Laptop Choice
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Thread: Laptop Choice

  1. #1
    Frustrated Mad Scientist
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    Laptop Choice

    To Dell or not to Dell that is the question

    I've got my mind set on getting a laptop. I've got about 500 of our British pounds to spend.

    The lappy won't be used for anything hugely stressful, office, surfing, some older 3D games. It'll probably be running Vista so it'll need a little grunt (I've seen Vista on a Celeron ).

    After some deliberation I've found a couple of not bad deals

    Dell Inspiron 6400

    Core Duo (not Core 2) 2060 1.6GHz
    1Gb Ram
    120Gb HD
    ATI X1400 128Mb dedicated ram (+128 shared).

    Pros - Bigger HD, dedicated video ram
    Cons - It's Dell hell when buying, CPU isn't 64bit

    And an HP Pavilion DV6231
    AMD 64x2 TL-50 1.6GHz
    1Gb RAM
    80Gb
    NVidia GO-6150

    Pros - Not Dell, 64bit Processor, I can collect from the shop
    Cons - Gfx not a patch on the Dell, smaller HD

    Any opinions?
    Last edited by Aspman; March 5th, 2007 at 04:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Agony Aunty-Online Moira's Avatar
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    Well, it sounds a nice spec, can you really get all that for 500 in the Dell?

    What about optical drives?

    I got a nice Toshiba laptop which really was a bargain, maybe because they were discontinuing them. I'm now one of these people waiting for the "free vista upgrade" from moduslink, which is now forecast to be April as it seems the main cause for companies dragging their feet is realising they'll have to support all these users who take advantage of it!

    I also found a nice half price Antler leather case from PC World, so for about 25 I have a smart carry case for the laptop.

    Watch out with the Dell! I recently read on Slashdot about an exploding Dell laptop which had caused a house fire as nobody had been in when it burst into flames

    I was lucky with the onboard graphics for my laptop, the new model took advantage of Intel's new GMA 950 chip which displays aero in vista.

    In short, I'd say the Dell sounds a better spec but what about the dvd-rw, which I assume comes with it? Also, if you want to run vista, I'd say upgrade the RAM a bit, I added another GB to mine, it came with 512 which is not enough to run vista efficiently and doesn't do justice to what is a nice dual core processor.
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  3. #3
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    Hi Moria,

    I actually wanted a Toshiba, by reputation they do seem to be the best built. They had a 100 cash back on a really good laptop but the deal finished on Sunday

    I've kinda reconsidered what I'll use the lappy for and I thinking about something simpler

    http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/113121

    It's an HP running a TL-52 with 60Gb HD and 512 ram with XP pro and a DVD/CDRW

    Not the greatest spec but with the cash back deal from HP it's only 390.

  4. #4
    Old Fart
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    Just remember, the term "Dell Hell" exists for a reason.....
    Al
    It isn't paranoia when you KNOW they're out to get you...

  5. #5
    Senior Member Aardpsymon's Avatar
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    had a look at sony vaios? They are hardly the most powerful of laptops but they certainly win out on small and portable. I personally wouldn't go for a dell.

    Watch out with the Dell! I recently read on Slashdot about an exploding Dell laptop which had caused a house fire as nobody had been in when it burst into flames
    Have you been hiding in a cave? There was a MASSIVE recall on dell laptops (among others) because of a defective batch of batteries. Theres a wonderful video on www.theregister.co.uk somewhere of one catching fire in a car park.
    If the world doesn't stop annoying me I will name my kids ";DROP DATABASE;" and get revenge.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by allenb1963
    Just remember, the term "Dell Hell" exists for a reason.....

    I've been, more than once. If I didn't have that experience of Dell + that of some friends who have recently bought Dells the Dell laptop would have been an automatic choice. I just know that it's going to be an awful experience just to buy from Dell never mind deal with support if required...endless phone calls from downtown Mumbai trying to up sell warranties, mis-speccing machines, late deliveries etc etc.

    The HP's look ok but they are running on board gfx, ATI Xpress 1150, I wonder how that compares to my rather cheap and nasty desktop FX5200. If the 1150 will run CSS 'reasonably' then the HP would be my choice.

    Probably the dearer version which has a TL-60 and 2Gb ram + XPpro and a DVDRW. The Memory bay on the HP business machines all use single modules which would make an upgrade for Vista easier.

    Laptops are a bugger to buy since you can never upgrade very much.

  7. #7
    Senior Member alakhiyar's Avatar
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    Consider an extended warranty, whichever way you go. I like three years, if I can get it and if it makes financial sense. I also like one from the manufacturer, although one from a reputable reseller which has the financial strength to stay around is okay, too.

    Laptops are just too hard to fix, most times. And the cost of the replacement components can be daunting.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Aardpsymon's Avatar
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    well, my experience of "fixing" laptops its nearly always ended up being replace the mainboard. Plus, after three years you can maybe arrange for it to meet with an accident and get an upgrade?

    At work we go for 3 or even 5 years if we can get it. We need to know our hardware will work or get fixed for free, not enough budget to set aside for repairs.
    If the world doesn't stop annoying me I will name my kids ";DROP DATABASE;" and get revenge.

  9. #9
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    Yeah I know what you mean about laptops. You can usually change the HD but sod all else.

    I was pointed at an Acer from Acersdirectco.uk but they seem to have a bit of a mixed rep. IT was about 100 dearer than the TL-60 HP.

    The HP has a good spec except for the gfx, WXGA+ screen, magnesium chassis, and most places are still selling it for close to 700 and I'm looking at 488 after rebate.

  10. #10
    Agony Aunty-Online Moira's Avatar
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    I don't go for arranging things to "meet with an accident" but after 3 years let's face it, most laptops unless high spec when bought are probably past their most useful, at the very least you'd need to replace a battery. I have a very old laptop which was second hand when I bought it late 2003 and it won't even boot now without being connected to mains power. The batteries are so hard to obtain that they're really expensive and frankly it isn't worth it.

    Currently running Kubuntu it does run XP OK and I upgraded the RAM from the lousy 128MB it came with, but it's just sitting gathering dust. In practice I'm not going to use it when I have the new one here, but I don't like to just throw it out!

    The trouble with an extended warranty is you may find you've unwittingly broken it by doing anything at all with the laptop (like upgrading the memory). Personally I think these are expensive and the basic things like fire (particularly important if you get a Dell) and theft ought to be covered on your household insurance policy. The rest I can either fix or doesn't go wrong until the equipment is just outside the policy dates!

    Your link points to what seems to be a nice machine for the price - just remember the warnings about Ebuyer, they've had a hell of a lot of bad press, admittedly mostly some time ago. You can probably upgrade the RAM and will qualify for the free upgrade to Vista if you buy it and claim before the end of March. (You'll then be waiting with hundred of thousands of other people for your upgrade to be processed, but that's another story!)
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