best method to buy laptop?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Christ Reynolds, Mar 25, 2004.

  1. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    i'll be buying a laptop for school in the fall. i have the money now, and even though i could use the laptop now, i dont need it. so, i'm waiting until early august. i'm probably going to get an HP, they seem to have nice price/performance ratios. maybe a toshiba. i would normally buy a dell...even though it is only a computer, i refuse to carry around something that UGLY. wish they made normal black laptops again.

    but i digress. where should i buy this computer from? i could order directly from HP online, i could buy from a local vendor (best buy, compusa, staples) or i could order online through a vendor. where would i get the best deal? i'd like to upgrade a few things on the baseline system...bigger screen and hd, integrated wireless. i'm assuming that there will be pretty decent back to school sales at that time, but will i be saving on the more expensive new models that come out? if they come out then, that is. should i buy earlier? i'm not fond of mail-in rebates, but i have yet to see a decent deal that does not involve one. anyway, where should i buy this thing? are there other decent deals on quality (not silver-ish ugly looking) laptops ~$900 - $1100?

    CJ
     
  2. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    You might want to check with your school. They may have nice educational price discounts.
     
  3. Ning Wong

    Ning Wong Second Unit

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    you can always buy from me.

    i'm a corporate account exec for PC Mall. [​IMG]
     
  4. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    hey, if i can save a few dollars and get the computer i want by buying from you, sure [​IMG]

    are there any other brands i should be looking at? above $1100 and i'm not even interested in looking. HP has some nice deals, and i was looking at the ibm thinkpads too, but it doesnt look like you can configure much on their website. a friend of mine had a toshiba which i really like, but too expensive. good thing i dont need it until months from now!

    CJ
     
  5. Ning Wong

    Ning Wong Second Unit

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    Of course, i'll do what I can to save an HTF member some money. :

    If you want to get something nice for htat money, i highly suggest an HP refurbished laptop. It only has a 90 day warranty, but you add a 2 year Service.net warranty for about $80, you have a pretty awesome setup.

    Go to www.pcmall.com, and in the search field, type:
    HP refurb laptop

    then you'll see all the refurbs we have. There are some really killer deals, and i can shave a little bit off those models for you too.

    IBM thinkpads are great, but out of the budget range you have.

    In any case, feel free to contact me w/any questions.
     
  6. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    If you decide to buy a customized laptop directly from HP Shopping, consider using this link:

    HP Shopping, Home Theater Forum Link

    Use coupon code: 2039 for 10% off (unknown expiration date, may expire any time).

    BTW, I have an HP ZT3000. Awesome laptop. Very thin & light, great video chip, 15.4" widescreen, centrino processor, 802.11g, etc. Built very well. Good hinges, great keyboard quality (more important than you tend to think on a laptop). Good tactile feel on its synaptics touchpad.
     
  7. Brian Ruth

    Brian Ruth Supporting Actor

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    Chris:

    You should try to get an educational discount. I know Apple does them, and it usually knocks about $200 off the top-of-the-line PowerBooks. I don't know how/if other manufacturers do it, but its certainly worth a look. [​IMG]
     
  8. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    good idea. i will inquire about this just as soon as i am accepted to this school [​IMG] (which should be within the week)

    CJ
     
  9. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    With computers, you get what you pay for. No one is selling a $1,500 laptop for $900. This is really a longterm investment, so you might want to consider upping your budget a little more.

    What will you be using the computer for? Just word processing, internet, email and games?

    Whatever computer you buy, do not purchase it with software like MS Office -- buy that later at the educational discount price -- and get the 3 or 4 year warranty. Also think carefully about getting extras like a DVD-R. Everyone wants one today regardless if they really need it, and that $200 typically could be better spent on RAM.

    I'd personally recommend a Dell. They're pretty reliable and their customer service is among the very best. It's fairly easy to get them to come out on site to fix a problem.
     
  10. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    no games, very little internet and email. basically i will be using the computer for word processing, excel, circuit simulation (multisim) and mathmematical computational software (matlab, mathematica). keep in mind that my budget prohibits me from doing these things as fast as the fastest laptops out there, but that is why i am waiting until august instead of buying it now. here are the specs of the computer i have been looking at...

    HP ze4700
    AMD Athlon(TM) XP-M 2600+ 2.00 GHz
    Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Home
    256MB DDR SDRAM (1x256MB)
    30 GB 4200 RPM Hard Drive
    802.11b Wireless LAN
    15.0" TFT XGA (1024 x 768)
    ATI Mobility Radeon(TM)
    Microsoft(R) Works/Money
    8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery

    price $1,054.00
    instant rebate -$0.00
    mail-in rebate -$100.00
    price $954.00

    i only copied and pasted everything, i dont care about the ms works/money. i think that is a decent deal, and it should do what i need it to do. i'll be buying ms office 2003 and xp pro at the educational discount, i am pretty sure the school participates in the ms edu discount program. here are the warranty options...

    1-year HP Accidental Damage Protection with Express Repair extended service plan for Pavilion or select Presario notebooks more info
    +$99.99

    2-year HP express repair extended service plan for HP Pavilion or select Compaq Presario notebooks more info
    +$99.99

    3-year HP Express Repair extended service plan for HP Pavilion or select Compaq Presario notebooks more info
    HP recommended +$179.99

    2-year HP ADP with express repair extended service plan for HP Pavilion or select Compaq Presario notebooks more info
    +$249.99

    3-year HP Accidental Damage Protection with Express Repair extended service plan for Pavilion or select Presario notebooks more info
    Special price, limited time! Regularly $349.99

    even a 2 or 3 year extension is pretty steep, is it really worth it? can i really expect this thing to be significantly broken within the next 2 or 3 years? if yes, then i will re-think my budget. i will also be buying more ram at crucial.com if i have enough money left over, but it may be easier to just have hp do it if the price savings is negligible. thanks for all the replies so far, everyone has been helpful.

    CJ
     
  11. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    Have you thought about a Mac? It'll do everything you want, but with style! [​IMG]

    Seriously, I just purchased a 12" iBook for my wife using the Apple Educational pricing for $1000. It's got a 12" LCD, 256mb ram, a 40gb hard drive, wireless, a cd-rw/dvd-rom drive, and a whole bunch of software. My university includes a three year extended warranty free of charge (the official AppleCare package, not their own).

    I got a 12" powerbook for myself. The biggest difference between the two is the dvdrw drive in mine. It was a little more expensive.
     
  12. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    thanks for the reply don. i have thought about making the switch to a mac, mostly when i was frustrated with quirks with windows. well, a couple semesters ago, i took a photoshop class that was run on the new hotshot macs. to be honest, i hated working on the macs. i realize a lot of people prefer them over anything else, but they are definitely not for me. maybe it was the OS, who knows. i wouldnt mind knowing a bit more about these fascinating machines in the future, but i wouldnt be able to use one as my primary computer just yet [​IMG]

    CJ
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    If you expect to do serious computations, I recommend more memory. You can do normal stuff with those programs easily with even 128MB, but if you forsee trying to manipulate 10's of megs of data, then you'll want more RAM. Perhaps 256MB is good to start with, but keep some cash in the bank earmarked for a future upgrade in a year, for potential unexpected needs.
     
  14. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    yeha i had planned on getting a ton of memory, but i will most likely buy some from crucial.com or maybe even replace all the memory with ram from crucial and sell the 256 mb chip somewhere.

    CJ
     
  15. Rich G

    Rich G Stunt Coordinator

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    I have also been researching NB's in the same $ range. BB has a nice Toshiba for 1K after rebates: Celeron 2.8gig, 512ram, 15", 40gb, dvd drive. It was a very quiet machine too.
    Dell is similar but you can customize it. I'm deciding now if the DVD-r is worth the $200 more. Probably will be for me cause I won't be upgrading for a loooong time.
    I was told the same thing about extended waranties, get them. That's a bumer because that is $250 more. Now I'm in the $14-1500 range[​IMG]
     
  16. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    yeah it sucks. a friend of mine bought a laptop at best buy, and the power supply died on it, she thinks. they told her that she had to pay hundreds of dollars to fix it, even though she had a service plan. she didnt know much about computers, so she couldnt really explain to me what the problem was. anyway, she had to buy a new laptop, and they never fixed it [​IMG] if i hear from enough people that i need to get this warranty, i'll get it. but i will be expecting something to go wrong with it, so i can get my moneys worth. funny how it works i guess, but i dont want to spend $300 for nothing. i dont need a dvdr drive because i have one in my desktop. i was basically looking only at laptops that had an amd cpu in it, to save costs. it seems to be cheaper when amd is used. so you cant configure the toshiba at bby?

    CJ
     
  17. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    The extended warranty is definitely the way to go when dealing with laptops. They are more prone to wear and tear. Think about how many times you might open and close the screen, use the touchpad/stick, or the built in keyboard on a daily basis. Replacing a worn out mouse or keyboard on a desktop is no problem, on a laptop its a whole different story.

    Just recently my almost three year old Dell laptop failed on me (appears something on the motherboard was going bad causing the power to blip on and off). Luckily I had the extended warranty, and because they no longer manufactured the motherboard for my system, Dell sent out a newer model to me which had a processor twice as fast, larger hard drive, a CD-R/DVD drive (original was only a DVD), a new battery which still holds a charge (laptop batteries wear out after a few years) and twice as much RAM for absolutely nothing out of pocket.

    I give a hearty recommendation for Dell and their customer service (even though you may end up talking to someone in India or Panama along the way). When you have problems with a component, they replace it usually within 2 business days shipped to your residence along with a pre-paid return label for the defective part. When I had a key come loose on my keyboard, a tech came out to my home when I was available and replaced my entire keyboard and toucscreen assembly.

    If you know someone which works for a large company which uses Dell computers, they should be able to purchase a laptop through the Employee Purchase Program (EPP). When buying my laptop, this program automatically extended my warranty to three years next business day service at no extra charge. It also gave me access to Dell's business support line which usually has faster service then the consumer/home line (less waiting on hold for problems)

    J
     
  18. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Screenwriter

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    One thing to note abour NB's and extended warranties that i thought I would chime in with.

    Check with your Insurance (HomeOwners & Renters) to see if they have any special coverages available for computers/laptops.

    My Renter's Insurance has a separate "Computer Coverage" that includes damage to the unit, even on instances done by dropping it.

    I actually have a claim open right now due to dropping my laptop last week. Physically it looked fine, but after that my DVD-ROM/CDRW combo drive stopped working (doesn't even show up in Windows whatsoever now).

    I'm waiting to hear back from my Insurer later today, but as of yesterday...they will be paying me to repair this one or letting me get a new one all together (though I doubt this will happen).

    Just a thought...check with your Insurer to see if they offer anything whatsoever.
     
  19. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    The warranty is always worth. To put it simply: shit happens.

    The life-span of a computer before it is totally outdated is about 3-4 years, so you should really plan on getting a warranty that last 3 years.

    Take a look at Dell's laptops: http://www1.us.dell.com/content/prod...=19&l=en&s=dhs
     
  20. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    I'd give eMachines a look. I'm very happy with my recently purchased M5105. 15.4" Widescreen display, 40gb hd, 512mb ram DVD+CDRW, 24.ghz Celeron, built in 54g, Wired LAN, and Modem3 USB 2.0, 3.5 battery... The more current model (M5312, bigger HD, firewire, s-video, AMD processor) retails for around $1k and is available from bestbuy (I got mine on ebay for $700). Being an HTF member i'm guessing DVD playback is important and the widescreen display really makes watching DVDs more enjoyable. Don't let the name fool you, they're made from high quality components (Toshiba optical drive, Fujitsu HD, Intel or AMD processor depending). They also have very affordable extended warranties through the eMachines website (more affordable than the ones from Bestbuy). There are also severl models available refurbished online, but not at huge savings (but under $1k).

    Hope this helps [​IMG]
     

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