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Computer Geeks: laptop rec's, suggested features?(7 posts)

Computer Geeks: laptop rec's, suggested features?rockbender
Aug 5, 2003 10:51 PM
I am considering getting a laptop and am trying to bring myself up to speed with the new technology and what I really need.

First, I figure I will spend about $1000. Perhaps up to 1200 if it is really worth it, but <$1000 would be swell. The following is my current wishlist:

15" screen
dvd-cdrw drive
512 ddr ram

It does not have to be ultra-light, as it won't be moving THAT much. I would imagine that a 30-40mb hard drive will be sufficient. I would prefer XP Pro over Home, but might just run Win 98 if I get a unit with Home (any REAL advantages to running Win XP?)

Can someone explain the differences between a P4 and Celeron processor? The only real difference I know is that one has a L2 vs L1 cache, though I really don't know what that means in the real world.

Any advice would be much appreciated - FWIW, I am currently using a P2 266 with Win 98.

re: Computer Geeks: laptop rec's, suggested features?rockbender
Aug 6, 2003 7:09 AM
btw, I say "geek" with much affection and envy : ) (nm)rockbender
Aug 6, 2003 7:14 AM
re: Computer Geeks: laptop rec's, suggested features?raptorUW
Aug 6, 2003 8:42 AM
well, i'm not a geek, but i just bought a new laptop, so i can help you with what i found out while shopping.

first, i guess i'll say that the only comps i found with the spec you want in the price range you want are made by dell...compaq and gateway have new deals that come close, but dell seemed to be the best value when i bought. that may be changing, as this stuff often does. also, compaqs seem to have a poorer reputation than either dell or gateway.

second, the difference in $$ in your price range will more or less allow you to pick the size of your the low end, you'll get a bigger (read thicker) machine that weighs roughly 8lbs. at the higher end, you can get a machine that weighs roughly 5 and is about .5 inches thinner.

if you're not a geek, i'm not sure why you're hung up on XPpro or win98...the only complaints i've heard about home come from the geek-types who say you can't do certain stuff with it...stuff that only geeks do -custom programming, etc. if you just don't like the interface, home lets you turn on the old-style looks. oh, if you plan to connect to a wireless network, keep in mind that some networks require pro...

oh, btw, you will be paying a premium for the 15" screen...that might blow your budget a bit, all else equal, it might add $50 or so.

i got a dell 600m, 512 ram, dvd/cd-rw combo, 14 inch screen...i bought their accident coverage as i'll be traveling with it a that bumped the price up, but without it, the price was close to your range...i think right now they have a print ad for their 500m, 512 ram, dvd/cdrw, 14 in screen for $1300...prices might be better online as well.

what steered me to the 600m (the midweight model in the line) over the 5xxx series was the lighter weight and the laptop specific processor. the m series use the centrino processors which if i researched correctly, are mobile specific units whereas the 5xxx series uses a standard p4. the centrino runs at 1.3-1.4 mhz listed as opposed to the 2+mhz offered by the standard p4. what they don't tell you though, is that, b/c of heat issues, the standard p4's are governed to run at a much lower speed, while the centrino's run true to list speed...i guess you can change this, but it kills battery life if you do & i'm not sure if it has any other effects. also, unless you're doing hard core multitasking ie writing a cd while playing cutting edge games, or doing incredible video/graphic work, you're not going to tax even a 1.4mhz system. i'm just going to guess you're not doing this stuff as you'd either be buying a desktop or a mac respectively.

thats all i can think of right now
thanks - informativerockbender
Aug 6, 2003 10:10 AM
Thanks for taking the time to detail out your experience. It is difficult to keep at a certain price range. While it is easy to creep up to about 1500 to 1800 bucks, I realize that I would be better investing the extra 500 in my next computer purchase 3-4 years down the road.

The info on the Centrino processor is interesting. I remember reading a little about this, though it was hidden amongst a bunch of other data.

The more on-line research I do, the less informed I feel - that is why I decided to ask the folks here, since we all have a great variety of knowledge to share.

I'll check out the Dell's - thanks a bunch!

thanks - informativeraptorUW
Aug 6, 2003 10:21 AM
one more thing i thought of...if you happen to be a college student, check to see if your school has any school purchase deals going...many schools offer deals from gateway & dell that can offer savings additional to each company's current promotions.
Great idea!rockbender
Aug 6, 2003 10:35 AM
College has already come and gone for me, though my fiance is a grad student, so I might see what sort of educational deals she might be able to hook up.

I figure if I set my limit at $1000, I can probably keep myself from spending over $1300... Just like bikes: go shopping being content with Tiagra and come home with Ultegra : )

thanks again!