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Thread: Laptop for Uni

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    Laptop for Uni

    Don't really know what my budget is since my dad and his wife are getting it for me before I go to university, but I can assume that it should be more than enough.

    I'm torn between getting a mac notebook and a PC laptop from Dell. If I get a mac notebook I'll probably be getting a macbook with a 120gb HDD or the black version (at around £750 and £850 respectively incl. 17.5% VAT). So the 2nd and 3rd cheapest models on the UK Mac webstore (but I won't be getting it from there)

    And if I get a windows laptop, I'm not entirely sure which one I want to get yet, but I'm deciding between these two that I just quickly did on the dell website:

    Inspiron 6400:
    CPU - Pentium Dual-Core T2130 (1.86GHz)
    OS - Windows XP
    RAM - 2GB DDR2 (2x1024)
    HDD - 120GB (5400rpm) SATA Hard Drive
    GPU - On board graphics

    £424 + 17.5%VAT

    Vostro 1500:
    CPU - Core2 Duo T7300 (2.0GHz)
    OS - Windows XP
    RAM 2GB DDR2 (2x1024)
    HDD - 160GB (5400RPM) SATA Hard Drive
    GPU - 256MB nVidia GeForce 8600M GT

    £544 + 17.5%VAT (Vista would not cost extra)

    Both with 1 year warranty only (I don't really need it)

    I'm not sure whether or not to take the plunge and get Vista over XP. The PC will mainly be for work, internet and maybe a bit of messing with photoshop, but I do expect some form of light gaming, say something like WC3, WoW, games of that graphical level. (I'll have a 360 for games mainly)

    So in short. Mac or PC. If PC, which PC (light gaming possibly involved), and is Vista worth bothering with?

    Any suggestions around this price range would be brilliant.

    Thanks.

    edit:

    I think the only thing that's putting me off of the mac and vista is software that I'm accustomed to using on my PC at home and it not being compatible with the mac or vista and not knowing an equivalent.

    This is really tough and I'm running out of time.
    Last edited by Tabris; 08-09-2007 at 02:01 AM.

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    Editable... jimbouk's Avatar
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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    If you wait until you're at uni you can get an educational discount on the macs. You can also get MS office for macs if that's the software you'll miss.

    On the PC side for light gaming, then anything with a discrete graphics card (like the Vostro's 860M GT) would be better, but obviously more expensive...

    Vista, hmmm. Well at least you shouldn't have any hardware compatability problems with the laptop. Any specific software that wouldn't work? Personally I'd stick with XP atm unless you're after any of the specific functionality that Vista has. We've got some brand new quite expensive Dell desktops at work, Vista sticker on the front and XP inside...

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    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    Personally I wouldn't get the macbook or the 6400 as they are both out dated models. The macbook is fit for an update anytime now and I don't like having old models just before they get replaced..maybe thats just me though.

    The vostro is a very nice laptop, bit chunky for my tastes but offers the best bang for bucks in the country right now. They also seem to be managing to delivery them very quickly at the moment..3-5 days for my mates.

    When you say you don't need the warranty why is that? It's pretty much the most important thing to consider when it comes to laptops imo. apple care and dell's on site warranties are pretty much the best the around but i prefer dell as you can trust the laptop will be functioning again the next day..dead laptop's aren't cheap to fix. Circa £300 for motherboards..before they are fitted etc..

    In terms of the O/S i went for vista on my new laptop, mainly because I already have enough copies of xp kicking about to downgrade if I felt like it but i'm starting to get on with vista now. Bit annoying at times but havn't had a compatabilty issues yet.

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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    Both with 1 year warranty only (I don't really need it)
    Care to explain why not?

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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    The macbooks were updated in May, and are competitive with current PC laptops. The one thing many don't consider with laptops is their portability, which is the one thing you feel the most if you're lugging it around a lot (eg to classes, library, etc).

    MacBook:
    * Height: 1.08 inches (2.75 cm)
    * Width: 12.78 inches (32.5 cm)
    * Depth: 8.92 inches (22.7 cm)
    * Weight: 5.1 pounds (2.31 kg)

    Vostro 1500:
    Dimensions & Weight
    Width: 14.12" (35.8cm)
    Height: 1.65" (4.5cm)
    Depth: 10.59" (26.9cm)
    Weight: Preliminary starting weight at 6.33 lbs (2.87 kg)

    Inspiron 6400:
    Width: 356.0mm (14.02-inches)
    Depth: 265.5mm (10.45-inches)
    Height: 36.55mm (1.44-inches))
    Starting from 2.8 kg (6.18 lbs)

    The MacBook is over a pound lighter than the others and considerably thinner as well.

    The integrated graphics does affect games performance, though I've seen posts saying that you can still get decent WoW performance on a MacBook, never tested it myself.
    Last edited by charleski; 08-09-2007 at 09:17 PM.

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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    Quote Originally Posted by staffsMike View Post
    When you say you don't need the warranty why is that? It's pretty much the most important thing to consider when it comes to laptops imo. apple care and dell's on site warranties are pretty much the best the around but i prefer dell as you can trust the laptop will be functioning again the next day..dead laptop's aren't cheap to fix. Circa £300 for motherboards..before they are fitted etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by lost eden View Post
    Care to explain why not?
    Not sure really, I've never had a laptop before so I just thought as if it were a desktop and I've never had a warranty on a PC I've owned before so I don't really see why I need it for a long period of time. Which is quite a stupid thing to say as I know I wouldn't be able to repair a laptop myself, but it's just a habitual thing.

    Guess I should be getting them under warranty then.

    Another thing that's putting me off of the mac is just software that I use all the time at home, I don't know anything about a mac equivalent and though I'm sure there are plenty of apps, I don't know how they are in comparison to a windows version. But I think this is more to do with fear of change than anything else.

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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    are we talking about macbook pro's or macbook's. If it's the macbook then it should be updated soon to santa rosa (centrino duo) and dx10.. it's still using the older C2D's and dx9 afaik..but the pro's are current albeit expensive for what they are.

    Deffinatly consider a decent warranty, if you can squeeze to a couple more years than standard it all helps. It's gutting when a laptop breaks out of warranty as they are so uneconomical to repair.. this is why people get the ideas of throwing it down the stairs and claiming on insurance

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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    Just the macbook. Macbook pros are probably out of the allowed price range. When are the new macs coming out then?
    Last edited by Tabris; 09-09-2007 at 04:25 AM.

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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    I'm not sure to be honest..if they were updated in may (dont follow macs) then perhaps not as soon as you would hope. I believe apple are working on a 12" macbookpro at the moment so perhaps that will come out first.

    Personally I don't like the macbooks at all, they are pretty good for the money I supose but they aren't for me.

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    Senior Member charleski's Avatar
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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    You're right that the MacBooks still use the Napa chipset, but then so does the Inspiron 6400 (and many other current PC laptops).

    Since Apple needs to maintain differentiation between the consumer and pro lines, I doubt the MacBook will be updated again until Intel releases a faster mobile processor that can go in the MBP. The 2.8GHz X7900 'Extreme' processor pumps out too much heat to be used in a real laptop. There have been rumours of a 2.6GHz T-series C2D, but the projected release date has passed with no sign of it.

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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    Quote Originally Posted by staffsMike View Post
    Personally I wouldn't get the macbook or the 6400 as they are both out dated models.


    If the size of the macbook appeals to you then have a look at the Dell XPS M1330 ..i've just got mine and i'm very impressed with it so far.

    You can have them configured between 1.5GHz and 2.2Ghz, 1 - 4gb of RAM, integrated or the 8400GS which isn't actually proving too bad for games..been running FEAR on mine very nicely.

    There are some very good deals on ebay too, which can often be mirrored by haggling with dell on the phone.

    I paid £1150 for (using business account contact but people have got similar deals with the normal sales team)

    2.2Ghz C2D
    2GB or RAM
    200gb 7200rpm hard drive
    8400GS
    LED backlit screen (more difficult to get on ebay)
    4 years warranty
    Last edited by staffsMike; 09-09-2007 at 11:36 AM.

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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    Okay, just cut it down to the Vostro and a macbook, I think. But the upgrade in a month or two for the macbook is kind of offputting since I don't want what I buy to be immediately outdated, whether or not the upgrade is major or minor.

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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    Very strange notebooks to be comparing tbh.

    Vostro is more powerful, got a great graphics card and far easier to upgrade things such as hard drives, ram, wifi yourself and has the better warranty imo. Only draw back is it's quite chunky.

    Macbook is smaller, lighter, better looking (sort of) but doesn't provide any real gaming performance.. WoW will probably run but not very well..
    also whether it's updated soon for futher on down the line it's already out dated by the vostro.

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    Senior Member charleski's Avatar
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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    There are certainly a lot of alternatives to the Dell. The Sony Vaio CR and FZ lines are quite attractive right now and Sony's X-black screens have a very good reputation.

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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    Well, it's looking more and more like the Dell. Still not entirely certain, but if i do go Vostro, I've still got to decide whether or not I want to get Vista. Then again, I could always get it with Vista and then an OEM copy of XP can be gotten for like £60, so that isn't anywhere near as much as Vista would cost I think? And 32 or 64 bit?

    If I am allowed with whatever budget I get, I may go for the XPS just because it's smaller and should provide decent performance for its size.

    When a laptop graphics card needs a power adaptor, I assume it's only required when the graphics card is running a 3D intensive program such as a game or perhaps even photoshop?
    Last edited by Tabris; 09-09-2007 at 04:33 PM.

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    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Laptop for Uni

    Well i've just turned up at my mates house and he's got his brand new vostro 1500 and I have to say it's even better than I imagined. I would deffinatly suggest the 1440 x 900 screen as its beautiful.

    Lovely build quality and great performance.. at that res CSS runs around 90fps with 2x aa and 2x filtering..thats the only performance related thing i've seen on it but i'm impressed.

    For comparison @ 1280 x 800 no aa and no filtering my xps gets 51 fps

    You can get most if not all of the gfx potential on the batteries power..but it will drain very quickly

    Battery wise the vostro can get between 2 and 3 hours and the xps will get between 4 and 5
    Last edited by staffsMike; 09-09-2007 at 05:00 PM.

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