I'm looking for a new laptop and I need some guidance as I have some good software skills but am facing a steep learning curve on the hardware options.
Here's my survey response:
1. What is your budget?
400 - 1100
2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
3. What screen resolution do you want?
4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
5. How much battery life do you need?
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)?
Nope. My 7-year old daughter will just hog it if I have games on there. Freecell mabye.
7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Picasa photo editing and storage, Web-based photo editing (pixlr), home movie editing and storage, including streaming through *firewire* from handycam, Skype, MS office suite business applications (MSAccess, PPT, Word, Excel, Quicken, Outlook), Google Maps, watch movies (maybe stream to our Bluray player, but definitely watch Hulu+, Netflix streaming),
8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
I'd like 500K. I need some advice here - is there such a thing as a hybrid - SSD and HDD? so I could get the speed of flash with the cheap bulk of HDD?
10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD Rom Writer
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.
Lenovo (because of the firewire),
Acer - i've just dabbled but they look decent - would love some advice
Costco has some good deals - our tech guy at work recommended the HPs
Basically anything but Dell - I've had it with Dell. I have an Inspiron. Yuck. Do I need to elaborate? Overpriced for what you get, sucky customer service, I could paste some chat sessions that are like an old Abbot & Costello routine.
13. What country do you live in?
14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I live in the Bay Area - easy to get service. You'd think I'd have some teckie geeky friends out here that could guide me but they all have jobs.
Also, I'd like something that looks nice and isn't too hot or heavy - not like those two inch thick brick desktop replacements. I will be using this on my lap.
Yes, it's possible to have two storage drives (HDD/SDD) plus an optical drive in a notebook.
But to get room to have two drive bays? Those tend to be the bigger, thicker notebooks. (A desktop replacement type notebook).
To get the thin and light portable notebooks - you're looking at notebooks with just one storage drive bay. They do have some hybrid HDD with flash storage drives. And there are some notebooks that have small SSD drives installed in addition to the hard drive.
Thanks for responding. I marked this solved since you did answer my original question, but it brought up additional questions so I am continuing...
I could live without the burner as I do have an external USB burner. I have a firwire port on my Dell which I guess I could continue using to download movies off my handycam and then transfer them over to the new laptop. I would like to better understand how the two drives get used. Do most notebooks operate off the HDD and then you can use the SSD as extra storage space? I think that is the opposite of what I was thinking. Am I wrong in thinking that the SDD drives have less pausing and wheezing than my Inspiron does now? Is it RAM that I should be looking at instead?
Im pretty sure your Inspiron has a 5400rpm power saving hard drive. A 7200rpm would be faster but a SSD is much faster by comparison.
The SSD/HDD combo is the other way around from what you mentioned.
SSD (boot drive) with the operating system and most frequently used programs installed, taking advantage of the SSD very fast response.
The HDD (storage drive) would have a larger capacity HDD installed for bulk storage.
The most common size for SSD boot drive is around 120GB/128GB but to save money you can use a 60GB/64GB. There is a high premium price paid ordering a SSD pre-installed. I've seen prices 50%-100% higher than if you'd bought one and installed it yourself.
Funny - I saw another elitebook (the 8560P) just about when you must have posted this. You're right, those elitebooks do seem to have everything I'm asking for but there is something about the design that is hard to get excited about. The ultra-books are pretty cool. I'd love your opinion there.
I am not in a rush to buy, since my inspiron hasn't died yet, it's just out of space.
These reviews crack me up - "who uses firewire?" - and "The idea is to lure in a more old-fashioned kind of customer, shoppers who aren't quite ready to ditch their DVD drive, and who aren't keen on stepping down to a too-small screen." I am kind of trying to straddle two worlds. Do you think the ultrabooks will reduce in price over the next few months?
Intel and AMD are getting ready to release their next gen laptop series CPUs in the next 60 days of so. That alone is no reason to wait if you see an especially good deal on something you like before that.