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Thread: !┐Laptops?!

  1. #1

    Default !┐Laptops?!

    Well, I am going to get a laptop soon. I am looking at Gateway's 450XL. What do you think? Any suggestions about any similar laptops that you recommend?

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* x-ray's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Only thing that lets the system down is the graphics card.

    Most systems using the Pentium M processor are currently being bundled with the ATI Radeon mobile 9000 64Mb card and in a little while the Radeon mobile 9600 will be appearing in higher end laptops.

    Of course this only matters if you are into games or 3D work.


  3. #3

    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Does anybody have a laptop that they really like? I have heard from other posts to stay away from Compaq. Any suggestions?

  4. #4

    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    I have a Dell which I really like. My brother has a Toshiba which he is really happy with. I think most of the name brands are probably very close in quality.

    You say some people say to stay away from Compaq. In so many things (computers included) you can always find people that will say "stay away from such-and-such brand". I have had a couple of Compaq desktops and was happy with them despite the warnings that I would have nothing but trouble. I have had people tell me that Dell is junk. Others have said the same of Gateway, IBM, Sony and on and on. Everyone has a bias.

    I would say stick with a major brand name, and choose the company that has the best reputation for service.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Wits' End's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    I have a Dell and have been happy with it and the service (mostly). In my research before I bought I decided on a Dell, Gateway or Micron. I eliminated Micron because the company was smaller.
    A laptop gets more abuse than a desktop and tends to have more expensive, proprietary parts so I strongly recomend buying the longest warranty you can. Also Safeware.com offers insurance that covers theft, fire etc.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* FalconFX's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    I've got a Sony Vaio GRX700 that I absolutely love. Because I've got a Sony Digicam, contents of the memory card can easily be dumped onto the laptop. It's a great graphics workstation and a decent DVD player as well. Decent gaming rig as well... It's also got a 16 inch screen and has a 2.4Ghz P4-M and 1GB RAM...


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    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    FalconFX: DROOL!

    Can't afford one.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* yclo's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    16" screen!?!?!?

    Mine's only 12.1".. (Fujitsu S-4546)

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* GeoffChan's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    What about one of these babies?


    If one came out treated with Surefire's HA3, I'll be the first in the queue [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]

    Geoff

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* FalconFX's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Apples!
    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Actually, my old Macintosh LCII's still chuggin' right along with OS7 (all 16mhz of its RISC)... I used to run the entire OS off of a Zip 100MB disk...
    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img]

    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon23.gif[/img]
    They just don't make things like they used to anymore...

    Back on topic:

    If I weren't a bit constricted by Mac software cost/availability and hardware flexibility/interchangeability, as opposed to MSPC stuff, I'd lug over an Apple as well...

  11. #11
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Awe heck I've given up Falcon....I order my Apple today.


    The 12" Powerbook, as seen 2 posts above this one, is a beautiful machine. 862 Mhz PowerPC G4 (Sounds slow by PC standards but it's FAST) 40 Gig HD, runs OS X, it's currently my dream computer. It's about the size of a piece of paper and just a bit thicker than a CD jewlcase. My tech teacher has one and they're chock full o' design features. Cool magnetic latch (when you fold the screen down a hook pops out. No protruding edges). Battery has 5 LEDs and a button on it so you can see hoe live (or dead) it is without booting. Shall I go on? $1800 with DVD-ROM $2000 with DVD-Burner



    **EDIT**
    We've got a bunch of those Gateways at school too. They're pretty nice. I'd still strongly consider the PowerBook though.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* FalconFX's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Saaby, I think you've made a wise choice!
    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

    It has to be stated that the one major lacking aspect I wish most PCs running MS OSs would adhere to is the rock stable running atmosphere of the Mac OS... It's been so foolproof all these years, at least in my perspective, that I would just as soon buy one for my mom, who's never touched a computer in her life before, as I would recommend to a computer beginner.

  13. #13
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Falcon, I hear that a lot [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] But what software exactly can't you find? If you're a hard core gamer then there is more stuff on the PC that isn't ported, at least not in a timely manner to the Mac. I got rid of my last PC years ago and have not come up with a single program in that time that wasn't either available for both platforms or that there wasn't an equivalent Mac program available.

    I can program PIC chips, I can do CAD. I plan on writing my own CNC software next year.

    Whats missing? I'll bet if you look you'll find out it's not missing at all.

    Saaby: Congrats! Thats a very nice machine. Thats the aluminum one which actually is HA'ed though they don't say how. The one I've got, the 15" titanium is painted and scratches way too easily but is otherwise a fantastic machine.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* FalconFX's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    James, it isn't so much what I can't find with a Mac that's prevented me from buying one. Like I said before, it's the combination of cost/availability and hardware flexibility/interchangeability...

    I can as easily go to places like Fry's or Circuit City and find interchangeable parts or similarly priced software for a PC based system at varied prices that would compete to my benefit. But it would either be more costly to replace the same parts on a Mac than it would be on a PC, or I'd resort to an Apple dealer or mainly online orders. It all comes down to availability in the short end, because it's what drives prices down.

    Case in point: A few weeks ago, when my cousin wanted to replace his dead AirForce Extreme card, he was out of luck on any brick/mortar place he went to; he ended up ordering online...

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    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Falcon, I don't mean to argue. My experience has been different from yours, so I'll share my story [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Fry's carries a LOT of Mac stuff. Circuit City used to, but don't carry anything specifically Mac anymore as far as I know. CompUSA does though. They have a whole section devoted to it. I live in a medium sized city on the east coast, no Apple store within driving distance (well, 2hours, but thats too far) but still within 20 minutes of my house are no less than 3 "brick and mortar" stores where I could purchase a replacement airport card. I hope your friend checked his yellow pages before resorting to mail order...

    The airport card is about the only apple specific device in my system. Apart from that they use any other generic, available at Best Buy type hardware. I can put in any old ATA hard disk. I can connect up any old monitor. I can add a long list of video cards, any usb mouse or keyboard is fully compatible. The only things you can buy at best buy that aren't compatible with this system are new motherboards or cases. Any other network NIC card will work. And even any of the PCMCIA cards for wireless networking will work. But if you want to use the internal slot specifically for airport then you do have to have the Apple specific card. Inside my older mac i've got a $15 100bt network card and a $15 generic USB card and it works great. I have also used non-apple PCI ATA and SCSI cards and they work great too, but you do have to read the fine print on those to make sure they will work. So I'm confused by the statement that they aren't interchangeable.

    The price for actual Mac systems can be slightly higher than a PC, but an identically tricked out PC system will generally be less than $100 cheaper than the same Mac. Big deal!

    So to me it sounds like rhetoric and not experience talking. 5 years ago it was true, it's just not anymore. If there is something specific that you can't get for your Mac at a reasonable price, let me know I'll bet I can find it [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* FalconFX's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Like I said, this is from my own experience... Who knows.

    Maybe one of these days, I need to build a Mac from the ground up... Then I'll get a better feel for it's overall value versus a PC system...

  17. #17
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Ah, well there you go. If you enjoy putting the parts together then a Mac is not for you. You can't go and buy the motherboards at Fry's. You can get them and the other parts if you really want to. But they are replacement parts from Apple. There is no mixing and matching and it would end up being the same price (or more!) as a finished machine.

    That being said you definitely can mod them. I'm about to add a touch screen to an older powerbook and mount the whole thing into a slightly thick picture frame for home control stuff. It's going to be beautiful! You can also upgrade all of them, there are lots of new processor cards that can be had for very reasonable prices. I've upgraded all but one Mac I've owned over the years. All the way back to my Mac+ which required that you mount the new board directly over the old processor and line up all the pins. Wow, what a memory... A lot of folks actually soup up the processor that they come with too, the new machines have SMT pads that if you change can alter the buss frequency, chip speed and even chip power supply voltage (which can help making it stable at a higher frequency, but changing that requires a lot of preparation or you'll blow the chip! not to mention SMT soldering skills beyond my own)

    I've built several systems to run Linux and BSD over the years, but to put all the effort to build a great system and then load windows into it just seems anti-climactic to me [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  18. #18
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    If I may add more info to the mix... I used to fix computers and build networks on the side. I have also owned several laptops.

    --

    I do not recommend you get a laptop unless you are sure you really really need one. Compared to a good desktop, laptops are more expensive, less expandable, require more maintenance and not as easy to use. The plus is that they are portable.

    I would really like to hear why you need a portable computer. Not to challenge your decision by no means but to provide a more tuned response to your question.

    I looked at the Gateway 450XL and that is a fine laptop. Gateways are fairly good quality in my opinion. I notice it has 802.11 which should be included on all laptops in my opinion.

    The radeon 7500 in the 450XL will do most games fairly well. Remember that LCDs tend to lag in refresh speed so your FPS genre games are not going to be as crisp as a CRT. Don't play games? No problem.

    How do you like the track pad point device? I assume you have tried these out in your local laptop store. Some people (like me) are not to crazy about track pads. They tickle my finger (honest) and I have to hold my hand up in an uncomfortable posistion to keep my palm off the pad. Track points are not much better in my opinion. I am so uncomfortable with both options that I have never really enjoyed using my laptops until now (see below). Your results will vary, and you may find the track pad a joy to use.

    The modular drive on the 450XL and others is handy. You will probally not miss the external 3.5" diskette much. Most tasks have gone to the CD. The DVD drive is very handy for long plane flights. You may have to bring along a plane adapter or extra battery because DVD chews the juice.

    With the advent of good CD and DVD software emulation, lugging around the extra weight of a CD/DVD drive and larger battery is no longer a requirement. Since most laptops have a good size HD, I have images of all the CDs I could imagine using and compressed files of any DVD movies we might want to see. You also don't have to carry a disk pouch. Less gear to carry is a good thing in my opinion.

    A good size monitor is great but you pay for it in weight, bulk and battery life. Typically, you sit closer to an LCD than a CRT so the size is less of an issue. Again, try them out in your local store to see what you must have.

    As far as the goodness of Compaq; they are good if you play by their rules. If you treat a Compaq like the other brands, it will be a real pain in the butt to maintain. I have worked on too many Compaqs. I used to really hate them but I learned they will actually sing if you read all their tech bullitens and do everyting just how they say to do it. I still steer clear of them when buying for myself though.

    Dell is the best brand in my opinion but their laptops aren't as exciting.

    Regardless of what brand you go with, there are always lemons. Laptops are just more picky.

    I hope this was usefull.

    --

    What do I currently use? Believe it or not, my current laptop is a Acer C100.



    I am not saying this would be the best unit for you, but I get a lot of use out of it.

    Of all the laptops I have owned and worked on, this one is the most fun to use. I actually enjoy using it. For me, the pen interface made a big difference. I also use the wi-fi alot. The C100 is one of the new "convertable" class of laptops. It switches between a laptop and a tablet. I find myself using tablet mode more than I thought I would. You can order an external drive but I just use an emulator across the network. We took it to the 2003 SS and used it for everything. Watch movies on the plane, listened to mp3s, played RTS game, download pics from the digicam, GPS navigation (with map software), posted to the cpf, processed credit cards, etc. I have had no problems and it is yet to crash. Of course, you results may vary as some users seem to just have bad karma.

    Peter

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    I used to hate Compaq, but I think HP bought them. They have REALLY shaped up in the last year.

    I currently have a Dell Inspiron 7500 series. I like it except its way to big and heavy. .. and old [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    I want one of these next !!!




    http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/tabletpc/tc1000.html

  20. #20
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Stand corrected James.


    Go to http://www.2khappyware.com/corecrib.html and order yourself a corecrib kit. It's a Apple motherboard mounted in an ATX style PC case with a power supply pre-installed. Add CPU, Memory, Video, Input, Output, and Optical Drives and you've just built yourself a PowerMac G4.

    I looked at that option but it was cheaper to buy a used G4. I am not buying a 12" Powerbook at this time although I'd like to (I realize that is what it sounds like in the last post I made)...I am buying an older used PowerMac G4 that has decent performance now and *lots* of room for expansion later.

  21. #21

    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Peter (Gransee),

    Thanks a lot. Your reply was greatly appreciated. I was actually given the money to buy a laptop as a gift. I am going into high school next year, and already have a very nice desktop at home.

    I have no problem with the pointing device, luckily. Thanks again for your helpful reply. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

  22. #22
    *Flashaholic* PlayboyJoeShmoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    We just picked up a used PII 350 Dell for my sister (recouping in Hospital and DAMN glad to have it!) and besides being slow as mollases to boot, seems to do other stuff well enough.

    I'd never have a laptop myself (unless I had to have so much service related paperwork that the only way would be on 'puter) but I can see why!

    Also, it runs win98 and that coupled with PII 350 seems to have the Java thing handled.

    I now am 20% on the way to my new desktop!!!


  23. #23

    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Dell laptops are good looking, design wise, (at least in my opinion anyways) but had a not so great plastic built. Actually, it is more like a bad plastic construction that fit and finish tend to left out a slight gap or more plastic one one side or the other.
    gateway, my TA said that they had a bad customer service. This is only a one man statement, of course and may serve as hasty generalization, but i don't want to risk it.
    IBM has made a good laptop but their design is not so as stylish as Dell.

    Dang, why am i talking about the design? dunno, consider this a side addition if you are comparing between two exact comp with diff manufacturer.

    cheers

  24. #24
    *Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Windows boot time isn't proc speed as much as drive speed. I know a guy with like a dual SCSSI raid (I don't know the exact setup, just that it's fast). Windows boots in about 10 seconds...

  25. #25

    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    [ QUOTE ]
    Saaby said:
    Windows boot time isn't proc speed as much as drive speed. I know a guy with like a dual SCSSI raid (I don't know the exact setup, just that it's fast). Windows boots in about 10 seconds...

    [/ QUOTE ]

    There is nothing like the time XP takes to boot. It takes literally about 30 seconds from shutdown, about 20 from hibernating mode, and about 5-10 from sleep mode. Nothing better! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif[/img]

  26. #26
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Depends on the comp. Laptops at school, incidently identical to the one you're looking at, take years to boot to XP. That may have somthing to do with the Safeguards the school has in place (Altiris, Deep Freeze, etc.)

  27. #27
    *Flashaholic* James S's Avatar
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    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Also a big issue in boot speed is disk fragmentation. I've cut boot times literally in half by running a disk optomization program. Then it slowly creeps up with incremental upgrades.

    On my laptop I wake from sleep and am fully functional in less than 2 seconds [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] It will be fully responsive and ready to go before I can get my hands on the keyboard after opening the lid. Nothing better [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif[/img]

  28. #28

    Default Re: !┐Laptops?!

    Well tomorrow I will be going to see the 450XL in person. If I like it, I will probably buy it, and would be glad to do a mini-review if anybody is interested. Maybe a while though till I actually get it and can do a review.

  29. #29
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    Default disk fragmentation

    Yet another pain of MicroSoft operating systems. On Unix I can build a platform with read-only files and executables on a read-only partition, and scratch space, user files, etc. on a separate partition. When I need to update some piece of the OS, I explicitly remount the read-only partition as read-write, do my update, and then go back to read-only. The files needed for boot don't get fragmented in the first place, and they stay unfragmented.

    On Windows, all software is written to assume that everything lives on C:. Every data file you produce is thrown in with every program file you've stored. As such, your disk space is unavoidably fragmented the moment you start using it. This really ticks me off.

    I have two primary partitions for Windows, and I do my best to tweak registry settings and such to keep per-user data on D: and keep only programs and DLLs on C:, but Windows itself is always throwing temp files, log files and other crap into C:\WINDOWS, which pretty much defeats this strategy. And so, I still need to defrag C: on a regular basis. Idiotic.

    My GRX-300 was a screamer when I first got it, but now it takes a long time to boot, to resume, to standby, etc... Defragging C: helps for a while, but not long enough. Considering how rarely I explicitly install new software, it's probably due to log files, XP's background updates, etc..... Stupid, stupid, stupid.

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