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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 05-23-2005, 08:38 PM   #61
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Re: Super cheap laptop

Thanks for the replies: (webmaster and th and lazyday)
Envisage it'll mostly be used at home for wireless broadband surfing. Occasionally it will be used as a DVD player in the car to keep the kids happy. Down the road they may do some lite DV editing, picture editing etc As the Kids get older it will be used for some gaming, but tough to gauge!

So the thinking process was - help them get a Laptop that'll last 5+years and tackle all upgrades to the OS and IE w/o painful performance decline. With Longhorn or whatever out next year it, the attractive GUI features may entice them. Either way, the new OS will probably spawn future upgrading of various XP modules including IE, and this might slow performance overall.

Lazydays advice to just get the cheapest and discard sooner is compelling. Has anyone seen any Eurozone DELL coupons floating around on fatwallet etc?
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 05-23-2005, 08:47 PM   #62
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Re: Super cheap laptop

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I can make it even simpler.capturing with a dv cam and converting to mpeg4 or wma, etc etc),
I have a pentium-4 2.4GHz desktop, a Celeron 1.6GHz laptop and a celeron-d 2.0 GHz desktop.* Cant tell the difference between them except when doing video and fps.
Currently undertaking some Filmmaking projects myself (shorts 5-10 mins), using Adobe Premiere Pro.

Any views on what's a good Laptop spec for this type of Film Production? Incidentally I used to do Audio production on a laptop. But ran into interference when it came to mixing down? Interrupts, bad shielding, a whole host of things. It was in the win98 days so that was partly to blame. Built-in laptop sound support is unreliable IMHO.

Anyone think using a laptop for this is misguided?, especially when you could probably buy a multiprocessor desktop with 3 dedicated high speed drives (one for raw footage, one for rendering, and one for effects) - all for the same bucks. cheers
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 05-24-2005, 01:45 PM   #63
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Re: Super cheap laptop

The biggest problem you'll probably run into doing video with a laptop isnt going to be cpu, its probably going to be disk speed. 4400 and 5400 rpm drives are pretty standard. The laptop drives running at 7200rpms will buzz your lap nicely and suffer a higher rate of disk faults from sudden laptop movements.

Built-in laptop sound is awful for anything except bleeps and bloops. I use a creative labs PCMCIA soundblaster in my home theater laptop; worlds of difference in sound quality.

In your shoes, I'd go with the high end desktop for less money, and spend $150 on a portable dvd player or $250 for one of those 'dvd/screen in a bag' that hangs on the car seat. Using a laptop is great if your kids are teenagers; the first time one of them drops the lappie in the car and breaks the 17" screen you're going to regret it. Plus most laptops can barely get through one movie without running a battery dry. I havent seen one that will do two (although they probably exist). A portable plugged into DC power will keep going as long as your car does...
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 05-25-2005, 01:31 PM   #64
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Re: Super cheap laptop

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The biggest problem you'll probably run into doing video with a laptop isnt going to be cpu, its probably going to be disk speed.* 4400 and 5400 rpm drives are pretty standard.* The laptop drives running at 7200rpms will buzz your lap nicely and suffer a higher rate of disk faults from sudden laptop movements.

Built-in laptop sound is awful for anything except bleeps and bloops.* I use a creative labs PCMCIA soundblaster in my home theater laptop; worlds of difference in sound quality.
Good point regarding disk speeds. Was considering also using 2 external USB 2.0 drives for longer more complex projects.

On the PCMCIA SoundBlaster, any particular model come to mind? When I've looked at prices they’ve been very steep compared to desktop models.
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 05-25-2005, 01:47 PM   #65
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Re: Super cheap laptop

I use this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829102183

I managed to get it for ~$99 after rebates, I think from buy.com?

I'm not using any audio in on it right now, just the sp/dif optical out to my dolby digital receiver for dvd audio. After I made a trip to radio shack for the optical adapter that they should have included with the product but didnt... :P

You might find the performance of usb 2.0 drives to be disappointing for this application. The raw speed on many USB drives is quite low. Read though some reviews, some external IDE chipsets manage a pretty good clip...but not as good as an internal drive. Firewire drives often do better, but there are some long running unresolved problems between some firewire chip sets and windows 2000/XP which sometimes feed them data packets too large for the chip set to handle expeditiously, causing a "delayed write" error or the disk to completely vanish from the OS's perspective. I use both usb 2.0 and firewire drives, but I only use them for backups and offline storage of large volumes of information.

I have an old pcmcia external drive that does perform quite well...similar to the notebooks original 5400rpm drive...a pcmcia card that has a cable running to an external frame with a regular disk mounted in it. Makes sense...its off the pci bus in the laptop, not the usb or firewire bus. Unfortunately the soundblaster card pretty much takes up both pcmcia slots when its in there.
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 05-25-2005, 04:38 PM   #66
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Re: Super cheap laptop

The 9300 I mentioned has a built-in subwoofer, and it produces the best sound I've heard from a laptop (which isn't saying much). The internal audio card includes s/pdif output (but you'll need a special dongle). I haven't produced any audio myself, so I can't tell you how it compares to pcmcia cards, but games and music sound fine to me.

There are laptops available today with high-speed SATA drives, but standard notebook drives are fast enough for me. A 60@7200, 80@5400, or 100@5400 should all give better than 30MB/s throughput, which is fast enough for just about any app. And 80@7200 and 100@7200 laptop drives were just recently released, but I don't think they're available in the retail channel yet (you can get them pre-installed on a Dell Inspiron XPS2, for example).

I don't believe Dell Europe does many coupon deals, but I've heard that you can call a European sales rep and haggle. You should be able to get 25-30% off list.
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 05-25-2005, 04:42 PM   #67
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Re: Super cheap laptop

I'm wondering what the effects of a subwoofer are on the hard drive, and all the 7200rpm notebook drives in notebooks where I actually moved them when they were on (as opposed to leaving them on a table) failed in less than 18 months.

Now if you change just the filter on those notebooks and left the oil in them...
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 05-25-2005, 04:48 PM   #68
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Re: Super cheap laptop

I've never personally had a 7200 RPM laptop drive fail on me. But if you're concerned that a 25% increase in spindle speed is going to subject you to unwarranted risk, then get a 100GB 5400 RPM drive (such as the Seagate Momentus). Since the density is higher, the throughput will be about the same as a 60@7200 even at the lower RPM.
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 05-25-2005, 04:51 PM   #69
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Re: Super cheap laptop

Yep, every single 7200 rpm drive (and these were in the good toshiba and ibm thinkpads, not a crappy unit by any means) developed so many bad spots the drive went south on me. But that was when I was sitting in meetings, picking the laptop up, walking around with it, pulling it onto my lap, snapping the lid shut and jamming it into a bag probably before the drive spun down because I was late to the next meeting. Same sort of behavior with a 5400 rpm drive in cheapo laptops...no problems.

The subwoofer in a laptop is still tingling my brain. A lot of people had premature tivo disk drive failures (and those were 4400's) by placing the tivo within a few feet of their subwoofer...
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 05-25-2005, 05:01 PM   #70
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Re: Super cheap laptop

Try two aspirin for that brain tingling, and call me in the morning.

Do you know which brand drive you were using that failed? * The Hitachi 60GB@7200 drive is very well regarded among laptop "enthusiasts" and I've never heard of a failure.* *I own two of them.

I've also owned three different laptop models with integrated subwoofers without problem.* *"Subwoofer" in the context of a laptop obviously means something different than that 100lb monster in your den.* * These things are just intended to give the laptop some low-end response (which most lappies sorely lack).

Here's the subwoofer in mine:



Nicely isolated from the hard disk (which would be on the far right of the machine in the picture).
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 05-25-2005, 05:05 PM   #71
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Re: Super cheap laptop

A puny 100lb subwoofer? Surely you jest.

I use mine for a coffee table.

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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 06-02-2005, 10:19 PM   #72
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Re: Super cheap laptop

Thanks wabmester and others for advice, my girlfriend loves the 9300. Especially the screen.

I also like it a lot--especially the 17"WUXGA screen. But, the screen is also its worst problem. Too reflective, causes some eyestrain. The keyboard is also kind of crappy IMO, compared to my 20th century Thinkpad. Pretty quiet with a download to temperature control the fans. And the case is really solid, feels as sturdy as the Thinkpad. Strange, it runs cooler! The thinkpad is a 266mhz PII, and subjectively seems much hotter than the 9300, even with fans off.

When she's not home, I use her 9300. Surprised to say, I like WinXP--especially the multiple users at the same time thing. No need to log off, just "disconnect." Very convenient.

If it were mine, I'd return it because of the reflective screen and no trackpoint. Could live with the keyboard. But, luckily for me, it's hers and she's keeping it.
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 06-02-2005, 11:34 PM   #73
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Re: Super cheap laptop

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When she's not home, I use her 9300.
Hmm, I predict that you will use it more and more, until you stop using your ThinkPad and buy a 9300 clone.

The glossy screen is a love/hate thing, and Dell's isn't as good as something like the Sony A-series. And the keyboard isn't as good as the ThinkPad's, but the action is similar (and much better than older Dells). All things considered, I think the 9300 is one of the best lappies on the market.

If you end up loving everything but the glossy LCD, try to find a Dell 9200 WUXGA on eBay. Basically the same machine with a matte WUXGA LCD.
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 06-02-2005, 11:40 PM   #74
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Re: Super cheap laptop

IBM always did make the best keyboards. Even on a desktop machine I kept an old IBM AT style keyboard for a good 10 years, using several adapters to make it fit as the keyboard plugs changed sizes. I type really hard too...a lot of keyboards wont last more than a year or two, so lasting a decade was a heck of a tribute.

I've seen some stick-on screen filters for laptops that might help the shiny screen problem. I think they're about $8-10.
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 06-02-2005, 11:47 PM   #75
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Re: Super cheap laptop

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IBM always did make the best keyboards.* Even on a desktop machine I kept an old IBM AT style keyboard for a good 10 years, using several adapters to make it fit as the keyboard plugs changed sizes.* I type really hard too...a lot of keyboards wont last more than a year or two, so lasting a decade was a heck of a tribute.
I think IBM still makes an external keyboard called the "SpaceSaver" or something like that. It's very similar to the ThinkPad keyboard, even down to the integrated trackpoint. I have a few of them and still use them on my desktops (the latest have a USB connector).

Quote:
I've seen some stick-on screen filters for laptops that might help the shiny screen problem.* I think they're about $8-10.
Ugh. That would be nuts. It's not widely known, but Dell is using the same LCD's on the 9300 that they used on the 9200. The 9200 LCDs were matte (anti-glare), but Dell wanted to join the glossy crowd (everybody loves the glossy Sony and Toshiba LCDs), so they secretly glued on a glossy coat to the old matte LCDs and called them TrueLife(TM). It would be the ultimate horor to stick an anti-glare stick-on on top of the glossy stick-on on top of the anti-glare coating on top of the original LCD.
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 06-03-2005, 12:01 AM   #76
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Re: Super cheap laptop

Yep, then you'd get that watermellon seed thing again.

Got my keyboard ready for 'talk like a pirate day', which I'll be glad to see arrive as I'm tired already of "talk like a redneck month".

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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 06-03-2005, 09:47 AM   #77
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Re: Super cheap laptop

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Hmm, I predict that you will use it more and more, until you stop using your ThinkPad and buy a 9300 clone. (snip) try to find a Dell 9200 WUXGA on eBay. Basically the same machine with a matte WUXGA LCD.
Already 95% use hers when she's not around.
I've been holding out for a good hirez screen,quiet,trackpoint laptop so long now, her purchase will probably only delay my purchase, and shift my computer use to when she isn't using the 9300. It is hers though, so I need to make sure I'm never a nuisance keeping her from it.

Someday will buy my own. I know the laptop I want will be made. But probably by then, Dell will make one with an even better screen but no trackpoint.
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 06-03-2005, 09:50 AM   #78
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Re: Super cheap laptop

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kept an old IBM AT style keyboard for a good 10 years, using several adapters to make it fit as the keyboard plugs changed sizes.
I remember early 90's at work we used to swap the new keyboards for the IBM keyboards from obsolete PCs that were going away. A coworker even kept a couple backups of the old IBM kb's just in case.
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 06-03-2005, 09:55 AM   #79
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Re: Super cheap laptop

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I think IBM still makes an external keyboard called the "SpaceSaver" or something like that.
Thanks, I forgot about those. Almost bought one once, forgot what for. I like to keep the screen close to me, so not sure it would work out, but I might pick one up just to try it out, in case it works well just standing on top of the 9300 kb. IIRC they were only about $55 from a discounter, so may be worth it, even if it ends up in a closet, and perhaps someday used on a desktop after IBM stops selling them.

I like the pirate kb, th.

Hey, am I an official member of the triple post club?
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Re: Super cheap laptop
Old 06-03-2005, 12:56 PM   #80
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Re: Super cheap laptop

Yes you are! JG would be proud!
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