Appeal for advice regarding laptops

Discussion in 'PC Hardware, Software and Displays' started by Sxotty, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. Sxotty

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    I swore I would never get one, but I am doing a lot of writing lately, and it kill me to have this stupid notepad ( I mean a paper one) writing down pages of crap while I am away and then typing it all into the computer when I get home.

    So I need some advice since I know nothing about laptops really.

    Here is what I really want
    wireless obviously
    LONG battery life
    Type documents with it at native resolution and no slow down. Have multiple documents open, track changes and so forth.

    I don't mind it being a little bigger if that translates to better battery life, but I really don't want a DR (desktop replacement) one.


    I have no idea if the celeron-m is good enough. I do know that on some old laptops there was lag and crap even in MS word while typing if you ran the LCD at native resolutiong. I will die if that happens :p Well not really but it annoys me badly. So I want to know the minimum power I can get to do what I requie.

    Obviously the cheaper the better, I was contemplating getting a used one as well, but since I don't really know what to target the search does not go well.


    Anyway advice is good.
     
  2. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    The only way to get long battery life is with a Centrino (Pentium-M) based system. Nothing else can get close except MAYBE a Turion, but I doubt it. These systems are mid-range in price usually. You also probably want an extra battery. My Sony Vaio centrino could do about 4 hours with light use.

    Big screens equate to lower batter life, generally. My Dell Inspiron 9300 Centrino system with the 6-cell pack (lower of the two) will only manage about 2.5 hours best case. 17" screen is awesome though for what I use it for at work all day.

    Celeron-M is trash if you need battery life. It's a Pentium-M without speedstep. Really your only option is Pentium-M. It's the most efficient, low-power CPU out there. The worst would be Pentium 4. Everything else is in between.
     
  3. PC-Engine

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    Also look for a laptop with modular bays that you can swap out so that you can add a second battery pack. Some laptops let you swap out the optical drive and place a second battery in its place for extended run times. Also if word documents is all you will do on the laptop then get one based on the Transmeta chip.
     
  4. Tim Murray

    Tim Murray the Windom Earle of mobile SOCs
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    Dell Inspirons are okay. My HP Centrino from last year gets about 4.5 hours with normal use, and I've gotten six if I turn off wireless and screen brightness.

    One big thing you might want if you're doing lots of simultaneous editing is a high resolution screen. I've got a 1920x1200 LCD, and while you'd think, "Holy crap, how can you read that?" it's actually surprisingly good. And damn, is it handy for coding and general text editing. I can have two documents open next to each other at a perfectly reasonable size for each, so it's fantastic.
     
  5. Sxotty

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    Thanks for all the advice.

    @Swaaye: I am dissapointed about the celeron M I thought it just had less cache or something. Ah well. I will look at some Turion reviews, but I seem to remember they were not the cats pajamas as far as battery life is concerned.

    @Baron do you need a higher performing laptop to power a screen of that resolution? I mean do you need to get an ati/NV graphics powered one instead of just intel extreme graphics?

    @PC-Engine I will look around a bit to see aboout the transmeta chip. I worry it would be underpowered even for such a simple task, but I have never even seen one in action.
     
  6. Tim Murray

    Tim Murray the Windom Earle of mobile SOCs
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    Radeon 9200 with 64 megs works fine for 2D stuff. 3D? Ew, but all I do in the way of games are emulated PSX games in a window (for which it works fine).
     
  7. {Sniping}Waste

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    Take a look at this one. Its a MSI 1013 AMD Turion 64. It has all you need and sould give you close to 5 hours on batters.

    Its at barebone and Xmeld will give you choise in CPU, harddrive and memory. They have the Turion 64 MT that is 25W MAX. All the test out there are with Turion 64 ML that are 35W max and a Pentum M will out do a ML by a small amout at 22W average but a MT will bet it in battery life with 25W max and average around 18w. The MSI1013 has a nice 12.1 WXGA with wireless networking and 8 cell battery not the average 6 cell.

    The only battery test I have seen with a Turion 64 is a ML and with word open and browsing at the same time it lasted 4 1/2 hours with a 8 cell battery and a MT will do better.
    http://www.xmeld.com/html/msi1013.html
     
  8. Skrying

    Skrying S K R Y I N G
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    Some rather weird advice in this thread.

    First off, Pentium-Ms, are AMAZING chips. This is coming from a person who personally hates Intel. But no less, the PM is extremely powerful and a 2.0Ghz PM will often times perform better than say a 3.6Ghz P4. PMs are on the same level as A64s when it comes to work per cycle, they may even be slight better. Plus these chips dont need hardly any juice so you get good battery life.

    Just make sure you get a notebook that will allow you to add a second battery, that has a decently high resolution screen, and has either a PM or A64 Turion in it.
     
  9. Sxotty

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    When I looked on pricewatch the only transmeta based books are over $1k and I don't want to spend that much.

    I think I will just watch fatwallet for a few days to see if I cannot get a good deal on a dell 700m or something similar.

    If youguys have any specific ideas that would be cool as well, I have a 80GB notebook drive in an USB enclosure, and I can also get a copy of WinXP pro from school for cheap, so if there is some way I could take advantage of these facts it would be cool.

    It seems that something like this would work as well
    Edit: ARG I just realized the one I postd had a celeron so I deleted it.
     
  10. {Sniping}Waste

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  11. Skrying

    Skrying S K R Y I N G
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    That's a pretty damn good deal for that notebook that Sniping Waste posted, I'd pick that one up right away.
     
  12. {Sniping}Waste

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    it will have a much better battey life then a Celeron M and more powerful.

    The MSI 1013 will be lighter and have a slite battery life but its over $1200.
     
  13. Sxotty

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    You know I actually quite like that one.

    Thanks a bunch.

    It looks to me by checking pricewatch that I could buy these cheaper later anyway.

    memory
    wireless card

    The CD burners look to cost the same as aftermarket.

    Can you put unusual memory configurations in a notebook without it freaking out.
    i.e. 256MB in one slot and 512MB in the other?

    What processor would you recommend? I was debating between the 64ML-28 and 64ML-30. I think that I would like the 28 b/c I assume it uses less battery (512kb cache vs. 1MB).

    I am wondering about the screen though $25 to get a "brighter" screen sounds nice, but I don't know whether it will kill the battery life. Of course it often seems a brighter screen would really come in handy.
     
  14. {Sniping}Waste

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    You can use different size so-dimms with turion64. Its single channel memory so you can have 2 defferent size so-dimms. I would go with the cheaper Turion 64 and go with the better screen. With the 12 cell battery, you should get around 5 hours.
     
  15. PC-Engine

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  16. Ichneumon

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    If you intend to do a lot of typing on your laptop, you want an IBM (Lenovo now I guess) Thinkpad.
    The T42 laptops are astoundingly good, with great keyboards, and the long battery life you can expect from a centrino system... They have several different ways to expand the battery life as well, from an extended life battery (slightly larger than normal battery) to batteries that plug into the modular drive bays.

    You will pay somewhat more than an equivilent dell for example, but the overall package is much better. As long as you're not trying to get the super-fast version with all the bells and whistles, the T42 series is very comparably priced to other laptops you can find.
     
  17. Sxotty

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    Thanks for the advice everyone.

    I decided to give the turion hp system a go. I will let you know how I like it.

    Hopefully I won't leave it somewhere and get it stolen eh :p
     
  18. Snyder

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    Yep, Thinkpads rock, especially the keyboard. I haven't seen any notebook that matches them when it comes to ergonomic design.
    And the R Series are surprisingly cheap at the moment, too bad there's myriards of different configs out there...
     
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