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Thread: Advice on Buying a Laptop




  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Default Advice on Buying a Laptop

    Hi there!

    I've had an account on here before but unfortunately I seem to have forgotted my email address i signed up with. But anyway I'll get to the point.

    I'd like to buy a laptop a quite a tight budget, anything between £300 and £750 tops. I wouldnt really like to go with the full £750 if theres something that will do the jobs im wanting it to do fine for cheaper.

    i've been looking at the Kelcoo website http://computing.kelkoo.co.uk/ctl/do....type=advanced

    This seems to have a good range of laptops with a price comparison from different retailers, which i like. Using that link you can narrow down the laptops to just the ones that fit into my price range.

    The laptop would mostly be used for college work and games. The game are not that graphically intense. Minimum requirements on the most graphically intense game is 64mb graphics, 256ram. But i do hav a desktop PC that i use for most of the game so I wouldnt really mind.


    RAM
    Ideally i'd like the laptop to have 512-1000Mb or ram. This may sound like a lot for what i want, but i'm one of them people that has a lot of things running at once, especially when doing web-design at college.

    CPU
    I havnt got a clue what kind of CPU i'd want really. I dont want it to be overheating a lot but i still want it to have some "go" in it. My dads laptop, despite costing his company about £2000 is a bugger to get started, it takes about 5mins for it to boot up, is this anything to do with it being an "intel celery"? Theres something about them that just sounds slow to me.

    Wireless
    I'd also like the laptop to have that wireless thing (i know this can be built in, but i guess i could settle for one of the cards to stick in the side to do this too)so i dont have to have a network cable draping along the room to get it online.

    Graphics Card
    Obviously a graphics card that can handle a reasonable ammount of graphics. I wouldnt mind running the games on minimum graphics if that makes them run smoothly. But theres one thing i hate, and thats slow framrate!

    DVD Drive
    I dont really need a DVD/RW, but i would like to be able to play DVD's on it if possible.

    Others
    Not too bothered on screen size, anything would do really.

    Battery life, ideally 2hrs+ so it will last a full lecture. Dont mind how heavy it is, wont be carrying it round that much.

    Operating System
    I know that when you buy a laptop it comes with the operating system ready installed normally. But from what ive been reading on this forum is that they give you shed loads of spyware and things you dont need that are hard to get rid of. Does anyone know if you get given an install CD when you purchase a laptop so you can just wipe and reinstall?


    Right i've gabbled on long enough now. I'll let the experts step in now, whats the best laptop i can get myself to do the jobs i'm asking please?

    Thanks so much for any help you can give me! I really look forward to reading your opinions!

    Frosty.
    Last edited by Frost67; 12-29-2005 at 07:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Minnesota, United States
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    Default Re: Advice on Buying a Laptop

    Firstly I'd suggest you stick with one of the 1st-tier OEMs, if possible. That means Hewlett-Packard, Gateway, and Dell. I don't know how pricing works in the U.K., but in the U.S. pricing between tier-1, 2, and 3 is mostly the same, except Dell offers some incredible deals that put it way ahead in those situations when it's not already. The Deals section of TweakTown in particular has some incredible Dell coupons. I got a $1600 Inspiron 9300 for $1200 not too long ago. That's right around your budget, although it will cost more for you since you're in the U.K.

    Unless that's the case in the U.K., try to stick with Dell.

    For your RAM, do one of two things: Either get a laptop with dual 512MB sticks of RAM (for a total of 1GB), or get a laptop with 256MB and buy dual 512MB sticks on your own. The latter often is often cheaper (over here, at least), especially with the major OEMs.

    You basically have two options for a CPU: Pentium M and Turion 64. Celeron Ms are too weak IMO, though you could get away with one of the faster ones. Pentium 4s and (to a much lesser extent) Athlon 64s are too hot and use too much power. Turion 64s and Celeron Ms are both powerful and are both low-power, so you'll get lots of battery life without compromising performance (which a Celeron M does). If you do as I suggest and stick with major OEMs, you won't have many options besides a Pentium M. I'd suggest you go for at least 1.7GHz with whichever CPU you get, which shouldn't be a problem since they don't get much slower than that.

    If you get a Pentium M or Celeron M, you can get Centrino, which means you get built-in wireless. Many laptops come with it, and it's usually not too expensive to add it. Otherwise, just get yourself an 802.11g PCMCIA card.

    For the video, get at least a 128MB X300SE, and that's 128MB of its own RAM, not shared RAM or hypermemory. An X700 would be ideal, and a GeForce GO 6800 would be the most you would want.

    Any laptop made within the last four years will have a DVD-ROM drive. You're covered in that area.

    Any Turion 64, Celeron M or Pentium M system will give you great battery life. Most will give you two hours of intensive work, and three-and-a-half to four is common for light work. My 9300 uses borderline desktop replacement hardware but still gives me 2 hours of intensive battery power and 3:30 of light work because it uses a Pentium M.

    If you don't go with a major OEM, then try to get the computer without Windows XP so you can buy it separately yourself. Otherwise, just stick to Windows XP Home edition. If they try to give you Media Center Edition, I'd actually recommend you downgrade to Home even if it doesn't save money, though that's just my preference. I really doubt you have any use for the extra features of Pro, so don't bother with that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Default Re: Advice on Buying a Laptop

    Thanks for the reply Yawgm0th, quick as well :)

    Very detailed and is helping a lot. Do you know if you can use these Money off codes on Dell UK stores? Or if US Ship to the UK?

    Thanks again for the help!

    Frost

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    4

    Default Re: Advice on Buying a Laptop

    Right been playing on the US Dell site and managed to get one of them coupons added on.... what do you think? good/bad deal?

    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td>
    </td> <td> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr> <td></td> <td width="60%"> Inspiron 9300 </td> <td align="right"> Qty </td> <td> </td> <td align="right"> 1 </td> <td width="20%">
    </td> </tr> <tr> <td>
    </td> <td width="80%">Intel® Pentium® M Processor 750 (1.86 GHz/2MB Cache/533MHz FSB), Genuine Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005</td> <td align="right" nowrap="nowrap"> Unit Price </td> <td> </td> <td align="right" nowrap="nowrap"> $1,732.00 </td> </tr> <tr> <td></td> <td valign="top"> $100 Savings on Select Intel Processors-Savings Already reflected in Price!
    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tbody><tr> <td valign="top"> Expires Thursday, January 05, 2006</td> <td> </td> <td valign="top"> View Details</td> <td> </td> <td class="para"> </td> </tr> </tbody></table> </td> <td> </td> <td> </td> <td align="right" nowrap="nowrap" valign="top">
    </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="5"></td> </tr> <tr> <td></td> <td valign="top"> Select Inspiron affiliate offer save $500 off $1499+ (Affiliate only)
    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tbody><tr> <td valign="top"> LIMITED TIME OFFER!</td> <td> </td> <td valign="top"> View Details</td> <td> </td> <td class="para"> Remove Coupon</td> </tr> </tbody></table> </td> <td> </td> <td> </td> <td align="right" nowrap="nowrap" valign="top"> - $500.00 </td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="5"></td> </tr> </tbody></table> <table cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr> <td> Catalog Number: </td> <td colspan="2"> 29 </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="section_header_background"> Module </td> <td class="section_header_background"> Description </td> <td colspan="3" class="section_header_background" align="right">Show Details</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#ffffff"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Inspiron 9300</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">Intel® Pentium® M Processor 750 (1.86 GHz/2MB Cache/533MHz FSB)</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#e7e7e7"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Operating System (Office software not included)</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">Genuine Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#ffffff"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Display</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">17 inch Wide Screen XGA+ Display</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#e7e7e7"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Memory</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz 2 Dimm</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#ffffff"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Video Card</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">128MB ATIs™ Mobility Radeon™ X300</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#e7e7e7"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Hard Drive</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">60GB 5400rpmHard Drive</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#ffffff"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Network Card</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#e7e7e7"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Adobe Software</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 6.0</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#ffffff"> <td class="bold_regular_text">CD/DVD Drives</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">8x CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) with double-layer DVD+R write capability</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#e7e7e7"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Wireless Networking Card</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200 Internal Wireless (802.11 b/g, 54Mbps)</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#ffffff"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Office Software (not included in Windows XP)</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">No productivity suite- Corel WordPerfect word processor only</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#e7e7e7"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Anti-Virus/Security Suite (Pre-installed)</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">No Security Subscription</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#ffffff"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Primary Battery</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery (53 WHr)</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#e7e7e7"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Carrying Cases</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">Dell Nylon Deluxe Carrying Case</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#ffffff"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Hardware Warranty</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">1Yr Ltd Warranty, 1Yr Mail-In Service, and 1Yr HW Warranty Support</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#e7e7e7"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Dial-Up Internet Access</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">6 Months of America Online Membership Included</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#ffffff"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Miscellaneous</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">Award Winning Service & Support</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#e7e7e7"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Financial Software</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">No QuickBooks package selected - includes limited use trial</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#ffffff"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Operating System Backup & Recovery</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">PC Restore recovery system by Symantec</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#e7e7e7"> <td class="bold_regular_text">Dell Digital Entertainment</td> <td class="list_cartitems" colspan="4">Starter Entertainment Pack - Basic digital Music, Photo and Game experience</td> </tr> </tbody></table> </td> </tr> </tbody></table> TOTAL:$1,232.00 (£715.81)


    So if i can get it delivered to the UK its in my price range and looks pretty much OK to me.

    Frost

  5. Default Re: Advice on Buying a Laptop

    I would get rid of the Media center edition operating system. Since this is a dell, you need to pay $8 for the operating system cd. And by all means, stay away from the celeron processors. They are pretty bad in laptops.

  6. #6
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    Nov 2003
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    Minnesota, United States
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    Default Re: Advice on Buying a Laptop

    Looks pretty good. I'd take out the Symantec crap, but other than that it's fine. You might want to shell out $10 for their XP Home backup CD if you don't have one. You can either spend two to three hours removing Dell bloatware or reinstall Windows, and reinstalling Windows is the faster method IMO.

    Edit: Yeah, I'd also take out the Media Center and exchange it for Home.

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