Best Laptop for the price/performance ratio?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Gregg Hart, Oct 5, 2001.

  1. Gregg Hart

    Gregg Hart Stunt Coordinator

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    I need a new laptop for mostly schoolwork, but also so I can play some games now and then. Most of them are fairly graphic intensive games.
    I don't so much want specifics on an exact machine but more on your view of the brand that has the best price for the performance. I know Dell is always up there, but who else would you recommend? I was thinking of Sony's Vaio machines. IBM is so damn expensive, so I don't even want to consider them.
    Thoughts?
     
  2. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    I would choose Dell, personally. Good bang for the buck, decent machines, well built, and good support.
    The Sony Vaio laptops don't strike me as being very durable. I've seen display units at Best Buy with missing keys, broken DVD-ROM drawers, cracked cases, etc. For a machine that's going to be tossed around, it's not the best bet. They're light and have nice screens though.
    I'd avoid Compaq and IBM like the plague. Too expensive and proprietary IMHO.
    KJP
     
  3. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Using a Dell Inspiron 8000 to write this and couldn't be happier. The only drawback is the fact that it's a pretty beefy and heavy model - but the screen, keyboard, features etc all make up for that.
    Mine is a P III 700 with ATI Mobility M4 chip graphics and it works great for games. If you can spring for a Dell 8100 with the GeForce2Go chipset (and 32 MB of graphics memory) and maybe even a slightly faster CPU you should be fine with just about any game out there.
    On mine I can play Max Payne in 640x480 with smooth framerates, and less demanding games in 800x600 or so, typically. The GeForce2Go machines no doubt can do much better.
    For serious use, the 1400x1050 screen I have is absolutely superb. I might go for the 1600x1200 screen instead if buying new today, but I find 1400x1050 to be a really good size too; you can use it with normal font sizes without going blind from squinting too much. [​IMG]
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    /Kimmo
     
  4. John Chow

    John Chow Second Unit

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    Hmm...Kevin,
    What do you mean by proprietary? All laptops are proprietary. There really isn't much you can upgrade on any laptop except memory and hard drive. Pretty much all laptops can use the same hard drive as long as it will physically fit, so it's just a matter of getting to them.
    Gregg,
    I would say overall pricewise, you will find most laptops to be pretty comparable as far as the major name brands go. It's really more of an issue about what kind of features you are looking for in what kind of package.
    Laptops in general are much less durable than desktops, and you can pretty much have bad luck with any brand.
    Since I work for Compaq in laptops, I find it a tad disappointing every time our reputation gets thrown in with the desktop reputation. I have found our laptops to be very reliable and am comfortable with the work we do to guarantee a quality product. The interesting thing about Dell (please tell me if I am wrong) is that their notebooks are relatively low touch, meaning they pretty much buy their boxes from an OEM vendor in Taiwan, and rely on the OEM to do most of the work regarding design/testing/etc. That's why Dell's have that generic black box look to pretty much all of their machines. They may have changed their design philosophy, I don't know, but a few years ago you could literally take a Dell machine, find another generic box, and they would be identical right down to the model #. There was an 'expose' done in a PC magazine a while back.
    From what my coworkers who have done teardowns of Dell boxes tell me (real unbiased sources i know [​IMG] Dell boxes are not very impressive. On the other hand, one of my coworkers said the Apple ibook design is years ahead of everything else. Basically your no expenses spared type design.
    The key differences you will see specwise between laptops will be the actual box, screen size(related to the box), the video chipset, and the different number of port options. Since you are looking for something that can play games, as Kimmo mentioned, you will need to pay close attention to the video chip. The two chips that will get you the best performance are the ATI Radeon (M6) and the Nvidia Geforce2Go. Beware of the systems that use an integrated video chipset, as these are usually your cheapie machines and will have fairly poor graphic performance.
    Anyways, with computer prices changing as often as they do, I do not believe there are any clear price/performance winners. You will pretty much need to figure out what you want in a laptop, look at all the brands that include an applicable model, and go from there.
     
  5. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    It's of course entirely possible that my Dell is an OEM cheap box, but it's still numero uno on a list of laptops in a swedish computer magazine; it holds the number one spot for desktop replacement/power user machines. For what I wanted to do when I bought it a few months back I found nothing to compete with it; perhaps that has now changed.
    The new ATI Radeon 7500 mobility chipset that ATI is just debuting (I know of no laptop with that chip) seems extremely impressive when it comes to performance, as compared to even Nvidias GeForce2Go.
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    /Kimmo
     
  6. Scott Dautel

    Scott Dautel Second Unit

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    If you don't need an ultralight, the following super deal was posted this morning on www.techbargains.com
     
  7. John Chow

    John Chow Second Unit

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    Kimmo,
    I could point out several magazines where compaq laptops were ranked #1, so be just as wary of what you read in a magazine as what you read on the internet [​IMG]
    Anyways, enough thread hijacking for me
     

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