Laptop ?s

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 here 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 a 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 like 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.

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  1. I think any laptop with either the Geforce2GO or any Radeon GPU will be good enough for her. For myself, I'm either going to get the Radeon7500 Mobility or the new Nvidia NV17M chip. That may be a while though. Maybe by summer time. Dell, IBM and Sony seem to make pretty good notebooks. Dell seems to be the cheapest though. What I'm wondering is where all the Athlon4 notebooks are. Can't seem to find too many out there.
  2. I would suggest getting a PIII-M based laptop which uses the tulatin core and has a nice amount of L2 cache (512 KB) and 133mhz FSB.
    You might think about the Dell Inspiron 8100 with GeForce2go 32mb or ATI Mobility Radeon 64mb, your choice.
    Be warned, though, that the 8100 series is a desktop replacement it will be big, bulky, and heavy....if it is too much for your friend, you might want to get the 4100 model instead.
    If your friend is really looking for style, tell her to get a G4 Titanium.

    See a real naked pic of Britney Spears <A HREF="" target="_new">here</A>!!!
  3. A Dell Inspiron 4100 with a PIII-M 1.13GHz, a 14.1" TFT XGA screen 16MB DDR Radeon, 256MB of RAM (single DIMM), a 20GB hard drive, and a DVD-ROM is currently $1658.00, before shipping. This includes MS Office Small Business and Norton AV 2002 for software, and a 3-year warranty. An 8x CD-RW/DVD combo can be added for $250 more. Going to the XGA+ screen, which might help a little for gaming, would be about $70 more. Going to the 32MB DDR GeForce2Go shipset would be around $100 more.

    Looking around, it's probably the best deal for an ultra-portable system that's still got some power to it. Compaq is usually who I'd use to compare with Dell, but their 1700 series laptops (the small, thin ones...1.5" thick and less than 6lbs, just like the Inspiron 4100) only have the 8MB Radeon available for around the same price as the aforementioned Dell, and only 1 year on the warranty.
  4. The Dell's look nice, you might also want to see what Toshiba is offering, since they've been the laptop leader for so long.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  5. I sell Toshibas. You'll get a non-Tualatin PIII w/100MHz FSB, 512MB PC100 of RAM, a 30GB hard drive, CD-RW/DVD Combo, 15" TFT XGA screen, running the 16MB DDR GeForce2Go for about 1600 bucks. That's model# 3005-S504.
  6. I sell Toshibas. You'll get a non-Tualatin PIII w/100MHz FSB, 512MB PC100 of RAM, a 30GB hard drive, CD-RW/DVD Combo, 15" TFT XGA screen, running the 16MB DDR GeForce2Go for about 1600 bucks. That's a Satellite Pro model# 3005-S504.
  7. HP, Compaq and Sony all sell Athlon 4 notebooks. They are the desktop replacement category, so in the 6 to 7 lb range. You should have no problem finding one at your local larger PC retailer, OR go to the web site and spec one there.

    I haven't found any DDR Ram based notebooks yet, but understand that they should be arriving in the next round of notebook systems. Hopefully that will happen within a month or two, but I have no idea what the notebook schedule is.

    Finally, the slim notebooks (thin and light?) should have an Athlon in that category sometime early next year. AMD plans to release new packaging for notebooks next year with the Thoroughbred release.


    When all else fails, throw your computer out the window!!!
  8. The problem with shipping DDR notebooks is memory upgradeability. Currently the only standardized form factor for laptop memory is the SO-DIMM, which is just PC100/PC133 SDRAM.

    [dave@discovery ~] kill -9 1
    init: Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?
  9. get a dell laptop! you'll be stupid not too! no other place offers a 3 year extended warranty! 2 of my friends have dell laptops and my boss and two other guys i work with has a dell laptop. they are super nice!

    check out the dell inspiron 8100

    as for amd.. don't get an amd for a mobile processor! it'll melt in your hands (lol cheap shot) as for battery for his dell my friend gets about 3 hours on his. he can watch a full length dvd movie on battery.

    what else can i say? get a dell!

    "you're gettin a dell dude!"

    <A HREF="" target="_new"> My Rig </A>
  10. I was looking at Toshiba's site and did notice the <i>16MB</i> GeForce2 Go card, and my question is, How much performance loss is seen when having the 16MB card compared to the 32MB model?

    As to my friend, price is more of an issue than anything else. At this point, she wants the best bang for her buck, so systems that are way up near the top of the bleeding edge are a little too pricey. I configured for her a Dell 8100, and she liked it, but she was put off by the price. Also, she doesn't know much about computers, if anything at all, so really, she's relying on what I tell her, which really isn't all that great. Give me a desktop, and I'm fine. You start talking TFT XGA screens to me, and I'm as lost as she is. So, any general info is good, so that I can help her make an informed decision.

    Also, one more thing. I know my school get's a discount for Gateway products, but what, if anything, do people know about other educational discounts that a full-time college student might get? I know that my school qualifies for Microsoft AE software, as I was able to snag a WinXP Pro for $89, all because it was for students and faculty, but does any of that extend to places like Dell, Toshiba, or Compaq?

  11. You must also consider what kind of warantee you want. What I have found with Laptops is that it tends to break a lot. Not because of problems with hardware or software but because of the abuse it gets. Like you drop a book on it. When putting it down you aren't careful, etc. So little abuses like these will add up and then it will start giving you problem. It's not like desktop that you can just open up the case and then unplug the card and up it back in. you will have to send it to the Original MFGR. And you don't want to pay for the fix because it will be expensive. So you must get a laptop with good warantee.

    I also suggest Dell like others since it has 3 years warantee. So by the time the warantee is over it will be time for you to get another laptop. Anyways, if you do decide to go with other mfgr make sure you get a Pentium 3m CPU it will run faster and much cooler then any other CPU. And you will like the extra battry life it offers.

    I hope this help.

  12. Keep in mind that Dell's 3-year warranty is simply a standard manufacturer's warranty against defects in materials and workmanship, only; general wear-and-tear issues with keyboards, mice, screens, etc. are usually not covered. If you want their "Complete Care" package, which covers nearly everything that could possibly go wrong with a laptop, up to and including dropping the thing and shattering the screen, it's around another $250 bucks. Most retailers offer service contracts for around 2-3 years on laptops for anything from $150-300, and though I personally wouldn't buy anything of the sort for a desktop (nor would I think anyone on here would buy one, especially since most of us build our own desktops) on a laptop I would definitely recommend it, since standard manufacturer's warranties (Compaq, HP, Toshiba, Sony, etc.) are only one year covering defects only. Screens, for example, will cost you anywhere from $600-1200 to fix, unless there are like 20 pixels out on the thing within the first year, which is quite unlikely.
  13. Well.. I can't add too much to what's been said already but here is my three cents worth:

    Cent #1) At work we've bought Acer, Compaq, Toshiba, and Dell laptops. The only ones we would consider buying again are the Toshibas and the Dells. The past bunch we've purchased have been Dells because they have both a touchpad and touchstick (you can turn either off, or use them both at once), because Dell has an excelent support website, and because Dell throws in a 3 year next business day on site warranty for us.

    Cent #2) I currently use a Dell Inspsrion 3800 (Celeron-500, 192ram, ATI Rage). It plays Diablo II, Age of Empires II, MS Combat flight sim II, etc, all without any problems.

    Cent #3) I don't know if battery life is important to you, but if it is consider a Celeron laptop.

    - JW
  14. ya thats what i meant... 3 year warranty with it's complete care package. next day onsite and phone support for 3 years is awsome. they have an offer for lifetime support too i think.

    No other place offers that. With a laptop it is very easy for it to be dropped, stepped on, brokin, or simply rare and tare. WIth my laptop the battery is already bad and had this for about 7 months now. I have a kds and KDS sucks they will not fullfill there warranty and there service is retarded. takes 2 weeks for them to RMA your product! Plus i'm scare th screen might get damaged on the way and they don't claim responsibility for it. So i just say fuc'k that i'll just keep it until it dies.

    never buy KDS products!

    so ya ...

    <A HREF="" target="_new"> My Rig </A>
  15. Admittedly, my experience with Dell is second-hand, but my friend's Dell had a hard drive go bad, and Dell's "On-Site" service amounted to them shipping him a new hard drive with a screwdriver and instructions on how to replace the unit and send the defective one back. Now, he didn't have a problem with doing it, but I can only imagine what some less mechanically inclined person might do to make an already bad situation worse. While a retailer usually isn't going to offer onsite, you can go to any store, if the chain is big enough. Some do also cover internationally, in that you find a place that'll repair it (they might be able to help, depending on the country) and the retailer will reimburse you for the cost of repair. If the estimate is more than 2/3 the cost of the laptop, they'll send you a box with pre-paid shipping, and send you a new laptop, the same model or closest to it.
    I'm not going to say which major retailer I work for, but their abbreviation on the NYSE is "BBY."
  16. Hey, a hometown company! And now they're building that campus headquarters thingy in Richfield, MN. Causing a real stink, but really, that town has nothing else in it. So, it's all for the better.

    Anywho, my question still remains, since the ability to find reviews of this product are impossible. What is the difference between the 16MB and 32MB models of the GeForce2 Go? Now, since the card I have has 64MB, and most low-end cards now have at least 32MB, is it safe to say that the 16MB one might be a little too weak? I really don't know.

  17. I have a question about the Dell Ultra XGA screens since it's the only option with an ATI Mobility 7500 with 64 megs of RAM. I know that LCD's operate best at their native resolution. According to reviews I've read of the 8100 the Ultra XGA screen is 1600 x 1200 on a 15 inch screen... it results in pretty small text. I was wondering if anyone knew if the smooth font feature in Windows XP would smooth out the display of the LCD if it was set at a slightly lower resolution? I don't really want to settle for a Geforce Go with only 32 megs of RAM, but 1600 x 1200 resolution is too high for my tastes on a 15 screen.
  18. Every review I've read on the subject gives the nod to the GeForce2Go chipset with 32MB as the mobility graphics solution of choice. I've not seen any benchmarks with the Mobility Radeon 7500, though. I'd assume the difference is in the drivers, though, and ATI's take a long time to be usable.
  19. I've seen benchmarks for the ATI mobility 7500 in both of them they compared it to the GEforce GO. Since the ATI 7500 mobile chip can support 64 megs of DDR and the Geforce Go only 32 megs DDR the ATI came out ahead by a wide margin.
    I would guess as the drivers for the ATI chipset get better it will keep pace with any improvement NVidia will make to the Geforce Go

    Can you anser my question about the ability of Windows XP's clearfont feature being able to smooth out an LCD with a native resolution of 1600 by 1200 being run at 1400 by 1250?

    here are the addresses for the articles:

    I realize some sources are suspect in their credibility so I tried to find as many relevant articles online regarding the ATI 7500 mobility as I could find (64 megs vs. 32 is also skewed too. I haven't found an article comparing a 32 meg ATI 7500 to a Geforce Go with 32 megs). The third address gives a pretty good overview of it's specs.

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