TechSpot

Questions about Buying a Laptop?

By wilbasket23
Feb 22, 2002
  1. hallo. everyone. how are ya doing? i have some questions about buying a laptop. What generally do i have to look for? Which brand is currently good? I am intending to buy an atholon xp laptop is that any good or intel prentium III laptop is better? Also, where can i find a good prices and some info about laptop? Do ya know any web sites that i can look at it ? Thanks
     
  2. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 5,899

    The portable version of the Athlon is the Athlon4. It's the same thing as the AthlonMP ( except it's not certified for SMP ) & the AthlonXP. The only other difference is it's PowerNOW technology which allows it to change speed & voltage on the fly.

    I'm not sure what kind of Battery Life you get with those. I think HP are selling some.

    I don't have much experience with laptops, but I guess you can't go wrong with a good brand ( Toshiba, Dell, Compaq, etc... ).
     
  3. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 1,145

    primary uses? budget?

    It's pretty obvious here by your Q', that you haven't put much thought into your purchasing decision, nor done any research.

    First determine:
    * Do you need a laptop?
    * What will the primary uses be?
    * What is my budget?

    Due to the heat issues & battery life, you won't be toteing around a mini-gaming machine w/ an Athy XP or P4 like it was a gameboy or something. Graphics & sound ( integraded) will be adequate, not breathtaking. Some brands offer modems, nic cards, etc as accessories, not standard items. Consider a major brand w/ warranty, & also insure against theft & loss.

    For going away to college, a Sony Vaio w/ Athlon MP™ & dvd is a good model to compare against, for both price & features
    http://www.sonystyle.com/vaio/fxaseries/index.shtml
     
  4. ldogg

    ldogg TS Rookie Posts: 38

    What I did was bought a real cheap laptop, and then built a really good desktop for games. In doing so I got my portable computing solution, and my crazy game computer that is better than any laptop, for much less than an expensive laptop.
     
  5. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,583   +103

    I am in a similar situation myself, aside from the fact my laptop is from my work, I built a great home PC for gaming. The laptop is well out of date now and because the support for running it with windows 2000 (necessary for remote administration when connected to office network) I can't do anything but browse the web and type code :(
    When travelling as much as I do I want something that will at least run some of the slightly more modern games with at least playable frame rates so when I am stuck in a hotel for a few evenings I can do some work and play some games... I can't even do that at the moment since the ATI Mobility 8mb graphics chipset used in my laptop doesn't have driver support to run DirectX or OpenGL in windows 2000, and there are very few games, if any, that provide a software rendering mode nowadays :(
     
  6. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,583   +103

    When buying a laptop, depending of course on what use you wish to purchase it for, I would try and get the best I can afford (also depending on how much you are planning on using it) since the only upgrades that can be done after you receive it are generally a replacement hard drive (larger capacity) and more ram...
    For it to remain useful for a maximum length of time its best to get top of the range at the present time.
     
  7. Th3M1ghtyD8

    Th3M1ghtyD8 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 794

    Providing ur not going to attempt to play any games, then u would probably be better buying a cheap secondhand laptop PII or something.
     
  8. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,583   +103

    Also you need to take into consideration what operating system that you are wishing to run on the machine. For reasonable performance with windows 2000 it is recommended to have at least a PII 300 with 128mb of memory (I am currently running it with a PII 366 with 256mb of memory and its still real slow!).
    If it is just for web browsing/essay writing then a PII laptop would be more than sufficient, but support for these old machines is generally very limited, so if you decide to upgrade to XP then you may find there to be a lack of drivers from the laptops manufacturer....!
     
  9. bedlam_4

    bedlam_4 TS Rookie Posts: 182

    My Dell was $2,300. It has a huge 30 gig HD. Runs as smooth as butter. Plays all games (RTCW, Ghost Recon, IL Stumovich, MoHAA,) at high res with all settings maxed out. With two batteries I get five hours of use max. Around four if I'm playing RTCW which kicks in the cooling system. This system is superb for watching DVD. That is why I bought it. Its ATI Radeon 7200 card is equipt with TV out. I havn't used that yet because the display is awesome.

    If a guy wasn't in a hurry (like me) to buy a notebook he could wait for the new models to come out that will incorporate DDRAM.

    One of the nice features that I discovered: When you shut down the computer while watching a movie or switch programs and/or cd-roms the WinDVD software remembers where you were and restarts your movie where you left off:) .

    To sum up:
    I purchased the best notebook that I could find. Toshiba's top end is probably as good or better but there were none that were available last month. I could not be anymore happy or satisfied with my purchase. This unit should provide me with good service over the next three years (thats the warranty life). Then it will go to one of my daughters for school fun ect. I will then be upgraded to the next best notebook. Thats around a $765.00 entertainment investment /year on hardware. If I allow another $1000 on software and DVD's that about covers the amount of money the State of Alaska gives me to live here. .;) Perm fund = $1850.00 last year!
    My friends buy rifles and I buy games; go figure.
     
  10. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,916   +9

    *searching auction sites for used Powerbooks*
     
  11. ldogg

    ldogg TS Rookie Posts: 38

    If you get a laptop, you should get the crazy security ones from ASUS tek. They are reasonably priced, but what makes them so cool is that they have finger print scanners. Even though you probably don't really need one, having a finger print scanner would be ultra cool.
     
     
  12. Techmeniac

    Techmeniac TS Rookie Posts: 31

    well i would not say that Athlon is bad but Intel is a trustworthy brand and has been around for a long time. The speed is necessarily the same with both but Pentium IV has pretty fast processor. Athlon is more of a game and graphics kinda processor but intel is more capable of handling multiple tasks. Rest is just how much ground work you put into selecting your laptop. But never go for refurbished even if you are getting it for free.
     
  13. BeBeGuRl616

    BeBeGuRl616 TS Rookie

    Depending on who you are getting it for, how much they download, and art programs... ect. I'd buy a Mac. They don't get viruses so you do not have to fret about security softwhere and I think they overall perform better. I have the new 13.5in Macbook and I absolutely love it, my dad has a pc laptop and my computer is way faster.
     
  14. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 5,899

    & you felt the need to revive an almost 3 year old thread for that ? :p
     
  15. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    for Quality: MacIntosh or IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad.
    Avoid, for reasons of early failure and poor parts availability: Sony VAIO, eMachines, Compaq, Acer, Alienware, WinBook, and any cheapo in the bottom third of the manufacturer's price list.
    Cheap laptops are just cheap. Their cooling is usually badly designed, the LCD screens fail early.
    If reliability means anything to you, do not buy a cheap laptop, as the screen failure is high. Get a model that is widely sold so you will have good parts availability in four or five years when parts begin to fail.
    The most significant problems we see are in cooling, earlier failure of LCD screens, and failed optical drive burners. Also, high speed hard drives (7200 rpm and above) fail much earlier
    Good laptops have enough room, and enough fans to move a lot of air in and out. They also offer access so you can periodically remove dust, pet hair, etc. You will find an offer long warranties. Parts available for seven years. Memory capacity exceeds 2 GB. They have removable video graphics cards.
    We think the IBM Thinkpad far exceeds other brands and models, and that the additional cost is justified for both IBM and MacIntosh. Next, we like Dell Latitudes, and Inspirons, in the top half of the price range. Tied with Gateways. HP's in the upper half of their model range are very good. We would avoid all others. Toshiba makes a good laptop, but has extremely poor warranty repair and parts availability nowadays.
    We do NOT recommend any laptops as gaming machines, unless you can afford to replace it every 18 months.
    Look for lots of USB ports, Firewire ports, PCMCIA slot, serial ports, and other stuff that is "old fashioned" as that shows more effort has been put into the machine.
    MacIntosh is simply the best where a lot of design work is done.
    Get one which offers a choice of a long warranty.
    Avoid Sony and the others mentioned above.
     
  16. Tedster

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

    I gotta agree with you, however with DELLs most of them run very hot. We have tons of DELLS in the Army, some of them shut down due to overheating.

    Thinkpads are very good. I have a Toshiba and I have been extremely pleased with it.
     
  17. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    The Toshiba is an excellent laptop. Unfortunately, the company has slipped dramatically in support. Warranty repairs seem to be performed by a third party that can take as long as two months to return them to you. Parts availability is non-existent. Weird failures sometimes occur for which there is nobody to talk to.
    Toshiba, in general, makes superb products... e.g. their hard drives for laptops.
    It just isn't wise, methinks, for a person who has to ask which laptop to purchase to buy something with such poor support.
     
  18. N3051M

    N3051M TS Rookie Posts: 2,800

    Asus laptops are pretty good.. getting mine soon..
     
  19. Tedster

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

    never had any warranty issues. then again, I have had this laptop for almost 3 years now. I generally don't buy computers based on their warranties. I buy based on features and reputations. With laptops, battery life, WIFI and weight are important considerations. I don't seriously game on my laptop - strictly surfing and school so speed and graphics aren't a big issue for me.
     
  20. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    To the person who says ASUS are pretty good, but you don't have one yet?
    We find that they are not a good choice for the same reason as others... poor tech support, poor parts availability, unreliable operation after the first year.

    To the Toshiba person: We, too, own Toshiba's... three Techra's... We have had good luck with them. But we also service laptops for our business and home clients in three counties... and our experience has been very negative for the reasons previously mentioned. Battery life is a little less than averay. Parts availability is poor. Repair under warranty is slow, slow, slow... and is not done by Toshiba - unless that has changed back recently.
    Toshiba is not the same happy laptop it was three years ago... new owners are having a great deal more problems.
     
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.


Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...


Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.