Searching for a laptop with good sound and a good dvd-player

Good evening!

I have a friend who's looking for a new laptop. He wants to use the laptop as a dvd-player and wants to connect it to a 40" Plasma TV and his 3000 euro stereo system. By the way, we live in Germany. Personally I can't think of a laptop with an especially good dvdplayer or soundcard. I don't have any complaints about my standard dvd-player in my laptop, but I haven't tryed to connect it to a 40" plasma tv yet, so I don't know if there will be a loss of quality. Otherwise the laptop is only going to be used for net surfing, chatting and writing html. No gaming laptop needed. Actually he would prefer the laptop to be as small and light as possible.
He wants to spend max. 2000 euro's.

Hope you are able to help my friend out!

Kind regards,

33 answers Last reply
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  1. What companies are available in your area? ie: Dell, HP, Gateway, Asus? Also could you list some good online PC hardware shops for the UK? This would help a lot. 2000 Euros is about 2700 USD, that is one hell of a laptop. :D

    Some other things to list would include:
    Operating system
    Preferred screen size
    CPU preference
    Brand preference
  2. Thanks for the answer!

    Well, all those you mentioned are available. Don't know about Gateway, never heard of it. Alienware is available too.
    Brand doesn't matter.
    He doesn't really know that much about computers so he won't be so picky about the components. Allthough I would prefer a Core 2 Duo for him as it packs more power.
    He wants a laptop as small and light as possible. So I guess that would be 12". But 14" or 15" would also be fine. As long as it isn't so heavy. He won't care if it's Vista or XP. But I think it would be better with XP. XP is more stable right?
    And he's not a gamer, so he won't care about DX10 support that Vista comes with.

    And if it's possible, keep the costs as low as possible. But he has about 2000 euro he can spend.
  3. You may want to also consider when you find the ultimate notebook to do what you want, instead of connecting via PC cable (like DVI or VGA) use a DVI to HDMI adapter.

    I have a 61" 1920x1080(p) television and like most tv's that accept PC input, it will not show the full resolution. It shows a much smaller (like 1366x768 or something) resolution.

    With the DVI to HDMI adapter I am able to get full 1920 x 1080 and it is very sharp (where VGA input is junk)

    Hope this helps.
  4. Thanks for the tip!
    Could you recommend a good external soundcard too? Don't think that the soundcards in the notebooks are over the top...
  5. First try to hook your notebook up to external speakers. The soundcards are generally decent, it is the speakers that are of course, really small so they don't sound to a level you may be accustomed to.

    If that isn't it, let me know if you have pcmcia slots or expresscard slot.
  6. He hasn't bought the laptop yet. But ll'll be buying it as soon as possible. The thing is my friend wants to use the laptop as a replacement for a high-quality DVD player. He also wants to play the sound over his 2000 euro stereo system. My friend's quite picky about the sound, so I thought that an external soundcart would serve this purpose great. Just don't know which one yet. And one more question. Will a Geforce 7400 be powerful enough to play DVDs at full HD screen resolution?

    Thanks for the answers so far.
  7. I'm not an expert on this, but I think it would do fine. Dell's XPS M1210 should be ok for what he wants to do or HP's DV6000 series. If you are willing to pay for the overseas shipping KN's Kodachi or Wakizachi systems would be even better if he doesn't mind a larger screen size (15.4).
  8. 15.4" screen is ok. But he needs a DVI port. Does the m1210 ship with that?
  9. The GEForce 7400 is a pretty underpowered GPU
    Mobile laptop GPU comparison chart, not saying that it can't playback DVD's, but when it starts to push to HD resolutions of 1920x1080 (which even if your friend doesn't have now, he soon will judging by his components) you have a pretty high chance of dissapointment there.

    The DELL XPS M1210 also has an overheating problem. That is from a friend of mine very knowledgeable about computers, in fact has his own site like Tom's and I got to know him because he reviewed a couple of my systems. I tell you this because if it wasn't a design flaw in the first place, he could have fixed it himself. If you want a DELL XPS M1210 I know his is for sale, it is decked out, and I can put you in touch with him.

    As far as the soundcard, you would probably want to look at something like this: External Soundblaster
    Once you decide on a system we can look at whether or not it has an ExpressCard or PCMCIA (getting rare) for hooking up additional types of soundcards.
  10. that doesn't sound good. Thought that Dell was quality. But the m1210 doens't ship with a DVI port, right? And my friend wants a DVi port, so I guess the m1210 is out of the question then. Will the extigy card be able to deliver HIFI sound quality?
    Thanks for all the answers so far.
  11. Since the 7400 is a dedicated card it should have VGA and DVI, but if the notebook is prone to overheating it's not worht it then. Thank you Mark for that advice. I was considering a 1210 for when I go to college(not any more).

    As far as the HIFI, Creative says it outputs high definition sound, so I would assume it would be fine. If the laptop he ends with has a PCMCIA slot, he can get a Audigy 2 card for it. I have the desktop version and it's really good (also have the X-fi which is better but not out for notebooks).
  12. Even though I configure the m1210 with the 7400, it doesn't ship with DVI, if I've understood correctly. Do the latest laptops come with PCMCIA? Thought expresscard has replaced PCMCIA.
    Could you also post a link to Kodaci and Wakizachi? That would be nice.

    Is Alienware a good choise?
    Any recommendations are welcomed!
  13. I hear horror stories about Alienware's build quality and customer support. Each purchase seems to be a gamble.

    With the M1210, it turns out I was wrong. There is no DVI only VGA. This is probably due to the notebook's size.

    As far as the Kodachi and Wakizachi, just click on the K|N logo in KillerNoteBook's reply to you. He (Mark) owns the company.
  14. Ah, ok. Guess Alienware is out of the qeuestion too then. I checked out both the kodachi and the Wakizachi but none of them comes with a DVI port, if my eyes are not mistaken. Dvi is a must-have for my friend. So would be glad if anyone could recommend a laptop with DVI and a screen size less then 17".
  15. The real sweet thing he needs like I said is that DVI to HDMI adapter, I think he is absolutely right getting a system with a DVI in it. You can always convert a DVI to VGA, but not the other way around and keep the quality.
  16. Argh, wrong again! I've got no luck. Well, lets try again. Can you get ASUS where you live? ASUS' G1,G2, F3JP, A8JS, and A8JP all have dedicated GPU's with DVI ports. The G1 and F3 are 15.4'', the G2 is 17'' (doesn't apply for your friend), and the A8's are both 14''.
  17. Ah, you're right... he should just move to a 17" and have a real computer :lol:
  18. Give him the Executioner, he won't need the HDTV then! :D
  19. With the internal digital tv tuner... exactly what I was thinking!
  20. I can get Asus here. So I'll check them out. Thanks for the tip!
    I'll tell him about the hdmi adapter too. It is possible to get it at your local electro store, right?

    By the way. How is that executioner compared to M1710? I invested my money in a M1710 last year, but maybe I'll switch to an Executioner if it's better in the future.
  21. I got my HDMI adapters online, if you need one contact me and I can get you one for $10.

    Well the XPS1710 has some issues with cooling for one (you can see a pic of the interior here as opposed to the GPU heatsink on the Executioner. I have been contacted by many people that have an XPS with a 7950 GTX that was underclocked from the factory to 7900 speeds.

    To me, that is false advertising, but I have had some DELL owners jump all over me that it is not. If you buy a Mustang with a V8, but 2 cylinders are disabled to the point of being the exact spec's of a 6 cyl., it stands to reason you got a V-6, but that's just me.

    There is a difference in the quality of the case.

    The LCD I use is made by Samsung, pretty much considered by everyone to be the best LCD manufacturer in the business. I don't know who makes DELL's, but I would guess, whoever is cheapest.

    Of course you have the RAID0 or RAID1 array option with the Executioner. I am unaware if the XPS has that, but I'm sure someone will chime in here.

    As far as customization, you are limited at DELL to about 3 things whereas I can skin any design you want, GENUINE carbon fiber the top (not a sticker like the fine print at DELL), aluminum cut outs, vinyl cuts, branding... pretty much anything you want.

    Performance wise, there is no comparison as the Executioner is easily beating the Alienware m9700 which has 2 GPU's vs. the XPS's 1. That was from an independent review , I would send a system anywhere to go against an XPS, unfortunately I don't think I am going to get a response from DELL concerning that challenge. :lol:

    Memory you have allot of reasonably priced options like DDR2-667 1 and 2 GB chips and DDR2-800, more importantly I offer you 3 GB of RAM instead of 4 GB which the Intel chipset won't see anyway!, I'll tell you that. I of course will sell you 4 GB, but there is no reason to get it since it isn't going to do you any good.

    I don't think there is any question of the support and warranty service.
  22. For Audio, Creative just announced a X-Fi express slot sound card.
  23. Thanks for the link, I have been looking for a PCI-express soundcard for my dual quad-core game srerver line.

    Chris, contact me about upgrading to the Phase 2 heat sink mod for your system.
  24. Something must be wrong with asus' servers... Didn't get the chance to check out any of the notebooks. But I found the ones recommended in some webshops. All of those match his demands, so I have to ask him which one he wants. Think it'll be either a8jp oer a8js, since they're smaller. Anyway, all of the Asus laptops that were recommended ship with an expresscard slot. So I'll check out the X-fi Card from Creative.

    So, Mark(can I call you that?). Guess I should have searched for some better options before I ordered my m1710. You ship to Europe, right? Any chance that you'll be selling ultra-portables in the future? If so, I'm all yours, as a customer. It'll be a while before I can afford a new notebook. And who knows, maybe by that time I've fallen so much in love with my 17" widescreen display that I'll order an Executioner from you:p If the m1710 have heatings problem now, wonder how it'll be with the go 8800 GTX... Anyway, thanks for the explanation. Hope your business will be doing well so I'll be able to order a notebook from you in the future. By the way, isn't it possible for you to send a notebook to Tom's Hardware and let them to a m1710 vs. Executioner test? Or doesn't it work that way? That way you'd really get some nice PR.

    Thanks for all the answers so far!

    Edit: Forgot to ask. Would you be able to provide a norwegian version of the keyboard?
  25. Actually, Tom's pitted his Executioner against a Eurocom laptop and both performed incredibly well with the Executioner coming out on top. Good choice with the A8's, the X-fi will be a good addition, too. I'm pretty sure he ships over seas, but it will cost extra of course.
  26. The only issue I have with the ultra portable market is the lack of a decent GPU. All the ones I know of (below 14.1") have integrated graphics to the tune of GM950 or x200 card. I can build them sure, if you need/want one, email me and I can custom build one for you.

    I do ship to Europe, and have a U.K. distributor, ScorpiusPC for anyone on "the Island", and I can get and country keyboard you want (it just takes forever). I usually ship with a US KB then send the specific one you ordered later.

    As far as the XPS 1710, I can't see DELL getting an 8800 class card in there present configuration. They have problems already, and it is just a very poor design. There is a thread at the GuruOfGaming with pictures of the XPS internals so you can see what I mean.

    I would certainly send a notebook to be tested, in fact Tom's has an Executioner now that is being reviewed head to head against a WidowPC Sting. Then it should be off to another part of Tom's to do an article on the heatsink mod.

    ps: we'll be here, K|N has systems in:
    Claremont -Australia
    Warragul -Australia
    Tumut -Australia
    Artarmon -Australia
    Woolloongabba -Australia
    Beersel -Belgium
    Brossard -Canada
    Caledon -Canada
    Calgary -Canada
    Dartmouth -Canada
    Pinawa -Canada
    Red Deer -Canada
    Thisted -Denmark
    North Yorkshire -England
    Jeonju City -Korea
    Kamal Pokhari -Nepal
    Aro Valley -New Zealand
    #13-88 -SINGAPORE
    Cape Town -South Africa
    Sandton -South Africa
    Borehamwood -UK
    Northampton -UK
    K|N goal, to have a system in every country.
  27. Hey you forgot one! Although originally shipped to US, you have an Executioner now living in Northwest China. Still waiting on your reply for a 2GB chip of memory. I might add. :?
  28. I emailed you this morning on it. I will resend now.
  29. Got it! Thanks again. And it is good to see your sig lighting up the boards again.
  30. That may have a dual meaning
  31. Yep. :) or :twisted: And its always fun to watch and see what each one has to say. I just pity the opinionated ones who come along and chime in prior to doing their homework. That's what the rest of us all come to see.
  32. Lostandwandering: I'm sure that the a8 plus the x-fi will work great. So thanks for the recommendation :)

    Mark: Yeah, I know you can't configure the M1710 with a 8800 solution, but I was thinking more in the future with a go 8800 GTX. They'll come eventually.
    About the ultraportable. Isn't it possible to ship it with the x1400? How much power does this card pack? To be honest, I don't know so much about low and mid end gpus. Allthough, with an ultra portable I don't need extreme graphics power, but it would be nice to be able to play some games on the fly, but mostly I'd use it to write some code, surfing the net and such. A DVI port would be nice though. Do you have any pictures of a KN ultraportable? Have to say, I can't afford one yet. So I'll have to wait.
  33. I am not sure if you can get a ultra-portable with a x1400, well, I should say with your other requirements of the DVI.

    Shoot me an email and I can send you any image you want of what I have.
    That said, as before, I do know someone with a 12.1" XPS he is selling, which may be your best bet as far as small with a more than integrated GPU.
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