Now, I know what you're all thinking. Why the heck did he post this in the CPU section, when it's about a laptop system. (You might also be asking why he's asking about a laptop in a hardware forum at all.) Well, I know, from my year on here, that, for the most part, this is an intelligent, well-educated group of people who give good answers, and debate the merits and flaws of said components graciously. So, without further ado, my question.
My friend wants a new computer. Now, being a pretty good system builder myself (hey, first computer I built never crashes, and it runs Win98SE) I tried to convince her that a desktop, built to her specs by me, is the best and cheapest way to go. But, since she lives overseas during the summer when she's not at her at school, she wants a computer that she can easily transport as carry-on luggage, i.e. a laptop. So, now my job is to find her good laptop system (something I know little about) that is under $1700. Since she is an asian studies and management studies major, it needs to preform the usual home office tasks (word, excel, etc.) but can also handle multi-tasking (AIM, WinAmp, gaming) and moderate gamer, so she'll need something with a good graphics card, decent amount of RAM, and a good CPU. Now that the specs are out, I'll tell y'all what I think, and I'd like you to comment, and maybe give me an idea where I can find this mythical beast.
I am an AMD fan, so, naturally, I would like to find her an AMD-based system. But, after hours of looking over Dell, Gateway, HP, and Compaq, I found that almost all the laptops in existence (at least custom-order ones) are P3s. Okay, I can handle that. The P3 is a good CPU, and with the need for cool running CPUs in laptops, it's probably the best choice right now. But, the problem I face is that all the made-to-order laptops I see have some crappy afterthought of a graphics card (S3, ATI Rage, etc.), and since it's not an option to rip it off the board and soder a new GPU on, I have to be right the first time. I've seen some laptops with a Radeon 7500 on-board, and some with a Nvidia GeForce2 Go on-board. I've heard good things about the Nvidia, but is the 7500 a viable option for people who want to game moderately (we're talking Diablo 2, Alice in Wonderland (the twisted one), Black & White, etc.)? Nothing too graphics intensive, but nothing that her current 366MHz w/ 64MB of RAM can handle too well, if at all. I think to her, as long as it runs at a playable speed, she's happy. It doesn't have to satisfy <i>our</i> performance needs, just hers. So, if the 7500 can run games at an 800x600x32 at around 30FPS, she'll be more than happy (wish I could find her a KyroII in a laptop, since it's cheap, and I know it works well in that situation).
So, I've found a few things out, but I need to know more. She's going back to Dubai in the United Arab Emerates, (damn her for escaping the icebox that is Minnesota) for Christmas break, so I'd live to give some options to discuss with her family (where some of the money is coming from). Ergo, I need to move fast, since there's a week of school left, and when she goes back to the Middle East (home), communication is pretty hard, given the differences in timezones. So, that's it in a nutshell. I need advice about a creature I know nothing about, but am somehow s'posed to tame. Lucky me. Also, if y'all know the good manufactures vs. the bad ones, I'd like to hear that too. The last thing I want to do is recommend a good-looking laptop, but have it be some beast that will do nothing but give her hell. Thanks much.