Looking for recommendations for a new laptop

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Vincent Day, May 31, 2010.

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  1. Vincent Day

    Vincent Day Registered Member

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    Hi,

    Looking to replace my laptop. Currently have a dell latitude d830. I use it for work and home. What do people use / recommendation and why? My main thing is a decent processor and memory.

    All comments welcome.

    Vincent
     
  2. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

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    How much money are you prepared to spend?
     
  3. iravgupta

    iravgupta Registered Member

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    What sort of expectations do you have from the hardware? This applies to both performance and quality. I for one have very stringent requirements for my machine -
    1. Build Quality - This is of prime importance. Panel flex, loose hinge, flimsy lid are a strict no no.
    2. Heat - Given the kind of processors being used these days, its unrealistic to expect no heat-up, but heating up of palm rest, touch-pad or keyboard sides is unacceptable.
    3. Fan Noise - Can't stand this either. Need something where the notebook operation is not audible.
    4. OS - Either without preloaded OS, or with Windows 7, or atleast availability of proper 32/64 bit Windows 7 drivers.
    5. Touch-pad - If its a ALPS manufactured one, then I won't be buying it. It has to be a Synaptics. Wonder why OEMs even bother with ALPS.
    6. Keyboard - Has to have an excellent keyboard. Chiclet or otherwise. Flexing keyboard, minimal feedback, rattling noise are major put offs.
    7. Graphics - Integrated graphics are fine, but if discreet then only ATI. No nvidia. Found them to run hotter than ATI.
    8. Sound - Decent. At-least they should not start screeching on full volume.
     
  4. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Processors today are more efficient and actually run cooler than those of yesterday. But they are more powerful and can still pump out the BTUs - when running full speed. Plus with more RAM and better graphics solutions, there is lots of potential to generate lots of heat - thus the need for fans.

    The problem is notebook cases. The desire is to make notebooks lighter and thinner - yet more powerful. Yet that same goal puts serious restrictions on cooling abilities - a challenge even in full tower PCs. But in a tower, you can use monster fans that turn at a very low RPM - thus they move massive amounts of air, but quietly. So, with a notebook, you are either going to have fan noise, lots of heat, or the system will toggle down to keep from burning up - or all three.

    I agree with my long time colleague Cudni - what is your budget? Also, "work and home" is not descriptive enough. What will you be doing with it? Word? Email? Video editing? Gaming?

    Also, to add to Ravi's list:
    9. Monitor - I like 17" ws but that may be too large for the frequent traveler.
    10. I/O Connections - Must have 802.11n, Ethernet (prefer 1Gb), ≥2 USB ports (prefer USB3.0), eSATA, and HDMI.

    Finally - I'm [trying to break the habit and] supporting the movement to stop using the word "laptop". A "notebook" should never be used on your lap - at least not without a Notebook Cooling Pad w/ext. power supply, or some other hard, flat surface so air has free movement around the lap... err... notebook.
     
  5. Escalader

    Escalader Registered Member

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    Suggest 8GB RAM, i5 or i7 processor.

    Select windows 7 and a vendor who will sell you a TPM for HDD encryption.

    Mine is a Dell Studio 17 good EXCEPT they say they don't sell units now with TPM.

    All other advice here is excellent. Watch the heat on Ix processors.:cool:
     
  6. Vincent Day

    Vincent Day Registered Member

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    Hi,

    Thanks for all the great advice... certainly much to think about.

    @Escalader - I've started reading about the studio 17 - looks a very nice piece of kit.

    @Cudni - in terms of budget I am looking to spend upto $1000


    cheers

    Vincent
     
  7. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    Considerations for laptops..

    *As with any Vista/Win7 rig...get 4 gigs of RAM...or higher. More RAM means less hard drive swap file usage (virtual memory/pagefile)...thus better battery life. Plus zippier performance.
    *Upgrade from the standard agonizingly slow 5,400rpm hard drive that many entry/medium level laptops come with, to a 7,200rpm hard drive...or if your budget can afford it (which a 1,000.00 computer won't)...an SSD.
    *To maintain your budget..honestly a Core 2 Duo will be more than adequate. i series aren't THAT much faster..and you can put that money towards better features.
    *Go for an Intel wifi...not the default "brand name". Intel wifi chipsets are superior in performance (range/speed) and compatibility.
    *3 year warranty. Many "home grade" laptops barely come with a 1 year warranty. IE Dell Inspiron, Studio, and almost anything you buy at the elcheapo bargain chain outlets. Seek out the real "business grade" models. IE Dell Latitude or Precision line, or Lenovo Thinkpad series, etc. 3 year warranty models, superior components under the hood.

    Other things to think about...."What do you need it for? What will be your typical use?"

    General all around office type use? General internet use? Or do you wish to game? Or...do you do graphics design work? Will you use it in rather limite places..like at a desk...and sometimes on the coffee table on your couch? Or do you need to carry it around with you a lot? Right there you have several totally different purposes, each of which has a proper choice completely different from the others.

    Even if you don't play games...you still want a graphics card that has a decent enough GPU to support full Aero properly, and allow you smooth playback of videos/DVDs. Budget onboard cards will make you laugh (or cry) at how bad the laptop is at playing video...stutter bog down city. Yet there are still quite a few decent onboard GPUs that Intel makes which play smoothy..so just make sure it has a decent one.

    Lets not forget sizes...ultra portables (usually 11-13" screens), medium sized (14-15" screens), and full desktop replacements (16 ==> screens..and freaking heavy pigs that you'll want a wheelbarrow to haul around..truly not a portable thing)

    I'm a fan of the 14" laptops..since I have to haul mine all over the place as I go from client to client, and I'm always using it in weird situations....heck I often use it truly as a laptop..on my lap! But fear not Bill..it's a Thinkpad with the cooling vents done properly on the side and rear...there is not one single cooling vent on the bottom. It's small enough to haul around easily, light enough, yet large enough to have a usable resolution.
     
  8. Escalader

    Escalader Registered Member

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    Hi:

    i7's have 8 processors are the newest chip. They are FAST! Mine has only 4 showing activity at the moment overall cpu% under 1%.
     
  9. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    I realize what the i7's are...I work with them a lot.
    Actually they're just 4x cores..each with hyperthreading..which is really just virtual cores. So it's 4x actual cores, 8x virtual cores.

    But lets look at his budget...and what he plans on doing with the laptop...as that hasn't been specified yet. At the most I'd probably see if an i5 clarkdale could be squeezed into his budget....allowing him to put some saved money into upgrading other components of the laptop to ensure better performance...aka 7,200rpm drive, and Intel wifi, and a 3 year warranty...and still maintain the 1k budget.

    With laptops there are other bottlenecks so tossing 300+ bucks into an i7....he won't realize the full performance of it if it's on a 5,400rpm drive or other slower poorer items, or a cheap 1 year laptop that will give him expensive grief in 1.5 years.
     
  10. acuariano

    acuariano Registered Member

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    nice thread,,,also when you mean more ram like 6-8 ram [what kind of ram is advisable,brand too?]
    -alsio you mean 64 bit units right?and not to hijack the thread,,locations where to buy new pc's,here in new york i only see bestbuy,but i think it is not a place to trust..i see some small shops,=dn't know which one is recomendable.
    btw there should be a thread about trustable shops to buy in any city.
     
  11. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    If you feel heat on your legs, that's trapped heat. There does not have to be a vent for there to be cooling. Heat radiates away, if allowed to. I bought one of those clipboards for legal size paper (14" long) and cut off the clip. Fits perfectly under my 17" Toshiba, and leaves a tiny gap to let some air move underneath. It is so thin, it adds next to nothing to thickness or weight. And when I travel, it adds a hard shield in case of bumps.

    Heat does not have to be excessive to cause damage. Long term exposure to high heat still ages electronics faster than normally cooled electronics.
     
  12. Escalader

    Escalader Registered Member

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    Hi YeOldeStonecat:

    His $1,000 budget was revealed AFTER my ix post:eek:

    Anyway, thanks for the information on 4 cpu's being 8. Good, less heat!

    On all this about rpm's etc we really don't know how HD bound the OP is? Does he do many updates to database software? Office 2010?

    If we are using 64 bit cpu's need enough ram to utilize it but even here we no very little about technical requirements. Does he need a desk top replacement?
    What kind of security does he need? What about backup?

    My experience is it is always a good plan to get more that enough CPU zip, RAM and HD it seems the products we get these days are greedy for resources.
     
  13. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    Technically if I feel the heat..that's escaping heat...if we peek into the laws of physics and thermodynamics. /wink

    I'm well versed in this, been doing computers for a living for a long long time. She stays quite comfy. My laptops get replaced approx every 3 years because I want to, not because they fail, but because it's time and I'm bored with it and just feel the need for a new one, and the old one gets recycled to run as my *nix router. The laptop also runs 24x7...it might get fully powered down 3-4 times a year, rarely rebooted, usually just hibernated and stuffed into the laptop bag and banged around the Jeep and gets the snot beat out of it as I go from client to client all day. They even get exposed to salt water air when I take my boat to some clients..she's just a small very fast 18' Baja speedboat, it gets a pounding on those trips. This one here has even fallen off a ladder onto the concrete floor of a basement when I was doing some router work. But then again..that's why I spend the extra money on Thinkpads. Like Timex watches, they take a lickin 'n keep on tickin'!
     
  14. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    It (or the majority of it) is not escaping if it is trapped between the notebook and the tops of your thighs.
     
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