Looking for a laptop (again)
Oct 9, 2008 at 8:11 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 23

DanG

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I think I posted a thread a few months back about buying a laptop. Well, I stuck it out with this old Dell Inspiron 9300 but now I'm coming back to the States for Thanksgiving and would like to take a new Centrino 2 computer back to Germany with me.

So here's what I'm looking for:
  1. I want to spend no more than about $1300... could stretch to $1500 if it's worth it.
  2. I'm planning on using it for word processing, internet, watching DVDs, streaming video, listening to music, and maybe some gaming when Starcraft 2 comes out.
  3. Probably a 15"-16" widescreen that's of pretty high quality... open to 14.1" too, though, I guess.
  4. At least 3 USB ports, 4 would be better, though.
  5. Integrated webcam would be nice.
  6. I want it to look nice... like the Sony Vaios.
  7. Decent sound quality (for computer speakers), should go fairly loud. Like I can get out of my Inspiron.
  8. I won't buy Gateway, Compaq, or little-no-name-company products.
  9. At least 250GB HDD, 320 would be better.
  10. I want the thing to last me at least 3 years, if possible.
  11. It should run pretty cool so the fan won't be annoying. Quiet is good!
Can't think of other important features. Let me know if there are any specific computers that fit these specs that I should look into! Thanks.
 
Oct 9, 2008 at 10:31 PM Post #3 of 23

chesebert

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I would go with Sony based on your needs, unless you can find a T60p with 15in flexview screen..T61 screen is pretty bad and T400 screen is probably just as bad (TN).

You can always go Mac (I am sure SC2 will be available for Mac..like SC1 was)
 
Oct 10, 2008 at 1:12 AM Post #4 of 23

MusicallySilent

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I agree on thinkpads as they are built like tanks so you shouldn't have many issues with build quality

Cheesebert, T60 doesn't apply because it isn't centrino 2, he wants a new montevina laptop, so t400 and similar.
 
Oct 10, 2008 at 2:04 AM Post #5 of 23

chesebert

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MusicallySilent /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I agree on thinkpads as they are built like tanks so you shouldn't have many issues with build quality

Cheesebert, T60 doesn't apply because it isn't centrino 2, he wants a new montevina laptop, so t400 and similar.



uh....T7600 is c2d which he can find in some T60p .... He wants a great LCD..and T400 does not have a great LCD...overly bright, color suck, lack of definition, and lack of viewing angle. ..like my T61...is T400 with LED much better than regular T400?
 
Oct 10, 2008 at 2:17 PM Post #7 of 23

DanG

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Thanks for the advice so far, guys!

Yeah, Centrino 2 is something I'd want for sure, maybe one of the P series like the P9400. I guess a couple hundred extra megahertz in processor speed don't really make such a discernible difference nowadays, huh.

But I really would like a cool, sleek-looking laptop. Thinkpads have their own understated style but Vaios are just great-looking. The new HP Pavilions look pretty nice too, but I don't see them with dedicated graphics cards -- at least on the configuration site, anyway.

Would I really be taking a downgrade by buying a Sony along with the price hike? And how great is Lenovo's build quality now that they've downgraded the keyboard's quality to save a couple ounces?

Another question -- I see that some of the cheaper Montevina/Centrino 2 chips have 3MB L2 cache while the 9s have 6MB. Is this a big difference? Also, how important is it to have a 7200RPM HDD as opposed to a 5400RPM one? I know the latter is good for increasing battery life and decreasing the heat, but how big is the performance hit? And considering how cheap even the small HDDs are nowadays, is it a simple affair to swap in one that I buy separately (say, if I buy a 320GB 7200RPM to replace an 80GB 5400 RPM)? It seems like it should, since everyone recommends clean installs upon receipt of the notebook anyway...

Sorry for asking so many questions, especially such noobalicious ones, but your help is greatly appreciated!
 
Oct 10, 2008 at 3:23 PM Post #9 of 23

montell

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In the laptop world there are only 3 laptop makers; Sony, Apple and Lenovo. The rest is just irrelevant.

So take your pick Sony or Lenovo. Lenovo for the buildquality and professionality. Sony for design.
 
Oct 10, 2008 at 4:05 PM Post #10 of 23

olblueyez

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Quote:

Originally Posted by montell /img/forum/go_quote.gif
In the laptop world there are only 3 laptop makers; Sony, Apple and Lenovo. The rest is just irrelevant.

So take your pick Sony or Lenovo. Lenovo for the buildquality and professionality. Sony for design.



Funny
 
Oct 11, 2008 at 12:49 AM Post #11 of 23

Sweetmeat

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I would have to advise against the Lenovo purchase. I recently bought a T61 and boy am I sorry. Customer service is nonexistent, one day I was on hold for 3 hours. Also, you know those monthly updates to Lenovo software? Their servers are constantly overwhelmed so an update can take 8-10 hours just to download 1 gig. I finally stopped doing updates.
 
Oct 11, 2008 at 1:07 AM Post #12 of 23

MusicallySilent

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Quote:

Originally Posted by chesebert /img/forum/go_quote.gif
uh....T7600 is c2d which he can find in some T60p .... He wants a great LCD..and T400 does not have a great LCD...overly bright, color suck, lack of definition, and lack of viewing angle. ..like my T61...is T400 with LED much better than regular T400?


Uhh the T7600 is a Core 2 Duo, however he wants Centrino 2, which is the newest intel Platform it has x4500 graphics, new chipset etc.

Core 2 Duo
Intel Core 2 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Montevina (Centrino 2)
Centrino - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nappa and Santa Rosa are what the T60/T61 have I think.

Cheesebert is right though, finding a great screen is sort of hard today. I quite like my friends Macbook Pro Matte screen, the Lighting is very even so I imagine going for a LED screen is the best bet.
 
Oct 14, 2008 at 8:21 PM Post #13 of 23

DanG

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Thanks for all the suggestions and help, guys. I think I'm leaning toward the Sony FW at this point. I always over-think these things, and in the end the different models probably won't be that different for me as I'm not an avid gamer, to say the very very least. I haven't played a game in months, and the last one was Civ4. And speakers on all of the notebooks seem pretty bad -- I'll probably just spend $50 or so on cheap computer speakers, and I always have my 2Move and headphones for higher-quality audio.

So I guess the questions that remain for me are as follows:
1. Is it worth paying a few hundred dollars more for a T9400 or P9400 chip (2.53GHz, 6MB L2 cache) over a P8400 (2.26 GHz, 3MB L2 cache)? Will it make my computer any more "future-proof?"

2. Is it easy to replace the hard drive with a bigger, faster one on my own and then load the OS, etc. onto it with a Vaio?

3. Will it be easy to replace a DVD drive with a BD-ROM or BD-RW at some point in the future when the drives and media become cheaper?

Edit: And another question, the only one about whether it is worth getting the Vaio -- it uses DDR2 memory, which is slower than DDR3. Does this actually make a serious difference?
 
Oct 14, 2008 at 8:49 PM Post #14 of 23

NoHands

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q1 part1 = Yes as long as its not more than 100 or so quid.
q1 part2 = Maybe future proof it for an extra week or two =p the processor tends to not be the limiting factor in laptops, as much as RAM and Hard Drives tend to be. Also laptops tend to break before they are really really outdated and useless.

q2 part 1 = Its easy as long as you have a rough understanding of the procedure (just have to unscrew one of two screws)

q2 part 2 = It most probably wont be faster, since it is not advisable to replace hard drives of a certain rpm for ones of higher rpms. I tend to use the same model series of the existing hard drive but pick one with more space.

q3 part1 = Yes, its jsut unscrewing one screw and popping the case out.

q3 part2 = It will most probably never be cheap or possible since nearly each laptop has its own shape/connectors for the DVD drive, and then youd either need to be really lucky and hope a future laptop uses the same shaped drive, or find another comapny (i doubt sony will make stuff for older models) that makes one and probably charges exorbitantly high prices. Also by the time the drives get cheap, youll be close to needing a new laptop.
 
Oct 14, 2008 at 11:50 PM Post #15 of 23

DanG

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Thanks for the quick and thorough response, I appreciate it!

What about the RAM issue? I see that the Thinkpads use DDR3 memory at 1067MHz, while the Vaios use DDR2 (800). Is that a big difference?

I'm still leaning towards the Sony for a few reasons -- the biggest 7200RPM drive from Thinkpad is 200GB, they're ugly, and a similarly-configured system is much more expensive. Still, if it's something that can make a difference, I might take another look -- if I buy, I could get the smallest 7200 RPM drive available and replace it, whereas the Sonys I'm looking at are packaged systems.
 

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