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Which laptop/notebook to buy..?


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hey there folks...

I'm in a predicament. My prof's decided on getting me a new laptop and I've been saving some money for one myself. So, got to talk to him, and I can pool in from his budget as well as mine and go in for a kickass machine; hopefully for about USD 2100-2300 range.

I've spent the last couple of days looking at various options, and for the timebeing have settled upon these two - would like a critiquing on the pros and cons of each of the following as well as if you guys have any other laptop suggestions.

1. HP dv9500t

- Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 (2.0GHz, 4MB L2 Cache, 800 MHz FSB)

- 17.0" WXGA + High Def'n Ultra BrightView HP tech. (1440x900) - increases colour gamut by 72 % (what does that mean?)

OR

17.0" WSXGA +High Def'n Ultra BrightView HP tech (1680x1050) (no increase in colour gamut)

- 4GB DDR2 (2x2GB) RAM

- Graphics Card 511 MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GS

- built in webcam/mic ..

- Intel PRO/wireless 4965 802.11b/g/n

- HDD 120 GB @ 7200 rpm SATA

- Light Scribe Super Multi 8x DVD +/-RW with Double layer support

- HP Expresscard TV Tuner

- OS Vista Ultimate 64bit

- keyboard - full with num keypad built in

- weight ~ 7.5 lbs

- USB slots - ? (anyone have a clue?)

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Gross - USD 2238.00

2. Sony Vaio FZ190 CTO

- Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 (2.0GHz, 4MB L2 Cache, 800 MHz FSB)

- screen

- 4GB DDR-SDRAM (2x2GB) (DDR2-667MHz)

- NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GT (Arggghhhhh..... why o why don't they print how much dedicated memory it has.. I don't have a clue... can someone please tell me how much it is?)

- integrated webcam/mic

- 802.11 a/b/g/n

- HDD 120 GB @5400/4200 rpm (i'm not sure which) SATA

- SuperMulti DVD +-R Double Layer/ DVD +-RW Drive) - doesn't give any spec on speed

- 15.4" WXGA (HC) W/CMR - (best quality they have)

- No TV Tuner

- OS Vista Ultimate ( I don't know whether 32/64 bit)

- weight < 6lbs

- USB Slots - 3 to the best of my knowledge

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

USD 2300

3. MAC Book Pro

- Unfortunately a config similar to the Sony Vaio will cost me 2650+

salient features being

2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

4GB RAM

120 GB HDD

15.4" display

NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT 128MB Video RAM

SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

USB Ports - 2

802.11b/g/n airport xtreme

OR

2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

2GB RAM

120 GB HDD

15.4" display

8600M GT 256MB vid RAM

and the rest of the specs same ~ USD 2500

I feel lured by the apple really wanted to try out a Mac especially considering I love the UI on mac's ... and I can also install vista/xp through bootcamp due to which I won't be missing out on gaming and a few of my favourite softwares. But comparing it to the HP 17" .. it seems like the HP really blows the macbook pro away ... i mean 4 gigs of RAM ... 512 MB video RAM... and I can get a docking station for UsD 150 bucks that will be kinda cool... that apart.. if I end up decreasing RAM to 2 GB .. and video RAM to 383 MB .... then I can save close to 600-700 bucks on the HP ..! Food for thought people! I need advice!

1. Are there any other laptop configs from manufacturers (preferably no toshiba) that might interest me? (and if so ... have you personally got such a system or atleast got a system from the manufacturer and if so how has your experience been thus far with it) ... personally.... my present laptop is an HP Pavilion zt3300 that I bought about 2.5 yrs back .. and I've had a great experience with it ... hence my proclivity towards HP laptops... (I'ld prefer 15.4" to 17.1" ... but if there's a good model for 17.1" ... i'ld like that) ...

2. While I'm an electronics major, I don't keep myself very well informed on the scene with respect to 32 bit and 64 bit machines. I am guessing the Intel Core 2 Duo machines are 64 bit. However, more interestingly; the OS being shipped with the machines are giving me an option of either installing a 32 bit vista option or 64 bit vista option. What are the pros and cons of each? Are applications like winamp, and games like fifa 07 and battlefield playable with 64 bit versions of vista... (or for that matter32 bit versions of vista) ?

3. What do you make of the Graphics Card comparison. Can anyone shed light on how much Video RAM the Vaio config will have? It's frustratingly conspicuously absent in their site and a few other sites that i visited didn't give any conclusive answer. I would like to use the computer for good gaming and stuff.. while I'm not a game addict, it'ld be nice to have a really kickass gpu to be able to play the upcoming and present games properely.

4. I have an external USB 2.0 HDD ... (seagate freeagent pro)... and it's NTFS formatted and storing a lot of my stuff.... so ... in the event i buy a mac .... can i access the stuff from my external while im running OSX? .... or do i have to boot into windows vista/xp in order to be able to view my stuff?

It'll be great if you provide me with some insights and help my decision! Kindly try to keep objectivity in mind and don't resort to fanboyism points of view... 'cos that really wouldn't help me that much.

thanks! smile.gif

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I too suggest the MacBook Pro, but I think you're going to get some biases here considering this is a Mac based forum.

If you really want a Mac, you need to put aside the fact that you can get a equally configured PC for cheaper. You need to ask yourself although you can get a better PC for the same price as a Mac, will you really be needing the extra power? It's no question that Macs cost a little extra, but you get what you pay for. They are very nice machines.

4. I have an external USB 2.0 HDD ... (seagate freeagent pro)... and it's NTFS formatted and storing a lot of my stuff.... so ... in the event i buy a mac .... can i access the stuff from my external while im running OSX? .... or do i have to boot into windows vista/xp in order to be able to view my stuff?

OSX can read NTFS, but it will not be able to write to it. You'll need to format your drive to FAT32 if you want both OSs to read and write.

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^ agreed. Macbook Pro. I love mine.

Its not just the computer's specs, and im not saying this just because it has an apple logo on the back- the fact is that its the best designed laptop out there.

theres no bulky bits hanging off it, just a slim form factor, integrated webcam, microphone, wireless, bluetooth, expansion slot, etc etc... the things that usually cost you.

Everything you need, nothing you dont. No spam, bloatware, extra network cards, camera card readers...

In no way does it feel lacking, and the trade offs (4gb of ram) feels worth it when you realise how well thought-out and BALANCED the macbook pro is.

Its the best all-in-one portable laptop.

Its the freedom of being able to use it how you want.

want to run windows xp?

want to run vista?

want to run linux?

want to run OSX?

theres only one computer that does all and all at native speeds.

^ i know the above sounds like fanboyism, but its true. its why you'll never regret getting a MBP, I know because i have one.

The only one thing that bugs me about my MBP is the fact that everyone looks at your computer and goes

"thats a mac, therefor it must be crap"

when in all truth, they dont realise what they're missing out on.

I say to these people;

"it runs windows on the same hardware available to top of the line 'PC' laptops, why does an apple logo change that?"

As for sony not giving the specs, try click on the 'more info' link that should accompany each item (such as the graphics card). Usually they dont show on thier website things which work against them (such as limited GPU memory or the sheer fact in may lack something like bluetooth or wireless or something else the mbp has).

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thanks for the feedback so far..

a couple of quick but really important questions -

1. The XP CD i have isn't SP2 .... i had SP2 installed seperately ... so ... from what I gather, that won't work in bootcamp? Has anyone tried/ can comment on whether slipstreaming SP2 with a pre-sp2 win xp cd will work ?

2. Say for instance im using Parallels and bootcamp and my win xp partition is NTFS; under this circumstance, can I get into win xp through parallels and write stuff onto the NTFS partition (say for instance im browsing and i download a movie, will i be able to save it to the NTFS partition if im on parallels and downloading from there?)

3. The Win XP interface that is visible while using parallels, is it skinnable. Alternatively put, if i have Windows Blinds installed, while running parallels will the themed / skinned version of win xp show up? (I'm guessing that while running bootcamp and selecting win xp as my boot choice, my machine will act completely like a native windows machine at the time.. so ... the windows will be totally customizable then?)

4. Has anyone here bought RAM for the MBP from an online store... or something like that (basically installed it seperately ...and not from apple) ..? And if so, can you point me to what sort of RAM is recommended; pros and cons of getting RAM externally and not from apple (by jove..apple reallly overcharges for tthe extra 2 GB ofram .... 700 bucks for 2 more GB of ram (making it a total of 4 GB) is mighty expensive --- which is why I want info on alternatives and getting ram from an online vendor) .. what are the good models for RAM forapple MBP's..

Thanks !

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do you realise that you're posting your question on a forum that dedicates itself to making windows based computers look like OSX? So obviously the answer will be GET A MACBOOK PRO GOD DAMN IT!!!

but seriously, I would also get a Macbook pro because:

1. Having had quite a few notebooks/laptops in the past, I realise that the support and services provided by Apple are by far the best. I've had Dell, Asus and Toshiba laptops.

2. The beauty, simplicity, sexiness, userfriendlyness, younameit... of OSX and its applications. I just wish that my company was using OSX based computers *sigh*

3. As you and others have pointed out, you can have both OSes running on a Mac, something impossible (well, legally) on a normal PC

4. Don't ever get a 17" laptop because your back will be blaming you!!!! 17" laptop just doesn't offer you the mobility, portability that a 15" or 13" laptop does!!!

Hope that helps and good luck :)

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thanks for the feedback so far..

a couple of quick but really important questions -

1. The XP CD i have isn't SP2 .... i had SP2 installed seperately ... so ... from what I gather, that won't work in bootcamp? Has anyone tried/ can comment on whether slipstreaming SP2 with a pre-sp2 win xp cd will work ?

Yes, slipstream your CD.

4. Has anyone here bought RAM for the MBP from an online store... or something like that (basically installed it seperately ...and not from apple) ..? And if so, can you point me to what sort of RAM is recommended; pros and cons of getting RAM externally and not from apple (by jove..apple reallly overcharges for tthe extra 2 GB ofram .... 700 bucks for 2 more GB of ram (making it a total of 4 GB) is mighty expensive --- which is why I want info on alternatives and getting ram from an online vendor) .. what are the good models for RAM forapple MBP's..

Thanks !

Go to newegg.com and look at the most reviewed RAM. I have G.SKILL in my MacBook.

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ahmm... following up on this ... since i want to upgrade to 4GB ram ....

between the following ... which one's would u recommend?

1. 2 of these -

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16820145172

2. one of these -

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16820231135

3. 2 of these -

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16820148087

between g.skill and crucial and corsair ... are they all pretty much in the same league?

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Get a Lenovo Thinkpad if you want a windows computer.

Get a MacBook if you want a Mac computer.

If you're interested in gaming, you already know that you'll need a better system anyhoo.

Those two computers are extremely reliable and lack software "glitches" that other hardware computers have. If you go Windows, get from a damn good company. That's Lenovo.

That and while working at my uni's help desk, there's never been anything wrong with a ThinkPad other than a user configuration error that's just changing a preference. I've seen hell from HP and even worse, cheap Dell.

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ahmm... following up on this ... since i want to upgrade to 4GB ram ....

between the following ... which one's would u recommend?

1. 2 of these -

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16820145172

2. one of these -

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16820231135

3. 2 of these -

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16820148087

between g.skill and crucial and corsair ... are they all pretty much in the same league?

I would go with the G.SKILL just because it's the cheapest and I've never had a problem with mine. There's a lifetime warranty even if you have problems.

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