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Some laptop questions (screen size, brand, etc.)

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  #1  
Old 01-22-2008, 04:26 AM
CArmstrong CArmstrong is offline
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Some laptop questions (screen size, brand, etc.)


Welp, I'm in the market for a new laptop. It will primarily be used for schoolwork (I'm an economics student so statistical software is a must) and playing a few games (Team Fortress 2 and World of Warcraft - nothing too crazy). Since I will occasionally be taking it to class (and to my parents' house when I visit), I don't want anything too heavy. Can someone with some firsthand experience help explain to me the portability differences between a 14.1" and 15.4" screen? Portability is important for when I'm traveling to class and going to my parents' house, but most of the day it'll sit on my desk. I'm just trying to weigh my options between the two sizes.

That being said, I currently have my eyes on the Dell Vostro 1400 or 1500. I'm not usually a fan of Dell laptops, as I feel they've become increasingly flimsy over the years, but I've heard good things about this line. I've also always wanted a Lenovo but I'm trying to stay around a $1,000 or less budget. I plan to get a computer with XP because I'm unhappy with the speed of some things in Vista (plus the fact that I get Vista Ultimate for free from my school, so upgrading is free when it's absolutely necessary). Also, do you think the video card (NVIDIA GeForce 8400/8600M GS) will handle the games I want to play?

So, any thoughts? Recommendations? Opinions? Comments? Rants?

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Last edited by CArmstrong; 01-22-2008 at 04:35 AM. Reason: Removed a few "that being said"s. Apparently I like that phrase.


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  #2  
Old 01-22-2008, 06:54 AM
Dan L Dan L is offline
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I have a Vostro 1400 and love it -- it feels extremely stable. I get about 35FPS in Warcraft, and in UT3 it.. runs, well enough. The 1400 only allows for the 8400GS, while the 1500 has the 8600GT. It's about a pound heavier (the 1400 is ~5.5lbs with a 9cell battery), but worth it if you want the better graphics card.

I will note that the only time the laptop really heats up is while playing Warcraft. Never gets too hot otherwise.

  #3  
Old 01-22-2008, 04:28 PM
CArmstrong CArmstrong is offline
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Thanks Dan. I guess the decision now is just how small and light I want it to be.

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  #4  
Old 01-22-2008, 04:37 PM
natsh natsh is offline
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YEa - i'd go with a vostro 1500 -- i personally have it and its great...

configure it with intel core 2 duo 2.8 ghz, (you get 2gb free ram) and make sure is XP home/pro... get the web cam as well for additional 30 bucks -- costed me total 600 when i bought it

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  #5  
Old 01-22-2008, 04:58 PM
Orien Orien is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natsh View Post
YEa - i'd go with a vostro 1500 -- i personally have it and its great...

configure it with intel core 2 duo 2.8 ghz, (you get 2gb free ram) and make sure is XP home/pro... get the web cam as well for additional 30 bucks -- costed me total 600 when i bought it
Do you mean 1.8Ghz?

  #6  
Old 01-22-2008, 06:02 PM
Mike V Mike V is offline
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I'd suggest a 7200RPM drive for whichever you buy. They're only a little more expensive now and the speed difference versus a 5400RPM drive is very noticable. The only drawback I'm personally aware of is that 7200RPM drives aren't nearly as big in size as their 5400RPM counterparts.

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  #7  
Old 01-22-2008, 06:30 PM
Jorophose Jorophose is offline
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Why a laptop for gaming?

Build yourself a 600$ desktop that can play almost every game out today, and buy a 300$/400$ (eeepc/********k) to go with it.

As for Vista, can't you run it with a hypervisor/VM? It would save plenty of headaches for you later on.

  #8  
Old 01-22-2008, 07:20 PM
natsh natsh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orien View Post
Do you mean 1.8Ghz?
Ah, Orien thanks for pointing that out. I was thinking of my P4 desktop at first...

i actually have 1.6 GHz on the vostro

sorry about that

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  #9  
Old 01-22-2008, 07:39 PM
Bakie Bakie is offline
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I also have a Dell Vostro 1500. Best purchase I have ever made. Have had it for 6 months now and have not had one problem. It is quite heavy though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CArmstrong View Post
Also, do you think the video card (NVIDIA GeForce 8400/8600M GS) will handle the games I want to play?
Yes either of those 2 cards will have no problem. I have a 8600GT and play crysis on medium (with one or two on low) with no problems.

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  #10  
Old 01-23-2008, 02:53 PM
Chicago 600 Chicago 600 is offline
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Depending what you do with it. If its for basic functions like email web surfing I would look for something $600-700 range HP, Compaq, Toshiba, Asus(preffered) I'm still using my old Dell lattitude 600 P3 with 512 RAM RedHat If its for Gaming go with reputable company and get extended warranty and support.

  #11  
Old 01-24-2008, 12:41 AM
CArmstrong CArmstrong is offline
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Good question. Originally the plan was to give my parents this desktop that I built (it's a pretty beastly gaming machine even though I don't play many games) and get a laptop for me. They've been needing a new computer for awhile. In the end I decided to hold out a bit on a laptop since this computer would probably be overkill for my parents anyway - I can save all of us some money if I get them a budget laptop or desktop.

Thanks for all the replies, everyone. I still plan to get a laptop sometime in the future, and will save this thread for reference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorophose View Post
Why a laptop for gaming?

Build yourself a 600$ desktop that can play almost every game out today, and buy a 300$/400$ (eeepc/********k) to go with it.

As for Vista, can't you run it with a hypervisor/VM? It would save plenty of headaches for you later on.

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Last edited by CArmstrong; 01-24-2008 at 01:13 AM. Reason: Fixed sentence structure
  #12  
Old 01-24-2008, 01:06 AM
Christian Christian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bakie View Post
I also have a Dell Vostro 1500. Best purchase I have ever made. Have had it for 6 months now and have not had one problem. It is quite heavy though.
I have also been looking into getting a Vostro 1500, but the heaviness might be a little bit of a problem. I am in the market for something heavy duty, but I really would like it to be as light as possible. I wonder if the 1400 would be significantly lighter than the 1500. I'll have to do a little more research.

I have one question for you, Bakie, does it get good battery life? Dell says you somewhat can, but I sorta would like an unbiased opinion.

And Chris, sorry I hijacked your thread!

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  #13  
Old 01-24-2008, 01:12 AM
CArmstrong CArmstrong is offline
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No problem Christian!

I'd be interested to hear, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian View Post
I have also been looking into getting a Vostro 1500, but the heaviness might be a little bit of a problem. I am in the market for something heavy duty, but I really would like it to be as light as possible. I wonder if the 1400 would be significantly lighter than the 1500. I'll have to do a little more research.

I have one question for you, Bakie, does it get good battery life? Dell says you somewhat can, but I sorta would like an unbiased opinion.

And Chris, sorry I hijacked your thread!

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  #14  
Old 01-24-2008, 01:46 AM
hekwu hekwu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian View Post
I have also been looking into getting a Vostro 1500, but the heaviness might be a little bit of a problem. I am in the market for something heavy duty, but I really would like it to be as light as possible. I wonder if the 1400 would be significantly lighter than the 1500. I'll have to do a little more research.

I have one question for you, Bakie, does it get good battery life? Dell says you somewhat can, but I sorta would like an unbiased opinion.

And Chris, sorry I hijacked your thread!

I have the 1520, which is the same computer as the 1500 (or at least I'm told by people in the know).... On dell site, they have the 1500 at 6.33 lbs and the 1400 at 5.39 lbs. Does a pound make a difference? Hmm... dunno, but not to me...

I have the larger battery and get 3 or 4 hours out of it... well, enough to watch a movie and do some general web browsing.

About the only thing I don't like is laptops are still not as powerful as similarly built desktops. These dells are fast, don't get me wrong, and I even went and purchased a 7200 rpm drive, but when it came down to do "real work" I ended having to upgrade my desktop and having the laptop sit in the corner. The laptop was going to be my desktop replacement... oh, well....

If I had it all over to do again, I'd buy a $600 laptop and build a killer desktop. Instead I have a $1200 notebook and a killer desktop.

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Last edited by hekwu; 01-24-2008 at 01:50 AM.
  #15  
Old 01-24-2008, 01:55 AM
CArmstrong CArmstrong is offline
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That's very good advice, Hekwu. Thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hekwu View Post
I have the 1520, which is the same computer as the 1500 (or at least I'm told by people in the know).... On dell site, they have the 1500 at 6.33 lbs and the 1400 at 5.39 lbs. Does a pound make a difference? Hmm... dunno, but not to me...

I have the larger battery and get 3 or 4 hours out of it... well, enough to watch a movie and do some general web browsing.

About the only thing I don't like is laptops are still not as powerful as similarly built desktops. These dells are fast, don't get me wrong, and I even went and purchased a 7200 rpm drive, but when it came down to do "real work" I ended having to upgrade my desktop and having the laptop sit in the corner. The laptop was going to be my desktop replacement... oh, well....

If I had it all over to do again, I'd buy a $600 laptop and build a killer desktop. Instead I have a $1200 notebook and a killer desktop.

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