Laptop - What do I need?


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adamadam

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#1
Firstly, I've searched this on the forum, and read the replies, but have a few specific questions.

I'm interested to know what laptops are currently available that will meet my requirements.
For requirements - I'm not going to specify hardware requirements, but if I tell you all what I need it for, and budget, I'd like to see what's available.

What I want to use the computer for:
word, excel, matlab, photoshop, msn, web surfing, listening to music, line6 edit and maybe counter-strike, solidworks, and ansys.
Each of these softwares have 'minimum requirements', but is it sufficient to just meet the requirements? Probably better to get something with specs which exceed these minimum requirements - then it'll run faster? Like, windows xp requires at least 64mb ram, but I think that if I put 64mb in, it will run, but not well?

These things are just for uni, uni assignments, play, play, play, photo post-processng, play. And again, I'm not a gamer - although I do enjoy a bit of counter-strike now and then (which I hope the hardware requirements aren't too high!)
Websurfing will just be to clubsnap, some photography forums, email, flickr, news, google, research :) I do not need the illegal downloading capabilities :)
I say that I would like to use it to listen to music - by this I don't mean that I NEED a super super good speakers / sound card - I can use headphones.


Also, I read in the forums here about some LCD screens can not be be callibrated, or at least not properly. Which laptops have a good screen? I've got Colorplus callibrator hardware.

As for size, I like small laptops: not the tiny tiny ones, but 12" - 13" is good. Because I prefer to put the laptop in my backpack rather than carry an extra laptop bag - or laptop backpack.

I'd like to be able to use my mouse with it, floppy disk drive is not neccessary, I would also like a CD writer - or a DVD writer. Also, I would like USB2.0 ports so I can plug in my flash disks. Do any laptops have CF card readers built in? How do these compare in speed to USB2.0, firewire cardreaders, or cardbus 32bit CF card readers? I think that a minimum of 2 USB ports will be sufficient.


I also would like the laptop to have wireless capabilities - 802.11b/g, bluetooth and infrared are not necessary, but if present .

Is a budget of about $2500 sufficient? As I do see that there are laptops below that price.

As comparison, what specs. do you think are minimum? processor/processor speed, ram, hard disk size?

I'm just thinking about other requirements...

oh! and must be super-reliable for when I'm writing my thesis! I'll be careful to keep backing up, but don't want it failing!! :)

Thanks in advance for the replies (even if they are to tell me to search the forums harder:( :()
 

#2
I think you should look out for a processor with more than 2.0 ghz, or with a T2400 (1.8 Ghz duo core for ur multitasking of processing photos/counterstrike with mp3). Graphics a Geforce 7600 series (any) would be good enough and you definitely need alot of ram ! If you have more cash get a better graphics card for your counterstrike. Laptops usually only meet a maximum of 30fps for normal budget ones (good enough). For your durability, look for a lenovo. I'm getting a lenovo x60. The one on the pc show 2006 had great offers but i was late. I reached at 6pm and it was sold out. that was ard 2.5k after alot of discounts. After upgrades it was about 3k. 1 gig ram is a must. but with extra money i recommend a 2 gig.
 

adamadam

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#3
Thanks for the reply LightStalker! :)
I forgot to mention that I'm not going to be playing counterstrike at the same time as listening to mp3 while doing matlab calculations, finite element analysis while typing up my thesis :) hehe, but people usually do comment about how many windows I've got open (too many for their liking!).
What is a T2400? Is that the 'turion 2400'? I'll have a look out for a laptop with those specs (or similar), and looking into Lenovo x60 as we speak :D thanks a lot for your reply! :)
 

Apr 14, 2004
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#4
Avoid buying IBM model. Because you can't change/upgrade the harddisk (bought from Sim lin) after 3 years warranty over. IBM system bios make it unable to detect 3rd party harddisk. :thumbsd:

They make you come back to them so that they can charge labour cost and repair/replacement parts cost higher than you can bought outside cheaper.
 

zcwnfx

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Jun 6, 2005
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#5
Hi,

I am using matlab as well. It actually takes up alot of computing power.

Jus for you to take note?
 

#6
JL1500k said:
Avoid buying IBM model. Because you can't change/upgrade the harddisk (bought from Sim lin) after 3 years warranty over. IBM system bios make it unable to detect 3rd party harddisk. :thumbsd:
They make you come back to them so that they can charge labour cost and repair/replacement parts cost higher than you can bought outside cheaper.
Honestly speaking, harddisk in laptops aren't suppose to be upgraded. It spoils the purpose of calling a laptop. It increases weight, reduces air circulation in ur system, gets hotter etc. That's why they have portable harddisk or cd burners for storage and backup. Upgrading Harddisk drains alot of energy from ur batteries as well. As for the x60, it's battery last up to 8 hrs (thats what they claimed). Most harddisk also have a warranty of 3yrs. Theres nothing we can do about it. About the problem you had, i've never heard anyone of my friends getting the problem u mentioned. I'll try asking them again.
 

solarii

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Oct 20, 2005
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#7
I'm also on the hunt for a laptop right now. I've done most of the leg work so I'll give you these recommendations.

The following models will meet yr requirements, more or less:

1) Asus A8J (abt $2300)
2) Acer 5560 series (abt $2500)
3) Sony Vaio SZ series (ok...more ex but u get what u pay for)

Here's what I don't like about others offering similar laptops:

NEC/Fujitsu -integrated graphics/price
Lenovo - Weight/price
LG - Integrated graphics

Yah people can recommend a while list of specs.... u need this and that and that buy try FINDING a laptop model/brand that has all the features at the price. Most people can't do that unless they themselves have been shopping ard.

Also, for 13/14 inch models, the BEST graphics you can get out there are either from a GEforce 7400 or ATi X1600. U want better, go for a 17 inch model, but that weighs a ton.

I hope people who make recommendations actually recommend something that exists as a whole.... very easy to list "Must have specs" but there are probably no laptops that come with everything u say. At least check..... buying a laptop is not like buying a desktop PC... u can't fit anything u want into the frame.
 

westwest1

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Feb 25, 2006
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#8
JL1500k said:
Avoid buying IBM model. Because you can't change/upgrade the harddisk (bought from Sim lin) after 3 years warranty over. IBM system bios make it unable to detect 3rd party harddisk. :thumbsd:

They make you come back to them so that they can charge labour cost and repair/replacement parts cost higher than you can bought outside cheaper.
HD can be change anytime u wish....anyway...IBM dun sell laptop...
 

#9
adamadam said:
Thanks for the reply LightStalker! :)
I forgot to mention that I'm not going to be playing counterstrike at the same time as listening to mp3 while doing matlab calculations, finite element analysis while typing up my thesis :) hehe, but people usually do comment about how many windows I've got open (too many for their liking!).
What is a T2400? Is that the 'turion 2400'? I'll have a look out for a laptop with those specs (or similar), and looking into Lenovo x60 as we speak :D thanks a lot for your reply! :)
Wow, you're gonna run finite element analysis? Are you just gonna use a specific programme for that or are u gonna run it through unigraphics? If you run it as a software by itself it shud be np. But if you use demanding engineering softwares like Unigraphics or proengineer, it's gonna cost abit more for that extra umph in the graphics card. Unless you're willing to wait :bsmilie: Unless you run 1 software at a time, then theres no need for a duo core.. Get one with a processor above 2 gig is good enough. If you still dont get it, let me put in layman terms..

you have 1 guy who can type 200 words per minute (2.6 ghz). And you're gonna upgrade to a duo core,(1.66 ghz), meaning 2 guys who can type 80 words per minute. If you count productivity, the one guy with 200 will give u more then 2 guys with 80+80=160. BUT, if you ask one of the 2 guys to do other things, he will do it at 80wpm. At the end, you have completed 2 things at the same time. With the 1 guy at 200wpm, you would only complete 1 thing at a faster time. The thing that you're considering now is multitasking. Thats all. If you dont need it, dont get it. Simple. Save that money and get something else. You'll see the diff.

FYI the T in T2400 is just the model i think. It's codename is Yonah. In case you were wondering. Dont go sim lin and say i want a laptop with a yonah. The guy blur for sure !!
 

#11
solarii said:
I'm also on the hunt for a laptop right now. I've done most of the leg work so I'll give you these recommendations.

The following models will meet yr requirements, more or less:

1) Asus A8J (abt $2300)
2) Acer 5560 series (abt $2500)
3) Sony Vaio SZ series (ok...more ex but u get what u pay for)

Here's what I don't like about others offering similar laptops:

NEC/Fujitsu -integrated graphics/price
Lenovo - Weight/price
LG - Integrated graphics

Yah people can recommend a while list of specs.... u need this and that and that buy try FINDING a laptop model/brand that has all the features at the price. Most people can't do that unless they themselves have been shopping ard.

Also, for 13/14 inch models, the BEST graphics you can get out there are either from a GEforce 7400 or ATi X1600. U want better, go for a 17 inch model, but that weighs a ton.

I hope people who make recommendations actually recommend something that exists as a whole.... very easy to list "Must have specs" but there are probably no laptops that come with everything u say. At least check..... buying a laptop is not like buying a desktop PC... u can't fit anything u want into the frame.
I agree with this guy. Buying laptop is totally diff then getting a desktop. But you have the possibility of getting bundles. My friends get their laptop online through the company so they have a wider range of products in it. Don't know about you. I'm still gonna stick with the x60 :bsmilie:
 

Sjourn

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Aug 9, 2004
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#12
JL1500k said:
Avoid buying IBM model. Because you can't change/upgrade the harddisk (bought from Sim lin) after 3 years warranty over. IBM system bios make it unable to detect 3rd party harddisk. :thumbsd:

They make you come back to them so that they can charge labour cost and repair/replacement parts cost higher than you can bought outside cheaper.
I would have to disagree, I've been through 1 acer, 3 sony laptops, and finally a IBMT43. For stability and realibility, the IBM wins hands down. It is a work horse, I use average of 15 Hrs daily. Sony has a lot of software problems and tends to hang a lot. Again, you pay for what you need.

The warranty should cover for any problems of the hard disk.
 

Canew

Senior Member
Jul 26, 2005
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#15
solarii said:
I'm also on the hunt for a laptop right now. I've done most of the leg work so I'll give you these recommendations.

The following models will meet yr requirements, more or less:

1) Asus A8J (abt $2300)
2) Acer 5560 series (abt $2500)
3) Sony Vaio SZ series (ok...more ex but u get what u pay for)

Here's what I don't like about others offering similar laptops:

NEC/Fujitsu -integrated graphics/price
Lenovo - Weight/price
LG - Integrated graphics

Yah people can recommend a while list of specs.... u need this and that and that buy try FINDING a laptop model/brand that has all the features at the price. Most people can't do that unless they themselves have been shopping ard.

Also, for 13/14 inch models, the BEST graphics you can get out there are either from a GEforce 7400 or ATi X1600. U want better, go for a 17 inch model, but that weighs a ton.

I hope people who make recommendations actually recommend something that exists as a whole.... very easy to list "Must have specs" but there are probably no laptops that come with everything u say. At least check..... buying a laptop is not like buying a desktop PC... u can't fit anything u want into the frame.
solarii, what are your thoughts on DELL?
 

#16
btw, the x60 doesnt have any of those fancy graphics cards. I'm getting it for work. The graphics accelerator in it is good enough for what i will be using it for. :D
 

solarii

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Oct 20, 2005
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#17
Canew said:
solarii, what are your thoughts on DELL?
Dell is pretty cheap but it weighs a ton... their range of 14 inchers start from 2.48kg for basic config, whereas most others in a comparable range weigh in at ard 1.8 (Sony) to 2.4kg battery included.

Construction wise I don't find theirs as sleek and stylish (if it matters to you). IIRC they use integrated graphics and don't have an option for discrete cards for this range... mainly business oriented.

But they are cheap. A little over 2K for a pretty fast model. They might be ideal for some... depends on what you're looking for.
 

#18
solarii said:
Dell is pretty cheap but it weighs a ton... their range of 14 inchers start from 2.48kg for basic config, whereas most others in a comparable range weigh in at ard 1.8 (Sony) to 2.4kg battery included.

Construction wise I don't find theirs as sleek and stylish (if it matters to you). IIRC they use integrated graphics and don't have an option for discrete cards.

But they are cheap. A little over 2K for a pretty fast model. They might be ideal for some... depends on what you're looking for.
I heard they arent as durable as IBM, and their startup is really slow. Is this true? I've never used a DELL before
 

solarii

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#19
LightStalker said:
I heard they arent as durable as IBM, and their startup is really slow. Is this true? I've never used a DELL before
Agreed the plactic feels a little cheap when you campare it with the alloys most other brands are using for their "business" line notebooks. Thinkpad uses plactic if I'm not wrong, but it felt more solid... I don't remember having any complaints with the Thinkpad's construction... the T43 was good but that was last yr's model.

Never tried rebooting it so I can't comment on startup speed... I ruled it out once I heard the weight.
 

#20
solarii said:
Agreed the plactic feels a little cheap when you campare it with the alloys most other brands are using for their "business" line notebooks. Thinkpad uses plactic if I'm not wrong, but it felt more solid... I don't remember having any complaints with the Thinkpad's construction... the T43 was good but that was last yr's model.

Never tried rebooting it so I can't comment on startup speed... I ruled it out once I heard the weight.
Hi, really sorry for always posting questions to you.. But you seem like you really did ur homework :sweatsm: What do you think of fujitsu? I was really thinking of getting one because of its size !!
 

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