help me purchase a notebook!

I have a pretty good idea of what I want but really haven’t been following notebook technology until I started to think about purchasing one. I worry that I’m missing something glaringly obvious to most everyone else so a few questions are in order to set my mind at ease.

1. Are Intel or AMD CPU’s the thing to go for in a notebook? I was thinking of one of the Athlon 64 models but there seems to be so many more options available if I go with an Intel notebook. How does performance compare?

2. Should I look for Nvidia or ATI graphics? From the brief research I’ve done, it seems that the Radeon Mobility 9700 is the fastest one that is widely available. I haven’t been able to find any X800 or 6800 models despite having read reviews of them to prove of their existence.

3. What is a good resolution? Commonly available seems to be the SVGA(+) option and that is what the notebook I was thinking of getting has. Is that an adequate option for gaming and movies?

My budget is about $2000 so cannot afford an alienware notebook that meets my specifications. Nor are any of the commercial brand names such as Dell/Gateway within my budget/specifications.

The notebook that caught my eye is the Asus Z80K which is typically a barebones notebook but I found one vendor that allows customization of CPU/HDD/Memory and will build it for you.

4. Finally, I was hoping to use part of the $2000 on a few upgrades for my desktop machine including a new CPU and graphics card (so that might really limit the notebook budget to about $1600). A question about the graphics card: What feature do I need to play DVD’s and .avi files from media player to my television?
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  1. 1.For a really good mobile proc right now you want an Intel Pentium-M dothan core. AMD mobile procs are getting very nice now days but you just can't beat 2mb of L2. However, a notebook with one of those procs would be nearly impossible with that price range. For desktop procs in laptops I don't think there is much of a power difference between the intel and amd cpus. I believe the amds are cheaper though so it will fit in with your price range better.
    2.For mobile graphics you will want a mobile ati radeon. They are currently the best by far. Good luck finding even a 9600mobile in that price range though. You might be stuck with a nVidia card.
    3.UXGA is pretty standard now I think. Most native resolutions are 1024x768, 1280x800, 1400x1050, 1600x1200.

    I don't think any thing can get cheaper than dell, hp, gateway, etc. If there is a laptop that is better and cheaper than those it might be a scam, lol. Those dells are absolutely dirt cheap.
    What do you plan to do on your laptop mainly? If you are just going to do office type stuff all the time you could easily get away with a laptop under $1000. If you plan on doing some 3d gaming on it you will need to spend all of that $2000 on a laptop at least.

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  2. All together I'm not a huge fan of pre-built name-brand systems, but to get the most in laptops, it's hard to avoid.

    I want to offer you a choice that you might not have thought of- Sam's Club. Admittedly, Sam's is not the technology center of the universe, but they offer more, in some categories, than the other member of the company- Wal-Mart. In this case, they have a machine that may be what you want. It's an HP zd7389cl notebook/desktop replacement. It has about all the goodies you could want, including a 3.2 GHz P4, a 17" wide-screen display, an 80 gig hard drive, a DVD burner, built in Flash media readers, built in 802.11g Wi-fi, and a full 104-key ketboard. All that and more for $1700. It's not the most current model, but I think that what you get for the money is hard to beat. It's not light, so I wouldn't plan on carrying it around all day, but if something has to be your main system away from home, this should do it.

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