Could someone reccomend a good laptop for a database developer?

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Data Girl, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. Data Girl

    Data Girl Guest

    I am currently in the market for a work / personal use laptop in the base
    $800 - $1,300 range. I've been out of the loop for the past few years due to
    raising kids and am not currently up to speed on the latest hardware / 64bit
    platform stuff.

    Here are the major applications I'm intending to run:
    MS Office 2007
    Visual Studio.NET
    SQL Server 2005 (Developer Edition for non-production testing purposes)

    I've already determined 2GB RAM and a dual core CPU are requirements.

    Before making a purchase, there are a few essoteric questions I need
    answered that are probably beyond the scope of what the sales floor guys
    could answer and would appreciate any incite from the perspective of a
    fellow professional techie.

    - How to the Intel Centrino Duo vs. AMD Athlon 64 X2 compare in terms of
    performance and multitasking?
    - My company does not support Vista yet, so I'm wanting to go with XP
    Professional. However, do I need to be running the 64bit version of XP to
    run 64bit enabled applications optimally?
    - Several years ago, one of my coworkers had a Gateway laptop with a
    removable HD. While at home, he could pop out his work HD and insert his
    personal HD. I'm not talking about an external USB type HD; this was a
    bootable device that mounts internally. What is this device called, and if I
    order from some place like Dell, could I request this as an option to the
    conventional fixed HD? Also, if anyone has had experience with this type of
    device, could you confirm what licensing issues this presents for XP,
    becuase it would result in (2) different installs.
    - Can you offer any other general advice or reccomend a specific model in my
    price range?
     
    Data Girl, Feb 19, 2007
    #1
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  2. This is actually easier than you are making it.

    For the CPU, you want an Intel Core Duo or Core 2 Duo (Core 2 Duo is
    slightly better and also more expensive ... the difference is not great,
    however). Both processors do come in a variety of speed ranges. Forget
    about every other processor. The one you want is one of these two.

    [Centrino is ***NOT*** a CPU ... it's a designation for a variety of
    "all Intel" machine configurations, e.g. Intel CPU, chipset, Video, LAN
    and WiFi. Fine, but having a better (but non-Intel) video or WiFi
    option makes the machine "non-Centrino".]

    You may not now be able to buy a laptop that doesn't come with Vista.
    It would have been better to have made this purchase before January
    30th, you would have gotten BOTH XP and Vista at no additional cost (you
    can still get that option, until March 15th, ***IF*** you can find a
    machine with XP preloaded and the free Vista upgrade offer. But they
    have pretty much disappeared already). You can probably install XP on a
    machine that comes with vista, but, amazingly, XP drivers for models
    that come with Vista are often NOT readily available.

    Hard drives that are externally changeable have pretty much disappeared,
    however it's not difficult to change the hard drive in any current
    laptops (on most laptops, one screw and you are there). All current
    production laptops use SATA 2.5" hard drives. Don't discount the
    usability of external USB hard drives, either 2.5" or 3.5". In most
    cases, you can even boot from them.

    The really good news is that your price targets are too high, you won't
    have to spend any more than the low end of your estimate. I'm going to
    recommend that you look at the Dell E1505 and the Toshiba A105
    (discontinued, but may still be found) and the A135 (the replacement for
    the A105, almost identical).

    You can EASILY get a machine very close to what you want for $800 if you
    are a savvy buyer (watch the sales and for Dell, the deals at
    www.techbargains.com). EVERYONE has a Toshiba A135 model (or several)
    on sale this weekend, that includes Best Buy, Circuit City, Office
    Depot, Staples, etc. Price range from $549 to $799, and the $749 and
    $799 models will pretty much have everything you want and need except
    that they may only have 1GB of memory, so you may need to add memory
    after the purchase. You can also get a loaded up Dell E1505 for $800
    (look for the special order code that gives you a 20% discount on any
    E1505 selling for $999 or more, then configure you $1,000 E1505 and only
    pay $800 for it; there was even a 25% code available but I think it's
    gone now.).
     
    Barry Watzman, Feb 19, 2007
    #2
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  3. Data Girl

    Data Girl Guest

    I'm still seeing adds for units with XP, but sales papers are usually out of
    date on specs.
    So I can easily unscrew the IDE drive from the slot, pull it out, and insert
    another drive of similar specs? I would be doing this maybe every day, once
    in the morning and then once again in the evening (assuming I find enough
    free time to boot up in the evening). I guess most people are just using
    Partition Magic, but I'd rather not even take my personal data into the
    office, so swapping HDs is what I'm really wanting.

    I'm no HW techie, but I'm thinking that the data transfer on a USB2 external
    HD would be too slow for serving the OS and applications?
    I actually got a quote from a Dell sales guy who works with our office. It
    was for $2,100, but included MS Office, 3 year service plan, fancy leather
    carry case, etc. the works; perhaps more stuff than what I really need. So
    long as I can boot it up, connect to the office LAN, and run my apps
    crispily, then I'm happy.

    Thanks
     
    Data Girl, Feb 19, 2007
    #3
  4. Data Girl

    Venom Guest

    I understand you can still insist on XP Pro as the OS with most
    manufacturers.
     
    Venom, Feb 19, 2007
    #4
  5. The Core2 Duo is about 30% faster on a clock for clock basis then the
    Athlon 64 X2, keep that in mind when comparing systems.

    Why do you want a removable hard drive? You can get a reasonably large
    laptop drive, the biggest are 200G. If you need multiple OS environments
    to test your software you should use VMware, it's a lot easier to switch
    between virtual machines then to do multibooting. I don't know if anyone
    makes a laptop with plugable drives, you can certainly put plugable drive
    cages into a desktop system.
     
    General Schvantzkoph, Feb 19, 2007
    #5
  6. Data Girl

    Alfred Guest

    For one with a swappable hard drive I believe the IBM thinkpads had
    that ability. I have a T20 that has a clip holding the drive in place.
    Easy swapped and rebooted in minutes. Unfortunately I don't know if
    later models have this.
     
    Alfred, Feb 19, 2007
    #6
  7. Re: "
    Hard drives that are externally changeable have pretty much disappeared,
    however it's not difficult to change the hard drive in any current (on
    most laptops, one screw and you are there). All current production
    laptops use SATA 2.5" hard drives. Don't discount the usability of
    external USB hard drives, either 2.5" or 3.5". In most cases, you can
    even boot from them.
    So I can easily unscrew the IDE drive from the slot, pull it out, and
    insert another drive of similar specs? I would be doing this maybe every
    day, once in the morning and then once again in the evening (assuming I
    find enough free time to boot up in the evening)."

    ***end quote - reply:

    First, any laptop that you buy new today will have an SATA drive, not an
    IDE drive.

    However, I'll say that almost no matter what you are doing, there are
    better ways to do it than changing the drive twice a day.

    $2,100 is about 3 times more than what you need to spend. Even for a
    Dell (E1505 would likely be the model that you want).
     
    Barry Watzman, Feb 20, 2007
    #7
  8. Data Girl

    ASAAR Guest

    Said yesterday:
     
    ASAAR, Feb 20, 2007
    #8
  9. Arto Viitanen, Feb 20, 2007
    #9
  10. pujithadimuthu, Feb 20, 2007
    #10
  11. Try HP ( Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. )

    - pd
     
    pujithadimuthu, Feb 20, 2007
    #11
  12. I have a HP dv9000z 17" which has dual hard drives built in. I am sure
    that it can be configured to boot from either drive. Vista(high end)
    comes with a lock which will encrypt part of a drive or another drive.
    I don't know how that helps you? The system is too big and too heavy
    for work. I still have my 15.4 Toshiba.

    Password=howard
    http://imageevent.com/hhuntley/computerlab


     
    Howard Huntley, Feb 23, 2007
    #12
  13. Data Girl

    Bob Fry Guest

    Not much time left, see this woot:
    www.woot.com until midnight CST 2/22/07
     
    Bob Fry, Feb 23, 2007
    #13
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