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Another new laptop question... (Sorry!)

Last response: in Laptop General Discussion
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August 4, 2008 7:02:15 PM

Apologies for yet another "Which Laptop?" thread, but I guess we all have different needs/wants and the information changes so quickly... So, here goes - and thanks for your help in advance...

1_What is your budget?
Budget is pretty flexible - I'd like to pay around £1200 but would consider going up to £2000 if it gets me exactly the right machine. Note that is Pounds Sterling, so about US$2400 to US$4000.

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Small enough to carry around, but at least 15", I guess.

3_What screen resolution do you want?
1280x1024 would be fine.

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portable, as above... Doesn't have to be ultra-portable, but it will be going further afield occasionally. To that end, it should also ideally be fairly tough - or, at least, not flimsy...

5_How much battery life do you need?
More is better - as above, it will occasionally need to be genuinely portable.

6_Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
Yes, but not seriously - say CoD4 on medium?

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing, surfing the web, playing music, watching movies, Etc.)
In all honesty, it will mostly be used for surfing. There will also be occasional gaming, some coding, maybe some Skyping.

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
Not too fussed, but I reckon I can expect 100Gb for this price range.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post the links to them.
Considering Dell (it would be daft not to) but as I've not being paying attention to specs for a while I'm not clear on what's what and I'd like to know what the opposition offers. Does anyone need the Dell link?

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Last one has died after 4 years - I'd like this one to stick around for at least as long.

11_If you would like to mention some other things about purchasing your ideal laptop, post them.
The flimsiness thing is moderately important to me - too many of the laptops I see friends and colleagues using seem to flex as they type.

12_Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
No preferences.

13_What country do you live in?
Bonny Scotland!

In summary, I was seriously considering getting a hard-core gaming laptop, but they all seem to be barely-portable monsters, so I think I'm going to get myself a couple of 8800GT cards for my desktop instead and a laptop that won't give me a hernia.

More about : laptop question

August 4, 2008 10:12:40 PM

I'd go for a Dell XPS M1530 for that price range and set of requirements - the optional 9 cell battery should give you at least 3+ hours of use, and probably quite a bit more for normal tasks. If you get one of the faster CPU's (say, a T9300 @ 2.5GHz) and the 8600M GPU, it should be fairly capable without being a monstrosity with no battery life.

Alternatively, if you prefer greater power at the expense of some battery life and weight, the Sager NP8660 would be a significantly faster system, especially on games.
August 5, 2008 8:55:35 AM

Thanks cjl, will take a look.

Are the 'M' GPUs anywhere near the performance of their desktop counterparts, or is this just optimistic (some might use 'exploitative') marketing by NVidia/ATI?

Cheers - Adam...
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a c 244 D Laptop
August 5, 2008 9:41:25 AM

If u wanted a 17" laptop i definitely would have recommended u XPS M1730 because it fits your budget exactly,with T9300,2x8800MGTX,400GB HDD and 4GB RAM it costs £1900 which is very good.
But since u need a portable one go for XPS M1530 which is a very good portable laptop with good battery life.

About your question,well "M" is slower than its desktop equivalent,for example NVIDIA 8600MGT is slower than 8600GT desktop,but its a good midrange card and can handle every game out there with medium settings and some of them with high settings.
August 5, 2008 5:04:16 PM

The M series are slower, but still in the same class (so the 8600M is slower than the 8600, but definitely faster than the 8400). The 8800M GTX is somewhere between the 8800GT and 9600GT in performance, and the 9800M GT = 8800M GTX (9800M GTX is the current best notebook card).
a c 244 D Laptop
August 5, 2008 6:33:30 PM

8800MGTX has 96SP and G92 architecture which makes it fall between desktop 8800GTS G80 and 8800GT 512.(anandtech says that its like a 8800GT but it has less SP)
August 5, 2008 11:20:48 PM

The G80 GTS isn't really comparable due to the memory (and TMUs IIRC). The 9600GT is much closer.
a c 244 D Laptop
August 6, 2008 9:46:18 AM

But 9600GT has 32SP right?
August 6, 2008 9:50:44 AM

OK, another few questions - apologies if these have been answered before, but a couple of searches didn't return anything.

Processors: I'm looking at getting the highest spec that I can, but the numbers mean little to me. I'm assuming the that the higher numbers mean better performance (not necessarily a given, I know), and I know that the T9500 is a Penryn (2.6GHz, 6MB L2) but beyond that I'm not clear on the relative value of, say, T8100, T8300, T9300 or T9500.

The XPS1530 (which, as you say, looks like the laptop for me) comes with T8300, T9300 or T9500 processors and dedicated graphics: NVidia 8600M GT with 256Mb. However, there is also the Studio 15, which is the same size screen, lighter, comes with T8100, T8300 or T9300 processors and dedicated graphics: ATI 3450 with 256MB. When I compare these two with the same processor (T9300 – the highest for the Studio), the Studio is significantly cheaper - £779 vs £1139 – the XPS is nearly 50% more. When I add the T9500 processor to the XPS, it adds around 10% to the bottom line, taking the price to £1389.

So:
- Is the XPS worth the extra?
- Is the T9500 worth the extra?

Finally, another thank you for all the information!

Cheers – Adam…
a c 244 D Laptop
August 6, 2008 11:25:58 AM

For CPU go for T9300 because T9300 is @ 2.5GHZ and T9500 is @ 2.6GHZ,the 100mhz differfence isnt worth the money and the difference isnt noticealbe,so go for T9300.

I say go for XPS M1530 because XPS series have better support also 8600MGT blows away a HD 3450.
August 6, 2008 9:23:51 PM

Thanks Mazier! I've just ordered the M1530 with a T9300 - £190 less than the T9500!
a c 244 D Laptop
August 7, 2008 9:41:38 AM

No problems mate :)  glad i could help u :) 
Good luck :) 
August 7, 2008 4:49:59 PM

Maziar said:
But 9600GT has 32SP right?

64 actually. I'm referring to the desktop version.

Oh, and I'd go for the 9500 over the 9300 for the extra cache, but if you've already ordered, the difference definitely isn't huge. Sounds like you should be quite happy with that computer though. Good luck :) 
a c 244 D Laptop
August 7, 2008 8:38:19 PM

Well u are right,a 9600GT desktop performs a little lower than a 8800GT 512 and performs like a 8800GTS G80 right?
August 7, 2008 9:56:15 PM

Sort of, though in a different way. It has fewer TMUs and cores, as well as a smaller memory bus and less memory bandwidth. It has faster core clocks too though, which basically makes up for it. The architecture of the mobile 8800 series is much closer to that of the 9600 (desktop) than the G80 8800GTS though.
a c 244 D Laptop
August 8, 2008 7:02:01 AM

Alright thanks for the info :) 
August 8, 2008 2:09:23 PM

Thanks once more you two - I had already ordered, but the discussion on architectures is very informative...
a c 244 D Laptop
August 8, 2008 5:47:45 PM

No problems mate :)  glad we could help u :) 
!