I need a laptop recommendation for travel: where and how much?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Jonathan Burk, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. Jonathan Burk

    Jonathan Burk Second Unit

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    I'm thinking of getting a laptop to take on the road with me, and I'm kind of new to the world of portable computing. I'll be traveling a lot, and in addition to using it for business stuff, I'd like to use if for entertainment.

    I'd like to be able to:

    -watch DVD's and DIVX movies (are there different screen options that look better for movies?)
    -play games such as Warcraft III and Rise of Nations

    For business, it's got to have XP Pro.

    Since I can't build one from scratch, should I go direct from Dell or Compaq? Or get one at Costco or Fry's and upgrade XP? Or can I get away with buying an older used one (with a 1-1.5ghz CPU?) and upgrading the HD and RAM?

    Also, what are the essential accessories for travel, especially using it on an airplane? Is there a good travel case that is worth getting, or should I just expect to use what I can get when I buy the laptop?

    Thanks for any help or advice...
     
  2. Jonathan Burk

    Jonathan Burk Second Unit

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    I'm thinking of getting a laptop to take on the road with me, and I'm kind of new to the world of portable computing. I'll be traveling a lot, and in addition to using it for business stuff, I'd like to use if for entertainment.

    I'd like to be able to:

    -watch DVD's and DIVX movies (are there different screen options that look better for movies?)
    -play games such as Warcraft III and Rise of Nations

    For business, it's got to have XP Pro.

    Since I can't build one from scratch, should I go direct from Dell or Compaq? Or get one at Costco or Fry's and upgrade XP? Or can I get away with buying an older used one (with a 1-1.5ghz CPU?) and upgrading the HD and RAM?

    Also, what are the essential accessories for travel, especially using it on an airplane? Is there a good travel case that is worth getting, or should I just expect to use what I can get when I buy the laptop?

    Thanks for any help or advice...
     
  3. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    My new job issued me an IBM T40 Thinkpad. It is lightweight, has a DVD player, built in Wireless, perfect for traveling. I am uncertain as to its suitability for games.

    If you want a good gaming laptop check out Dell. My personal laptop is an Inspiron 8200 which has a great graphics card. The newer versions are even better but you get a big weight penalty and its a power hog.

    As for accessories, some airlines require a special power cord in order to plug in your laptop. Ask about those at your local computer store. Also most airlines have laptop hook-ups only in business class. For a case I'd get one that opens and closes easily so you can get through security easier.
     
  4. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    My new job issued me an IBM T40 Thinkpad. It is lightweight, has a DVD player, built in Wireless, perfect for traveling. I am uncertain as to its suitability for games.

    If you want a good gaming laptop check out Dell. My personal laptop is an Inspiron 8200 which has a great graphics card. The newer versions are even better but you get a big weight penalty and its a power hog.

    As for accessories, some airlines require a special power cord in order to plug in your laptop. Ask about those at your local computer store. Also most airlines have laptop hook-ups only in business class. For a case I'd get one that opens and closes easily so you can get through security easier.
     
  5. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I also really like the IBM Thinkpads. I would look at Dell and IBM.

    Here's the main things I'd look for if I were you:

    light weight (you'd be amazed at how heavy an 7-9 pound laptop becomes when put in a case with accessories and you have to carry it for a while!) -- I'd aim for a "travel" model under 5 pounds
    Hard drive speed -- get AT LEAST 5400rpm (standard=4200)
    RAM -- minimum of 512MB
    CPU -- minimum of 1.0 GHz (sounds slow, but will do all you really need)
    Graphics Card -- make sure it's not a shared memory card. Get one with at least 64MB for gaming
    For the screen go with SXGA or UXGA for better picture
     
  6. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I also really like the IBM Thinkpads. I would look at Dell and IBM.

    Here's the main things I'd look for if I were you:

    light weight (you'd be amazed at how heavy an 7-9 pound laptop becomes when put in a case with accessories and you have to carry it for a while!) -- I'd aim for a "travel" model under 5 pounds
    Hard drive speed -- get AT LEAST 5400rpm (standard=4200)
    RAM -- minimum of 512MB
    CPU -- minimum of 1.0 GHz (sounds slow, but will do all you really need)
    Graphics Card -- make sure it's not a shared memory card. Get one with at least 64MB for gaming
    For the screen go with SXGA or UXGA for better picture
     
  7. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    I just bought my son an IBM Thinkpad, T42 (newest T model) through his University. The IBM R-series is also very good. The T series is the thin/light business series. The R is the value series. It's very close to the T but a bit (1 lb) heavier. My first son has had an R31 at school for just over 2 years now and it's been flawless. My sister just bought her daughter an R51 (newest R model) for school.

    15in SXGA is getting popular and was the display chosen for both the T42 and R51 described above. The T42 has a 64 meg video. You can get up to 128meg but now you're into upper 2k pricewise.

    End of IBM commercial, fade to black.....
     
  8. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    Jonathan, it appears you want a hybrid.

    Alienware Sentia
    The one in the link is not the only option.

    I almost went with this but opted for the ultra-heavy but fast Area51.

    [​IMG]


    I have both a Dell Inspiron and an ALienware. Both are more of the "desktop replacement" variety. The Alienware smokes the Dell.
     
  9. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    Take a look at hypersonic the cx7 and ax7 both have the mobility 9700's which are great for gaming and decent battery life.
    http://www.hypersonic-pc.com/2001/systems-mobile.htm

    If your not in a rush sometime next week sager is supposed to start selling a desktop replacement athlon 64. www.PcTorque.com would be the best place to look for it (I believe the model is 4750).
     
  10. Jonathan Burk

    Jonathan Burk Second Unit

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    Thanks for the recommendations. I've been checking those out.
     
  11. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    Jonathan - if you do decide on an IBM, shoot me an email; i can give you the employee purchase website. it usually is about 10% less (sometimes more) than buying them from other dealers. i've got a T40 Thinkpad, and it would fit your needs pretty well (long battery life, decent graphics card for gaming). If you want more of an all out gamer, you're going to have to add a lot of weight...in that case the Dell 9100 is very competitive with the XPS, and if you go over to the deals section there are a lot of rebates and coupons you can use to get a fairly loaded one for around $1400.
     

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