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Laptop suggestions

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by El Capitan, Nov 18, 2004.

  1. El Capitan

    El Capitan Kalibanned

    Apr 5, 2002
    Los Angeles, Aztlán
    I've never seen myself using a laptop, but need to get one for work.

    I need to pick up one strong enough to do CAD and mild graphics, would appreciate a good large screen, and hopefully small enough that I can reasonably pack it up and take it with me every other day or so.

    Suggestions on brands or the latest features I should look for?

    I normally go for Dell when purchasing desktops for our small office, but don't know if that's the best for laptops.

    I'm especially curious about the latest screen sizes and types.

  2. cnemikeman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    Dell's higher end laptops should fit the bill for you.


  3. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

    The give and take of lap tops boils down to portability vs. capibility vs. price, pick two.

    I just picked up an Inspiron 600m. Its a Pent 1.5M, small but not tiny, and reasonably priced but not cheep. I dont spend much time carrying it so I was willing to trade a few pounds for a larger screen and a full sized keyboard. My wife just got one too. She's going to school so she spends more time carrying. She got the 700m. Its smaller and lighter than my unit but has the same processor. It costs about 50% more. She's got smaller hands so the downsized keys dont bother her but I type a lot of errors when I work on it.

    A friend just got the 300m. All she got it for was email while traveling, so her's is REALLY small and light, has less processor power (1.1 Pent M IIRC), but cost about what my wives did.

    Obviously if you're going to do CAD you should max out the video card memory. If you're trying to save money you can save about 1/3 on Dells memory prices by buying online from other vendors.

    You should also check out Dells reconditioned units. I bought a reconditioned one. It was cosmetically perfect and has functioned flawlessly.
  4. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

    Also, just so you know, The M serries pentium units processor speeds dont relate directly to the speed ratings of the desk top serries. Its my understand that you have to multiply the M serries numbers by 2.5 to get an equivalent desk top number.
  5. El Capitan

    El Capitan Kalibanned

    Apr 5, 2002
    Los Angeles, Aztlán
    I totally forgot about the keyboard size issue. I have medium to large hands, and can't stand the feel of a tiny keyboard.

    I'll check out that Inspiron you got.
  6. dave5339


    May 14, 2003
    Near Dallas Texas
    Check out for some really great deals.

    Also take a look through Dell's refurbished computers, Really great deals can be had there also.

    I picked up an Inspirion 5150, P4 3.0, 30G HDD, 15" screen.... for just over $800.
  7. unixglocker


    Jan 7, 2003
    I'm on about my 12th laptop, have three at a time. Most experience in Apple/IBM/Dell & Sony. Best results have been with the Sony's. Very good screens and good keyboards. Unless you like that flesh ripping dot middle of the keyboard mouse instead of the trackpad, the Sony's rock. With dell you can get both input devices and with IBM you only get the awful dot. But some people like them for some reason.
  8. El Capitan

    El Capitan Kalibanned

    Apr 5, 2002
    Los Angeles, Aztlán
    Is there a specific line or model of the Sony's that I should start looking at?
  9. MrsKitty


    Mar 23, 2003
    I am on my third Toshiba.

    My first was tougher than nails. It survived a headfirst trip down a flight of stairs where it landed on concrete better than I survived watching it fall ;P Few scratches to the on the ceiling. A part in this one was defective and it was more economical to replace the unit than to replace the part with the extended warranty through Office Depot.

    I still have my second and occasionally use it. No complaints with it. Used it for about four years.

    I have had my third for about six months. Other than some minor scratches to the case that are my fault, it looks like it just came out of the box.

    I have large hands for a female and I actually prefer the smaller keyboard on my laptop than the standard keyboard on a desktop ;Q

    Also, are you comfortable using a touchpad mouse? Accupoint? Trackball? Think about that before you buy. Try to find a model with the mouse you are the most comfortable with. You can always plug in a regular mouse and use it on a desk/table but when you are working out of your lap, it is hard to balance a mouse in addition to the laptop.
  10. Nalapombu

    Nalapombu Millennium Member

    Oct 21, 1999
    Spring, TEXAS....USA
    If you are looking for a true DESKTOP replacement you should take a look at the SAGER line. I have read a lot of reviews about them and apparently they are popular with gamers and people who do graphics intensive stuff and need mobility. I think their site is
    I would suggest that you stay with the models that have a 17" screen as they would tend to also have roomy keyboards and a numeric keypad built in.
    I think DELL just released a 17" model too.
    You can also go and lurk around the noterbook forums at

    Good Luck

  11. hwyhobo


    Jun 3, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Having used Dell for a while, I will not buy one until they do something about their keyboards. They are stiff and springy and terrible on your hands. Instead of "D600" they should call their laptops "CTS" for "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome."

    Of all the laptops I have used, IBM I would rate the highest overall in quality by far. My IBM T40 always runs cool and very quiet. My Dell D600 was so hot it was impossbile to keep it on my lap for too long. My other laptop, an old Toshiba Tecra 8100 is also of good quality - it stil travels with me as a classroom server - although it also runs too hot for my tastes.

    Just in terms of keyboards, some of the new Sony and Toshiba laptops are very good. IBMs are just so-so (better than Dell, though). My old Toshiba Tecra had a good keyboard.

    Remember to look not only at "features" but also at how usable that laptop will be to you long term. If you cringe every time you're supposed to type on it, it is not going to be an enjoyable experience. If it burns your lap, it's not exactly going to be a "laptop."
  12. El Capitan

    El Capitan Kalibanned

    Apr 5, 2002
    Los Angeles, Aztlán
    Those are very good points, because I actually am very picky about the feel of a computer. I worked in Architecture for 10 years, and much of that was straight CAD drafting. When you sit and manipulate the controls of anything for hours on end, you develop specific preferences for keyboard, chair height, mouse feel, etc. Obviously I can't get all that from a laptop, but would like to get as close as possible.

    One good feature of the Sony's is that I could try their keyboards and see the screens at a local retailer, whereas the Dell only works if a friend has one.
  13. El Capitan

    El Capitan Kalibanned

    Apr 5, 2002
    Los Angeles, Aztlán
    Dam! ;W

    Ya, unfortunately I'm spoiled by monitors also. I'm typing this on my 21" Flat Viewsonic at home. Hard to match in a notebook screen.