Laptop Confusion

Discussion in 'hardware' started by btman, Nov 7, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. btman

    btman Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Posts:
    576
    Hi there I live in Canada... I'm looking at about 4 laptops currently to run Windows 7 Home or Professional 64 Bit.

    First of all is an HP 15.6" Screen
    4GB DDR2 RAM
    500GB Harddrive (7200 RPM)
    2.6 GHz AMD Turion II Ultra Dual Core M640 Processor
    1366 x 768 resolution (I think that's 720P?)
    ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 4650 graphics
    Blu-Ray Player

    http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?logon=&langid=EN&sku_id=0665000FS10131706&catid=

    Price = $999.99

    OR

    A Sony 16.4" FW 590
    4GB DDR2 RAM
    500GB Hard drive (7200 RPM)
    Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor P8800 (2.66GHz)
    Does 1080P
    ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 4650 graphics with 1GB dedicated video RAM
    Blu-Ray Player

    Price is: $1433.99 without shipping from sonystlye.ca

    OR

    A Dell Studio 15 15.6" LCD Screen
    4GB DDR2 RAM
    500GB Hard drive (7200 RPM)
    Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T9600 (2.8GHz/1066Mhz FSB/6MB cache)
    Does 1080P
    512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570
    Blu-Ray Player
    Price is: $1,429 without shipping from dell.ca

    Or

    A Dell Studio XPS 16 15.6" WLED LCD
    4GB DDR3 RAM
    500GB Hard drive (7200 RPM)
    Intel ® Core ™ i7 720QM 1.6GHz (2.8 GHz Turbo Mode, 6MB Cache)
    1680x945 Resolution
    ATI Mobility RADEON® HD 4670 – 1GB
    Blu-Ray Player

    Price is: $1,569 without shipping from dell.ca

    Now I don't know if I will be gaming on it yet, I used to play a couple PC games but it kind of died out when I realized my computer is crap, and I got a ps3/wii.

    So a couple questions also on these laptops:
    Is dedicated 1 GB of RAM for a graphics card better than 512 MB? Because the Sony has 1 GB while one of the dells has 512MB but a 2.8 GHZ processor but is cheaper.
    Is 1080P even necessary on a 15.6" screen?
    On the XPS 16 why does it say 1.6GHZ, 2.8 GHZ turbo mode.. Shouldn't it just always be in turbo mode? Also it says 6 MB Cache... I think the others are all 3MB cache.. What does that mean and is it a big difference?
    The XPS 16 also has DDR3 RAM... Is that going to be a huge difference from DDR2? Will that even matter at 4 GB of RAM?
    The HP is the only one with an AMD processor @ 2.6 GHZ, yet it is a TON cheaper than these other ones. Is there anything wrong with the HP one?

    And are there any more custom computer websites for canada? The HP one is confusing and really only says "find a retailer near you"... And so I really only have a Future Shop near me and thats the best HP for the size... I'm looking at 15.6 or 16.4 " obviously. And if you have anything else please let me know! Thanks so much.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
  2. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Posts:
    3,130
    I personally prefer Fujitsu laptops. Very good quality but a bit more expensive (sometimes you do get what you pay for, I think this is one of them). http://www.fujitsu.ca/

    I bought my PC directly from Fujitsu via their web page (you can select numerous different upgrades etc) and I have absolutely no regrets. Top notch IMHO.
     
  3. Keyboard_Commando

    Keyboard_Commando Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Posts:
    690
    Larger dedicated ram is going to enable ease with intensive games at higher resolutions, but GPU clock + Memory Bus clock are doing the real number crunching (texture fill rate). Texture Fill Rate numbers will ultimately point you in the direction of the fastest card on offer.

    1GB of ram running 256bit @ 500mhz is slower than 1GB of 512bit @ 500mhz.
     
  4. NoIos

    NoIos Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Posts:
    607
    More is always better but not always needed or necessary. More video memory is needed if you'd like to play on big screens or high resolutions.
    Necessary? If you wish to play HD contents then it might be better.
    No. Turbo mode gets enabled when needed.
    Usually additional CPU cache is a good extra and in many cases gives you better performance. This also depends of the type of applications you are running.
    Huge difference...no.
    Nothing wrong

    Now in general. My personal experience and opinion is that when you buy a notebook, if you have the money...get the best machine available ( do it only if you know that the brand provides good support in your country and if there are options for guarantee extensions ). If you change often your notebook...like annually...there is no need to spend more than 1000-1200$.

    About the features...the only machine I could suggest is the one with the i7 cpu. The rest of them are nice machines, I have tried almost all of those CPUs and really do a great job.

    I could say...avoid Sony Vaio unless you intend wipe out the Sony software configuration and do a clean install. Dell has great support worldwide. HP is a level below.
     
  5. btman

    btman Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Posts:
    576
    Hey thanks a bunch for the answers.

    The reason I ask about the 1080P is when TV shopping online and everything people say... 720P will be fine until you go 37" or higher or something like that... But on a 15-16" laptop.. I just have doubts I'll care enough to notice 1080P lol.

    So I should just remember the 2.8 ghz 'turbo' then... I mean 2.6 ghz isn't always going to be used either.. That's just a lovely way to confuse me lol.

    Kk thanks for more all the info again.

    And yeah if I got the Sony I'd want a clean install. And I figured the HP was a tad sub-par for the sole fact its 999.99... But then again after taxes and stuff $500 cheaper is probably a smart decision.
     
  6. TechOutsider

    TechOutsider Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Posts:
    549
    So a couple questions also on these laptops:
    Is dedicated 1 GB of RAM for a graphics card better than 512 MB? Because the Sony has 1 GB while one of the dells has 512MB but a 2.8 GHZ processor but is cheaper.

    Benchmarking an 8800 (nVidia) shows no significant difference betwen 512 and 1024 MB of framebuffer. The 8800 should be roughly the same as the laptop versions of the graphics cards.

    Is 1080P even necessary on a 15.6" screen?

    Personal preference. Can you read that small?

    On the XPS 16 why does it say 1.6GHZ, 2.8 GHZ turbo mode.. Shouldn't it just always be in turbo mode? Also it says 6 MB Cache... I think the others are all 3MB cache.. What does that mean and is it a big difference?

    Cache allows the processor do reduce the number of redundant tasks by storing commonly needed info. in a small cache that is over 250 times faster than accessing the hard drive itself (provided it isn't solid state :))

    The XPS 16 also has DDR3 RAM... Is that going to be a huge difference from DDR2? Will that even matter at 4 GB of RAM?

    Not sure. Does DDR3 run in triple channel mode at 4 GB? I thought it had to be a multiple of 3.

    The HP is the only one with an AMD processor @ 2.6 GHZ, yet it is a TON cheaper than these other ones. Is there anything wrong with the HP one?

    It's an HP. Mass-market computers.
     
  7. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Posts:
    3,130
    When did Dell begin having great support again? I bought a Dell a good number of years ago and at first the support was excellent. Then they shifted their support to India and the typical solution to any problems I was having was to do a reformat and reinstall Windows. I am grateful for this since it caused me to learn to do a lot myself but I swore I would never buy a Dell again,,,and I have not.

    My experience with Fujitsu has been excellent. The odd time I need help and cannot get it here Fujitsu support has been top notch.
     
  8. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Posts:
    3,130
    I had a Sony desktop and found their support to be horrible. After they fussed with it for 9 weeks (back and forth,,,its fixed,,,no its not,,,Oh ya, we see, leave it again,,,etc) I finally had to junk it (they never did find the problem). Not a great experience let me tell you.
     
  9. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Posts:
    3,130
    Take a look at customer satisfaction surveys for the major brands of mass market PCs and you will find HP near the bottom of the list. Thats why its cheaper,,, its a cheaply made machine.

    I would rather pay a bit more and have a PC I can rely on than save a few bucks and spend time and money having it repaired.
     
  10. btman

    btman Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Posts:
    576
    Well actually my friend just bought the HP so I might go and look at it... Because that's the only one I can get in a store, rather than online.. So I have some bargaining room, and I can actually see the damn thing before I buy it lol.

    And yeah.. with new tech being called into pc's all the time.. I'm just not sure it's worth blowing my entire wallet. And I get that will happen will all computers during any market condition... But I'm not going 'hardcore' into anything really yet so I don't need the 'hardcore' specs I guess.

    But it all also relates to, I'm not rich... If I need to buy it @ Future Shop I've had nothing but good things with their PSP's.
     
  11. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Posts:
    3,130
    I would then suggest a good imaging program (essential any way) and a tight backup regime. Barring a hardware failure you will never have to both tech support if you do this (well, most likely not).
     
  12. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Posts:
    9,006
    Hello,

    I help setup a dell studio 15 for my parents friends and it is a very good laptop.

    with windows 7 you dont need an imaging application since windows 7 has imaging bultin.

    see here

    I simply created the first image by going to control panel,system and security,backup and restore and clicked on create a system image.
    I recommend you do the above first.
    once that was done i created a scheduled task

    WBADMIN START BACKUP -backupTarget:Z: -include:c: -allCritical -quiet
    if you plan to use the above change -backupTarget:Z: to the drive letter you wish to backup to.
    the task runs everyday at 5pm.
    I have restored 2 images so far and both have restored successfully.

    to check backups type powershell in to searchbox,right click run as administrator. Type: WBADMIN get versions

    I still use image for windows since I paid for it not long ago.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  13. TechOutsider

    TechOutsider Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Posts:
    549
    As far as gaming goes, I think the i7 would max out the 4670.

    The 4650 with the Turion would give both a good workout though.
     
  14. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Posts:
    2,345
    Location:
    Along the Shorelines somewhere in New England
    My input from working with laptops for years as an SMB network consultant....
    I've not had luck with AMD based laptops. They tend to be cheaper laptops overall, usually 1 year warranty at the most. Memory issues, motherboard issues.

    I'm a firm believer in sticking with more business grade laptops...which naturally will include a 3 year warranty. Laptops are more prone to needing repair work than a desktop PC. Plus..you're more likely to get better support on business models, with cheaper home grade 1 year models you'll be calling Habu overseas.

    I prefer IBM/Lenovo, and Dell Latitude/Precision laptops.

    Toshiba and Sony...painful support when you need it.
    HP has been "OK", average.

    Max out the RAM, even if you're sticking with a 32 bit OS..go with 4 gigs.
    7,200rpm drive..which I see you're going with, good. 5,400rpm and especially 4,200rpm drives are what contribute to making laptops slow.

    Upgrade wireless to Intel wireless, cheaper options are usually not as good for wireless. Intel Centrino quite problem free and reliable in my experience.

    Think about what size/weight laptop will be best for you. Yeah some 17" full desktop replacements can wow you with big screen size..but do you like to move around, carry it, use on the couch or propped up in bed? Personally for a laptop a nice portable 14" works best for me. When I want big screen I'll sit down at one of my desktops.
     
  15. btman

    btman Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Posts:
    576
    Thanks for the input!

    The only issue with all those upgrades is money. I mean with modest specs the prices listed at are $1400 + and 3 year plans go like $400 more!

    OR I just go with the HP with the AMD Turion... And save a lot of money. I don't know maybe I'll take a trip and check out Best Buys and the Sony store in a city not too far away shortly before or after Christmas. I wonder when Future Shop gets new laptops in...

    And I don't have the money to upgrade my desktop, so that's why I want a decent 15-16" screen. I've used a 16" screen before and I have no issues with it.

    I will be going with Windows 7 64 Bit. And yeah 4 GB RAM.
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.