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Thread: VT Computer Requirement

  1. #1

    VT Computer Requirement

    Well, I'm going to be attending Virginia Tech this fall and the College of Engineering has a computer requirement. Thats all fine and dandy, but I'm not really a hardware person yet and don't really understand the processor requirement.

    Computer Form Factor Notebook - Not a Slate form of Tablet PC
    Processor/Processor Speed * Intel Pentium-M (or equivalent processor) with a clock frequency of 1.60GHz or higher (Pentium 4 M should be 2.8 GHz or higher)
    Operating System Windows XP Professional
    Memory 1 GB RAM
    Hard Drive 40 Gigabytes
    Video Card 32 MB or greater
    Optical Device Options DVD/CD-RW (Optionally device can be a DVD+R or DVD-R drive)
    Network Card 10/100 Mbit Ethernet Card and 802.11b Wireless Interface
    Modem 56 Kb Modem that uses the V.90 Standard. Winmodems are not acceptable
    Input/Output USB 2.0
    File System NTFS
    Warranty STRONGLY Recommend 3 Year
    Software Students are required to purchase the Engineering Student Software Bundle. This bundle offers over $1500 worth of software for around $500. Information on the bundle, pricing and pickup can be found at the software purchasing site
    They hooked up a store with Dell, and they are offering to different notebooks; one for 1900 and the other for 2200. Basically my question is, whats up with the processor? I'm new to the "Pentium M."

    To understand it, what cpus does it compare to in speed and type?

    Plus, do you think this notebook could be cheaper than the 1900 to 2200 offered by Dell?


  2. #2
    Regal Making Handler
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    The M stands for mobile. This is a processor that been optimized for mobile computing. Ie it doesn't consume as much power as its big brother. Amd also make processors for notebooks.
    Alot of notebook manufacturers use standard processors. These are very power intensive, so you would not get the battery life of a dedicated mobile processor.

    I should think you would be able to get the price down abit bye shopping around. Just remember the spec's you nead and remember notebooks are very difficult to upgrate or swop hardware.
    What happens if a big asteroid hits the Earth? Judging from realistic simulations involving a sledge hammer and a common laboratory frog, we can assume it will be pretty bad. - Dave Barry

  3. #3
    What standard cpu in terms of speed would the Pentium M compare to? Or is it simply just 1.6ghz and thats the same as a Pentium 4 at 1.6ghz?


  4. #4
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington
    Yes, to all intents and purposes the "M" is only a Pentium that is designed for Notebook (battery powered) operation.

    I think that the Pentium M is a PIII?, but it looks as if the 1.6Ghz is really to let you buy an AMD processor which will be something like a "2000+" in AMD's rating system. They do say that if you get a P4 it should be a 2.8Ghz?

    Watch out for the modem spec. "V.90"............that is a bit weird to me as we are now on V92........the " NOT Winmodem" bit is a problem, as they are very common components............I guess they want you to be able to run Linux at some stage?.............Linux and Winmodems don't get on as a rule


  5. #5
    Here's the system dell offers configured to the VT specs:

    Latitude D800 - High Performance Mobility $2,199.00*
    Pentium® M Processor 1.6GHz 15.4 WXGA Display
    Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional, SP1, with media
    Dell Wireless 1350 WLAN (802.11b/g, 54Mbps) miniPCI Card
    NVIDIA® GeForce4 4200 Go™ 4XAGP graphics w/32MB DDR Video Memory
    Internal 56K Modem
    8-24-24-24X SWDVD/CDRW Combo Drive
    3 Year Limited Warranty plus 3 Year NBD On-Site Service
    Is it worth it? What do you expect he price to be if one was to go with the P4 2.6 instead? And if so, would that make a dramatic difference?


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Just a note: when considering price, take into account the engineering software that is included. You don't want to try and buy something like Autocad or Solidworks on your own.... not knowing what is included it's hard to say.... but remember that unless you can get the software somewhere else it may be worth it!

  7. #7
    Regal Making Handler
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    I'm no expert on processors but i believe the Pentium P4 is more optimized for battery life than processing power. Where as the Pentium M is more a compromise of performance vis battery life. I think this maybe the reason that if you go for the P4 you have to have the faster processor. IE Pentium 4M 1.7 mhz is out performed by the Pentium m 1.6.

    I no this to be true of at least the Dell made notebooks as i have one.

    As for what you should go for that is dependant on your budget. Dell are more expensive than some of there competitors and not others. If you can afford the more expensive laptop i would go for that, for the following reasons.
    1/You will have a more powerfull system.
    2/The system they are offering above has been around for some time now, and as Nihil has said it looks like a P3. As the P4M is new technoledgy it may have some upgrade options available at a later date. If it is the system i think it may be, you will i believe, only get the 64 meg graphics card, But it will take the 128 meg card.

    This is just my thinking you realy have to make your own mind up.

    What happens if a big asteroid hits the Earth? Judging from realistic simulations involving a sledge hammer and a common laboratory frog, we can assume it will be pretty bad. - Dave Barry

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