the person, some love it, some hate it, a lot sit in between the two extremes. If you can go to a store and play with it for a couple of minutes, that may give you some idea.

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If you want to play games, buy a desktop, if you are going to use it like a desktop, buy a desktop, if you want to upgrade like a desktop...buy a god damn desktop. I suggest you really evaluate if you actually need a notebook(ya, I saw mobile studio, but how often?), if you don't need a notebook then its a HUGE waste of money.

A purchase of 4gigs of memory is currently a waste of money, 32-bit systems will only ever see 3.25gigs of it and on average you never get near 2gigs anyways. There are exceptions, I am just going with regular use here.

Vista has been kinda hit or miss depending on the person, some love it, some hate it, a lot sit in between the two extremes. If you can go to a store and play with it for a couple of minutes, that may give you some idea.

Honestly...probably the most resource heavy games I'll ever play on a laptop are most likely to be Diablo 2 and StarCraft (probably SC2 if the specs aren't too high). As far as everything else, the notebook's sound system is of high importance to me.

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If you want to play games, buy a desktop, if you are going to use it like a desktop, buy a desktop, if you want to upgrade like a desktop...buy a god damn desktop. I suggest you really evaluate if you actually need a notebook(ya, I saw mobile studio, but how often?), if you don't need a notebook then its a HUGE waste of money.

Heh, yeah, I see where you're coming from; if I were you, that's the same advice I'd be giving (likewise, I would recommend a desktop to anyone unless they know they're going to need the mobility).

The thing is, getting a notebook is a set issue for me, so I'm already settled on that. I'm not gonna get into all the reasons why, but it deals with how I generally use my computer; the extra expense is something I'm willing to pay for a notebook-vs-desktop, I'm just not willing to overpay.

Since gaming is only a small portion of what I do with it (not counting emulating SNES, Genesis, Sega CD, etc.), the only concern I really have is if it'll be able to run all the features of Civ4 that I want. For that, I just need to know if the video card selection on that model is good and, if not, what other notebook models do have a good video card.

Also, I'm not very time-sensitive on this. So if there's anything really good coming out in the next 6 months, then I'm fine waiting until then to make my purchase.

A purchase of 4gigs of memory is currently a waste of money, 32-bit systems will only ever see 3.25gigs of it and on average you never get near 2gigs anyways. There are exceptions, I am just going with regular use here.

Thanks for the information. The most I can envision myself doing right now is running Civ4, AIM, MS Word, and Firefox simultaneously, although that could change. Unless I hear anything convincing otherwise, or I find some deal on RAM, I'll probably stick with 2GB.

By the way, is there any functional difference between having 2x1GB, or 1x2GB?

Vista has been kinda hit or miss depending on the person, some love it, some hate it, a lot sit in between the two extremes. If you can go to a store and play with it for a couple of minutes, that may give you some idea.

I'll probably do that. I've been getting recommendations for XP Professional right now (although I haven't noticed any difference between XP Pro and XP Home). KF

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I finally got what I needed so that I can go ahead and buy a laptop, however, because of the limit, I can't go above $1000 (first Credit card and all).

Anyway, I'm down to this: ZT Element S1002i-74 Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 It's got what I want, however I've never seen the manufacturer before, some I'm a bit wary.

It's this, or best buy, and well...we all know that'll only end in disaster.

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