first laptop

By bolun
Mar 25, 2007
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  1. Hello everyone

    I have never owned a laptop, and I've only used a laptop a couple times before, so I don't know anything about laptops. However, I'm currently planning on buying a laptop. I want one mainly for its mobility, so I wouldn't want anything too heavy. I'm mainly going to use it for word processing and surfing, and maybe even a bit of gaming, but nothing too graphic intensive. I've tried to do a little research, but theres so many brands and models out there, and I have no idea which one is good and which one is bad. I'm not too familiar with the pricing on laptops, but I'm fine with around $1000 or so, preferably a little less.

    I'd really appreciate any suggestions and input from you guys.
  2. russ

    russ Newcomer, in training Posts: 75

    If you are in the US 1 grand will buy you a pretty nice setup. If you stick with a major brand they usually make stuff good under warranty.

    Stay away from the Celeron by Intel and the Sempron by AMD. You can usually get a better processor than those cheeper models. The Intel Core2Duo and the AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual-Core are the better processors available and should be priced around 1 grand.

    With laptops you have tradeoffs. If you buy the larger screens (say 15.4 or 17" they will be nice for a desktop replacement but tend to drain the battery faster if you run them without ac power. The laptops generally can dim the screen to increase the battery life but it is always nice to have a bright screen. Hence the smaller screens 14.1 and less are nicer to carry around tend to use less battery "juice" but being smaller are harder to see. The same with the processors, the faster the processor the more heat they generate and the more battery power to cool it and to run the faster speeds. Again the laptops have the ability to reduce the speeds of the processor somewhat to run on the battery longer.

    The laptops tend to be harder to repair so I would "google" the model you like to see what problems people are having. I've found that where the laptop connects to the ac power chord is the "Achilles heal" of the computer. This is the weakest link because it takes resoldering to fix this and usually requires factory repair. You are constantly plugging and unplugging this connection.

    Well that's my 2 cents. I have had bad luck and good luck with my Toshiba, so don't know whether to say buy one or not.

    Edit: Introducing the ultra-advanced technology called "paragraphs" that seems to be beyond most people -- Nodsu
  3. bolun

    bolun Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 25

    would you suggest getting an macbook?
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu Newcomer, in training Posts: 9,431

  5. bolun

    bolun Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 25

    does the RPM on the HD matter much?
  6. halo71

    halo71 Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,289

    Means it will access your data from the HD faster. What brands of laptops have you been looking at? I just got a new Gateway 17" that I really like so far. Well I am not too excited about Vista.

    And if you have a $1000 buget and only plan on surfing the net and word processing. You can get a really nice laptop for under a gran with a Core2 processor. Forget the model I was looking at, it was around a grand or a little more. It was an HP though. Had built in webcam, 2 gig ram. 1.73 Core2Duo ( i think) 120 gig HD. DVD/CD writer/burner, remote, HP on demand (where you can watch DVD, listen to music without booting laptop up) 17" WXGA, video card, full size keyboard etc.
  7. bolun

    bolun Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Good news :), I'm looking at around $1500 CAD for my budget right now. I'm looking at a some Toshiba's, specifically the Satellite ones. One question, what screen size do you suggest i get?
  8. russ

    russ Newcomer, in training Posts: 75

    If you have good eyes then the 14.1 is good for carrying and running on a battery but if you will use it for a desktop replacement and occational battery then the 15.4 is good, if you are rarely going to use the battery and use it mostly for a desktop replacement then the 17" is an excellant choice. I find anything less than the 14.1 is pretty small but some people wouldn't have anything else. Ask a friend that does what you do why they use their brand and size. I have a Toshiba Satillite that is about a 1 grand new and it is a good computer. The first one I bought was a cheepie from Toshiba which never ran good... I sent it to the factory for repairs 5 times in a year with the same problem. I finally told them that they had a year to fix the problem and couldn't and to please send a replacement or money back so they sent me this upgraded model which I fell in love with, and enjoy very much and told Toshiba that and thanked them. So what can I say, you get some good ones and some bad ones.
  9. Tedster

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

    there are several important considerations:
    1. ensure your laptop has wifi capability
    2. ensure the ram is maxed out BEFORE you buy or get it installed soon after. Extra ram is important for three reasons. a) most laptops "steal" video ram from onboard ram. b) software will run very slow with insufficient ram c) battery life is lengthened a little bit with extra ram as the hard disk does not get tasked as often for page filing
    3. ensure you have ample hard drive space
    4. ensure the battery life is sufficient for mobility. If you don't plan on moving around that much than it isn't that big of a deal.
    5. software is NOT an issue. Almost every piece of major software has very good open-source alternatives.
    6. keyboard layout must be comfortable.
    7. USB ports must be in convienient locations
    8. processor speed shouldn't be that big of a deal, but don't buy a laptop now unless it has a dual-core processor
    9. do not buy a laptop for gaming unless you plan on spending a tremendous amount of money. laptops are generally not upgradable for video with a few exceptions
    10. Ensure the speakers are loud enough for movies.
  10. Nodsu

    Nodsu Newcomer, in training Posts: 9,431

    I have to agree with russ on the screen size. Anything below 14" is too small for longer viewing. With 12" or less, you get excellent battery life and mobility, but more than 2-3 hours of staring at that screen will really strain your eyes.
  11. bolun

    bolun Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 25

    if it says that it can "Connect to the internet wirelessly using Intel wireless 802.11a/b/g.", is that the wifi thing?
     
  12. Nodsu

    Nodsu Newcomer, in training Posts: 9,431

    Yes it is.
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