It's my turn for a "Buying a new Laptop" thread

Discussion in 'Computers' started by MarkHastings, Mar 29, 2006.

  1. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Just when I thought I had a Dell all speced out, a co-worker introduced me to Alienware and I'm in LOVE! [​IMG]

    Now, while I realize that I may be going a little overboard, I wanted to see if you guys think I'm absolutely nuts. [​IMG]

    Originally I had picked out a Dell Inspiron with these details:

    Inspiron E1705

    Inspiron E1705 Intel Core Duo Processor T2300 (1.66GHz/667MHz FSB)
    OS Genuine Windows XP Professional
    LCD Panel 17 inch UltraSharp Wide Screen UXGA Display with TrueLife
    Memory 1GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz
    Video Card 256MB ATI MOBILITY RADEON X1400 HyperMemory
    Hard Drive 80GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
    Network Card Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem
    Combo/DVD+RW Drives 8x CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) with double-layer DVD+R write capability
    Wireless Networking Cards Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g Mini Card (54Mbps)
    Primary Battery 53 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery

    TOTAL:$2,236.00

    ---------------

    Now, after looking at Alienware, I configured the Area-51 m5700 with the same kind of specs as the Dell and they come out to approx. the same price, but Dell has a lot of reabtes - mainly the $300, so while the Alienware looks cooler, the Dell is cheaper.

    So then I see the Alienware Aurora m7700 - I REALLY love this laptop!

    I configured this approx. the same way as well:

    Aurora m7700

    Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ with HyperTransport Technology
    OS: Genuine Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2
    Display: 17" WideUXGA 1920 x 1200 LCD Clearview Display with Built-in Camera
    Motherboard: VIA K8T890 + VT8237A Chipset
    Memory: 1GB Dual Channel DDR SO-DIMM at 400MHz - 2 x 512MB
    Video/Graphics Card: 256MB NVidia GeForce Go 6800 Ultra
    Hard Drive: Single Drive Configuration - 80GB 7200 RPM SATA
    Primary CD ROM/DVD ROM: 8X Dual Layer DVD+/-RW / 24X CD-RW Combo w/Software
    Sound Card: High-Definition Audio with surround sound
    Primary Battery: Alienware m7700 12-cell Lithium-Ion Smart Battery Pack
    Communications: Integrated 10/1000Mb Gigabit Ethernet & 56K V.92 Modem
    Wireless Network Card: Internal Wireless 802.11b/g miniPCI Card
    Floppy Drive: USB Floppy Drive


    SubTotal: $3,054.00

    Now the price doesn't bother me as much as the processor. Being AMD, what issues do I run into? I know this system is geared more for gaming and while I may get into that, I really want to do more 3D animation.

    I may want to get into Maya and that app. does say it supports AMD, but I already own "Poser" which is a 3D animation app. and it says "Pentium class or compatible" - I assume AMD is compatitble?

    Does anyone know of any other 'issues' with AMD processors? Is it worth getting the AMD processor (over Pentium) just because of the "Cool" factor of the laptop?

    The thickness doesn't bother me because I love the internal subwoofer. It looks like it would make a great "Multimedia" machine and there's nothing wrong with that. The price may be a bit much, but what the hell, right?

    It's just that AMD processor. If not for that, I'd buy it no questions asked.

    Thoughts?


    p.s. From this link, you can see the AMD processor choices. Not knowing anything about AMD, I configured the laptop with the cheapest one to keep the price down. Any recomendations on a better processor??
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    You won't have any compatibility issues with the AMD processor. You might seek out some benchmarks with the programs you intend to use. AMD always wins benchmarks in games, but some Intel chips are better than AMD at encoding and other applications.

    I haven't seen benchmarks for the Duo, so I'm not sure how it stacks up against the Athlon.
     
  3. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Thanks Seth, I'm actually not 100% sure on what I want to use it for. I just know that once I get a KICKIN laptop, that I'll want to get into heavy duty stuff, so I don't want to find out (down the road) that I got screwed by getting something that doesn't suit my needs.

    Basically I may want to get into video editing (eventually HD), 3D animation, and photo and DVD stuff.

    p.s. I just noticed that if I go with the 100GB drive (at 7200 rpm) it's only $1 more. [​IMG]
     
  4. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    That's pretty sweet. And good call on the 7200rpm drive . . . the HD is the bottleneck in most laptops because people usually get 4200rpm or 5400rpm drives.
     
  5. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    HP has a really sweet machine out now too, the HP Compaq nx9420. It's the top of their business line and it's surprisingly affordable and has really sweet specifications. It even has really good graphics, ATI 1600, in it. Looks-wise though it's pretty average - any color you want as long as you want black. [​IMG]

    The Core Duos are at the top of the speed lists when it comes to laptops, I think. If you build a laptop with non-mobile parts however the Athlons do well. The Aurora seems to be built on desktop tech, meaning it probably has a battery life span about long enough to flash the screen at you twice before it croaks... [​IMG] On mains power it will probably be very fast though, but you do seem to pay what you get for. [​IMG]
     
  6. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    LOL - I never thought of that, but yes, I am not interested in 'mobility' like everyone else is.

    The main reson I want a laptop is because I recently got a new condo and I'm getting tired of running upstairs evertime I want to check IM's or email. Since I don't have a ton of room for a desktop in the living room...I want a desktop that I can easily trasnport between my kitchen and living room, so my main needs will always be near outlets.
     
  7. Dennis*G

    Dennis*G Supporting Actor

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    as long as you do not care about battery performance or weight, go ahead and get the m7700.
     
  8. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Yup, the Aurora is not cheap, but it will give you a lot of bang.

    Maybe not a lot of bang for the buck, but definitely a lot of bang. [​IMG]

    As long as you're cool with the fact that it's basically a movable desktop when it comes to using it away from a power outlet. You'll probably also see restrictions you never thought of, such as no placing it on anything but a perfectly level and smooth surface; with all that super high performance gear in there, these things tend to practically bristle with fans in every nook and cranny, often with air intakes below the machine (so possibly no actually having it on your lap, just on a non-dusty table.)

    Worthwhile review I spotted on a site in the UK.

    Yet another review over at Notebookreview.com!

    You might want to give some thought to a Geforce 7x00 instead of the 6800 if you're going all out economically, will give you more time before obsolescence sets in. [​IMG]

    I'm really editing tonight, but just had to add a final thought... what were they smoking when they added superbright leds to the front of the screen like that? The system would be practically unusable unless you taped over those or something.
     
  9. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Thanks for finding those reviews. Yeah, the more I think about it, the more the "coolness" factor may not be worth it. [​IMG]

    I'm now looking into the Area 51 m5700, at least it's got Pentium processors and seems more portable. From what I saw in the reviews, they were quite positive.
     
  10. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Don't discount the usefulness of a dual core machine though. Multithreaded apps really fly on multiple core machines - Photoshop is reputed to be very nice to use on a dual core, but not sure how video editing would be.

    Stands to reason that it would be good if the machine could genuinely do two things at once rather than switching between tasks the way a single core machine has to.
     
  11. Dennis*G

    Dennis*G Supporting Actor

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    Well, if you no longer care for an uber machine. Take a look at the IBM T60p models. It seems it would fill your requirements nicely, and it is a highly rated laptop on that site. and probably be close to price of the m5700 after you beef up that system a bit, because that default config was terrible.
     
  12. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I just bought a laptop, though my needs
    are not for gaming, rather more for portability.

    I first looked at the HP dv1000t which
    is a sweeeet machine -- fully loaded dual-core
    processor with 1GB ram and ac 100GB hard drive
    for about $2K.

    Very nice!

    I ended up buying the Lenovo T60, cause
    it's the best business laptop out there.

    T2500 processor, 2GB ram, 100 GB 7200rmp drive
    for about $2500-$2800.

    Much more expensive -- but it's a thinkpad.
     
  13. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Thanks for all the help guys. After seeing that the blue alienware was not a good fit (thanks for the links Kimmo), I was going back and forth between the Inspiron and the Dell.

    But low and behold, I found something that helped me make up my mind. A $750 off (Inspiron) coupon from CouponMountain.com!!!! [​IMG] [​IMG]


    So what I did was, I took my original Inspiron specs and cranked them up and still got the laptop for $2G's!!!

    So I pulled the trigger and got a kick-ass system!!! - Granted, the "coolness" factor isn't there, but I guess I'll trade that in for a much sweeter system at a much cheaper price.

    Here's what I got (the blue text show what I increased in the specs):

    Inspiron E1705

    Intel Core Duo Processor T2500 (2GHz/667MHz FSB)

    OS: Genuine Windows XP Professional
    LCD Panel: 17 inch UltraSharp Wide Screen UXGA Display with TrueLife
    Memory: 2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz
    Video Card: 256MB ATI MOBILITY RADEON X1400 HyperMemory
    Hard Drive: 100GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
    Network Card: Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem
    Combo/DVD+RW Drives: 8x CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) with double-layer DVD+R write capability
    Wireless Networking Cards: Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g Mini Card (54Mbps)
    Primary Battery: 80 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery

    Total Price
    Sub-total: $2,185.00
    Shipping & Handling: $49.00
    Shipping & Handling Discount: -$49.00
    Tax: $131.11
    Total Price: $2,316.11

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  14. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Woah, Mark! Great system!

    May I commend you on picking 2GB ram.

    It may seem overkill, but I have 2GB
    of ram on my desktop and I can run dosens
    of programs at once with no slowdown whatsoever.

    I would never want any computer, desktop
    or laptop, with less than 2GB ram.
     
  15. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Yeah, I currently work with 1GB and I know that more is always best - the $750 coupon was great because it allowed me to go for 2GB.

    Of course, I didn't upgrade everything to the fullest: I went with the 533MHz over the 667MHz because upgrading to the 2GB/533MHz was $350 more and the 2GB/667MHz was $500 more.
     
  16. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    I wonder how that will work, since the CPU is running on a 667Mhz bus if I read that spec correctly. Hmm.

    Looks like a plenty cool machine to me, I wish I could afford forking over that kind of cash for a new laptop at the moment. [​IMG] I'd probably go with the HP I mentioned up there though, I really like the Darth Vader stealth black thing that HP has going there and the specs are great.
     
  17. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    Alienware was bought up by Dell recently, so you will prolly get the same support if you happen to get the Alienware.
     

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