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New Texan
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11,465 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have that funky feeling that I should start saving up money for a new laptop. The laptop that I'm using, a HP ze49xx, is a Celeron 1.6 GHz that I got in 2005. It does the job, but sadly, XP is just not cutting it anymore. The specs that I am looking at:
  • Windows 7 64-bit OS
  • Non Intel graphics chipset
  • Ability to Virtualize apps (I use Virtualbox)
  • WiFi Networking
Uses for the computer:
  • Presentations - I am starting to do more public speaking, and need a laptop to do Powerpoint
  • Watching DVDs :)
  • Internet on the go
  • Playing games
What has me confused is the graphics chipsets that are available from nVidia and AMD (ATi). If I know how much I'll be spending, I know what to start saving for.

BTW: This will be in addition to my main desktop computer, not replacing my desktop computer. Call me old school.
 

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Geek til I die
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9,821 Posts
Check out Alienware if you want cutting edge.
Personally, I have a HP Elitebook i5, and it does most those things you mentioned. I dont know what Virtualizing apps are tho. The Elitebooks are fast. Heard Asus laptops are good too.
 

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Dry as a bone
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12,566 Posts
Just about any sub $500 laptop will do what you need.

Just check out slickdeals every day for deals. I bought two laptops in December (one Asus, one HP), both for under $300 (Win7, quadcore, HDMI out, camera, DVD burner, etc.)
 

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New Texan
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Davenlr said:
I dont know what Virtualizing apps are tho.
See this entry from Wikipedia for Virtualbox. What I like to do is run Virtual Machines of Linux and Windows operating systems to test out functionality. Virtual machines, however, require a fairly fast processor and lots of memory.
 

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Geek til I die
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9,821 Posts
Gotcha. Reminds me of running MSDOS and Windows3 on my Amiga way back when.
Only other OS I use besides Win7 is an occasional linux boot to copy a Tivo drive or run some software of that type. For those, I just boot off the CD. Interesting app tho.
 

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Old Guys Rule!
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I agree with Dave on Alienware. They're rugged , well designed computers.
You might want to ask the guys who went to CES for their views on what they saw that will be coming down the pike.
Coming in May or June are laptops from Vizio that have all the critics excited. Here's a first look from the Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/9/2694072/vizio-thin-and-light-laptops-first-hands-on#2827791
CNet also spoke excitedly about the Vizio line. Biggest downside I can see is the lack of an internal DVD drive due to the thinness of the computers. Vizio will have an external Blu-ray drive for them. It appears that the two USB ports are USB3, so there should be no problem with the external drive.
 

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New Texan
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11,465 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I noticed a laptop from Dell that seems to be up my alley. It has a Intel Core i5-2410M Processor, 2.30GHz and a 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M w/ HDMI 1.4, Mini Displayport. Maybe there will be similar or better deals in a few months.
 

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Geek til I die
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9,821 Posts
Ive never owned one, and may be totally out in left field here, but I have been advised by friends and co workers to avoid Dell at all costs. Various different reasons were given. Might check with some Dell owners before going that route.
 

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Charter Gold Club Member
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22,056 Posts
I'm typing this on a Dell 610 refurb I bought about 3-4 years ago for under $300 -- still going strong.
 

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New Texan
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Davenlr said:
Ive never owned one, and may be totally out in left field here, but I have been advised by friends and co workers to avoid Dell at all costs.
I'm doing the same thing that I did with purchasing a television. If I'm going to plunk down some serious cash, I can also do some research and ask questions. If I recall correctly, I set down my parameters and what models I was interested in and got opinions back in September for a television that I ended up purchasing on December 31st. The opinions and experiences helped with my purchase.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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Check the Dell outlet occasionally. These machines are not refurbs (necessarily) but returns that people don't want. Sometimes you can find a good deal.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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I personally have never been a huge fan of Dell but my mother in law has had a Dell laptop (Inspiron series) that has been running solid now for almost 6 years and has never had a single issue with it.
 

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Godfather
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With new high speed/low power processors coming on the market in a few months.....there will be lots of computer "sales" coming up as they try to clear stock. Besides being much faster the new chips, will allow for 8 to 10 hours of REAL operating time.
 

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New Texan
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
AHA! A co-worker pointed me to this chart comparing the different mobile graphics chipsets. Funny how Intel isn't consider a "Class 1" graphics chipset.

The new "high speed/lower power processors" will probably come out at the same time as Windows 8. I think I can live with Windows 7.... as long as its 64 bits.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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I've owned or used Dell, Compaq, IBM, Lenovo laptops and have no preference for any particular brand. For the graphics cards I am an Nvidia fan as their cards have backward compatibility whereas ATI creates cards that are not backward compatible in many cases. If you have a locally installed game or 2 you play a newer ATI card might not support it.

Personally I'm pitching the Windoze environment as my boxes at home die and replacing with Mac hardware/OS. Between the IO issues, advanced features instability, OS related "nuggets" I have to deal with daily at work using SqlServer that make this supposedly point and click OS anything but, makes me consider it in most unkindly terms YMMV.

Compaq hard drives seem to have shorter lifespans in my experience but I've not had one new since the HP merger and they became one large rock sinking in the pond.

The old IBM think Pads were definitely industrial strength and I believe Lenovo bought the rights to that particular line.

With pricing coming down as it has though as someone earlier mentioned, pretty much any reasonably priced unit should do what you ask. And do you really need the amped up graphics?

Don "cheap and disposable is now possible and perhaps desirous" Bolton
 

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Hall Of Fame
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Avoid Dell - HORRIBLE quality control and even worse customer service. Shame, because they were best-in-breed at one time.

Honestly, see if you or a friend can build a PC. It's not terribly tough, and you'll have a PC free of "crapware" that all the manufactures load. (Stuff like Norton anti-virus, greeting card makers, etc).

Windows 7, 64 bit home ultimate, Microsoft security essentials, your favorite browser (I like Chrome) and e-mail client, and you're well on the way.

(PS - I'm a Windows fan, but that Mac Mini is darn interesting)
 

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Hall Of Fame
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I'm partial to HP, but I bought my granddaughter an ASUS and my daughter has had some Dell's over the years. The problem with saving up for a particular computer is that unless saving up time is less than 60 days, technology changes. I'd decide how much I want to spend and save that up, then go looking for the best combination of features I could find. Regarding graphic chipsets, at various times I've had nVidia and ATI, and for what I do there didn't seem to be any noticeable difference. If I were a gamer, I might have a different opinion on that.
 
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