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Have to buy a desktop replacement laptop


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#1 MaryBet82

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 03:40 PM

I was starting to look for a replacement for my Sony VAIO [old, slow, lemony-flavor] when my Dell desktop died.

I can't afford to replace both and I found I did most of my work on the laptop because I can't sit up at a desk for long. So I need a fast, powerful laptop. I don't have to carry it around the city or the country, just from the desk with the scanner to an over the bed or over a stuffed chair table. [Printers are networked] I'm used to working on a 16" screen. Long battery life isn't critical, but it does help in thunderstorm season when I have to unplug but can still keep working. I'm seeing battery backups w/ smaller price tags that might extend the time I can keep working on a battery-hungry laptop.

I want a separate video card w/ 2nd monitor capability. I want a 7200 rpm SATA hdd. I want it to come w/ 1394b, rather than to have to use a 1394 pc card. I don't want to go smaller than 16" and I'd like the best technology now available for an LCD screen. I want a SATA, dvd+dl burner. Sound can be integrated unless others suggest otherwise.

I really wanted a mac, but 1] I don't think I can afford one and 2] I'm not sure I can find a mac replacement for paperport and I'm wondering how a mac would handle the customizations and macros I use in Word. So I started looking at Toshiba [pcworld rec] and plan to look at Acer, who used to make good laptops I couldn't afford.

And first off I ran into choices between quad and dual cpu's. My Dell desktop only had a hyperthreading cpu - and neither its new-at-time hyperthreading or its SATA drives wowed me, even comparing the dell to the lemony Sony w/ its 5400 rpm hdd. People [as in forum members] w/ dual core cpu's seem pleased, so I intended to make sure I got one this time, but I didn't expect to find quads.

CPU review searches yield evaluations for gaming or multimedia, but I need a computer to do office apps well, if there is such a thing. I need my new computer to handle multitasking Word, Paperport, web browsing, spreadsheet, and dvd+DL data bu's without Word crashing and w/out my watching the hourglass - and watching the hourglass. I think I read that business apps could utilize multi-cores whereas hyperthreading wasn't really helpful, but I did that reading a long time ago.

So I have a lot of reading to do before the Sony finally quits and I'd greatly appreciate any links to good articles, any suggestions or personal experience w/ laptop brands or w/ utilizing a laptop as a desktop replacement and doing a lot of business work w/ it.

Also, I'll be going from win2k prof & winxp prof to win7 - any suggestions regarding which flavor win7?
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

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#2 meuchel

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 09:33 AM

as far as price acer and lenovo seem to be pushing the threshold for channel marketed systems.

i have recently sold both and found that the hardware is solid on both platforms (other than the uncontrollable battery problems that all manufacturers seem to be running into)
Acer is known for there LCD displays as well so if monitor technology is key then that may be a good option.

quad over dual core on a laptop will both drive the price up and cause cooling issues. I would recommend a quad if you are looking for a desktop replacement but if you are going to have a problem keeping it cool then dual will suffice.

if you are used to doing your business on a PC and your network of users, so to speak, or your peers all use PC's then it is not even worth looking into a Mac. I don't know what the drive is to convert everyone over to Mac but if everyone did it it would be okay. If you are looking at it for security reason's, i don't think that is a reason to switch.

if you are used to win2k pro and xp pro then stick in the genre and go with 7 pro.

as far as your other specs go, they are pretty standard across all platforms.

#3 rotor123

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 12:31 PM

Depending on budget & needs:
Note: Depends on need

Toshiba's Qosmio line of laptops can be bought with

Quad-Core Processing Power

With an Intel® Core™ i7 or i5 processors—plus Intel® Turbo Boost and Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology

Premium NVIDIA® Graphics

At the computer repair store where I work I've seen them with hardware encoding/decoding support Via the SpursEngine. Dual Nvidia in SLi mode, even a small built-in subwoofer, BlueRay etc.

Not cheap but a decent desktop replacement portable.

I also saw a different brand with a huge screen 20" +, darned heavy though.

If I were looking at a Lenovo I'd want it to be a Thinkpad model not the consumer line.

Edited by rotor123, 12 May 2010 - 12:36 PM.

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#4 MaryBet82

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 01:04 PM

Thanks meuchel & rotor123.

I used to have to be compatible w/ other's computers [pc's], but now I only have to consider me. I'm interested in a mac because all my win2k and winxp computers performed very poorly - I've spent way too much effort trying to get them to do basic things like burn data cds/dvds reliably, wordprocess w/out crashing, file share - and periodically - boot into windows. I've only known a few mac users but they were all very happy w/ their computers whereas I've been very sad. :blink:

I haven't been able to tell from browsing the win 7 forums if win7 is a significant improvement from MS's previous OS's. I wish I could try out a win 7 pc and a current mac, but I don't know anyone w/ either at this time.

I don't know what a channel-marketed system is, but I'll take a look at lenovo. I looked at Acer, but I didn't find a configuration that fit. I have a thinkpad x41 - it's from 2005 which I think is about the time the change from IBM to Lenovo occurred. It's a terrible computer, but I wouldn't want to judge lenovo's usual quality w/ it. It has an unfortunate hdd and I've wondered if MS paid even less attention to winxp tab ed than they did to win2k. The thinkpad is still plugging along and I've found lenovo support above average so far.

I've read wikipedia's info on hyperthreading & multi-cores and it very quickly gets too technical - the bottom line for me is will win 7, word, paperport, firefox, etc be able to utilize that technology so that I see a difference in a quad vs a dual vs a non-multi. I found a list of programs that can utilize SMP, but I haven't been able to find any articles that compare how multi-cores compare to non-multi's in real life use and whether a quad would be worth the price/heat generating problems vs a dual for non-gaming use. Winxp was supposed to utilize the hyperthreading of the intel processor on my dell desktop, but I found winxp on the dell s-l-o-w and it didn't multitask any better than win2k on a non-multi. With pc's I've never had the impression that hardware & software providers communicated well w/ each other. One of the reasons I'm interested in trying a mac.

I looked at the Qosmio's. They have 7200 rpm hdd's, which I think is important, and the numeric keypad which would be nice in a desktop replacement laptop. The intel i5 & i7 and NVIDIA GeForce sound high performance, but the Qosmio's are all non-configurable and only offer win 7 home.

I also looked at Toshiba's Satellite P500-ST6844, which per phone help is supposed to have the 1394b I want, but if Toshiba provides the tech specs for its laptops I couldn't find them. The Satellite is configurable so I'd have a choice between 4 processors. I really like that I could add a 2nd hd, but its OS choices are all 64-bit, about which I know nothing. So I guess I better see what wikipedia has to say about 64 bit.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#5 MaryBet82

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 11:50 AM

I checked out the thinkpad w-series which are on SALE. Even on SALE I could only consider the lower end - the W510 - not the w710's. The w510 had a 1394 port, but it is only 1394a. Per a phone call, none of lenovo's laptops have 1394b. For the price, they ought to. If the w710 had been about $500 cheaper I would have been very disappointed it didn't have the 1394b.

In order of higher scores on PC World's survey, that left me Gateway and Asus to check out. The survey and I both rank Sony and HP at the bottom. Since Compaq & HP's merger didn't seem to benefit either, I'm leery of Compaq also. Dell also got low marks on the survey and dell.com has a Web of Trust orange circle. I was very favorably impressed w/ Dell when I configured my sister's Dell computer for her, but my later Dell desktop didn't even come w/ a mobo manual. The "manual" available online was both inadequate and inaccurate, so I won't be shopping dell.

Gateway & Asus laptops weren't configured for me, so I'm pretty much stuck at the moment.

Edited by MaryBet82, 14 May 2010 - 12:28 PM.

mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#6 meuchel

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:00 PM

i am sorry i missed the 1394b specific.

being in the Biz of selling computers i don't recommend Dell as they compete heavily with their channel partners
that and their support is terrible.

asus support is hard to get a hold of but once you do they are okay.
gateway used to be good but i don't know anymore.
compaq is part of hp and they do sell A LOT of laptops.




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