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Thread: Thinking of a laptop..

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    Thinking of a laptop..

    .. but to be honest, I don't know much about them.

    My last laptops were a 486 SX @33Mhz and a 486DX2 @66Mhz "borrowed" from my mom and bother respectively. It came from the days where TFT screens were only available for top of the range laptops, whereas 12.1 dual scan LCD screen were considered pretty decent (I believe one of my own was 11.3" or something along those lines).

    But anyway, enough nostalgia (that was years ago)..

    I could use some pointers as to what to look into a laptop. e.g.:

    - CPU type: How good are the Intel offering compared to the AMD offering? I've seen A64 Laptops, but are they in any way toned down from the desktop version? And how do the Intel's offering compare (they appear a lot more - and I -think- that the concensus is that they aren't bad at all for laptops).
    Centrino vs Sempron vs Mobile Celeron?
    A64 vs XP vs P4?
    Are the AMD chip a lot more power hungry than the Intel counterpart? Or less?

    - GFX Card: Whats the best that can be found in the UK at the moment? I've seen Ati Mobility 9700Pro in a number of laptops.. But I've also heard the Mobility 9800 Pro (based on the R420?) could be found in a number of laptops.

    - Monitor: Okay, 15" seems to be pretty much the norm when it comes to desktop replacement.. Although I've seen as big as 17" ones. Whats with the widescreen though? (Any benefit when working, or is it mainly made for watching DVDs?).

    - Portability: Whats the typical weight/size for a destop replacement laptop and a.. portable laptop? I have a desktop I am quite happy with (that I can play games with)..
    But then again, I am unlikely going to bring a laptop in a place I cannot connect to the mains. So I am not entirely decided between the two.

    - Any specific recommendations? I must say I've found myself pretty drawn to the Acer Ferrari line. The price doesn't seem that much more inflated compared to other similarly spec-ed systems.. It looks good. And for me at least, the specification looks fine. Though I've been impressed by the look of the thin laptop by Sony, and the large widescreen monitor by Toshiba as well.

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    Banned Shogun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TooNice
    .. but to be honest, I don't know much about them.

    My last laptops were a 486 SX @33Mhz and a 486DX2 @66Mhz "borrowed" from my mom and bother respectively. It came from the days where TFT screens were only available for top of the range laptops, whereas 12.1 dual scan LCD screen were considered pretty decent (I believe one of my own was 11.3" or something along those lines).

    But anyway, enough nostalgia (that was years ago)..

    I could use some pointers as to what to look into a laptop. e.g.:

    - CPU type: How good are the Intel offering compared to the AMD offering? I've seen A64 Laptops, but are they in any way toned down from the desktop version? And how do the Intel's offering compare (they appear a lot more - and I -think- that the concensus is that they aren't bad at all for laptops).
    Centrino vs Sempron vs Mobile Celeron?
    A64 vs XP vs P4?
    Are the AMD chip a lot more power hungry than the Intel counterpart? Or less?

    - GFX Card: Whats the best that can be found in the UK at the moment? I've seen Ati Mobility 9700Pro in a number of laptops.. But I've also heard the Mobility 9800 Pro (based on the R420?) could be found in a number of laptops.

    - Monitor: Okay, 15" seems to be pretty much the norm when it comes to desktop replacement.. Although I've seen as big as 17" ones. Whats with the widescreen though? (Any benefit when working, or is it mainly made for watching DVDs?).

    - Portability: Whats the typical weight/size for a destop replacement laptop and a.. portable laptop? I have a desktop I am quite happy with (that I can play games with)..
    But then again, I am unlikely going to bring a laptop in a place I cannot connect to the mains. So I am not entirely decided between the two.

    - Any specific recommendations? I must say I've found myself pretty drawn to the Acer Ferrari line. The price doesn't seem that much more inflated compared to other similarly spec-ed systems.. It looks good. And for me at least, the specification looks fine. Though I've been impressed by the look of the thin laptop by Sony, and the large widescreen monitor by Toshiba as well.
    Get a P4M centrino 1700mhz chip if you want something that isn't power hungry but still kicks ass. Look at the front page

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    Flak Monkey! Dorza's Avatar
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    • Dorza's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus P5B Deluxe - WiFi
      • CPU:
      • Q6600 @ 3.06Ghz
      • Memory:
      • 2GB Crucial
      • Storage:
      • 500GB Samsung SpinPoint
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Geforce 9600GT
      • PSU:
      • Cosair HX520W
      • Case:
      • LianLi something something or other
      • Monitor(s):
      • Eizo FlexScan S1910 (1280*1024)
      • Internet:
      • 2mb Virgin (when they want to give me that: else 1mb)
    - CPU

    Personally i would get centrino. Let me explain a bit about this..... When you see a laptop with Centrino technology it basicly means three things, 1 being it contains a Pentium M CPU.

    2 it contains the Intel 855 GM/PM (where the GM version has integrated graphics which shares system memory) Northbridge and lastly it contains an Intel PRO/2100 mini-PCI wireless network Card (this may have been upgraded, im not too sure). Basicly if any one of them three components are missing the laptop cannot be branded as having centrino technology inside.

    The benifit of having centrino is that (in most cases) battery life is vastly extended over say a P4/M (im not very up 2 date with the AMD offerings so i wont comment on them). The pentium M also runs alot cooler so you dont need as many fans in the laptop which drain power. Another thing is the performance of the Pentium M, in some cases a 2Ghz Dothan core PentM will take on and beat a 3.2Ghz Desktop P4. But then in other areas it does fall down. The Pentium M is here to stay, some motherboard manufactuers are even producing desktop boards to hold this mobile chip. Thats how good it is. If you buy a laptop with a pentium M in it you wont go wrong.


    -Graphics

    The 9800 is as you say based on the R420. Its has identical technologies, its just been made into a mobile version. If you want somthing to play games on this is what you need. The 9700 wasnt upto much if i remember correctly, it may have been similar to the 9600. Some one will probably correct me if im wrong about this and anything else ive said so far

    - Weight is an important issue when buying a laptop. If you want somthing thats not too heavy to carry your probably looking at 2-3kilos. Past this and upto around 5kilos your talking about desktop replacements which by the way are usualy much thicker than normal laptops.


    Two more things which i think is important....

    ... When you buy a laptop make sure the Graphics memory isn't shared with the system memory. As far as im concerned system memory should be for your programs and your graphics memory should be for graphics. This is of course if graphics are important to you.

    lastly remember that the faster things get the more juice they tend to require. This is the same for the screen aswell. The bigger it is the more power it will need (usually atleast)

    EDIT: Provided some links...


    Pentium M Dothan Review
    ATI mobile Graphics
    Last edited by Dorza; 07-11-2004 at 03:13 PM.

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    To add my bit, Centrino for mobility or AMD64 for occasional (~2hrs away from power) mobility and more power.

    As for R420 - you'll be hard pressed to find one soon. Dell are struggling to get their own!

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    Banned Shogun's Avatar
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    So a 1.7ghz p4m centrino with a mobile 9700 wouldn't be fast enough for a true desktop replacement?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shogun
    So a 1.7ghz p4m centrino with a mobile 9700 wouldn't be fast enough for a true desktop replacement?
    The mobile 9700 is an clocked down 9600XT. So far I've clocked mine upto 540/240 with no traces of artifacts and hours of stability, and runs the Half Life 2 stress test at just over 60fps , 1280x800.

    The only thing I was modest on, was texture quality, rest high, ansi 4x etc.

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    Well i can get a
    Intel Pentium M Processor 735(1.7ghz) Centrino
    Multi Format Dvd rewriter
    Intel Pro/wireless Lan 2200 b/g
    Ati Mobility Radeon 9700 with 128mb
    High resolution 15.1" SXGA+ Display
    80GB Toshiba HDD
    512mb Nanya DDR Ram 333mhz
    24 months warranty and insurance
    and all the usual for £999
    Thinking of asking the rents to get it for me for school and as a desktop replacement... Would that be worth it?

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