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Old 04-15-2008, 08:54 AM   #81
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I'm guessing its good on electricity too. I like that fancy dan wifi antenna its got woven in on the left side.
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:43 AM   #82
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CFB -
I know this thread is about Cheap Notebooks but unfortunately I don't have good experience with these low cost machines. Cheap notebooks haven't served me well, so I'm thinking that my next machine will have higher quality build. Given that can you please rate/rank the build quality for the following systems:

Lenovo T61
Dell XPS 1330 and 1550
Dell Vostro
Dell Inspron (is this the same build as vostro -- magnesium case and mylar sealed keyboard?)
Asus V2 series
Macbook
Macbook Pro

I may end up using an Asus EeePC for mobility and desktop system at home if the cost of a quality build is too high.
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Old 04-21-2008, 06:51 AM   #83
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Just purchased a M1330 from Dell. I got some high end stuff - SSD (Solid State Drive), OLED Screen. I also got Vista Ultimate, 4 MB of RAM, WiFi, Blu Tooth. I have had it about 2 months now and it has become my "sitting in the living room chair" constant companion. Got off to a bit of a shaky start but system was totally replaced by Dell and current one is just fine. I have had NB in the past (Dell, Toshiba) but this one is the best. Not cheap but, with discounts, reasonable.
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Old 04-21-2008, 07:21 AM   #84
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These aren't too bad...

Ends Soon! $499 Laptop and $399 Desktop.
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Old 04-21-2008, 08:29 AM   #85
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I was just going to post those!

Disk drives are a little small compared to some prior deals but they're pretty good machines for the price.

JB - depends on what you want. Inspirons and Vostros are primarily the same, one is a home product (inspiron) the other is a business product (vostro). Those machines are all over the place in terms of screen size and price tag. If you want something over 13", the macbook is out. If you dont want to pay $2000+ the macbook pro is out. If you dont want a 6-7lb laptop the Vostro is out. The thinkpad t series is pretty good, but not as good as thinkpads of 5+ years ago and your features for the money are low. XPS's are pretty solidly made, have lots of nice features but they're a lot more expensive than a Vostro. If I were you I'd hit the stores and pick them up, type on them, wiggle the chassis, look at the screens. Pick what suits you and your wallet.

If I were traveling and really abusing the laptop, I'd probably want a latitude or thinkpad as they'll take a bit more of a beating and the vostro just weighs a little too much.

Also, dont shortchange using the laptop with a big screen, keyboard and external drive at home. Some people are even getting by with an EEE hooked up to some bigger peripherals at home. A quality 12-14" laptop for the road hooked up to a 20" screen makes for a lot less dual system maintenance.

But I dont think you have to spend $1000 on a laptop anymore to get something good. My current slab is a dual processor machine with plenty of memory and disk and a really nice 17" screen that I got for $599. Solid as a rock. My last one was a 14" with good specs I got for $499 and sold for $275 three years later. Had that one plugged into a 32" monitor when I was in my office. We've also bought a couple of 17" refurb dell laptops from the outlet for ridiculous prices and those have been solid.
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:08 AM   #86
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JohnDoe, CFB;

What are your suggestions for options for the laptop? It seems like a few clicks can run the price way up, so I'd like to keep extras to a minimum. But, what's essential? The laptop will be on a wireless system here at home and will tag along on vacations tapping into WiFi systems at hotels, etc. General use = Microsoft Office and internet access. Perhaps also as a place to download photos and do some basic photo editing.
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:21 AM   #87
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youbet,

Based on how you described it's use, I wouldn't upgrade anything. I usually recommend upgrading the battery to a 9-cell, however, for some reason on this config, it's an extra $100. It's usually only $60.

Perhaps a 50% increase in HD space is worth an extra $25.

That's a nice laptop for $499. I have a comparable model from Gateway that I got for $399 from bestbuy. It's awesome for what I use it for.

JD
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:33 AM   #88
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I usually dont recommend buying addons in these deals as they're wicked overpriced.

For disk, you need what you need. Unless you're storing a lot of video, chances are an 80-160gb disk will do you just fine. You'll want 1GB of ram for windows XP and the office suite, and you might want 2GB with vista. Frankly I didnt notice a huge difference to the eye going from 1-2GB.

Battery wise, its often cheaper to buy a second six cell and bring it with you than to upgrade to a nine cell. The nine cell also weighs more and sometimes protrudes from the back of the laptop.

For reference, I just paid $89 for a second battery for a dell e1705.

Other than that I recommend a dual core machine, a dvd burner and if your eyes are lousy you might want to bump the screen to the + version, its a little higher res and a little crisper, but both of our e1705's we bought had the base screen and I'm fine with it.

Truelife or not trulife? Some screens have the glossy shiny finish and that makes them look brighter and improves display quality. Unless you're outside or under bright lights in which case the glare off the screen stinks.

I also check the warranties to see if they're any good. The laptop in this deal is a mail-in one year and the desktop is a one year on site. Bumping the laptop to one year onsite isnt that expensive but everything else is. I like the deals where they throw in the onsite and a second year is only $30-40. Not so here.

Otherwise these both have plenty of processing power, memory, disk, networking, screen size, expansion/ports, etc. Unless you're a gamer or avid video producer or have specific mobility requirements like a 3lb total weight...these oughta do you for the next 3-5 years and have some resale value at the end.
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:46 PM   #89
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Just purchased a M1330 from Dell. I got some high end stuff - SSD (Solid State Drive), OLED Screen. I also got Vista Ultimate, 4 MB of RAM, WiFi, Blu Tooth. I have had it about 2 months now and it has become my "sitting in the living room chair" constant companion. Got off to a bit of a shaky start but system was totally replaced by Dell and current one is just fine. I have had NB in the past (Dell, Toshiba) but this one is the best. Not cheap but, with discounts, reasonable.
Did you get the graphics chip or the X3100 integrated graphics? Does it run hot?

I noticed some really good deals on the 1330 last week from the Dell Outlet - 2.4Ghz w/ 3-4GB and LED screen for around $1100. Does the HDMI port carry audio?


Thanks.
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:59 PM   #90
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JB - depends on what you want.
Thanks for the info CFB. I'm hard on portable electronics so I need something that will last. I wasn't impressed with the last Inspiron I had. I'll probably get the XPS, T61, or Eeepc+desktop. I'm not in a rush as my current desktop is working well AMD X2 4200 + 2GB.

One thing that still isn't clear is whether the dedicated graphics help offload normal Vista operations (aero interface). All the reviews say that the integrated graphics is all that's needed if you don't run games. But it seems like sharing the memory would result in less than optimal performance. I'm maxing out the CPU/2GB now when processing 10MP raw image files. Also I remember that Intel wasn't using all the hardware acceleration on the X3100 because a driver update was required.
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Old 04-21-2008, 05:54 PM   #91
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Did you get the graphics chip or the X3100 integrated graphics? Does it run hot?

I noticed some really good deals on the 1330 last week from the Dell Outlet - 2.4Ghz w/ 3-4GB and LED screen for around $1100. Does the HDMI port carry audio?


Thanks.
G8400 Graphics Chip.

SSD (Solid State Drive) No Moving Parts.

I have 4 GB of Memory and I am currently using a 3GB SD Card configured for Ready Boost.

This notebook puts my old P4 3.06 GHZ Desktop to shame as the desktop seems so slow now.

Runs what I would call "warm" but the fan has not run while using yet. The HDMI carries audio. and video. Blue Tooth for file transfers works well and helps supplement the smaller size of the SSD (64GB) as do Flash Drives. Here is a link to the User Manual (it is large and is a pdf -- takes time to download and you will have to wait some time for it to start): http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/xpsM1330/en/om/pdf/book.pdf
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Old 04-21-2008, 05:58 PM   #92
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JB - all HDMI ports carry audio. Thats basically the main difference between the many flavors of DVI and HDMI; HDMI carries the audio as well.

That having been said, I had enough problems with various HDMI implementations to go back to component on both my tv's, although clearly HDMI would have a huge advantage in cable size/form factor in a laptop.

As far as integrated graphics go, the x3000 series is a pretty darn good product. Hardware wise, its got some killer features. However the hardware acceleration of many of the functions and optimization are about 18 months behind schedule. I dont know what the problem is there, but its been bad and persistent. The good news is that it'll get better with time and maturation. Seems like the latest drivers are pretty good...I just wish they'd been there early last year.

I have a desktop with one of the original X3000 motherboards in it, and its really not horrible. I've put doom3 and it ran okay in the lower resolutions. Bioshock made it call for its momma though. Its not an 8600 or 8800 type part, but its decent, uses very little power, and does a nice job with Aero.

These newer integrated parts can dynamically allocate video ram as needed which helps with the footprint when you're not running heavy duty 3d stuff. Google DVMT for details. The better news is that the x3xxx series shares main memory at full speed, so it'd be 667 or 800Mhz in many systems, and faster in the higher end desktops. That can be faster than a lot of discrete graphics products.
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Old 04-21-2008, 07:15 PM   #93
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Buy the Acer Aspire AS4720-4721 14.1" Widescreen Laptop and other Laptop computers at circuitcity.com

Not bad if you want a 14". Good reviews. $499, Dual core, 1gb ram, 160gb drive, dvd-rw, built in web cam, vista home premium. You might want to add some memory to it at some point but thats cheap. Not a super deal but its okay. A little over 5lbs. At this price point you often get a smaller drive, no webcam and vista basic.
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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Old 04-21-2008, 07:57 PM   #94
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Last week I bought an ASUS--EEE 4G. Cost $379.00. Weighs two lbs. I use it extensively for email, web surfing but primarily option trading. So far I've been thrilled with this little machine. Uses Linux & is exceptionally intuitive.

I'm probably the least computer literate person on this thread, but I've totally enjoyed using this product w/o encountering any problems whatsoever. Please be advised that the screen & key board are small which may pose a problem for some. Excellent reviews can be found on Google & videos on YouTube.

Best of luck!
FMH
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Old 04-21-2008, 08:45 PM   #95
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The newer models have a larger screen in the same size form factor. Later this year they'll get the Atom processor which uses a lot less power and will have a little more horsepower.

Of course, those are gonna be more expensive. But the low end of those sits on the 4g/8g 7" models, so those might get clearanced or drop in price. Keep an eye out.

So far the only persistent whine I hear about the EEE is the screen resolution, which requires side to side scrolling to read many web pages.

I also hear that the new models have touchpad "gestures" where you can pinch your fingers together on the pad to shrink stuff and spread them apart to make things expand. Nifty.

I want an EEE, but I dont want to side scroll and the screen is too small at 7". At 8.9" I dont wanna spend $600. And my big fat fingers might not work with it at all. Last time I tried a 12" machine I thought I was using a microscopic computer.
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Old 04-22-2008, 10:57 AM   #96
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Staples.comŽ. that was easyŽ.

A little better than the circuitcity acer deal.

2GB memory instead of one, same price, different color. Out of stock online in some areas so you might have to go to staples b&m to get it.
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Old 04-22-2008, 11:00 AM   #97
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Buy the Toshiba Satellite A205-S5831 15.4" Widescreen Laptop and other Laptop computers at circuitcity.com

Good one! core duo, 15.4" screen, 160gb drive, dvdrw, only 1GB of ram though, santa rosa chipset with x3100 graphics, vista home premium, $449. Have to order by phone or go into the store for it.
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Old 04-22-2008, 02:19 PM   #98
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This one just arrived about an hour ago from Costco Online: Costco - $699.99 after $100 OFF Toshiba A205-S5864 15.4"W T5550 1.83GHz 3GB DDR2 250GB HDD

$700, but with a 250gb HD and 3GB of ram. The gal liked her other Satelite so she jumped on this one. All would be good except it seems to be DOA - keeps reporting "Windows has encountered a critical problem and will restart in one minute" as we try and boot up. Starts in safe mode. Dead sector? This before she hardly got started at all. Bummmer, as she was planning to take it with her down to SoCal on her monthly visit to her Mom. Oh well, she can take the old Toshiba, and it will be something to entice her home again.
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Old 04-22-2008, 04:11 PM   #99
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Last week I bought an ASUS--EEE 4G. Cost $379.00. Weighs two lbs. I use it extensively for email, web surfing but primarily option trading. So far I've been thrilled with this little machine. Uses Linux & is exceptionally intuitive.

I'm probably the least computer literate person on this thread, but I've totally enjoyed using this product w/o encountering any problems whatsoever. Please be advised that the screen & key board are small which may pose a problem for some. Excellent reviews can be found on Google & videos on YouTube.

Best of luck!
FMH
Larger Screen, More Memory, More Money ($549), new ASUS EEE coming: Asus Eee PC 900 launching 5/12 in the U.S. at $549 | Crave : The gadget blog
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:03 PM   #100
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This one just arrived about an hour ago from Costco Online: Costco - $699.99 after $100 OFF Toshiba A205-S5864 15.4"W T5550 1.83GHz 3GB DDR2 250GB HDD

$700, but with a 250gb HD and 3GB of ram. The gal liked her other Satelite so she jumped on this one. All would be good except it seems to be DOA - keeps reporting "Windows has encountered a critical problem and will restart in one minute" as we try and boot up. Starts in safe mode. Dead sector? This before she hardly got started at all. Bummmer, as she was planning to take it with her down to SoCal on her monthly visit to her Mom. Oh well, she can take the old Toshiba, and it will be something to entice her home again.
Update: The girl brought the new laptop back by doing a complete reinstall - and it's happened again twice - the thing that gives it fits is when she tries to use the version of messenger that came on the machine rather than the messenger that comes with our MSN Explorer. That can be dealt with. She hauled both down to 29 Palms today - will continue transferring data down there and test the on-board camera. Pretty nice machine so far, good feeling keyboard - NO bluetooth installed, but we have a USB adaptor, so...
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