JBLUA320
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Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:21 am

Hey everyone

Well, it's time for me to get my college lap top (scary!) and I think I've narrowed it down to a few options, but I have some questions. First, these are the models I have narrowed my search down to:

1) Toshiba A105-S361
2) Sony Vaio FE550G
3) Acer Travelmate 4002

Here is what my main question is:

The Toshiba laptop is running on a Pentium M 760 (2.0GHz) processor which is nice and speedy. The Sony and new versions of the Acer are running on the new Core Duo chipset at 1.66GHz.

I'm not sure if the slower speed of the computer makes it worth having the Duo Chipset... I really don't know anything about this new Core line. If anyone can help me out, that'd be great!

I looked at Dell and Gateway and HP, Apple and all the rest, but narrowed it down to these three brands because I really like the designs they offer, and they all have FANTASTIC screens, which the Dell's really didn't have in my opinion...

Anyway, all are between $1200-$1600, so they are in the price range that my parents set, which is basically $2000 or less.

Thoughts?

JBLU
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:24 am

Size is important too...not sure of the dimensions of the ones you listed above, but all else being equal, I'd opt for the smallest...I have a hulking Dell with a 15 inch monitor and its just too big and bulky to lug around campus and use in class...Ideally I'd want one around the 12-13 inch range or less...

Greg
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AC773
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:33 am

If it were my money, I'd go with the Toshiba. It's a good reliable brand. Acer is sort of cheap-ish, and Sony is notorious for miserable tech support. There is one thing though. Dual core is something to consider of you plan on using this computer for a number of years (say maybe 4). Currently, there are very few programs that actually use both cores, and you'd be fine with a single.

However I have no idea what the future will hold. I have no idea just how quickly programmers will be to adopt dual core. Here's what I recommend: Get the Sony or the Acer, just be damn sure you have a good warranty. Something from a place like Circuit City will do the job. If it breaks then they'll replace it, no questions asked. Also good if you happen to drop it or spill coffee on it.

Good luck, man!  bigthumbsup 

-AC773
Better to be nouveau than never to have been riche at all.
 
kmh1956
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:33 am

If you want to be the envy of everyone on campus running a PC which gets viruses on a regular basis, get a Mac. I bought my daughter a Mac PowerBook G4 when she started freshman year (3 years ago) and she has not had one virus or crash.......everyone wants to use her computer!!
'Somebody tell me why I'm on my own if there's a soulmate for everyone' :Natasha Bedingfield
 
JBLUA320
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:38 am

I would get a Mac, but I don't think Microsoft Flight Simulator comes in a Mac version, and that kills the deal right there!!

Thanks for the replies... I'm buying from Best Buy or Circuit City, so Im definately getting the warranty and accidental damage coverage.

JBLU
 
UAL747
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:49 am

Save yourself from Windowsworld and get a Mac. Much better computer, albeit more expensive, but I have had two (I had to get a new one because United groundcrew decided to have a game of dodgeball with my luggage somewhere between OKC-DEN-SFO), and they are the best. The only drawback is no Microsoft Flight Simulator, but you can get X-plane, but it's not as good. I've had Sony Viaos, and Toshibas before, save yourself from making that purchase, and im not familiar with Acer.

UAL
"Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy. Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy.....Okay, fine, we'll just turn 190 and Visual Our Way
 
AC773
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:00 pm

I don't mean to complicate things further, but here's what I'd recommend if you want to use MS Flight Simulator. This one has a decent graphics card.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16834115224

I know it doesn't come with one of those complete warranties, just something to think about.

P.S. - As far as computer parts websites are concerned, Newegg is the very best. No worries about security. I'm sure my A.net cohorts will back me up on this. As always, good luck!

-AC773
Better to be nouveau than never to have been riche at all.
 
JBLUA320
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:08 pm

Thanks for the replies-- I've heard about that Acer...

Can anyone shed some light on the quality of Acer products? Also, does anyone know if the difference in processer speed would be made up for the fact that the slower processer is a Core Duo? 1.66 vs 2.0 is a big difference, but perhaps with the Duo technology on the 1.66, it's a more minimal effect?

JBLU
 
AC773
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:13 pm

Acer is a quality brand, just lesser known. They've actually been around longer than Dell. You can read more about them in this article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acer_%28company%29

Enjoy!

BTW, you probably won't notice any difference in processor speed in day to day activities. Take comfort though, because when more programs arise that use both cores, you'll be leaving that old 2 GHz simgle in the dust!

-AC773

[Edited 2006-03-07 04:15:30]
Better to be nouveau than never to have been riche at all.
 
JBLUA320
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:13 pm

Thanks for all the help-- you're making my decision that much easier. Now if only I could hear from the last three of the seven schools I applied to!!

JBLU
 
Brendan03
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:34 pm

Acer... ugh... I've dealt with numorous Acers and they're all crap. Sony I know are a good laptop but for tech support I'm not sure... I'm currently typing this on a Toshiba Satellite M53A, It's a great laptop other than I don't have enough RAM in it.
This is also something to note, usually the smaller the screen the better the battery life...

Toshiba recently got voted the best laptop manufacturer in australia recently, I didn't even know this until after I bought my laptop
Coolier than thou.
 
JBLUA320
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:36 pm

I'm not too worried about the tech support because if I buy from Circuit City or Best Buy, they handle all the maintenence work internally, right at the store. The only way I'd be getting any computer aside from the ones I've mentioned is if I get into The College of William and Mary and then decide to attend-- they give you very well configured computers at a very discounted price. For my incoming year, they are offering up IBM/Lenovo T60 series computers.

JBLU
 
bhmbaglock
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 1:13 pm

Here's a couple pieces of advice:

1. Go for the core-duo, for the price you will get more speed, better multi-tasking and better battery life. You'll also have a 4GB memory limit rather than 2GB in most cases.
2. Do not buy a consumer grade model from CompUSA, Staples, etc. Buy a commercial model from a reputable dealer or directly from the mfg. They are better made, have longer warranties(usually 3 yrs), and have much less "crap" SW loaded to slow you down. Also, you can normally get local repair within 1-2 days vs. mail in for 1-2 week service on most consumer grades.
3. Some new models have SATA drives, i.e. the new HP 6320. If you want better reliability and speed this is desirable.
4. Make sure you get Bluetooth. It's becoming more and more useful and can be a pain in the butt to add later.

btw, 1.66 duo will blow away 2.0 solo. You'll really notice the difference when some annoying hungry background program like a virus scanner kicks in.
Where are all of my respected members going?
 
JBLUA320
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 2:00 pm

Thanks for that insight... do you think the Duo technology will become more widespread in the coming months, where it might be to my benefit to wait? As it stands now, I'll be getting the computer ordered in the next 6 weeks (After I hear about everything college-wise and make my decision) , so do you think in, say, June or July (maybe even early August), more brands will adapt the Duo technology? Right now, it seems like the Sony has the best Duo computer out there, but what do you think?

JBLU
 
Klaus
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 6:16 pm

Windows Vista will support machines which have EFI firmware instead of the old BIOS. The new Intel Macs are among the first machines of that kind, and the general expectation is that Vista (and thus MSFS) will probably run on them directly, even without an emulation layer.

And for any actual work you'd be able to go back to MacOS X. The number of reasons to not get a Mac is diminishing every day...
 
JBLUA320
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:54 pm

Quoting Klaus (Reply 14):
Windows Vista will support machines which have EFI firmware instead of the old BIOS. The new Intel Macs are among the first machines of that kind, and the general expectation is that Vista (and thus MSFS) will probably run on them directly, even without an emulation layer.

Can I get that one more time in English!! I don't speak computer...sorry. If I get a MacBook with the Intel Core Duo chip, I'll be able to run MSFS?

JBLU
 
Klaus
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:12 pm

That's what it looks like.

Neither Apple nor Microsoft have so far given an explicit confirmation at this point, but the new Intel Macs should fit the requirement list of Windows Vista. Older Windows versions up to XP only run on PCs with the old-style BIOS, but the new EFI firmware standard is expected to supplant BIOS eventually (in Apple's case it replaces Open Firmware), and Windows Vista will be the first version to support it.

The new Intel Macs are based on standard Intel CPUs, standard Intel chip sets and standard graphics processors - and they are among the first computers to use EFI.

Even the previous PowerPC Macintosh models could run Windows through software emulation, but the new Intel ones should even be able to boot right into it, so hardware-accelerated 3D graphics should also work for MSFS. It's probably also just a matter of time that virtualization software will be available which lets you run Windows concurrently with MacOS X without rebooting, as on the previous models (just faster).

No warranty, but that's what it looks like.
 
bhmbaglock
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:24 pm

Quoting JBLUA320 (Reply 13):
hanks for that insight... do you think the Duo technology will become more widespread in the coming months, where it might be to my benefit to wait?

Looking at newly announced offerings, I would expect market share to be about 80% duo vs 20% solo within 6 months. Old style Pentium-M/Centrino are going away.

Quoting JBLUA320 (Reply 13):
As it stands now, I'll be getting the computer ordered in the next 6 weeks (After I hear about everything college-wise and make my decision) , so do you think in, say, June or July (maybe even early August), more brands will adapt the Duo technology?

Any mfg without duo laptops available in 6 weeks will be dead, You will have no problems.

Quoting JBLUA320 (Reply 13):
Right now, it seems like the Sony has the best Duo computer out there, but what do you think?

Sony makes a good machine but their service isn't the best.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 14):
And for any actual work you'd be able to go back to MacOS X. The number of reasons to not get a Mac is diminishing every day...

When Apple decides to allow MacOS to be loaded dual boot with Windows on Intel machines and starts promoting it, then we'll have the possibility within a few years of real choice on the desktop. If they're smart they'll do what MS did with Office years ago and give it away for a few years to get people hooked.
Where are all of my respected members going?
 
Emirates773ER
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:29 pm

If you are looking for something cheaper and more reliable you can always look into AMD. I have always had a good time with them on my desktop and latop.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....1089&type=product&id=1134699629328
The Truth is Out There ---- Face It!!!!!
 
Klaus
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:39 pm

Quoting BHMBAGLOCK (Reply 17):
When Apple decides to allow MacOS to be loaded dual boot with Windows on Intel machines and starts promoting it, then we'll have the possibility within a few years of real choice on the desktop.

That's exactly what they're doing already - just for obvious reasons the only machines supported by MacOS X are Macs by Apple.

"Real choice" already exists. Just use it!

Quoting BHMBAGLOCK (Reply 17):
If they're smart they'll do what MS did with Office years ago and give it away for a few years to get people hooked.

There are already pirated versions of OS X around with (incomplete) patches for normal PCs... but I don't see Apple voluntarily slaughtering their own hardware revenue and expose themselves to the inevitable support nightmares just so OS X would run on any discount PC.

Margins would plummet, quality of the overall experience would suffer (which is a major concern at Apple) and Microsoft would go into all-out attack mode. Whether the gain would be worth the risk and aggravation is quite dubious...
 
scott2187
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:00 am

does anyone know when Vista is actually being released?

also, does anyone know how much work/money would be involved in updating a laptop to the new duo technology? i have a Vaio now with the Pentium M. i know that i'd have to replace the whole motherboard, but i'm just seeing how much of a pain that would be to do in a laptop.
“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”
 
bhmbaglock
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:57 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 19):
"Real choice" already exists. Just use it!

Not really true when it comes to applications. In a few areas Macs excel but for the most part you're 6-12 months behind the curve if SW is even available.

Quoting Scott2187 (Reply 20):
does anyone know when Vista is actually being released?

Octoberish.

Quoting Scott2187 (Reply 20):
also, does anyone know how much work/money would be involved in updating a laptop to the new duo technology? i have a Vaio now with the Pentium M. i know that i'd have to replace the whole motherboard, but i'm just seeing how much of a pain that would be to do in a laptop.

There is no upgrade path as the chipset, cache architecture, etc. have changed.
Where are all of my respected members going?
 
Klaus
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:24 am

Quoting BHMBAGLOCK (Reply 21):
Not really true when it comes to applications. In a few areas Macs excel but for the most part you're 6-12 months behind the curve if SW is even available.

Nonsense.

In almost all cases, Mac users find everything they need, in many cases Mac-native applications which aren't even available elsewhere. If you're only looking at ported applications, you're missing most of the best ones.

Quoting BHMBAGLOCK (Reply 21):
Octoberish.

Yeah; And this time they're really, really certain that the year will actually be 2006...!  crazy 
 
scott2187
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:31 am

Quoting BHMBAGLOCK (Reply 21):
There is no upgrade path as the chipset, cache architecture, etc. have changed.

the my next question would be is will single core processors be able to run Vista?

The upgrade thing was just a thought, i'll probably end up getting a whole new laptop whenever i decide to upgrade to Vista.
“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”
 
AC773
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:21 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 16):
but the new Intel ones should even be able to boot right into it

Technically yes, but we don't yet know what that involves. More than likely (95%), dual booting Vista and OSX on an intel mac will be a royal pain in the arse. These kinds of things aren't facilitated by the manufacturers, so most consumers probably won't bother to try. Software-wise there shouldn't be any situation in which he will need a Mac, so why bother?

(I've heard the usual argument about stability and security. I use both OS's, and if you're midnful of the websites you visit and the attachments you open, it just isn't true.)  stirthepot 

-AC773
Better to be nouveau than never to have been riche at all.
 
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yowza
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:23 am

http://www.eglobalonline.com/productdetail.asp?id=11684

the Acer duo cores are awesome. If you get one with 2GB ram you're laughing.

YOWza
 
Klaus
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:56 am

Quoting AC773 (Reply 24):
Technically yes, but we don't yet know what that involves. More than likely (95%), dual booting Vista and OSX on an intel mac will be a royal pain in the arse. These kinds of things aren't facilitated by the manufacturers, so most consumers probably won't bother to try.

Apple has already stated that they won't do anything to prevent Windows to be installed - so if Apple's EFI implementation is standard-compliant, chances are that it will work. Apple wouldn't have anything to gain by sabotaging dual boot (actually triple boot with MacOS X, Windows and Linux).

Quoting AC773 (Reply 24):
Software-wise there shouldn't be any situation in which he will need a Mac, so why bother?

Software-wise there are few reasons to ever start Windows if you can use MacOS X instead (I've not done it for many months), but for the rare case you'll be able to, with the new Macs probably even directly if necessary.

Quoting AC773 (Reply 24):
I've heard the usual argument about stability and security. I use both OS's, and if you're midnful of the websites you visit and the attachments you open, it just isn't true.

What? That you need to constantly spend time and money on keeping Windows afloat? That its clumsy architecture is a constant aggravation? Well...
 
andessmf
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:38 am

Hate Windows but have to use it.

My favorite laptop, this being my fourth, HP ZD8000 series, wouldnt trade it. Works good, fantastic screen, with a good keyboard.
 
AC773
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:47 am

Quoting Klaus (Reply 26):
Apple has already stated that they won't do anything to prevent Windows to be installed - so if Apple's EFI implementation is standard-compliant, chances are that it will work. Apple wouldn't have anything to gain by sabotaging dual boot (actually triple boot with MacOS X, Windows and Linux).

I'm well familiar with that. However, Apple will not do anything to encourage it either. It's just not feasible to expect the average user to dual boot OS's themselves. That's why it's nowhere in Apple's marketing plan.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 26):
Software-wise there are few reasons to ever start Windows if you can use MacOS X instead (I've not done it for many months), but for the rare case you'll be able to, with the new Macs probably even directly if necessary.

It's a matter of cost and benefit. Running both is expensive; and inconvenient for people who are used to Windows. Plus, few people have two computers and are unwilling to spend the money necessary to change that. If one does everything, it makes little sense to use two.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 26):
What? That you need to constantly spend time and money on keeping Windows afloat? That its clumsy architecture is a constant aggravation? Well...

Clearly you and I have had different experiences. I have built my own computer and loaded it with no bloatware I don't want. I don't need to use any antivirus software, and everything's been running fine for over two years now. For the average consumer, there are smaller companies that build systems like this. The blame for a bad "big manufacturer" experience shouldn't by default rest on Microsoft.

-AC773
Better to be nouveau than never to have been riche at all.
 
Klaus
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:24 am

Quoting AC773 (Reply 28):
It's just not feasible to expect the average user to dual boot OS's themselves.

Every Mac already has built-in support for multiple operating systems on different partitions. This could be quite straightforward.

Quoting AC773 (Reply 28):
That's why it's nowhere in Apple's marketing plan.

You can be pretty sure it is - but Apple obviously can't use it publicly before Microsoft will have finally released Vista in earnest. If compatibility hadn't been one of the primary objectives, Apple could have stuck with Open Firmware as before - no need to switch to EFI in that case!

Quoting AC773 (Reply 28):
It's a matter of cost and benefit. Running both is expensive; and inconvenient for people who are used to Windows. Plus, few people have two computers and are unwilling to spend the money necessary to change that. If one does everything, it makes little sense to use two.

That's the whole point: For the price of a decent-quality PC, people could have one single machine being able to boot all three major operating systems. With a virtualization software even concurrently!

Quoting AC773 (Reply 28):
The blame for a bad "big manufacturer" experience shouldn't by default rest on Microsoft.

No. Size has nothing to do with it. MS is either unwilling or - from the looks of it more likely - incapable of coming up with software which actually works as well as it should.
 
bhmbaglock
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:12 pm

Quoting Scott2187 (Reply 23):
the my next question would be is will single core processors be able to run Vista?

Yes but you'll want a lot(at least 1GB) of RAM.
Where are all of my respected members going?
 
andessmf
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Wed Mar 08, 2006 4:12 pm

Quoting BHMBAGLOCK (Reply 30):
Yes but you'll want a lot(at least 1GB) of RAM.

I have and will not purchase a machine with less than 1GB of RAM.
 
scott2187
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:31 pm

Quoting BHMBAGLOCK (Reply 30):
Yes but you'll want a lot(at least 1GB) of RAM.

that's good, cause i just upgraded to 1GB from 512MB
“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”
 
JBLUA320
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RE: Laptop Purchasing Question/ Help Needed!

Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:43 pm

Interesting replies... Thanks for all the help. I think I'm going to rule out Acer!

JBLU

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