Buying Notebook--Which Processor?

By DXnfiniteFX
Aug 5, 2005
Topic Status:
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  1. I'm planning on purchasing a laptop to use as I head off to college this September. I've done some research on various possible notebook hardware, such as the processors and video cards available for them. Such information is harder to come across than the desktop hardware, that much I learned.

    However, I have one major issue which I am currently unsure of. That is, which processor should I choose? I've looked up some information on the Turion 64, the Mobile Athlon 64, and the Pentium M. From all indications, the Pentium M offers the best performance and battery life. Though I am supportive of AMD's products, as a consumer, I'm purchasing on functionality. The Turion 64 seems to be somewhat of a disappoint as far as giving the Centrino platform true competition. Virtually no manufacturer offers the MT versions of the Turion 64, which is about the only offerings I will consider thanks to it's lower power use. Nearly everyone uses the ML versions and the only MT offering I have seen is limited to the rather slower than desired 1.6 ghz model. The Mobile Athlon 64 has also tickled my interest, but I am somewhat concerned about its power drain and its overall efficiency compared to the Turion 64. I will be using this laptop for school mainly, but I do plan to do occasional gaming, and of all the manufacturers I've checked, the AMD offerings are paired up with the ATI integrated Radeon 200M solutions, which leaves much to be desired. The Pentium M notebooks I've seen offered configurations with the X700, and I'm currently most interested in that particular one.

    So far, it seems that my logical instincts tell me to give the Pentium M the strongest consideration. There is one complication preventing a quick purchase so far: Windows Vista. Among the few reasons preventing me from making a quick purchase on the Centrino platform is its lack of 64-bit support. I already intend to upgrade my operating system to Longhorn once it debuts, but all current indicators point to the Pentium M being the better overall platform. So, in the long term, with Windows Vista on the horizon, which sort of platform or processor should I purchase now on my notebook? I realize that should I choose AMD, I would have very poor gaming capabilities, but I am willing to take that sacrifice into consideration.
  2. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff Newcomer, in training Posts: 8,165

    Go for the Pentium M in a Centrino environment. Take the 2GHz version.
    I would not even get NEAR Vista for at least another 1-2 years.
    It's only in Beta, and with M$ 'reputation' for testing, it won't be ready for normal 'consumption' for at least that long. Let others find all the bugs first.
  3. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,195

    Personally, I'd get an amd, because I do not support intel and their under the table "monopoly", although their products are ok, and the pentium m is basically their best product IMO.

    A pentium m will give good performance as will an amd turion 64 or mobile a64.

    I could suggest some laptops, but I don't really know your budget or size/weight requirements.

    Here are some that I'd guess to be acceptable.
    I'll list pent. M and turion 64 cpus.

    I've heard sager notebooks are a good combination of power and price.
    http://www.sagernotebook.com/pages/AMD_systems.html
    http://www.sagernotebook.com/pages/centrino_systems.html

    I've seem some acer laptops with turion 64 cpus and x700 graphics.
    http://global.acer.com/products/notebook/fr4000.htm
    http://global.acer.com/products/notebook/as5020.htm

    Dell has a 9300 with a 6800 graphics card and pentium m chip(it's a big laptop though).

    Abs may have some laptops that fit.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16834224023
    http://www.buyabs.com/
  4. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

    If you're planning on using it for school, any decent laptop with 512MB of memory will do fine. Plan on 1.2 ghz or higher. Don't plan to play games on a laptop. No serious gamer does. Important considerations are battery life, and the feel of the keyboard, and wireless / LAN capability (standard on most new laptops.)

    Even old laptops will work fine for word processsing, surfing the net, and spreadsheets.
    These things don't take much computing power. You may want a DVD player to watch movies. Most newer laptops have it already.
    You don't need a humungous hard disk either. 40gb is fine. Heck, you'll probably won't even come close to filling it unless you donwload a lot of music and videos.
  5. duffguy

    duffguy Newcomer, in training Posts: 201

    what kind?

    first of all what do u want to do with the laptop? gaming,work, etc.
  6. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,195

    You can game on a laptop, if you get one that has a 9700, x700, 6600, 6800, etc video card, and get a decent cpu(pent m 1.6+, or amd turion equivalent), and 512mb+ ram. You probably will want a external mouse to do so though.
  7. ChineseTechie

    ChineseTechie Newcomer, in training Posts: 104

    I don't think when you go into college, you can be a serious gamer. If you want good marks, that is. Laptop prices are dropping significantly in a few months. Wait a little bit. It will worth the wait.

    cT
  8. Justin

    Justin Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,595

    If you are all about battery life, a Celeron M or Turion will serve you will. The Celeron M is inferior in performance as compared to a Pentium M, but will get a longer battery life assuming all other hardware is equal.

    No matter what laptop you get, always remember warranty warranty warranty.
  9. DXnfiniteFX

    DXnfiniteFX Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks for the suggestions so far guys! I really appreciate the help and advice offered so far. Let me clarify myself a little better.

    My budget is around $1600 or so. I can give or take a little, but that would be my price range. I've done lots of searching around various companies and they only offer the ML versions of the Turion whereas I prefer the MT versions. I want a decent balance between battery life and performance, and maybe it's just a psychologial reason, but I don't want to buy the more "wasteful" version of the Turion if they have the same performance. The MTs offer a decent increase in efficiency for only a few bucks more, but no one I'm aware of other than Fujitsu offers that, and only the 1.6 ghz version. I would prefer not to buy the MLs if I can, and Fujitsu does not offer the customization options with video cards that I would like (once again stuck with the Radeon 200M).

    Indeed, I myself do like AMD products more, but not due to any particular bias against Intel, merely that they make superior products that sell themselves. Again, since I'm spending money on a product that works and not the ideology, I must consider the Pentium M for the moment a stronger contender for my wallet. But how does it compare in future software?

    What's particularly sad to me ever since I did research to buy a notebook is that a powerful notebook with strong portability and performance at a reasonable price point is not impossible, but my choices as a customer are quite limited thanks to the politics of the various computer companies. If I could pair a MT Turion with a X700 as well as some comparatively decent hardware, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. Unfortunate that the Intel vs AMD and Nvidia vs ATI wars are making desired products so difficult to come across, with the ultimate compromiser being the consumer.

    I plan to do some minor gaming. Not extreme gaming obviously. I am a gamer at heart, but I also understand that during the school year I must prioritize. However, I would prefer not to spend every second on the laptop doing nothing but work. I would like to have some fun with it sometime, but won't go overboard with it. For example, I wouldn't be spending most of my freetime doing extensive sessions of Battlefield 2. However, I do consider gaming capabilities a factor in the ultimate purchasing decision. That's why the lack of MT Turions with decent clockspeeds and video cards is so frustrating to me.

    My concern is whether or not the Pentium M would be able to run Vista at maximum functionality. Would it be forced to run in some lower "compatibility" mode or will it be fully functional? If it is the Turions and Mobile Athlons that are best suited for it, that puts additional weight on my consideration of AMD. Unfortunately, that mean's I'll have to put up with the lousy Radeon 200Ms so common on AMD notebooks these days. However, I am interested in running Vista eventually, so how do they pair up? For example, the poor desktop acceleration of the 200M making up for the performance otherwise lost by running on the Pentium M (with would be supplemented by an X700), etc.

    Thanks for your time!
  10. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,195

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