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I'd like to buy a laptop, but I know nothing about them.

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  • Laptops
  • Desktops
  • Product
Last response: in Laptop General Discussion
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July 24, 2007 4:45:14 PM

I've been building my own desktops now for about 8-9 years. I research all the parts... the market... prices.. and make a decision based on quality and value. I recently built a desktop (in May) and I had been researching that since October. The difference is, I was already well acquainted with desktop parts... so all I had to learn was the new technology.

I'm completely new when it comes to understanding anything about laptop components... and I don't know where charts/articles/reviews are to learn about them. The only real thing I know I want is a numeric keypad on the laptop... lol.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

More about : buy laptop

July 24, 2007 11:20:20 PM

Phrozt said:
I've been building my own desktops now for about 8-9 years. I research all the parts... the market... prices.. and make a decision based on quality and value. I recently built a desktop (in May) and I had been researching that since October. The difference is, I was already well acquainted with desktop parts... so all I had to learn was the new technology.

I'm completely new when it comes to understanding anything about laptop components... and I don't know where charts/articles/reviews are to learn about them. The only real thing I know I want is a numeric keypad on the laptop... lol.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?


Keep in mind laptops are much more limited and expensive to update so you're best off getting what you need for the life of the laptop. As with PCs how you're going to use it and your budget pretty well dictates what you should get. Other things are weight, if you'll be carrying it around a lot, this is more important. Same with battery life, if it'll plugged in most of the time, battery life is less important. Dell makes pretty good laptops, are priced competively, and there on line chat support is decent.
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July 25, 2007 12:11:06 AM

g-paw said:
Dell makes pretty good laptops, are priced competively, and there on line chat support is decent.


I'd agree with the first two parts of that, but the last one is pretty bruttal if you ask me.

I just parted out a laptop for a friend at work yesterday and the live chat was TERRIBLE.
I'd usually never use it, but I needed to know about a coupon code that wasn't working, and the 'assistance' couldn't have been worse had it been an automated response system. In the survey they made me take afterwards I made sure to remark that. And when we went to purchase the ssystem at check-out the useless person's sales ID appeared in our order (promptly removed by me), my co-worker couldn't believe that they rely on that system to try and help you buy a laptop, when it almost dissuaded her from buying from Dell and instead spending a little more (about $150+tx) for a similar system from HP at BestBuy.

Usually I deal with DELL on a business to business level and I find them pretty good (below IBM and a few others, but solid none the less), but my experiences with their consumer support has been terrible. But that's been my personal experience, while a friend whom I sold my old 5150 to got great support. So guess it goes both ways, just my experiences as someone who's tech savy and just wants a quick to the point honest answer and no PR speak or upselling, I'm not a fan of their new consumer support team.
July 25, 2007 1:44:47 PM

Thanks GrapeApe.. that's exactly the starting point that I needed to go from.

Can you tell me how old that mobile CPU chart is?
July 25, 2007 2:38:34 PM

Unfortunately, there's not much besides dell to look at if I want to customize what I want. This is about the best I can do:
SYSTEM COLOR Jet Black Color with Matte Finish edit
PROCESSOR Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T7300 (2.0GHz/800Mhz FSB/4MB cache) edit
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Edition edit
DISPLAY Anti-glare, widescreen 17.0 inch display (1440 x 900) edit
VIDEO CARD 256MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600M GT edit
MEMORY FREE! 2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz edit
HARD DRIVE FREE! 160GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM) edit
OPTICAL DRIVE CD / DVD writer (DVD+/-RW Drive) edit
WIRELESS NETWORK CARDS Intel® 3945 802.11a/g Mini-card edit
INTEGRATED WEBCAM No Webcam Option edit
BATTERY OPTIONS 85Whr Lithium Ion Battery (9 cell) edit
SOUND OPTIONS High Definition Audio 2.0 edit


$1,374
July 25, 2007 3:17:29 PM

That's kind of expensive, and it doesn't have the numeric keypad like I want.

I speced another comp at hp though, this one is pretty good. I tried Gateway, but their options were pretty craptastic.

Operating System Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit)
Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo processor T7300 (2.00 GHz, 4 MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
Display 17.0" WSXGA+ High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen Display (1680 x 1050)
Memory $50 off Upgrade from 1GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm) to 2GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
Graphics Card 383MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS
Personalization FREE Upgrade to HP Imprint Finish + Webcam + Microphone
Networking FREE Upgrade to Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 4965AGN Network Connection and Bluetooth(TM)
Hard Drive 160GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
Primary CD/DVD Drive SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
Primary Battery 8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
Productivity Software Microsoft(R) Works 8.0


$1,299.99

The tradeoff is the GFX card.

I can't think of any other laptop customizable places that aren't ridiculously expensive
July 25, 2007 4:14:09 PM

Couple of things with Dell, you used to be able to order a Windows CD for an extra $10 but not sure if you still can. With my wife's machine I did this and formatted and reinstalled Windows to get rid of the crapware. Also read a while back you could order a Dell without the crapware and I believe you could order XP but looking at the website you might have to place the order by phone for any of these options
July 25, 2007 10:44:11 PM

Phrozt said:

Can you tell me how old that mobile CPU chart is?


Unfortunately not. No publish date.

The ARP ones of course are titles, but it looks like the THG one is a late '06 or very early '07 maybe.

Missing the Santa Rosas, but still pretty current for the Napas except the overclockable one. Also there are faster Trinidads now too.
July 25, 2007 10:47:48 PM

g-paw said:
Also read a while back you could order a Dell without the crapware and I believe you could order XP but looking at the website you might have to place the order by phone for any of these options


Usuaully the bloatware-free option is for businesses only (at least my experience with DELL), but if they've opened it up to the public in general in the US, then that's cool. If they did it's likely because someone somewhere threatened a class-action or some consumer protection challenge.
a b D Laptop
July 25, 2007 11:33:02 PM

TheGreatGrapeApe said:
Usuaully the bloatware-free option is for businesses only (at least my experience with DELL), but if they've opened it up to the public in general in the US, then that's cool. If they did it's likely because someone somewhere threatened a class-action or some consumer protection challenge.


hehe, no doubt. I think if you call to order a system you can request that it come trial ware free, which is actually really nice. The speed difference is amazing. My Dimension was loaded with Dell crap (over 60 processes on startup and over 400mb of pagefile used). A clean install brought it down to 30 processes and ~250mb of pagefile. It also decreased XP load times as well ( 3 minutes to boot to ~1. and thats to the point of being fully usable).
July 26, 2007 12:45:22 AM

Yeah that's why I always blow out any install and rebuild from scratch (with previously downloaded stuff ready to go without a net connection) and then master image my own install disk for a good starting point with good security.
July 31, 2007 12:30:46 AM

Nice build, I'd pretty much pick most of that ; although I prefer bigger battery and onboard DVD-burner (despite having externals already).

The intergrated audio's actually pretty good, so you may be surprised, it's much better than before.

Couldn't believe they only put the 7200RPM option on the 15" when I looked at the 17".

As for the GF8600MGT, while the GF8700M would be nice, it's still pretty rare.

As for Vista, doesn't Vista ship with both, the 32/64 bit is for the driver configuration for DELL?

Overall good build, it should be quite capable.
July 31, 2007 6:24:32 PM

- I don't really care about the battery because I'll probably have it plugged in almost all the time
- The DVD-burner is onboard
- I was also surprised about the 7200 only on the 15"
- In all honesty, the 8600GT is probably way more than what I need, because I don't plan on using this as a gaming machine
- Dell only ships 32bit vista, which is ok for me because of the 64 bit signed driver nonsense.

A lot of people said I was stupid for not going w/sager, but honestly I think that's paying more for something that's not necessarily better.
a b D Laptop
July 31, 2007 7:00:59 PM

That depends. If you want to game, I think sager has some of the best deals out there. Otherwise, Dell is incredibly hard to beat in the multimedia department. Excellent screens, decent sound, good graphics all at a fairly affordable price. I think that the Dell was a good choice here and it should suit you well for your needs.
July 31, 2007 11:10:05 PM

Phrozt said:
- The DVD-burner is onboard


Weird because the description in your other thread has it like this;
"CD writer / DVD player (Combo Drive)"

Which would be the base model combo drive wich only reads DVDs it won't write to them. That's why I mention it.

Quote:
- In all honesty, the 8600GT is probably way more than what I need, because I don't plan on using this as a gaming machine


GT should be fine, even as a light gaming machine. It's a solid chip.

Quote:
- Dell only ships 32bit vista, which is ok for me because of the 64 bit signed driver nonsense.


Yeah, what I meant is that the 64bit version should be on the install disk (always pay the extra $10-20 for the install disc not just the recovery disk). So later when everything's mature you should be able to move over to 64bit, not that it matters too much, but some apps are starting to benefit more and more.

Quote:
A lot of people said I was stupid for not going w/sager, but honestly I think that's paying more for something that's not necessarily better.


Meh, apples vs oranges IMO, different needs and different reasons. I don't like DELL personally, but I recommend them and buy them depending on whether they fit the bill. And the price helps that alot.
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