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Help me choose a replacement for my HP nw8240!

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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July 15, 2009 2:47:06 AM

Hello!

I'd like some some help picking out a new laptop, if you guys are willing. Right now I have an HP nw8240 (Pentium M "Dothan" 2GHz, Centrino revision 2 "Sonoma", etc. generation/era) which I really like, but I now have the opportunity to buy something of a generation newer, so I'm hoping I can find something of equal quality. Let me answer the questions listed in the sticky.

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1. What is your budget?
USD 1000. May be flexible, but as close to that as possible would be good.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
At least 15", I hope (I assume this means screen size). My nw8240 is 15.4" WSXGA+, and in 1680x1050 at those screen dimensions, text becomes a little bit hard to read. 17" would be nice, but that'd certainly increase the price, right?

3. What screen resolution do you want?
At least WSXGA+ (1680x1050), I hope, otherwise I'm sort of downgrading ;)  If not, at least a 16:10 aspect ratio would be nice.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Desktop replacement, pretty much.

5. How much battery life do you need?
Doesn't really matter. My nw8240's battery died 6 months after I bought it, and I haven't cared enough to buy a new one (three years later).

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. I was hoping to be able to play Fallout 3, that kind of stuff, though I don't know how possible that is on my budget. And there are plenty of somewhat older games I've missed out on that I could go back and play, haha. Let's say, I want to at least be able to play games based on the Source engine with relatively high settings. Don't know how much lower of a standard that is than "able to play Fallout 3", though, haha... For comparison, my nw8240 has an ATi Mobility FireGL V5000 discrete graphics module.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing, surfing the web, playing music, watching movies, Etc.)
Surfing the web, playing music, watching movies, all the normal stuff. Furthermore I tend to run a large number of applications simultaneously, so I suppose a lot of memory and a fast processor would be helpful (aren't they always?), though I'm not familiar with how multi-core systems run, never having used one.

Something else kind of important is a good networking subsystem; I use bittorrent frequently and it wreaks havoc on badly designed networking systems, though such problems tend to be more on the software side than the hardware (I'm considering running Windows Server 2003 - or 2008 R2 when it comes out - for just that reason). Um, 802.11g of course.

8. How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
Doesn't matter all too much, as I have an external drive which I can use for anything really large. My nw8240 has an 80GB HDD, and I doubt any laptop on the market today has a default HDD smaller than that unless it's solid-state (too pricey for me).

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post the links to them.
Um, the usual, I guess. Manufacturer's website for whatever brand, newegg... any other recommendations? I've also seen a few links to xoticpc.com around these and other forums, though I've never heard of them before. There's a Fry's Electronics a reasonable distance from here, and a Best Buy even closer (though I suppose their offerings vary from location to location).

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Well, as long as possible - it's not like I have a "replacement cycle" planned or anything.

11. If you would like to mention some other things about purchasing your ideal laptop, post them.
I'd really prefer an Intel processor.

I don't need more than a DVD super multi, I don't think I'll be needing to read bluray anytime soon.

I might need VGA out, but that's probably standard.

I do a lot of typing, so I'd like the keyboard to be sturdy and well-designed. A good touchpad is a must - something that one's finger glides over naturally, has a scroll strip on the side (is that done in drivers or in hardware?), etc. Three mouse buttons is also a must, as I really don't want to have to hold down the ctrl key to open and close tabs in firefox ;)  (edit: after some looking around, it seems that three buttons is somehow rare these days! (???) Maybe I'll have to buy a mouse :/  )

If possible I'd like to avoid being forced to pay for an OS, since I can get Windows through other channels at a lower cost anyway. I understand that laptops are packaged with operating systems like 99% of the time, though, so whatever.

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.
My HP nw8240 is great, but I suspect that's because it's from HP's "business notebook" line, and not the standard consumer stuff, which I hear is full of bloatware and counterintuitive "neo-user-friendly" design - but that's true of most brands, I'm sure. I hear that right now Lenovo is the best to go with, though.

The site I mentioned before, xoticpc.com, only offers laptops from ASUS, MSI, Compal, Clevo, and Sager, as well as a house brand. I have a high opinion of ASUS's motherboards, though I don't know about their other stuff. MSI is commonly seen on newegg as well, I suppose. I've never heard of the other brands, though. According to the site, that's because they're the "real manufacturers" of most laptops, and Dell/HP/everyone just buys barebones laptops from those four en masse, fits components to them, rebrands them, and sells them. How true is this? Also I suspect the warranty you'd get from such a site wouldn't be as extensive as from a mainstream dealer like Lenovo or HP.

13. What country do you live in?
I live in the US, but I'm going to be staying in Singapore for a year starting next month. I'd like to buy my laptop before I leave, since prices as well as selection should be better here in the US.

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So there you have it. Any advice, suggestions, etc. would be most appreciated. Sorry for the huge amount of text, but I figured the more information I provided, the better responses I'd receive, so...

Thanks!
!