Recommend Me A Laptop

Hi guys, got a question for you all. I'm in the market to buy a every-day laptop. Now I know there are other threads about what laptop's are good to get for gaming I'm not so concerned with that. I'm more just looking for something to browse the web without having to spend hours sitting at my desk at home and, on occassion, maybe play an RTS or two. I've got a couple of requirements of things the system needs to be able to do but it's pretty short.

Requirements:
- Be able to multitask (word precessor, play music, and have multiple browser instances/tabs open at once without stuttering)
- Be able to play some games. I'm not talking Crysis-qualified here, but the ability to play Civ:4 BTS and TF2 would be nice.

Would be nice features:
- wide-screen monitor
- have an eSATA port
- upgrade-accessible RAM
- Come with XP (or not have any components that wouldn't work with an XP OS install)

And that's it. Nothing too complicated but before I invest any hard-earned $ I figured I'd ask your guys opinions. So how about it: got any suggestions on which vendors to go through or what model to buy?

You're missing the most important requirement: budget.

*Legion* wrote:
You're missing the most important requirement: budget.

If it meets reqs without going overkill it's within the budget ;). Less is always better, but budget's not the 1st priority.

Well, the one I just bought doesn't have eSATA, but it does back-compat with XP nicely. The Dell XPS M1330 is a nice compact laptop that should have the power to do everything you want to. They start at $999. The RAM is upgradable, too. I bought mine with 1 GB (they don't give you the option to buy it without RAM) and upped it to 4 GB myself, for less than half of what Dell would've charged me, and I even bought Crucial. (Newegg rocks.)

The Dell XPS line is very nice, and if you wait around for a sale you can get $400 knocked off the price. I actually got the m1550 specifically because I'd read it could play CivIV very nicely, and it can. The big difference between the 1550 and 1350 is screen size and options (like OS shipped).

I just got an email from NewEgg.com with some promo codes for notebooks, these ones specifically:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc... (code gives another $50 off)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc... ($100 with code)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc... ($50 with code, and an additional $30 with mail-in rebate)

If you want any of the codes, let me know and I'll forward the email to you. Not like I'll be using them.

If I were you, I'd wait a few weeks...

February 11, 2008 (Computerworld) Dell Inc. is getting ready to fit several of its Inspiron notebooks with Intel Corp.'s new 45-nanometer Penryn processors.

Dell spokeswoman Anne Camden said that consumers will be able to order Penryn-based Inspiron 1420, 1525 and 1720 systems in the next few weeks. She also noted that Dell also is adding Penryn to its XPS M1330 and plans to offer Penryn processors to more XPS laptop models this spring.

"People want it because it's Intel's newest processor technology," Camden said. "The 45-nanometer technology delivers better performance, and it also brings in better battery performance."

Well, I've been waiting for the Nvidia 8800 laptop chip to be available...now I may be waiting for Penryn. Oi!

Fedaykin98 wrote:
Well, I've been waiting for the Nvidia 8800 laptop chip to be available...now I may be waiting for Penryn. Oi!

Tell me about it. I really need a new machine and was about to get one this week. I guess I'll bite the bullet and wait now. Of course, I was keeping an eye on the XPS M1530, which means I might end up waiting more than a few weeks...

Mmmmm, Thinkpad anyone?

Dell spokeswoman Anne Camden said that consumers will be able to order Penryn-based Inspiron 1420, 1525 and 1720 systems in the next few weeks. She also noted that Dell also is adding Penryn to its XPS M1330 and plans to offer Penryn processors to more XPS laptop models this spring.

This spring! SPRING! God dammit! I have been waiting for the Penryn chips since January! Bloody hell!

I guess I might not be getting a Dell, the first decent Penryn laptop I come across is going to get my money.

I am likely waiting for the 17" Ripleys from Alienware anyway; maybe they'll have Penryn whenever they come about.

Would be a good idea. I plan to have Logan sit in for me when I am on my honeymoon.

- Legion, taking "keeping it in the family" to a whole new level.

Xbox Live: Fedaykin98

I guess I might not be getting a Dell, the first decent Penryn laptop I come across is going to get my money.

I'd be in the same boat, but Dell seems to be the only major vendor that lets me do some custom configuration of the laptop I'm ordering - at least in the lower price range. I'm looking for a 15" machine with SXGA or SWXGA resolution, which is nigh impossible over here where WXGA apparently turned out to be the most popular format.

Gaald wrote:
Dell spokeswoman Anne Camden said that consumers will be able to order Penryn-based Inspiron 1420, 1525 and 1720 systems in the next few weeks. She also noted that Dell also is adding Penryn to its XPS M1330 and plans to offer Penryn processors to more XPS laptop models this spring.

This spring! SPRING! God dammit! I have been waiting for the Penryn chips since January! Bloody hell!

I guess I might not be getting a Dell, the first decent Penryn laptop I come across is going to get my money.

The only other laptop manufacturer offering the Penryn is Lenovo, and they're experiencing delays too. The Penryn is the problem, they're just not out there yet.

The Penryn is the problem, they're just not out there yet.

Ok that's fine but it's frustrating that the Inspiron Laptops seem to be getting them first and than the XPS systems. Grrrr!

I'm telling you, wait for Lenovo to put the penryn on the thinkpad. It will be worth it.

If I were in your shoe (and didn't just spend too much money on desktop PC) I'd definitely get this Gateway Laptop

For a sub $1500 (w/o any deals) laptop, this laptop screams must buy:

Warranty Terms - Parts1 year limitedWarranty
Terms - Labor1 year limited
Product Height1.7"Product Width15.75"Product Weight8.3 lbs.Product Depth11.75MobileProcessor Speed1.67GHz
Display TypeWXGA+ widescreen TFT-LCD with Ultrabright technology (1440 x 900)Screen Size17"
System Bus667MHz
Cache Memory2MB at die Level 2
System Memory (RAM)3GB
Type of Memory (RAM)PC2-5300 DDR2
Hard Drive TypeSerial ATA 250gb (5400 rpm)
Hard Drive Size250GB
Optical DriveDouble-layer DVD±RW/CD-RWOptical Drive Speeds2.4x DVD+R DL; 2x DVD-R DL; 8x8x8 DVD+RW; 8x6x8 DVD-RW; 4x DVD-RAM; 24x16x24 CD-RW
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce Go 8800 GTS

Proc leaves a little bit to be desired though.

boogle wrote:
Proc leaves a little bit to be desired though.

Good thing it's easily upgradeable. Hmmm... I'll have to dig a little deeper into that Gateway, it sounds promising. Thanks lethial.

And boogle: you have a thinkpad you would recommend?

boogle wrote:
Proc leaves a little bit to be desired though.

You can upgrade that easily, there is also a better model that they carry, check the gateway site.

Raven wrote:
boogle wrote:
Proc leaves a little bit to be desired though.

Good thing it's easily upgradeable. Hmmm... I'll have to dig a little deeper into that Gateway, it sounds promising. Thanks lethial.

And boogle: you have a thinkpad you would recommend?

I have the R series with a 2ghz proc, 2gb ram and Discrete 7800gt.

Not to jump in and naysay, and note that I'm far from a "build it yourself" kind of guy, but I've not had a lot of joy with Dell, and other folks at my workplace with Dell laptops are saying the same.

I love my Dell desktop: I threw it in the corner, and abuse its memory/CPU every day. But it's a beast, and I don't need to take it anywhere.

My Dell laptop, though... it was cheap, compared to its competitors (I got an Inspiron 6400, 2gig ram, 8400rpm hd, dual core 2.0ghz, high res/gloss 15.4 widescreen screen for greater resolution). And it *feels* cheap. It doesn't handle rough handling at all. Pieces seem to be mismatched a little: a milimeter here and there, DVD player spins noisily at times. No DVI output, just straight VGA (one port). It feels like a lot of corners were cut. The screen is becoming loose from 6 months of opening and closing daily. The keyboard is coming loose in places, and I almost always use a USB keyboard with it at work/home unless I'm at a coffee house or bed or something. No docking station support. The high-res screen ended up creating more eyestrain, and pretty much requires the PC to be plugged in 24/7 to see the screen (I should have gone for the basic screen option).

I don't know who I'll use to buy my next laptop (HP?), but I'll probably aim for a dual AMD if possible, and next time around I'll be willing to spend another $200 to get a PC that's sturdier. I'd go with Lenovo, because those things are nearly indestructible (they use them as a work PC in my office), and have those sweet dual-monitor DVI/VGA ports, but they're also about 1k higher in price... probably too steep for my wallet.

I don't have a company to throw at you and say, "trust these guys 100%!" (that used to be Gateway for me between 1997-2002, but now they seem a little shady, unknown if they're going to go poof one day), but I'd be really wary of a Dell laptop. If you can find the same specs at a competitor for say $200 more, I'd totally go with spending those 200 bucks to get a sturdier, better crafted machine.

Dell for desktop, though? No problems on my end.

-Andy

Zigguratbuilder wrote:
Dell stuff

Yeah, I'll second the general feeling that Dell's laptops feel more cheaply made than competitors. I get a new laptop through work about every year and a half or so, and the Dells always have DVD drives that quickly break or start making ominous grinding noises, and the housing just feels kinda bendy and creaky. Perf isn't a problem, but the build quality doesn't feel as good as the Thinkpads or HPs. Never had a Gateway.

boogle wrote:
Mmmmm, Thinkpad anyone?

Yes, please! But then the T61p's screen isn't perfectly centered in the bezel, and from what I've read it's not as bright as earlier models.

Well get a Macbook Pro since budget isn't a problem. OS/X is a great, great multi-tasking operating system. I almost always played WoW with iTunes and Safari and other windows open with nary a hiccup. And the MBP has a nice enough gpu (8600M GT) for gaming on the side.

You can run XP on it too.

trip1eX wrote:
Well get a Macbook Pro since budget isn't a problem. OS/X is a great, great multi-tasking operating system. I almost always played WoW with iTunes and Safari and other windows open with nary a hiccup. And the MBP has a nice enough gpu (8600M GT) for gaming on the side.

You can run XP on it too.

If budget isn't an issue, I agree. I love mine. They make great windows machines. Build quality is very good. They're thin and very light for the power. I only have a few complaints. First, there are not enough usb ports (2? WTF?) They are not cheap (mine came out to be about $2500). The speakers are a bit weak. Other than that, it's been great.

Mine is a work laptop. I, personally, don't think I could pony up the cash for one. I'm not hooked on OS X and I don't mind a bit more bulk. I can find similarly equipped windows-only machines for $500-1000 less. The Gateway linked above is a good example.

EvilHomer3k wrote:
trip1eX wrote:
Well get a Macbook Pro since budget isn't a problem. OS/X is a great, great multi-tasking operating system. I almost always played WoW with iTunes and Safari and other windows open with nary a hiccup. And the MBP has a nice enough gpu (8600M GT) for gaming on the side.

You can run XP on it too.

If budget isn't an issue, I agree. I love mine. They make great windows machines. Build quality is very good. They're thin and very light for the power. I only have a few complaints. First, there are not enough usb ports (2? WTF?) They are not cheap (mine came out to be about $2500). The speakers are a bit weak. Other than that, it's been great.

Mine is a work laptop. I, personally, don't think I could pony up the cash for one. I'm not hooked on OS X and I don't mind a bit more bulk. I can find similarly equipped windows-only machines for $500-1000 less. The Gateway linked above is a good example.

Yeah I think if I'm spending $1500 on a laptop I'd get spend a few more bucks and get a MBP. That Gateway might have similar paper specs, but I bet the MBP is faster and you're going to be much happier owning the MBP.

You have to compare things other than just paper specs. For example, you have to compare monitor quality too. I saw a cheap Gateway laptop with an 8800 gpu in it in a Sunday ad and I went to BB to look at it and well I wasn't impressed. Screen was crap for one thing and I didn't like the build quality. (Might actually be the same model as above.) It might have had nice paper specs, but I was reminded that doesn't automatically translate into a nice laptop.

(sidenote: One reason that Dell has floundered the last few years is because consumers want to get their hands on laptops to try them. The experience is much more personal than with a desktop. You can't change monitors or keyboards etc on a laptop.)

I think the included software on a MBP is much nicer too than what you would find on the Gateway. Resale value on MBPs is better than pc laptops too afaik.

I will say the $2500 MBP is a rip. I'd go with the $2k model because the extra $500 doesn't buy you much. Shop at Amazon or MacMall or Apple's refurb store (same warranty as new) to get a substantial discount, free shipping and, in some cases, no tax.

Thinkpad, its got all the build quality of a MBP, but with not of the mac.

Macbooks have only one mouse button. You can work around this in OSX or with drivers in XP, but that only works with XP32; if you want to run anything else, you're sort of SOL.

I'd recommend them wholeheartedly if they had two or three buttons.

Malor wrote:
Macbooks have only one mouse button. You can work around this in OSX or with drivers in XP, but that only works with XP32; if you want to run anything else, you're sort of SOL.

I'd recommend them wholeheartedly if they had two or three buttons.

I love the buttons on my MX518. And my thinkpads touch thingy.

Malor wrote:
Macbooks have only one mouse button. You can work around this in OSX or with drivers in XP, but that only works with XP32; if you want to run anything else, you're sort of SOL.

I'd recommend them wholeheartedly if they had two or three buttons.

Here you go.