Notebook for fun?

I'm looking for a new notebook. Here are my requirements: It has to be a centrino notebook with 15,4" widescreen. It is primarily for surfing on the web, but also for writing documents, for watching movies every now and then and for beginner music mixing. It also has to be able to run games. I'm thinking of buying Half-Life 2, so it must be solid performance-wise. Furthermore, I'm the kind of person who wants their notebook to be futureproof (though I hear Windows Longhorn will have crazy system requirements).

Ok, my options brandwise are as follows:


This is a tough choice to make. Now, my choice would be HP-Compaq. Why not another brand? Acer has a bad rep of notebooks that break really quickly. I don't want a notebook that tilts all the time. Fujitsu-Siemens looks cool (Amilo M1425) but performance-wise it just isn't up there with other brands. Also it's feel somewhat cheap. Dell can't be bought from a shop (in Finland anyway) and its price is a bit high. Furthermore though Dell is tought to be one of the best notebook brands, its features are surprinsingly limited in some models. Sony's notebooks seem like they are only ment for movie watching. HP-Compaq hasn't got any major problems.

Which notebookbrand would you choose?

Also, in many of these notebooks the basic resolution (WXGA) is 1280x800. Is it worth to get a model which has better resolution (WSXGA?)? What do I get from it? Do my games look better and movies sharper? Or is higher resolution just for graphic designers?
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  1. For a reasonably priced pentium m notebook with a 15.4in screen the zt3000 is a VERY nice laptop. Though the graphics card is only a radeon 9200 mobile and the proc is only 1.5ghz so it ain't goona play HL2 very good.
    The Acer Aspire 2010 and 2020 look pretty good graphics wise but they still only have a 1.5ghz proc. They also look fairly bulky for being a mobile laptop.
    If you can live with a 15" screen instead of a 15.4" I'd take a good look at the IBM Thinkpad T42. It has a nice pentium M 1.8ghz dothan proc (2mb L2 cache) and a radeon 9600 mobile. I know I sound bias towards it and I sort of am, mainly bec I own one :) It runs HL2, Doom3, and Farcry nice and smoothly. It is likely the most expensive of the bunch but oh man is it worth every penny.
    If you don't mind hauling around a bulky laptop the dell Inspiron 8600 is probably your best bet. It has your 15.4" display, upto a 2ghz pentium m, and a radeon 9600mobile. That will play newer games just fine.

    One good piece of advice I have for you though is DON'T BUY A SONY!!! You will regret it if you do, all vaios suck big time. Same goes for toshiba tecra and sattelite models with pentium m procs. Every one I have delt with was a nightmare. I'd really stick to the big name brands in laptops like Dell, HP, IBM. I'm sure the other brands like acer, fujitsu, etc are fine but I've never delt with them so I don't know how their quality/support is.

    The res on the T42 is 1400x1050, that is a nice res for a 15" flatpanel. Not to small, not to big, and plenty of workspace. Lots of the dells I have used use 1600x1200 res and that is WAY to high for a laptop. 1280x800 sounds like a pretty decent smallness to space ratio. Most of these laptops will choose the flatpanel for you with the proc you choose. I know that makes no sense but that is just the way it is. I haven't noticed much of a difference in gaming, movies, etc on various laptop screens though I must say the non mobile cpu toshibas have VERY nice bright screens. That is one redeeming value of the toshibas :) Other than those all laptop screens seem to look the same to me, lol.

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  2. Thank you, Folken, for a very good reply. I thought your text was informative and I'm certainly going to think about what you suggested, however...

    I don't know why but I have my mind set on getting a widescreen laptop. I love the extra space you get in Windows desktop. I know that for example todays games (well, Half-Life 2 anyway) don't support widescreen and I probably have to play with to black boxes in the sides, but still, widescreen is cool.

    So as much as I would like to get IBM, as I know that they make probably the best notebooks around with great ergonomics, I can't get one, because IBM doesn't sell widescreen laptops.

    I also have thought about Dell Inspiron 8600. The specs are certainly good, but I feel its bulky (as Folken said) and its features are limited. For example I need at least 3 USB-slots, and 8600 has only got 2. And yes, Dell's prices are a bit steep. Still, Dell's displays always get high praises.

    By the way, I didn't tell you my budget yet. My ideal price would be around 1800-2200 euros but I'm willing to up to 3000 euros (keep in mind, in Finland, the prices are way up there). Oh, one other thing, I need an Ati Radeon graphics card as I have never liked nVidia for some reason.

    I guess I just have to wait a little longer for more models to hit shelves. The HP-Compaq model NX7010 has still got the weak Radeon 9200 so I'm not going to get that.

    A question: As I was checking the Dell Inspiron 8600 in Dell's homepage, I noticed, that there was the (only) option for an Ati Radeon graphics card, but this card was called M10. I have never heard from this. Is it for graphics desginers or is it some new Ati graphics card for notebooks?
  3. Newer games actually do support a wide screen mode. Also, you will never have bars on the sides of the screen in games or anything else for that matter. It will stretch the picture to fit the screen no matter what display settings you are using. It sounds like it would make games and things look funny but it really isn't that bad.
    I definatly agree with your choice of sticking to mobile radeon cards. They are definatly superior to the mobile nVidia cards. The same goes for desktop grapics but that is just my personal preference, I don't want to turn this into a flame war :)
    The M10 is the codename given to the Mobile Radeon 9600.

    I think your best bet is going to be either holding out for HP to release a pentium m laptop with at least a radeon 9600 in it or wait for IBM to realease a 15.4" screen. I think the HP solution will likely happen LONG before IBM ever even considers a 15.4" screen. They are mainly buisness/utility laptops so I don't really see them putting a screen like that on their laptops any time soon. None of the other companies make a very portable laptop. The dell is definatly the biggest but the others are not far behind. HP and IBM definatly make the smallest and most mobile notebooks.

    I came across an interesting laptop the other day however. It was actually a half way decent looking gateway laptop. I know, the sound of gateway makes me shudder as well. I have always keept at least a 10ft pole between me and any gateway computer. This thing however was very unique, so unique it doesn't even show up on the gateway site, lol. It was an athlon64 3000 mobile (1.8ghz) with a radeon 9600mobile and a 15.4" display. It had almost the same weight and form factor of the HP zt3000. I can't for the life of me remember the model number of it though. I'll look around and see if I can find it again. For gaming you can't get much better than an amd cpu and ati graphics. Are gateway computers even avaliable in finland?

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  4. No, Gateway has no business in Finland (that I know of). I actually have heard of Gateway notebooks and their problems. And usually never get a brand that is not familiar to me (I usually go for brands that are respected and well-established).

    One other thing, like with nVidia, AMD has always send my bad vibes. I don't know what it is, but I would probably never buy an AMD processor, Intel's the only way for me. I'm strictly an ATI and Intel man. AMD is certainly tempting since Intel hasn't yet realeased a 64-bit processor, but still, AMD is not for me.

    So M10 is Radeon 9600. Good thing I didn't get Dell then. Other brands like Fujitsu-Siemens have the 9700 already under their hoods but Dell 8600 has just got 9600? And actually, the 9600 card is the best and most expensive graphics you can get in Inspiron 8600 if you order from Dell's website. Weird...

    Widescreen IBM... it would be a no-brainer but I seriously don't think IBM is going to release one, not for another 2-3 years. As you said, IBM is more of business notebook seller, not so much an entertainment notebook seller. I guess I just have to wait for HP-Compaq's new models with better graphics cards.

    Last week I was sure I was going to get Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo M1425 since it had all the goods. But I didn't find great reviews of it so I guess that idea is out the window. I think I read somewhere that you (user) can't add more harddrive memory in Fujitsu-Siemens (I heard that there's no extra slot at the bottom of the notebooks for extra memory). Still I can't be sure if this is true...

    The search goes on...
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