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New Laptop





rainmaker
Hello everyone!
I have been considering a new laptop for college. Because I want it to last for the rest of my undergraduate work (about three years), I would like to invest in something that will last me awhile. I was considering a Dell, owing to their cheap prices; however, a friend told me that they no longer make quality laptops. According to him, the best brands to try would be HP/Compaq or IBM/Lenovo.

I was wondering if anyone has any ideas, tips, personal experiences, etc. that would help me in making a good purchase. I would especially appreciate hints on what to avoid, because I have had a plethora of computer issues in the past after purchasing.

Your advice would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

--rainmaker
RiCtee
Quote:
I would like to invest in something that will last me awhile. I was considering a Dell, owing to their cheap prices; however, a friend told me that they no longer make quality laptops.

Dell is quite a popular computer manufacturing company. The theory that it doesn't make "quality" laptops are because of the lower prices and maybe it's target buyers of pretty much everyone and not only power users. The quality is in the components/parts. So don't get the low range, cheapest laptops there is but try looking at other models and specs. With Dell you can choose to upgrade some components for additional money.

But then again one reason I hate OEMs is because of all the bundled software that comes preinstalled. Makes up all the junk.
Kelvin
You can consider Acer as well. It's reasonably priced and standard features are quite impressive. Most Acer notebooks come with built-in mic. The newer models (eg. Aspire series) comes complete with webcam & mic. The webcam output is impressive to me. The Aspire series is built for Vista or Linux OS so if you want to install XP on it, you may have some problems as the driver CD is mostly Vista compatible only... you will have to download most of the XP drivers off their european website. However the wireless drivers are useless and you'll have to look for them elsewhere (took me one whole day to finally get a working one). Also, the HDD is SATA, so if you try to install XP, your HDD won't be detected... so you'll still have to search for them on the net. Amazingly, the drivers provided by Acer once again din work. Had to get mine from HP. If no custom installation is required... then you'll have no problem.

Dell recently came out with the latest and thinnest notebook - the XPS series. Specs and looks are not bad. The older and cheaper models are a bit on the bulky side for my taste. Always select the CrystalBright screen display, else you may regret your purchase.

HP/Compaq is also a good option.
corey
I've been looking around quietly as well. If you want inexpensive but good, then the Dell is worthy of a look. Especially now that you are going to be able to get Ubuntu preinstalled (and supported) in US, Canada, and Europe (and Asia soon?), you'll have a choice of operating system as well, which is great! This means that the parts are likely to cause less conflicts down the road.

On the other hand, Lenovo is committing to a similar offering and their products are of good quality. You will pay more for the same features, but Lenovo makes a solid Laptop (and you'll soon be able to get Suse Linux on it! So, the same choices, which is great for overall hardware compatibility).
jipmerite
I would recommend Dell. My only problem with them is that their chassis are very dull. No variety of choices in the chassis though they let you configure your system components in good depth. They make quality products and their after sales services are quite good.
myrevolt
IBM/Lenevo have a very durable chasis but I personally don't like their keyboard layout =\ it is personal preference though. Dell's laptops are okay but their "cheap price" depends on the components, for the most part (especially with a small business or student discount) reasonable but beware certain components, most notariously RAM are marked up through the roof. If you (or anyone reading this) goes for a dell, do yourself the favor, buy the minimum amount of RAM and buy from crucial (one of the best RAM manufacturers) - just check the price beforehand, and you'll see especially on 4gb, dell charges twice what crucial charges and you can find even cheaper than crucial at microcenter, frys or newegg. Read reviews on the particular laptop before you buy Wink
rainmaker
I've heard, though, that Dell has sort of regressed within the last few years. I'll admit, I bought a Dell Dimension desktop in 2003, and it has been very faithful. Recently, however, I've heard of hardware problems with their notebooks. I also had to replace a motherboard at one point in time. I guess my question is whether you get a solid system (in terms of hardware) if you go with a Dell, in general. Thanks for your input!

--rainmaker
rainmaker
Sorry to double post, but I've recently been looking at the Lenovo ThinkPad T61. I've read mixed reviews, and I was wondering what you guys think. I find the durability and performance enticing, but are they still having issues with shipping the laptops out? I understand they were backlogged for quite some time. Also, I plan to install Ubuntu on the said laptop and dual-boot; would this be possible? Thanks in advance!

--rainmaker
rainmaker
Apologies on triple posting. (That must be classified as a mortal sin.) Anyway, I did in fact decide to go with the Lenovo Thinkpad T61. Thank you for all of the input!

--rainmaker
fadirocks
the ThinkPads are pretty good, get the no fault warranty you probably will need it!!!!
if anything breaks on your lappy you can send it through DHL and receive fixed usually in 3-4 days!!!
jwellsy
Excellent choice on the Thinkpad.
It will probably last for the duration of college.
The Dell's, Samsungs and others probably wont last 4years without breaking.
rainmaker
That is exactly why I bought this laptop. I have a few questions, though, I went with the four-year depot warranty. This will cover any malfunctioning on the laptop's part, correct? (I know it won't cover any damage that I cause from, say, dropping it or anything of that nature.) Also, why didn't Lenovo send some kind of product recovery CD or at least a physical copy of Windows Vista? Can either of them be requested? The idea of Windows ONLY being located on the hard drive rather scares me. At any rate, though, the computer is working out swell for me. As a matter of fact, I'm typing this post on the new Thinkpad. Thanks again everyone!

--rainmaker
[FuN]goku
I bought a dell back in january.... *Ahem* Never again.... lol. My sound drivers on windows , had to be changed and it took me a while to find the ones that supported 'Stereo Mix' cuz i do music recordings and stuff like that. Then ehm, i had to get rid of the crap i didnt want on it, like.... McAffee Anti-Virus and replace it with nod32, install a better version of powerdvd cuz the one that came with it sucked. Then when i went to linux, ughh,.... so many pain in the ass problems, (this was the first time i installed linux on it and i didnt have as much knowledge as i do now, but i knew enough and had a friend for help and support) for example , It took me long to get my ATI drivers to work, my wireless card drivers were hard to find stuff on. I finally managed to find my dialup drivers for free on the dell site. (Pray to god you never get Connexant modem >.< Linuxant wants money for the linux drivers as there are no 'Official' Connexant drivers on linux) However i didnt have any problems with sound this time Smile

Next time im going with a toshiba sattelite laptop, cuz theyre really nice and.... well... theyre good. lol.
lastelement0
[FuN]goku wrote:
I bought a dell back in january.... *Ahem* Never again.... lol. My sound drivers on windows , had to be changed and it took me a while to find the ones that supported 'Stereo Mix' cuz i do music recordings and stuff like that. Then ehm, i had to get rid of the crap i didnt want on it, like.... McAffee Anti-Virus and replace it with nod32, install a better version of powerdvd cuz the one that came with it sucked. Then when i went to linux, ughh,.... so many pain in the ass problems, (this was the first time i installed linux on it and i didnt have as much knowledge as i do now, but i knew enough and had a friend for help and support) for example , It took me long to get my ATI drivers to work, my wireless card drivers were hard to find stuff on. I finally managed to find my dialup drivers for free on the dell site. (Pray to god you never get Connexant modem >.< Linuxant wants money for the linux drivers as there are no 'Official' Connexant drivers on linux) However i didnt have any problems with sound this time Smile

Next time im going with a toshiba sattelite laptop, cuz theyre really nice and.... well... theyre good. lol.


alright well you're arguments aren't really that substantial for why you dislike dell laptops.

1) did your sound work to begin with? im going to assume yes. the issue you had came to trying to find drivers that supported what you wanted to do. dell's arent usually used for sound recordings and what have you as they aren't geared towards audio production and the like. so thats not an issue with dell u had more an issue with YOUR research when purchasing.

2) as for removing the "crap" on your laptop. no matter where you buy from laptops and desktops alike will be bundled with some trialware on them. yes some more than others. however its just a fact of life when purchasing from a retailer. they make deals with companies to put their software on their new computers in exchange lower price for you, the consumer. removing this software is still easy enough and not a hassle as you make it out to be. theres a script that was made (easy to find too) that removes this junk from your computer. so once again not really a legitimate argument, just something that annoys you.

3)your issues with linux aren't issues that are new. its widely known in the Linux community that dell's aren't the smoothest in the world to get linux on. however, the fact that it has happened before to many others has led to the findings of those on how to get it to work. yes it may take a little extra time and effort, which at this point seems like arent your strong suits, but it isn't that hard to find online. a simple google search brings up a guide on how to install ubuntu linux on a dell. included is how to get your ati graphics card to work.

so next time you have a gripe with something have your issues straightened out as these that you mentioned are more so to do with yourself and not the computer(with a small exception to linux, but to keep in mind they were designed for Windows based on the time of your purchase im assuming.)
[FuN]goku
Quote:

alright well you're arguments aren't really that substantial for why you dislike dell laptops.

Well i didnt directly say 'Dell Laptops' , i hate dell in general for other reasons.

I was mostly just discussing my experience of hassling with my laptop, and i said never again because, i never really liked dells, and well , this is when i had some money after christmas, and i just wanted a laptop and i seen a good buy in the dell flyers, otherwise i would have waited it out and got a toshiba.

Anyways, yes my sound 'DID' work by default, but i basically had to find a 'HACKED' driver for the Stereo mix, but most pc's or laptops come with stereo mix on the sound cards by default however this one didn't for some reason, and it took a while to find a working driver.. Anyways.

Also i realise that there will be trial software on 'MOST' laptops/Desktop's but still its a pain in the ass to get rid of, well it is and it isnt... Its just annoying like you put it Razz , But suppose you go and buy your parts, from a local computer shop and order custom parts and everything, well you're probably not gonna have trial software , but that wouldnt be purchacing it from a retailer

And I do also realise that the linux issues arent new. But, sometimes it took me a while to get things working cuz i couldnt find a proper guide on google, mostly cuz i wasnt googling for ubuntu tutorials but rather debian (which ubuntu is based off of) . And the ati drivers were a pain in the ass the first 2 times but i got it working in 5 minutes the last time i tried.

Quote:

yes it may take a little extra time and effort, which at this point seems like arent your strong suits

Mhh, im usually busy with many things like coding and stuff. But i like to get things done as quickly as possible (except homework and school work) XD

Also , i would like to add one thing about their laptops i just thought about, The screws and crap always come loose lol... And i carry it around in a laptop bag and handle it properly , so its really wierd that it would do that. The Screws came out of my hardrive at one point and i didnt realise it.
And the screws that hold the screen on came loose a few times as well.

Oh, just thought about this as well, its a linux issue, that is a bit crappy, ehm.. the wireless drivers are at a disadvantage when it comes to some of the wireless scanning tools, theyre not supported cuz of the ndiswrapper on linux. So that sucks but, you get what you pay for Razz

And ill actually tell you a couple of the other reasons i dont like dell:
Lets suppose something on your pc screws up, it can be an annoyance to try and get replacement parts cuz if i recall correctly, you usually have to buy it from dell and their prices for replacement parts suck, but i think this is true with 'alot' of retailers.

Another is that they slap their logo on anything they can, i think when i first booted my laptop up i seen the word 'DELL' about 15 times lol.

Also i find that 'Some' of their laptops tend to get rather hot, and i mean hotter than most laptops get, i was actually testing that one night when i was in my room, i had conky running on linux, and i was monitoring my CPU Temp. And It got quite high, i forget how high it went up cuz this was a couple months ago. But it did cool off fairly quickly, after i turned it off. I should also say it wasnt that hot that night either it was... nice.. not hot not cold but nice. Smile

So, i suppose you could say , i dont like most retailers, for the hardware and logo bits Razz

Anyways, Sorry for the long post, i sometimes get carried away on a rant on some things Smile
froginabox
Dells are good if you plan on getting a new one in a few years when it becomes bogged down and obsolete... their products these days are a perfect example of planned obsolescence. I have a few PII Dell desktops that I use for our webcasting at WONY... they run like tanks. Slow, but dependable as heck. W2K Pro, I think I had one of them crash once all of last year. If you do get a Dell, look up the PC Decrapifier to get all the bloatware off it, it works quite well.

I would not recommend Acer computers at all - the tech support is extremely spotty.

The IBM / Lenovo is a solid machine, built to last, and they do work well. Tech support is passable.

I have no personal experience with any newer Sony or Samsung machines, but I would assume that the laptops would be like the rest of their product lines - once they stop actively making them, all support goes away too.
coreymanshack
froginabox wrote:
Dells are good if you plan on getting a new one in a few years when it becomes bogged down and obsolete... their products these days are a perfect example of planned obsolescence. I have a few PII Dell desktops that I use for our webcasting at WONY... they run like tanks. Slow, but dependable as heck. W2K Pro, I think I had one of them crash once all of last year. If you do get a Dell, look up the PC Decrapifier to get all the bloatware off it, it works quite well.

I would not recommend Acer computers at all - the tech support is extremely spotty.

The IBM / Lenovo is a solid machine, built to last, and they do work well. Tech support is passable.

I have no personal experience with any newer Sony or Samsung machines, but I would assume that the laptops would be like the rest of their product lines - once they stop actively making them, all support goes away too.


Bogged down? I read that and was hurt. The only reason a computer may get "bogged down" is because of inexperienced users loading tons of things into the taskbar in windows to be started up with their system. There is hardly nothing at all that needs to be started up with your system. That is what services are for. Programs I think are ment to be started at the click of a mouse button. If your computer is "bogged down" back up all of your data that you think you will need, and pop in the disc that came with your computer and reformat the whole drive.
froginabox
coreymanshack wrote:
Bogged down? I read that and was hurt. The only reason a computer may get "bogged down" is because of inexperienced users loading tons of things into the taskbar in windows to be started up with their system. There is hardly nothing at all that needs to be started up with your system. That is what services are for. Programs I think are ment to be started at the click of a mouse button. If your computer is "bogged down" back up all of your data that you think you will need, and pop in the disc that came with your computer and reformat the whole drive.


Which, to people who know how to use computers or work heavily with them, makes perfect sense. But the average user doesn't remember that deleting the Start Menu group and desktop icon doesn't remove things... the *average* user does allow their PC to become bogged down with lack of routine maintenance, and will simply give up and gripe about it and get a new machine rather than take corrective action.

Also, if you tell the average user how to access the service configuration (msconfig or serivces.msc), they will either a)not know what to do or b)mess it up. Call me bitter and cynical from helping at my college's student helpdesk, but I see this every day. People are just messing with things without knowing at ALL what they do... which sometimes has the opposite effect. There are some services you do need.


I have, however, noticed that some of the Dell hard drives in the Latitude X300 series laptops seem to have slower seek times after about 6 to 8 months... this is something we had problems with after we bought about a dozen of that model at the office. We ended up replacing some of the hard drives... Dell customer service wouldn't believe us.
coreymanshack
froginabox wrote:
coreymanshack wrote:
Bogged down? I read that and was hurt. The only reason a computer may get "bogged down" is because of inexperienced users loading tons of things into the taskbar in windows to be started up with their system. There is hardly nothing at all that needs to be started up with your system. That is what services are for. Programs I think are ment to be started at the click of a mouse button. If your computer is "bogged down" back up all of your data that you think you will need, and pop in the disc that came with your computer and reformat the whole drive.


Which, to people who know how to use computers or work heavily with them, makes perfect sense. But the average user doesn't remember that deleting the Start Menu group and desktop icon doesn't remove things... the *average* user does allow their PC to become bogged down with lack of routine maintenance, and will simply give up and gripe about it and get a new machine rather than take corrective action.

Also, if you tell the average user how to access the service configuration (msconfig or serivces.msc), they will either a)not know what to do or b)mess it up. Call me bitter and cynical from helping at my college's student helpdesk, but I see this every day. People are just messing with things without knowing at ALL what they do... which sometimes has the opposite effect. There are some services you do need.


I have, however, noticed that some of the Dell hard drives in the Latitude X300 series laptops seem to have slower seek times after about 6 to 8 months... this is something we had problems with after we bought about a dozen of that model at the office. We ended up replacing some of the hard drives... Dell customer service wouldn't believe us.


I see what you mean, although I acutally never have had anything made by dell. The only computer made by a pc company that I ever had was an insignia. After that I did custom builds and I still have one that keeps on chugging after 4 years. That goes to a special thanks to intel, ecs, western digital, g-skill, sony, asys, nvidia, and many other manufacturers Very Happy/
froginabox
I have my custom-built desktop at home, four custom-built desktops at work (with way too many monitors... yay for bosses who let me have dual 21" flatscreens on every PC), and I maintain a bunch of customized servers.

Custom, however, is quite difficult to do with laptops!!
andy26
Well i have a really nice high performance yet cheap laptop by Ei system iv had one in the past and it lasted me 3 years so im sure you will find that usefull for your course i now own another Ei system laptop and i am hopeing to break the age expectancy of it, but yea have a look around for one of them there good laptops only way about a bag of sugar and the newer ones come with dvd burner and cd burner i was unlucky and only ot the cd burner version there is also advent which do exactly the same model as the Ei system and they do a dvd burner with theres there also good gaming laptops i got a 512mb upgrade for my laptop and could nicely play half - life 2 although the tourch didnt work due to graphics limitations but the rest of the graphics was medium detail and looked great.
pathik
wat is ur budget???
go for a Dell or HP notebook.
avinrulez101
toshubia ibm think pad or acer
Guelila
If you still havent bought your laptop, I recommend HP tx100z.

It's a 12 inch ultra portable laptop with very nice specs.
You said you are going to have it for 3 years right?
This one is going to last you more than that with its current specs, and you can upgrade it even more if you want to.

Plus, it's a touchscreen, so that might come in handdy maybe..

Basics specs are:
AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-56 2.2GHz (Dual-Core)
2 GB RAM (Max 4G)
160GB Hard Disk Drive

Thats better specs than many desktops.

It's really cheap too, considering its specs. (around $1000)

I strongly recommend this one. Wink
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