Forever iMac user switching to PC laptop - Any advice?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Peter Kim, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    I saw an ad in this week's Circuit City circular which interested me:

    Toshiba Satellite M35X-S349 @ Circuit City

    Primary Specs:

    Intel® Pentium® M 735 Processor (1.70GHz, 2MB L2 cache, 400MHz FSB)
    512MB PC2700 DDR333 SDRAM (256MBx2)
    15.4" Wide-screen XGA Display w/TruBrite Technology
    Intel® 855GME w/16MB-64MB shared video memory
    80GB HDD (4200rpm)
    DVD Super Multi drive
    Intel® Wireless Pro 2200BG (802.11g)
    3-USB (2.0) ports
    IEEE 1394 port
    TV-out (S-Video)

    After rebates and instant savings, it's $1299.

    I've been an exclusive, long-time Mac user, so I know absolutely zilch about the PC world, much less Centrino notebooks. I've scoured the net for reviews and more info, but found very little or mixed on Toshiba, much less this particular model.

    CC is also advertising the Toshiba A75-S229 for $1249. Major difference is it has a Mobile Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 538 supporting HT Technology (3.20GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 533MHz FSB).

    Are both, primarily the M35, good values from a reputable vendor? Is there a better vendor (HP, Sony, Dell)? I was considering an iBook/PowerBook, but don't think I could get the same features for the price.

    Any advice greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    First thing, the graphics on that one are adequate for 2d stuff (ie, surfing and office apps) but won't work at all for games. I assume that's not a big worry in this case.

    The screen resolution isn't much to write home about at only 1024x768 but it is cheap so you can't get everything...

    ... same goes for CPU power, but again, it should be plenty for most things except gaming or 3d hungry programs in general.

    However... if you are a Mac user, have Mac software already and are used to the whole Mac thing - are you sure you want to go with a Windows laptop? You can get a 14-inch-screened iBook for 1299 with a fairly decent configuration, but you might want to add a little to that price to go to 512MB of memory.

    No doubt about it, the current crop of Mac notebooks are pretty darn cool. Nowadays, the operating system itself doesn't stink either, being built on Unix... [​IMG] Generic windows laptops are pretty ho-hum though... and I say that even though I'm using a Windows laptop myself.
     
  3. Christian Behrens

    Christian Behrens Supporting Actor

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    Well, the one big change you would have to make is to adjust to the various dangers of surfing on a PC compared to a Mac. Viruses, worms, spyware, et al are basically non-existent on Macs, but a real problem on PCs.

    But in any case, check out the "Deal Page" on this very forum for regular deals on all kinds of PCs, including laptops.

    -Christian
     
  4. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    peter, i too was once just like you. i literally started with the original first generation macintosh, literally moved up the product line (mac +, se, ci, etc...) -- all the way until about the power mac (?) period (late 90's).

    then i switched to pc's. all my friends yelled "traitor!", but i never looked back. [​IMG]

    seriously though, pc's are pretty cool. you have much more (for lack of a better word) "control" over your computer. the software seems to have more powerful features (although i haven't used any mac software in quite some time), and you *definitely* get better value, flexibility, etc.

    it may take some time to get used to a pc and all it's nooks 'n' crannies, and you will have to put up with a lot more techy stuff (especially if you really want to get into pc's), but you should be a happy camper.

    that being said, i still think mac's are pretty cool. [​IMG]

    ---

    in terms of brand recognition, dependability, etc -- imo, they're all the same. i had an old packard hell pc that lasted forever. my cousin's dell had to go into the shop three times. i say it's simply luck of the draw. if you really want to investigate, check out this pc world article:

    http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/artic...,118514,00.asp
     
  5. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    The only things I don't like in the specs are the shared memory graphics (mentioned earlier) and the 4200rpm HD. I thought they had quit putting those stupid things in notebooks. My laptop (3-year old Dell) has a 4200rpm HD in it and it just seems to take forever to boot up. I would try for something with a 5400rpm drive if you can find something in your range. Toshiba is definitely a good brand for notebooks. One of the best, actually. You might also look at IBM's on eBay. IBM sells them directly on eBay for decent prices.
     
  6. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the IBM eBay recommendation. I've been planning on getting a new IBM laptop, but I found a used one that'll do the job for less than $500!
     
  7. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    Thanks for all of the advice!

    I am now an owner of a PC. Stopped by CC and thought I'd just look and buy later. I politely asked if they'd throw in a printer and the sales manager said no problem (HP Deskjet 3845). Picked up a Linksys WRT54G so I can connect both my iMac and Toshiba.

    Initial thoughts after an hour of use...I like it. Keep in mind that my last extensive experience was with a PII 200 mhz work laptop (3 gig hd), so this is amazing. This Trubright screen is hynotic - ThomasC's sig pic appears 3D. Kimmo, actually the screen size is 1280x800, bigger than anything I've owned before, desktop or otherwise.

    While I considered Apple's 14" iBook with SuperDrive, frankly, I was tiring of hunting for specific software for my needs, only to discover that it was Mac incompatible. Although I'm still enamored with my iMac, it's being relegated to 5 yr-old child tool.

    First thing I did was download Firefox and set as my default browser. Not sure why, but surfing the internet seems much zippier.

    Again, thanks for the suggestions and advice...while I understand that the switch will not be entirely without peril (Ted, you hit the nail on the head about the nooks n' crannies and the tech stuff, but I welcome the challenge), I'm pretty excited about finally opening up my field of vision.
     
  8. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Glad you like it. It's rare to see exclusive Mac users take thte plunge to the PC world with an expensive laptop! [​IMG]

    I just bought a Toshiba M35X-S109 over the weekend for $700 new. It was the infamous Best Buy Black Friday $500 laptop. It's pretty awesome though for the average user. Comes loaded with software too, half of which I uninstalled. [​IMG]

    Also helped my bro pick out a Thinkpad T41 and it just screams quality. I even got the same wireless router and no problems yet either. It reaches all the way down to the basement from the 2nd floor to both laptops! Only minor gripe is that both of the notebooks are heavy. I can see why the super slim ones are so popular.
     
  9. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    The T41 is an incredible laptop [​IMG]
     
  10. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    Scott, you're right...amongst my mac friends, I was pilloried for my break from ranks into idiocy. No problem, while I was grinning in bed using my laptop after only a 10 minute Linksys setup.

    Could you share with me whether it's wise to invest in the store's extended warranty program on a laptop? I declined at the point of purchase since I was told that I had 30 days from the date of purchase to buy the warranty.

    It was fairly expensive for the 4 year warranty (~$200-$300), and since I purchased the laptop on my Amex (doubling the manufacturer's warranty), the additiional 1 year warranty wasn't of much value.

    I guess I was a little gunshy after seeing the final tally with tax & without rebates. Should I just bite the bullet?
     
  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i work at bb (in the ht dept), and this is my standard answer for that question...

    it's like paying for car insurance. you hate to pay it until you need it.

    if you feel you can absorb the cost of fixing a laptop (no clue how much it costs these days), or if you can do the repairs yourself (much harder on a laptop), or if you feel the laptop will hold up for the next four years -- then forget it.

    however, in your particular case, it may not be a bad idea. they tossed in a free printer right? so that's worth about 80 bucks or so? i guess you could factor that into your decision.
     
  12. Tony Kwong

    Tony Kwong Supporting Actor

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    I cannot stand Windows and Mac OX X! I have to use both to get my work done. There are lot of little thing in both that I hate. I would never buy a Windows laptop, MacTops for me. I could go with either for desktops. I cannot live without both![​IMG][​IMG]
     
  13. Glenn

    Glenn Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Peter,

    I have heard good things about Toshiba computers but I have never owned one yet. I use both Macs and Windows computers. Both do fine. The windows computers generally seem faster when surfing online but Macs are better in some other aspects.

    One suggestion that you might look into eventually would be to upgrade the hard drive. Not bigger but faster. As Seth mentioned that 4200 rpm drive is slow. I had a 4200 rpm and swapped it out to a 7200 rpm drive and it was a major difference.

    Bumping up the RAM even a little might help too.

    Good luck,
    Glenn
     
  14. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    Thanks Glenn...sounds like excellent advice, which I will follow in the next month.

    I've spent the last couple of days ironing out the wrinkles with regards to getting my iMac & Tosh hooked up to the Linksys (wired iMac, wireless Tosh). Once accomplished, I couldn't be happier with the Toshiba (except for the drive speed & RAM you've mentioned).

    Funny problem...I'm not used to trackpad at all (I've tricked out the buttons & clicks on my Logitech mx700 for use on the iMac). I'm still trying to get the knack of customizing the trackpad to open a new tab, go back, and refresh without moving the cursor/my hand to the top menu.

    I've installed Adaware & Spybot, along with the included Norton to hopefully adequately protect myself. This security stuff is entirely new to me but doesn't seem so daunting so far.

    Best for my 5-year old son...when I put Shrek 2 on the Tosh, I was surprised to see the online content appear. With the iMac, I was never granted access to those online extras.

    Finally, one area that the Mac excelled is in languange options - I could switch keyboard input to hiragana (Japanese) on the fly. With the Toshiba, I'm still trying to figure out if this is possible.

    A colleague explained to me that it's impossible to type Japanese on a XP pc. Hopefully he was wrong.
     
  15. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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  16. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    I believe he meant the US version of XP will not allow for Japanese input (without the purchase of expensive software). Of course, the Japanese XP would allow for native language support.
     
  17. Tony Kwong

    Tony Kwong Supporting Actor

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    Multi language support is one of the reasons I like Mac OS X. The ability to have many different languages in the same document is also very cool as I often have different disclaimers and usage info in them. I don't think I've seen it this extensive built in any OS. The ability to switch languages in the OS and most applications, menus, etc. change as well.

    Along with unix support so I can access a whole lot of different networks. I always have Terminal running...
     
  18. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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  19. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    Thanks Thomas...he was wrong. Prior to your post, I discovered that by going into Regional & Language options in Control Panel, all I needed to do was select "Install Files for East Asian Languages", add Japanese & Korean, show the Language bar and I was in business (more accurately, my wife was able to write & receive her email in Japanese).

    After explaining this to my colleague, he was still skeptical until he proved himself wrong when he later installed Korean. However, he had to go back to his install discs, where I only had to go into my Control Panel and let XP do the rest.

    So, little by little I'm getting the hang of XP. Next thing I want to try is VoIP. I'm on a tear!
     
  20. SarahG

    SarahG Second Unit

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    A bit late on this, but I just installed XP on another computer of ours last night. I forgot how much installing a new operating system cleans up your computer. It's great. I like xp for the most part anyway.

    oh, and Peter, you should def check out VoIP. We've had ours for a bit now and we love it. We've had a really nice experience with it.
     

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