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Comments on Laptop Requirements Please?

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  • Dell
  • Laptops
  • Computers
Last response: in Computer Brands
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March 4, 2010 9:02:57 PM

I'll appreciate any advice you can offer in regard to which Dell laptop you think will meet my needs.

A friend thinks a Core 2 processor with discrete graphics card is required. I don't think dedicated graphics is required. What do you think?

Need to replace this laptop:
Dell Latitude D600
Intel Pentium M 1.4GHz
1.5GB RAM
14" display
20GB HDD

The D600 has been an excellent laptop. It's just not as responsive as I'd like it to be and the hardware (wireless, USB,etc) is dated. It's not uncommon for me to have 7 tabs open in my browser with Outlook, iTunes, 2 Word documents, FileZilla SFTP and a live WebEx conference running. My D600 just can't stay with it - too slow to respond.

Here's a nutshell of tasks I perform and applications I use on a regular basis:
MS Outlook 2007 - open and running 90% of the time.
Word 2007
Excel 2007
OneNote 2007
FireFox
Internet Explorer 8 (only when absolutely necessary)
iTunes - - open and running 90% of the time
Motorola Media for Droid sync
FileZilla SFTP client
SecureCRT
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Web-based tools for router and switch management
MS Server admin tools
SyncBack - for daily backups to external drive.
McAfee, Sophos, and other security tools
Photo - about the only thing I do with photos is import them from my camera, view them, and sometimes (very seldom) crop them.
Video - No video editing.
Movies - I want to be able to watch moview in full-screen mode. I also participate in a lot of training webcasts.
Audio - I use iTunes daily to download podcasts (music, audio books, and voice content).

1_What is your budget? Under $1,000 if possible and lower is better if the system will do the job.

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
14 - 15.6" display

3_What screen resolution do you want?
I'd like to be able to watch movie on DVD in full-screen mode.

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
I have a desktop but I don't sit at the console and use it often. I do connect to it remotely on a regular basis to check backup status and to check syslog alerts.

5_How much battery life do you need?
I'm usually near an AC outlet and I have a converter in my truck so battery life isn't a big deal for me.

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)?
I'm not a gamer unless Solitare and BeJeweled counts :) 

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
Photo - about the only thing I do with photos is import them from my camera, view them, and sometimes (very seldom) crop them.
Video - No video editing.
Movies - I want to be able to watch moview in full-screen mode. I also participate in a lot of training webcasts.
Audio - I use iTunes daily to download podcasts (music, audio books, and voice content).

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
More than I have now but not a lot - My D600 has a 20GB drive in it and I've ran low on disk space only after downloading a lot of video content. I moved it to an external drive and was good to go.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post the links to them.

http://www.dell.com/home/laptops

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
I'll probably use it personally for about 3 years and use it somewhere else.

11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
I want to be able to burn audio, video and data to DVD.

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.
I need to go with Dell because I can get no interest for 12 months. Money's tight.

13_What country do you live in?
USA

14_Please tell us any additional information if needed.

I want to put Windows 7 Ultimate on it; however, it appears that Dell only sells them with Windows 7 Premium. Is it possible to upgrade from Win 7 Premium to Win 7 Ultimate or will I have to buy a full version of Ultimate? (I don't know why MS has so many different version of Win 7!)


15_Warranty & Support?
I want it covered with on-site (or in-home) service plan for at least 2 years and I'm considering the 3-year service plan. I'm also giving real consideration to the "Enhanced" (or whatever Dell calls it) warranty that includes LoJack and/or protection in the event of accidental damage - drop and break the display or ruin it with a liquid spill. I'm the type who would rather be safe than sorry if it's a reasonable deal.

Update: Since typing the above, I've read some posts about Dell's extended warranty with damage protection. I'm not impressed with what I read. What's your thought on these extended warranties?

Thanks!

J

More about : comments laptop requirements

March 5, 2010 12:35:51 AM

From what you listed, it doesn't sound like you really need a dedicated video card, but it would improve performance when watching an HD movie on battery power. I hear Intel's integrated HD lags a little bit when playing in higher resolutions.

Regarding the extended warranty, I liked it when I bought my current laptop 5 years ago. I got the 3-year warranty with CompleteCare (now integrated into the Advanced Protection Plan). The only reason I bought the extended warranty was because it was "on sale" and I figured "better safe than sorry."

Looking back, I never really dropped or totally ruined my laptop in the 5 years I've had it. I have, however, gotten:

  • A replacement hard drive (was getting worn down and clicking)
  • Fans replaced (dust clogs got really bad, and cleaning them didn't help much)
  • A new keyboard (gaming wore it down)
  • A new AC adapter (mine started beeping randomly which I figured was a bad thing).

    The only thing not covered by the warranty is the battery. So it's your choice: pay a little more on the warranty and get stuff replaced for free, or save money up front and pay out-of-pocket for any replacement parts after your warranty expires.
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    March 5, 2010 3:16:55 PM

    lotri said:
    From what you listed, it doesn't sound like you really need a dedicated video card, but it would improve performance when watching an HD movie on battery power. I hear Intel's integrated HD lags a little bit when playing in higher resolutions.

    Regarding the extended warranty, I liked it when I bought my current laptop 5 years ago. I got the 3-year warranty with CompleteCare (now integrated into the Advanced Protection Plan). The only reason I bought the extended warranty was because it was "on sale" and I figured "better safe than sorry."

    Looking back, I never really dropped or totally ruined my laptop in the 5 years I've had it. I have, however, gotten:

  • A replacement hard drive (was getting worn down and clicking)
  • Fans replaced (dust clogs got really bad, and cleaning them didn't help much)
  • A new keyboard (gaming wore it down)
  • A new AC adapter (mine started beeping randomly which I figured was a bad thing).

    The only thing not covered by the warranty is the battery. So it's your choice: pay a little more on the warranty and get stuff replaced for free, or save money up front and pay out-of-pocket for any replacement parts after your warranty expires.


  • Thanks for your reply. Would the items you listed as having replaced be covered under the extended 3-year "basic" (in home after remote diags) warranty? If so, I'm thinking I don't need the advanced warranty. I take care of my stuff; never dropped a laptop or filled one with Dr. Pepper in all the years I've owned one.

    Also, I sent an email to a Dell sales rep yesterday asking her to clarify their return policy. On a chat, their rep had told me that was a 21-day period that began on the date of delivery. But another user here said it began on the date of invoice which would really stink. Still waiting to hear back from her.

    Thanks again for your reply. I'm hoping others will comment today and over the weekend. My external USB 11g device failed yesterday so I'm back running at b speed :sleep: 

    j
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    March 5, 2010 3:59:31 PM

    Well, as long as you have it in writing, you should be able to get it backed up.

    The "Basic" warranty doesn't cover those replacement parts, as far as I know. I had those pieces replaced under the Advanced Warranty Plan (previously known as CompleteCare). Dell might replace faulty parts for free, but some of those things I had replaced were due to wear and tear, not faulty manufacture.
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