I've finally decided it's time to buy a laptop. I'm fairly up to date on what's going on in the desktop world/components, but I must confess I know almost nothing about laptops. First, I know Sony, Dell and Compaq sell laptops, but out of those 3, Dell is the only one I'm willing to go with. What are my other options?

I'll be primarily using the laptop for games at a docking station, work, and wireless internet access around the house. I realize how much cheaper desktops are, but I don't want one for a number of reasons I won't go into. :)

Anyway, here are the things I'd like it to have:
-High performance video card
-Sound card with surround output (either the docking station or on the laptop itself)
-Dual monitor capability (e.g. I want the docking station to have the ability to connect to 2 monitors, obviously this means the video card needs to support it)
-Wireless ethernet (I already have a router, so I'll just buy a WAP)
-A reasonable amount of RAM (256 is probably OK)
-A decent sized TFT display (15")

Things I don't care about:
-Excessive Size/weight/power consumption
-CD burning capabilities
-External ports
-If it comes with an OS or any other bundled software or not

Based on all of this, what direction should I be looking (i.e. company wise and component wise?)

I looked at a Dell that would satisfy all of this for about $2200 (2.0 Ghz, 15" TFT, 256MB, 30GB, ATI 9000, WAP, wireless ethernet, docking station), but I wasn't sure about things like whether or not the docking station would support dual heads (2 external monitors), if the processor was a desktop processor in a laptop or a laptop processor, if the sound card has surround output, etc. Also, if there is a better/cheaper option, I'm open to suggestion. :)

Thanks in advance,

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  1. I'd recommend the Dell Inspiron 8200. Also have a look at the Toshiba 5200.

    As far as I know, there are no Docking Stations that offer 2 monitor output, and Dell definitely have the most advanced docking Station I have ever seen (you can put in CD-Rom drives, PCI cards, the lot!).

    The Dell's all use a P4-m (as versus the desktop P4) processor, which is power saving (SpeedStep) and has a higher thermal tolerence. The ATI M9 (Mobility Radeon 9000 64MB) is the best mobile graphic card on the market today.

    The sound on the Dell is only 2 channel, however if you have a Decoder, you can pplug the S/PDIF coaxial cable into your decoder and that will give you 5.1ch sound.

    Wireless it has

    It supports up to 1024MB DDR RAM

    It has a 15" SXGA+ (1400x1050) / UXGA (1600x1200) or a UXGA Ultra sharp (1600x1200 with faster response times, and a higher contrast ration for a more viewable tft)

    Toshiba's Satellite 5200 is also a nice notebook to look at, but it is more expensive.

    Sager -as far as i know, don't have docking Capability, so dont look there, and Compaq are quite nice if you can find one to dit your needs.

    From qhat you've said, I would not hesitate to recomment the Dell


    Who's General Failure and why's he reading my disk?
  2. Oops. So there are no notebook video cards that support dual head, or just no docking stations that support dual head?

    Where could I find out more information on dual head docking stations/laptops/plans for such?

    Thanks again,

  3. Hmmm. Well, I just called Dell and was told the docking station (they call it an "advanced port replicator" ooooo) comes with 2 VGA output jacks to connect 2 monitors that can work in tandem if the video card (and she said it did) supports it. For some reason, I really didn't believe her.

    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Scosmokes on 01/22/03 11:16 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  4. She's probably right, If you purchase the ATI M9 graphics array, It will support Hydravision (which means up to 3 monitors can be connected at the same time - though Dells srivers only support 2 at a time).

    You can look at the APR on Dell's website. it's really cool. Though the dual monitor (DualHead is trademark of Matrox) capability is new.


    Who's General Failure and why's he reading my disk?
  5. Well I decided to chance it. Actually, I decided that even if it doesn't support dual external monitors, I would still have gotten it, so I didn't get the docking station.

    Here are the specs (if you care):
    2.0 Ghz
    15" Ultrasharp
    384MB RAM (can always add more later)
    Radeon 9000 mobility
    30GB HD (I don't need much space)
    Win XP
    8x DVD (don't burn CDs much--already have a burner)
    Misc crappy software I'll uninstall
    WAP, integrated wireless ethernet card

    Paid $1827

    Thanks for your help.
  6. That's a very good price. I got mine (below) for $1450 or so, and I am very happy with it. When you get yours (because it is 2GHz), make sure that it is running at the full 2.0GHz all the time (when set to "always on" power cfg) and not speedstepped 1.2GHz. There is a registry fix to fix this though, and Dell have probably already righted the problem on the new machines, but beware.

    also visit the Dell forums (don't get a fright because of all the negativity and complaints though, because the forum is especially for those who are having problems) and you can read up on the SpeedStep problem, and other issues so you know what to do if you have them. Also, GO FOR THE 3-YEAR warranty, or at least extend it after you hav bought the notebook.


    P4-m 1.7GHz
    15" UXGA
    384MB DDR
    ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 64MB
    30GB IBM
    8xDVD (fixed)
    24x CD-R/RW (modular)
    additional battery.
    (Scores 7050 in 3DMark 2001 Defaults)

    Who's General Failure and why's he reading my disk?
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