Notebooks - what to buy?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. Okay folks, time for one of those brain-storming sessions that
    inevitably ends in a flame war (or several). ;-)

    I'm thinking about buying a new lap-note-top-book-thing and while I've
    got a fair idea of what I'm looking for, I thought I'd find out how
    the wind's blowing here too.

    So... what brands/series/models do you/don't you trust, and why? (In
    particular I'm interested in the pros and cons of Toshiba, Acer and
    HP/Compaq.)

    Any gotchas w.r.t. performance?

    What about battery life?

    I'm thinking Pentium M (512MB / 60+GB / DVD+/-RW(DL) / WIFI / etc.
    etc. etc.) - but what about AMD? 64bit?

    I probably won't have budget for separate video, but expandability in
    that direction would be worth bonus points.

    What else should I be thinking about?

    --
    R.G. "Stumpy" Marsh.
    Timaru, New Zealand.
     
    R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh, Nov 28, 2005
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh wrote:
    > Okay folks, time for one of those brain-storming sessions that
    > inevitably ends in a flame war (or several). ;-)
    >
    > I'm thinking about buying a new lap-note-top-book-thing and while I've
    > got a fair idea of what I'm looking for, I thought I'd find out how
    > the wind's blowing here too.
    >
    > So... what brands/series/models do you/don't you trust, and why? (In
    > particular I'm interested in the pros and cons of Toshiba, Acer and
    > HP/Compaq.)
    >
    > Any gotchas w.r.t. performance?
    >
    > What about battery life?
    >
    > I'm thinking Pentium M (512MB / 60+GB / DVD+/-RW(DL) / WIFI / etc.
    > etc. etc.) - but what about AMD? 64bit?
    >
    > I probably won't have budget for separate video, but expandability in
    > that direction would be worth bonus points.
    >
    > What else should I be thinking about?


    Screen size was the deciding factor for my recent purchase (with the
    other minimal requirements met). I wanted a portable notebook for under
    $2,000. most 'cheap' notebooks are 15" 4:3 or 15.4" widescreen (usually
    16:10). The screen size also has a great impact on battery life.

    The specs you give above are met by the entry level Pentium M models,
    with the exception of the hard drive which is usually 40GB. You may
    consider the rotational speed of the drive (4200RPM or 5400PRM) as this
    will impact performance, but the drives are easily replaced in most models.

    I personally like HP/Compaq because they publish complete part number
    and disassembly information on their Web site, and parts are available.
    Toshiba offers good quality, and isn't priced too high on their basic
    models. Acer is okay but I hear their support isn't so good. Fujitsu is
    worth considering if you have the budget. Asus, MSI etc. are new to the
    market, and offering some nicely priced gear, but the quality/weight may
    not be as good as the others.

    The Other Guy
     
    The Other Guy, Nov 28, 2005
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    Dave Taylor Guest

    R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh <> wrote in
    news::

    > So... what brands/series/models do you/don't you trust, and why? (In
    > particular I'm interested in the pros and cons of Toshiba, Acer and
    > HP/Compaq.)


    Wife is very happy with her Toshiba. 3 yr worldwide warranty. HP NC6000
    from work is good too. I think laptops are pretty much the same today
    except for keyboards and touchpad position. Those can really affect how
    happy you are, so get out there and touch them.

    --
    Ciao, Dave
     
    Dave Taylor, Nov 28, 2005
    #3
  4. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    PAM. Guest

    "R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Okay folks, time for one of those brain-storming sessions that
    > inevitably ends in a flame war (or several). ;-)


    <snipped stuff I didn't read>

    Build your own and stick Linux on it :)

    FEEEEEEEED MEEEEEEE.
    :)

    PAM.
     
    PAM., Nov 28, 2005
    #4
  5. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    Geoff M Guest

    On Mon, 28 Nov 2005 23:39:34 +1300, R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh wrote:

    > Okay folks, time for one of those brain-storming sessions that
    > inevitably ends in a flame war (or several). ;-)
    >
    > I'm thinking about buying a new lap-note-top-book-thing and while I've
    > got a fair idea of what I'm looking for, I thought I'd find out how
    > the wind's blowing here too.
    >
    > So... what brands/series/models do you/don't you trust, and why? (In
    > particular I'm interested in the pros and cons of Toshiba, Acer and
    > HP/Compaq.)
    >
    > Any gotchas w.r.t. performance?
    >
    > What about battery life?
    >
    > I'm thinking Pentium M (512MB / 60+GB / DVD+/-RW(DL) / WIFI / etc.
    > etc. etc.) - but what about AMD? 64bit?
    >
    > I probably won't have budget for separate video, but expandability in
    > that direction would be worth bonus points.
    >
    > What else should I be thinking about?



    Don't buy a Dell. Look for my earlier post about Dell Hell - unreliable, no
    customer support, no local agent and forget parts.
    I see the Acer got top marks in the latest PC World mag.
    Geoff
     
    Geoff M, Nov 28, 2005
    #5
  6. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    -=rjh=- Guest

    Geoff M wrote:
    > On Mon, 28 Nov 2005 23:39:34 +1300, R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Okay folks, time for one of those brain-storming sessions that
    >>inevitably ends in a flame war (or several). ;-)
    >>
    >>I'm thinking about buying a new lap-note-top-book-thing and while I've
    >>got a fair idea of what I'm looking for, I thought I'd find out how
    >>the wind's blowing here too.
    >>
    >>So... what brands/series/models do you/don't you trust, and why? (In
    >>particular I'm interested in the pros and cons of Toshiba, Acer and
    >>HP/Compaq.)
    >>
    >>Any gotchas w.r.t. performance?
    >>
    >>What about battery life?
    >>
    >>I'm thinking Pentium M (512MB / 60+GB / DVD+/-RW(DL) / WIFI / etc.
    >>etc. etc.) - but what about AMD? 64bit?
    >>
    >>I probably won't have budget for separate video, but expandability in
    >>that direction would be worth bonus points.
    >>
    >>What else should I be thinking about?

    >
    >
    >
    > Don't buy a Dell. Look for my earlier post about Dell Hell - unreliable, no
    > customer support, no local agent and forget parts.


    All valid points; but I think (as happens with other tech products) that
    some particular models are better than others. My sister-in-law has a
    Dell Inspiron 8600, and has for the past 2+ years been travelling most
    of each year with it in Australia (extended fishing trip :)

    Despite the rough treatment it has performed (so far) flawlessly.

    Yet my neighbour owns a Toshiba SP6100, and in the past 3 years has had
    to replace the motherboard once, and the hard drive 3 times (last time,
    just out of warranty :-(

    Seems there are good and bad models from just about any "manufacturer"
    these days; so at least look at how easy it is going to be to get it
    fixed if it does turn out to be a lemon.

    > I see the Acer got top marks in the latest PC World mag.


    Unbelievable value for money - I see they have a new 17" model out now
    for ~$1600+

    > Geoff
     
    -=rjh=-, Nov 29, 2005
    #6
  7. "Geoff M" <> wrote in message
    news:1mrz4cq201bvu$.1lup9e66r6jjr$...
    > On Mon, 28 Nov 2005 23:39:34 +1300, R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh wrote:
    >
    >> Okay folks, time for one of those brain-storming sessions that
    >> inevitably ends in a flame war (or several). ;-)
    >>
    >> I'm thinking about buying a new lap-note-top-book-thing and while I've
    >> got a fair idea of what I'm looking for, I thought I'd find out how
    >> the wind's blowing here too.
    >>
    >> So... what brands/series/models do you/don't you trust, and why? (In
    >> particular I'm interested in the pros and cons of Toshiba, Acer and
    >> HP/Compaq.)
    >>
    >> Any gotchas w.r.t. performance?
    >>
    >> What about battery life?
    >>
    >> I'm thinking Pentium M (512MB / 60+GB / DVD+/-RW(DL) / WIFI / etc.
    >> etc. etc.) - but what about AMD? 64bit?
    >>
    >> I probably won't have budget for separate video, but expandability in
    >> that direction would be worth bonus points.
    >>
    >> What else should I be thinking about?

    >
    >
    > Don't buy a Dell. Look for my earlier post about Dell Hell - unreliable,
    > no
    > customer support, no local agent and forget parts.
    > I see the Acer got top marks in the latest PC World mag.
    > Geoff


    My dell 8100 is not too bad. nearly 5 years old, 1.3ghz mobile chip. Only
    one prob with the lcd that was cheaply fixed.

    But, if you want good customer support, do not buy dell. You are on your own
    with dell, and the indian (??) customer support are thickos who follow
    procedures like little computer programs.
     
    news.xtra.co.nz, Nov 29, 2005
    #7
  8. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    Joe Black Guest

    "Geoff M" <> wrote in message
    news:1mrz4cq201bvu$.1lup9e66r6jjr$...
    > On Mon, 28 Nov 2005 23:39:34 +1300, R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh wrote:
    >
    > > Okay folks, time for one of those brain-storming sessions that
    > > inevitably ends in a flame war (or several). ;-)
    > >
    > > I'm thinking about buying a new lap-note-top-book-thing and while I've
    > > got a fair idea of what I'm looking for, I thought I'd find out how
    > > the wind's blowing here too.
    > >
    > > So... what brands/series/models do you/don't you trust, and why? (In
    > > particular I'm interested in the pros and cons of Toshiba, Acer and
    > > HP/Compaq.)
    > >
    > > Any gotchas w.r.t. performance?
    > >
    > > What about battery life?
    > >
    > > I'm thinking Pentium M (512MB / 60+GB / DVD+/-RW(DL) / WIFI / etc.
    > > etc. etc.) - but what about AMD? 64bit?
    > >
    > > I probably won't have budget for separate video, but expandability in
    > > that direction would be worth bonus points.
    > >
    > > What else should I be thinking about?

    >
    >
    > Don't buy a Dell. Look for my earlier post about Dell Hell - unreliable,

    no
    > customer support, no local agent and forget parts.
    > I see the Acer got top marks in the latest PC World mag.
    > Geoff


    A lot of the Acer notebooks seem to have a AMD Turion 64-bit processor.
    Are they any good (performance, power consumption, hardware/software
    compatibility)?

    - Joe
     
    Joe Black, Nov 29, 2005
    #8
  9. I have been very happy with my Compaq EVO n800w....
    I get about 2 hours battery and it has done everything I have ever asked of
    it (which is at times very intensive, video rendering etc)

    However, watch out for after sales gouging....

    I need a $20 cable for from the sceen to the MB, (cracked ribbon from
    opening/shutting the lid) but HP won't/can't sell me one, however they are
    able to sell me a replacement screen for $1000's :-(


    --
    -- Cheers
    Southern Kiwi
    southern_kiwi@*spamsucks*hotmail.com
    Word of wisdom from high in the mountains....you know...like a Guru...but
    not as old....or mystic......or wise....or high... :)


    "R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Okay folks, time for one of those brain-storming sessions that
    > inevitably ends in a flame war (or several). ;-)
    >
    > I'm thinking about buying a new lap-note-top-book-thing and while I've
    > got a fair idea of what I'm looking for, I thought I'd find out how
    > the wind's blowing here too.
    >
    > So... what brands/series/models do you/don't you trust, and why? (In
    > particular I'm interested in the pros and cons of Toshiba, Acer and
    > HP/Compaq.)
    >
    > Any gotchas w.r.t. performance?
    >
    > What about battery life?
    >
    > I'm thinking Pentium M (512MB / 60+GB / DVD+/-RW(DL) / WIFI / etc.
    > etc. etc.) - but what about AMD? 64bit?
    >
    > I probably won't have budget for separate video, but expandability in
    > that direction would be worth bonus points.
    >
    > What else should I be thinking about?
    >
    > --
    > R.G. "Stumpy" Marsh.
    > Timaru, New Zealand.
     
    Southern Kiwi, Nov 29, 2005
    #9
  10. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    smf Guest

    Southern Kiwi wrote:
    > I have been very happy with my Compaq EVO n800w....
    > I get about 2 hours battery and it has done everything I have ever asked of
    > it (which is at times very intensive, video rendering etc)
    >
    > However, watch out for after sales gouging....
    >
    > I need a $20 cable for from the sceen to the MB, (cracked ribbon from
    > opening/shutting the lid) but HP won't/can't sell me one, however they are
    > able to sell me a replacement screen for $1000's :-(
    >
    >

    my toshiba tecra m3 is good and grunty - with ddr2 - my only complaint
    was that it was cheaper for me to upgrade the harddrive myself after I
    had purchased it than buy the larger drive at the time of purchase - no
    idea why....seemed absurd. Oh and I wish I had gone for the higher
    resolution screen but its tough and strong and it gets plenty of travel
    - it also has a good keyboard....

    Sue
     
    smf, Nov 29, 2005
    #10
  11. In message <438b48a1$>, The Other Guy
    <> wrote:

    >The specs you give above are met by the entry level Pentium M models,
    >with the exception of the hard drive which is usually 40GB. You may
    >consider the rotational speed of the drive (4200RPM or 5400PRM) as this
    >will impact performance, but the drives are easily replaced in most models.


    Some of the Acer (I think) models I'm looking at have 7200rpm drives.
    Would I be right in assuming higher speeds are generally preferable?

    --
    R.G. "Stumpy" Marsh.
    Timaru, New Zealand.
     
    R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh, Nov 29, 2005
    #11
  12. In message <Xns971D5351DC695daveytaynospamplshot@203.97.37.6>, Dave
    Taylor <> wrote:

    >Wife is very happy with her Toshiba. 3 yr worldwide warranty. HP NC6000
    >from work is good too. I think laptops are pretty much the same today
    >except for keyboards and touchpad position. Those can really affect how
    >happy you are, so get out there and touch them.


    At present my one niggle with the Toshies is that they have the Del
    key in the "wrong" place.

    --
    R.G. "Stumpy" Marsh.
    Timaru, New Zealand.
     
    R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh, Nov 29, 2005
    #12
  13. In message <dkJif.4243$>, "PAM."
    <> wrote:

    >"R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >> Okay folks, time for one of those brain-storming sessions that
    >> inevitably ends in a flame war (or several). ;-)

    >
    ><snipped stuff I didn't read>
    >
    >Build your own and stick Linux on it :)
    >
    >FEEEEEEEED MEEEEEEE.
    >:)


    LOL

    Actually, although the new machine will be a Windows box, it will free
    my soon to be number 3 box (which, while stock, has been tinkered with
    a little) for Linux.

    ASCII art below - use a fixed pitch font.

    _________________________
    | Usenet Zoos |
    | TROLLUS PHALLUS MINIMUS |
    | |
    | Habitat: all of usenet |
    | Favourite food: flames |
    | |
    | Warning: This species |
    | is extremely dangerous. |
    | |
    | DO NOT FEED! |
    |_________________________|
    | |
    | |
    | |
    \\||//

    Stumpy.
    --
    R.G. "Stumpy" Marsh.
    Timaru, New Zealand.
     
    R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh, Nov 29, 2005
    #13
  14. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh wrote:
    > Some of the Acer (I think) models I'm looking at have 7200rpm drives.
    > Would I be right in assuming higher speeds are generally preferable?


    Correct. 7200RPM drives on notebooks are fairly new. Not sure how much
    impact they have on battery life.

    The Other Guy
     
    The Other Guy, Nov 29, 2005
    #14
  15. smf wrote:
    > my toshiba tecra m3 is good and grunty - with ddr2 - my only complaint
    > was that it was cheaper for me to upgrade the harddrive myself after I
    > had purchased it than buy the larger drive at the time of purchase - no
    > idea why....seemed absurd. Oh and I wish I had gone for the higher
    > resolution screen but its tough and strong and it gets plenty of travel
    > - it also has a good keyboard....


    Notebooks aren't custom assembled in our market. We get an option of
    several pre-configured variations. Often small variations end up making
    a large difference in price even though the equivalent item can be
    purchased off the shelf much cheaper.

    The Other Guy
     
    The Other Guy, Nov 29, 2005
    #15
  16. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    CyiPherX Guest

    On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 06:33:48 +1300, The Other Guy wrote:

    > R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh wrote:
    >> Some of the Acer (I think) models I'm looking at have 7200rpm drives.
    >> Would I be right in assuming higher speeds are generally preferable?

    >
    > Correct. 7200RPM drives on notebooks are fairly new. Not sure how much
    > impact they have on battery life.
    >
    > The Other Guy


    Ive had a 7200rpm HD in my notebook for about 3 years, 60GB with an 8MB
    cache, doesnt seem to make to much difference to the battery life, but it
    does make a huge difference in performance over a 5400rpm model.

    If anyone has a notebook with the 5400rpm speed, i highly recommend a
    7200rpm model.

    CyiPherX

    --
    Want to tell the world where you are??
    Add yourself to either the nz.comp http://www.frappr.com/nzcompusenetgroup
    or nz linux http://www.frappr.com/nzlinux Frappr maps.
     
    CyiPherX, Nov 29, 2005
    #16
  17. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    CyiPherX Guest

    On Tue, 29 Nov 2005 22:21:44 +1300, R.G.'Stumpy' wrote:

    > In message <dkJif.4243$>, "PAM."
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >>"R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh" <> wrote in message
    >>news:...
    >>> Okay folks, time for one of those brain-storming sessions that
    >>> inevitably ends in a flame war (or several). ;-)


    Next time you are at Harvey Normans, Bond & Bond, DSE, or where ever, take
    a look at the Toshiba models with the "Brightview" screens, the other
    models all look fuzzy.

    I recently upgraded to a Toshiba M40-X centrino based notebook, 1.73Ghz,
    and now running 1GB ram, but the thing that really stood out was the
    screen, it's not to you see them all side by side that you notice the
    difference, and at the end of the day,it's what you are looking at after
    all!

    CyiPherX

    --
    Want to tell the world where you are??
    Add yourself to either the nz.comp http://www.frappr.com/nzcompusenetgroup
    or nz linux http://www.frappr.com/nzlinux Frappr maps.
     
    CyiPherX, Nov 29, 2005
    #17
  18. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    Mercury Guest

    The people that are into Windows 64 bit love the Ferrari range.



    "Joe Black" <> wrote in message
    news:GXPif.4351$...
    >
    > "Geoff M" <> wrote in message
    > news:1mrz4cq201bvu$.1lup9e66r6jjr$...
    >> On Mon, 28 Nov 2005 23:39:34 +1300, R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh wrote:
    >>
    >> > Okay folks, time for one of those brain-storming sessions that
    >> > inevitably ends in a flame war (or several). ;-)
    >> >
    >> > I'm thinking about buying a new lap-note-top-book-thing and while I've
    >> > got a fair idea of what I'm looking for, I thought I'd find out how
    >> > the wind's blowing here too.
    >> >
    >> > So... what brands/series/models do you/don't you trust, and why? (In
    >> > particular I'm interested in the pros and cons of Toshiba, Acer and
    >> > HP/Compaq.)
    >> >
    >> > Any gotchas w.r.t. performance?
    >> >
    >> > What about battery life?
    >> >
    >> > I'm thinking Pentium M (512MB / 60+GB / DVD+/-RW(DL) / WIFI / etc.
    >> > etc. etc.) - but what about AMD? 64bit?
    >> >
    >> > I probably won't have budget for separate video, but expandability in
    >> > that direction would be worth bonus points.
    >> >
    >> > What else should I be thinking about?

    >>
    >>
    >> Don't buy a Dell. Look for my earlier post about Dell Hell - unreliable,

    > no
    >> customer support, no local agent and forget parts.
    >> I see the Acer got top marks in the latest PC World mag.
    >> Geoff

    >
    > A lot of the Acer notebooks seem to have a AMD Turion 64-bit processor.
    > Are they any good (performance, power consumption, hardware/software
    > compatibility)?
    >
    > - Joe
    >
    >
     
    Mercury, Nov 29, 2005
    #18
  19. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    Mercury Guest

    Several vendors do basic assembly to spec.
    EG the Asus models are designed for this.
    There are restricitions EG few if any motherboards give PCIe or graphics
    upgrade options asthe graphics tends to be on board or on chip.

    The Asus models are increasingly popular for good reason.


    "The Other Guy" <> wrote in message
    news:438c93e3$...
    > smf wrote:
    >> my toshiba tecra m3 is good and grunty - with ddr2 - my only complaint
    >> was that it was cheaper for me to upgrade the harddrive myself after I
    >> had purchased it than buy the larger drive at the time of purchase - no
    >> idea why....seemed absurd. Oh and I wish I had gone for the higher
    >> resolution screen but its tough and strong and it gets plenty of travel -
    >> it also has a good keyboard....

    >
    > Notebooks aren't custom assembled in our market. We get an option of
    > several pre-configured variations. Often small variations end up making a
    > large difference in price even though the equivalent item can be purchased
    > off the shelf much cheaper.
    >
    > The Other Guy
     
    Mercury, Nov 29, 2005
    #19
  20. R. G. 'Stumpy' Marsh

    Bret Guest

    On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 06:40:15 +1300, The Other Guy <>
    wrote:

    >smf wrote:
    >> my toshiba tecra m3 is good and grunty - with ddr2 - my only complaint
    >> was that it was cheaper for me to upgrade the harddrive myself after I
    >> had purchased it than buy the larger drive at the time of purchase - no
    >> idea why....seemed absurd. Oh and I wish I had gone for the higher
    >> resolution screen but its tough and strong and it gets plenty of travel
    >> - it also has a good keyboard....

    >
    >Notebooks aren't custom assembled in our market. We get an option of
    >several pre-configured variations. Often small variations end up making
    >a large difference in price even though the equivalent item can be
    >purchased off the shelf much cheaper.
    >
    >The Other Guy


    Look here.

    http://www.bdt.co.nz/computer/docs/gigabyte/470008.asp
     
    Bret, Nov 29, 2005
    #20
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