I need a laptop would and would like your help.

I am in the market for a laptop computer. I really am at a dead end here. There are so many different choices and I just can't decide. I need it to last for quite a while (3-5 years if possible). Hard drive space is not really a problem because I will probably buy a large external drive. I don't really care about screen size, but 14" is enough. I am not sure about the OS either. I am so used to windows (XP and Vista), but I am a little unhappy with Vista and would like to try out a mac. They are kind of expensive compared to most PC's though.

This is what I need out of it:

I need a laptop that I can take EVERYWHERE. I will take it pretty much anywhere that I go. I want it to be light and thin and very mobile. A good battery life would be nice (couple of hours should do it).
I will use it for mainly internet and music. The only game that I might play would be Civilization 4. I would also like to be able to use some photo and video editing programs. I also might watch movies on it.
- Just the usual college stuff.

I hate having to wait for a minute for a program to load so I would love a laptop that is pretty quick, but it only needs to be fast with the activities I listed above (Civ. 4, iTunes, photo editing).

These are really the only things that I need it for.

I am on a budget of no more than $1500.

Hope some of you can help me out.
18 answers Last reply
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  1. I think the Dell XPS m1330 would be a decent fit. Here's that and two others to look at.

    Dell XPS m1330.
    13.3'' screen
    Core2 T7250
    2gb DDR2-667
    120gb 5400rpm HDD
    128mb 8400mGS
    6 cell LI battery
    for about $1400

    Or the Inspiron 1420
    14.1'' screen
    Core2 T8300
    2gb DDR2-667
    128mb 8400mGS
    120gb 5400rpm HDD
    For about $1100

    Last one

    HP DV2700t
    14.1'' screen
    Core2 T8300
    2gb DDR2-667
    128mb 8400mGS
    120gb 5400rpm HDD
    for just over $1100.

    All of the above have Vista, none could be customized with XP.
  2. thanks I'll check these out.
  3. The 17" may be a bit heavy for you and the better bvideo cards will eat battery life.....but check out this thread.


    You have a bigger budget so may wanna customize it a bit more.
  4. Yeah these are looking good. Thanks. Does anyone know about Macs. I've only played around with them at school but they seem pretty nice. Are they all hype or what is the deal?
  5. I have a macbook pro 17" 2gig memory core duo 2.5 mhz proc. It gives a vista peformance rating of 5.1 (more memory for higher rating). As my software from the university costs much less having both vista Ultimate (20 dollars) and OSX is not a big deal. As for expense I found a comparable machine from dell was roughly the same price range (within 5%).

    That said is I am happy with the system. I have had more problems with installing software in vista (acrobat reader clean install) than the mac. Bootcamp worked very easily.

    If you do go get a mac then see how easily it is to replace your memory. The macbook pro is easy, but out of your target price. Get the minimum amount of memory then simply upgrade your memory from corsair. It should cost about 130 dollars or so for 4 gig of memory if not from Apple.
  6. Yeah if I go the Mac route I will buy the memory from a third party because Apple's is extremely expensive. I was wondering, more specifically, about the Macbook, not the Pro. Anyone got any info on one of those?
  7. I truthfully think that you can't go wrong with most laptops (just check reliability or warranty). The hardware is nearly identical from various vendors so it really is up to price and what it comes with. If you are a student and get a very cheap version of xp or vista then bootcamp is a dream to install if you do buy a mac.

    Compared to my XP machine and vista on the other side of the macbook pro the OSX os uses about 300-500 megs vs. 500-800 megs. You will still need a windows machine for some apps, but with bootcamp not so much an issue. Then you have a bigger problem with partition size for each.

    The power cable is quite nice on a mac. Once you get used to the mac I think it is much easier to setup on a network. No downloading stupid clients, etc. The OS takes some getting used to and I am still playing with it (I got my system last week). The programs do seem to come up faster (no tests done so far).

    I do have iPhoto and a few others, however I installed Adobe CS3 so I haven't tried to use the software from iLife. At least 5 people I know who are engineers own a mac or mac laptop and all are happy with it.
  8. Hmm...under XP, I only use like 400 megs of RAM, not 500-800. Ubuntu only uses around 220 megs of RAM. Then again, I've spent time streamlining my XP for the highest performance.

    And as an (upcoming) engineer, I'm proud to own a beast of a laptop (see sig), which is what I need for rendering and CAD. I always found that the Macbooks don't seem to have enough bang for the buck in the hardware sense...though I must say that the Mac OS is very efficient. However, in that sense, I can just use Ubuntu, which is free, more secure, and just as efficient as Mac OS. Just my opinion...

    Oh, and the games. No Company of Heroes or Bioshock on a Mac :D

    Edit: typo caused the sentence to mean exactly what I didn't want it to mean.
  9. Actually my macbook pro was comparable in price to an equivalent dell laptop (no discounts just straight advertised pricing from both websites). Apple is a hardware manufacturer with a different operating system to separate itself from other manufacturers. I wanted the ability to run mac os 10.5.2 or Windows or linux. Only a mac supports all of those along with IPhone SDK.

    If you are a student then the price of vista or xp is usually negligible (for me 5-20 dollars). So with bootcamp the argument you can't run games is again moot as you simply install windows on a different partition (took me about 30-60 minutes to install vista ultimate). I use my desktop to run games (it is less powerful though with a 2.4 core duo and only at 7600 gt 256 meg but it has xp).

    Of the engineering students I know many have shifted towards mac after dealing with vista. We had vista installed in our department for 6 months before it was rolled back to xp. We tried out the difference between the 2 OSs a few days ago on my mac and after the problems of vista (it locked up trying to connect to a server) we simply shifted back to Leopard. Sad thing is the problems with vista were not unique to the mac, they also happened on the dell workstations.

    I still have vista on my Mac because I do like games and some of my programs require windows, but daily use on my mac is Leopard. When I need volflo, plaxis, autocad, etc. I always have windows on the other partition.
  10. Yeah, you make good points. I actually refused to go to Vista, and am a proud owner of an XP laptop, though I've also installed Ubuntu for more efficient daily tasks.

    And the running games point is kinda moot from a software perspective, but Macbooks don't seem to have the graphics cards needed to run games on high settings (though the Macbook Pros have the mid-high range 8600m GT). They'll still run them on lower settings, so I can't say that they /won't/ play games, but come on, who wants to play Bioshock with everything turned down? :p I'm sorry, I'm a gamer, what can I say?

    Note: I'm not dissing Macs, they're just not for me.
  11. Your laptop is nice and I can't complain about my Mac having the 8600 with 512 meg ram. I was going to try to install the crysis demo to see how it ran on my system, but after trying to deal with a download time of over an hour and fighting with vista to hookup on the university wireless I gave up.

    I do have a couple of questions about your system. How hot does it get? What is your battery life and is it actually 9.4 lbs?
  12. worm and I have very similar systems, his is just from a different manu who adds some very nice mods to the systems. These laptops actually stay surprisingly cool at idle and don't get all that hot under load. I've never seen my CPU get higher than 65C (at load) with the fan at normal, changing the speed dropped it to 55C. I've also never seen the 7950 get warmer than 74C, again with fan at normal. All in all, some very good numbers for a laptop. I'm not sure how heavy it really is, probably close to the 8 or 9 lbs mark, which is why a nice back pack comes in handy. For me, battery life is anywhere between 1.5-2 hours while surfing the web on an 8-cell battery.

    You should note that our systems are no longer made and have been replaced with the Sager NP5793 (for me) and the Executioner SRX (for Worm).
  13. Yeah, it stays really cool. The CPU idles at about 28 degrees celsius, and the GPU at about...35C. In synthetic full load (from Intel TAT or Orthos) the CPU has reached...75 degrees celsius maybe? But in real application loads (like games) it's maxed out at about 50 degrees. The GPU can also hit about 75 degrees when I'm playing Oblivion or something, which is a lot better than some of the laptops I've seen.

    The battery life is about an hour and 45 minutes for me, but I'm contemplating buying a modular battery (I'd lose my optical drive to do so though).

    And the laptop itself is apparently 8.3 pounds, but the AC adaptor is about a pound, so everything put together is about what you quoted, yep. I have a nice comfy backpack made for 17" laptops, so it's actually comfortable on my back (think of nice padded wide shoulder straps, a strap that can connect the two shoulder ones, and even a waist strap which I don't use).

    Edit: misunderstanding
  14. Here's the bag I have: http://www.targus.com/us/product_details.asp?sku=TXL617

    I'm on my second year with it and I use it for my classes at school so that's a decent amount of wear and tear. My only complaint is that the stupid pouch for a CD player is starting to tear off.
  15. Yeah, I am waiting for my backpack to arrive. That is one problem with a 17" is finding an excellent backpack to fit it and other items such as books. Also the weight and size does make a 17" a bit clumsy. I recommend my friends to get a 15 inch or so screen for themselves because of this.

    That said the higher resolution monitor on the macbook pro also gave a longer battery life so that helped making the upgrade easier. I think mine gets about 3-3.5 hours on its battery with basic use (it lost less than 50%) over 1.5 hours.
  16. Most of the better Clevo distributors give you a 17" carrying bag, on all but the budget models.
  17. Well, I got a 17" messenger bag with it, but seriously, 10 pounds minimum on one shoulder for potentially long periods of time? :p
  18. theworminator said:
    Well, I got a 17" messenger bag with it, but seriously, 10 pounds minimum on one shoulder for potentially long periods of time? :p

    Yeah seriously.... I gave mine to my Dad for his Inspiron 6000.
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