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Looking To Buy A New Laptop


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#1 massey_12

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 10:20 AM

Hey guys.... Questions for you about getting a new laptop. You should know a few things first. My wife and I really don't do much with it. We watch movies on it when we travel. The only game ever played on it is Civilization. Most of the time, we just surf the Web and occasionally download songs. I will be starting my MBA next year so I'll probably have to use it a bit more than I do now. That's pretty much everything it willl be used for.

I made this Dell laptop online. I got the cheapest one and built it all up, upgrading most things. The most important thing to me is that it's fast. With that in mind, take a look below and tell me if there are things that I could eliminate to lower the price. Also, tell me if things should be better. I'd also like to hear your thoughts on Dell laptops in general. If you have suggestions on other great laptops for under $1500, I'd like to hear about it. Anything you can tell me to help is greatly appreciated. Thanks again!!!

Inspiron 1420;Intel® CoreTM 2 Duo T7300 (2.0GHz/800Mhz FSB/4MB cache) 1 $1,379.00 $1,379.00
Operating System: Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Edition
Memory: 2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz
System Color: Jet Black
Video Card: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
Hard Drive: Size: 120GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
Integrated NIC and Modem: Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem
Adobe Software: Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 8.1
Optical Drive: CD / DVD writer (DVD+/-RW Drive)
Sound Card: High Definition Audio 2.0
Wireless Networking Cards: Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g Mini-Card
Battery Options: 85Whr Lithium Ion Battery (9 cell)
Camera: Integrated 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
Digital Imaging: No Entertainment software pre-installed
LCD Panel: High Resolution, glossy widescreen 14.1 inch display (1440x900)
Misc Productivity Software: No Productivity software pre-installed
Anti-Virus/ Security suite (pre-install): PC-cillin Internet Security: AntiVirus, Firewall, Spyware removal 36-months
Dial-Up Internet Access: 6 Months of America Online Membership Included
Limited Warranty, Services and Support Options: 1Yr Ltd Warranty and Mail-In Service
Digital Media Editing Software: Yahoo! Music Jukebox - Music Player
Datasafe: No DataSafe

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#2 usasma

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 08:12 AM

For most folks, a new system will do what you need it to do right out of the box. BUT!!!

The biggest factor here is Vista Home - the Basic version just won't do for what you've described (well, it can be made to work - but the "experience" won't be there), so you'll need the Premium version that you've selected.

BUT (again) - are you going to do important work on it? If so, I'd suggest that you use this link to determine which version is best for you: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/...ons/choose.mspx

The system uses shared video memory - which means that not all of the 2 gB will be available for you to use (this link says it'll take 256 mB maximum: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Graphic...100.2176.0.html ) Also, while the graphics card is capable of running Aero Glass - I don't know if it'll be adequate for your needs in the future (as games and movies take up more of the graphics processor) - so I'd suggest maxing out the video with something that's going to be DX10 capable (although you may not need DX10, the card will have other advanced features that you can use).

The screen is a bit small, and if you're using it for late night studying you may not be very satisfied with it. I'd suggest going to a local retailer that sells laptops and looking at the screen sizes to determine what you'll be satisfied with. I've got a 15.4" which strains my eyes, but my wife's 17" is just about right for me (but it's too big for me to lug around). You can adjust things a bit by changing the screen resolution, but there's not much that you can do if it's a movie - either it's full screen or it's not.

The warranty - check that out carefully. Make sure you know what's covered and what's not. Most manufacturer's will cover hardware issues only - so if it's a software problem you'll be left holding the bag. You can always just reinstall, but then you're faced with the loss of your data.

Which brings us to backups. Plan for a good backup strategy now - before you need it. What happens if you're just finishing that 250 page term paper and the drive dies? Manufacturer's will give you a new drive - but they won't recover your stuff for free (if it's even recoverable). A decent external drive will run you about $100 at most major retailers and you can schedule backups to it whenever you'd like.
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