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Suggestions for Single Core Notebooks; Dual Core Notebooks

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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August 9, 2006 3:20:30 PM

Part 1: I need a notebook for number crunching while I'm away from my "Barn Burner" AMD Athlon 64 4000+/RAID 0/SATAII desktop. It seems almost impossible to get a good single core notebook at a reasonable price these days. Most are moving towards the dual core which offer lower clock speeds and marginal performance gains as my work is strongly single threaded.

Anyone have any suggestions? Here are some points to consider:

- Don't need any high-end graphics cards/processors, just a normal display.
- Need a fast hard drive, ideally 80GB at 7200RPM (nothing slower)
- Would like the fastest single core at the "sweet spot"... not bleeding edge.
- Would consider paying up to low $2000s, but would prefer to be lower.

Part 2: Since I haven't figured out an option for above, I've started looking at the available dual core based machines. I've concentrated on Intel Core Duos, particularly the 2Ghz T2500. (Although I love AMD for my desktop, I can't find enough info on how the AMD mobile chips perform against the Core Duos.)

I'm really concerned about the clock speeds of these things. As I said, my work is strongly "single process." Dual cores will only have a marginal impact in my running jobs. In going down to a 2Ghz notebook, it just seems like I'm really back-peddling.

Anyway, I have been looking at the Dell Inspiron 6400. I can get the T2500, 1GB Ram, an 80GB/7200RPM HDD, shiny 15.4" monitor screen and 1 year warranty today for about $1,180, delivered. That's pretty good. Do you guys have any suggestions for a non-multimedia, number-crunching notebook with similar/better specs?

Thanks.
August 9, 2006 4:48:46 PM

I have the same concern: single-core vs dual-core. If we spend most of my times running one application at a time, is it better to have high-end single-core than dual-core ?

For example, we play one game at a time, which one of the following will perform better ?
Dual-Core 1.8 GHz vs Single-Core 3.2 GHz.
August 9, 2006 5:21:20 PM

If you're running single-thread processes, like most games today, then the single core is the best bet. Once you start noodling around outside of the process, checking email, working a spreadsheet, surfing, then the dual will show its strenghts. (I'm not a gamer, but my understanding is that only a small number of games are now programmed to take advantage of multiprocessors... though the number is growing.)

The big problem is that high-end single-core machines are now sliding into the category of "periphery" or "specialized use" with its smaller market and related higher prices. Have you looked at the prices of an AMD FX-55 or FX-60 based notebook, if you can even find them? Yikes.

Until they get the clock speeds up on the dual cores or the software changes to be more multiproc oriented, what do you do?
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August 11, 2006 12:13:03 PM

My GOD man! I missed you're post and the next thing I know you're begging at DELL's doorstep in another post trying to get them to sell a computer to you.

Sorry about that. I am really sorry if DELL's reps we're actually competent enough to sell you a notebook. I should be beaten with a wet noodle!


August 11, 2006 12:35:01 PM

It's quite sad, isn't it? I expect incompetence from tech support and customer service.... but when Dell's sales force can't even make a sale, that's not looking good for the Dell Empire. But isn't this posted in the wrong thred?
August 11, 2006 2:00:32 PM

MobileT,

I am in the same dilemma (though my Budget is a bit lower than yours - $1200, shipped at the very max). What all models are you considering? Any idea what is the difference between Inspiron (small business models) and the Inspiron Exxxx models other than targetting!

Regards,
M
August 11, 2006 2:10:56 PM

I ended up going with a Dell Latitude D620 through the Small Business area. Along with the Latitude, I looked pretty seriously at a couple of Inspiron systems (6400 and 640M). They are all so similar. I finally went with the Latitude because I liked the case size and construction. But I don't think the guts would have been different if I went with the Inspiron. It was almost a coin flip.

My final cost with tax for the D620 was $1349 (includes free shipping). They have a deal through 8/16 for $400 off a $1699+ latitude. So you would have to build to 1699, but then it comes to 1299+tax w/ free ship. They have some other deals too which don't require the 1699.

It came with:
- Core Duo T2500 @2Ghz
- 512 MB Ram (I ordered an additional 1Gb SODIMM from Crucial for about $130. DDR2-533)
- 80GB hard drive @ *7200RPM*
- XP Home
- a wxga+ widescreen
- 3 year economy warranty (DIY)
- 8X DVD RW with software
+ a 1gb usb drive and backpack case (I added these to get to $1699)

I ordered it yesterday and it looks like it could ship today or the next possible ship day. The price also includes a 2% discount for how I paid for it through Small Business.

Though I'm concerned about going back to a 2Ghz processor, I don't have much of a choice, so I'm going to give this guy a try.
August 11, 2006 2:43:57 PM

The D620 is a nice system. I had the D600 & D610's when I was a mere mortal.
August 11, 2006 2:49:36 PM

I'll let you know how it performs for serious number crunching. I'm also going to try to "trick out" my old HP Pavilion 3Ghz P4 with a faster HDD and better heat sink paste. That will be fun. 8)
!