Laptop advice

This is a discussion on Laptop advice within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; Ok, I'm thinking of buying a laptop (budget = 2000 canadian dollars). What I'm looking for is something powerful enough ...

  1. #1
    Carnivore ('-'v) Hunter2's Avatar
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    Question Laptop advice

    Ok, I'm thinking of buying a laptop (budget = 2000 canadian dollars). What I'm looking for is something powerful enough to play the occasional 3D game, and good enough to stay reasonably 'in' for about 4-5 years. Currently I'm looking at two (and a Dell too due to a 30% discount, but I've heard horror stories about their customer support and reliability):

    Compaq Presario R3240CA
    and
    Toshiba Satellite A70-TS1 <-Has my favour

    I have a few questions:
    a) the Compaq comes with a 1.6ghz Athlon 64 CPU, while the Toshiba comes with a 3.06ghz P4 CPU. Which would perform better?

    b) The Compaq comes with a GeForce4 MX 440/64DDR video card, while the Toshiba comes with a Radeon Mobility 9000 64mb->128mb DDR shared memory card. Would the GeForce4 necessarily beat the Radeon (I heard the GF4MX's are just beefed GF2's)?

    c) The Compaq's system bus is 333 mhz, while the Toshiba's is 533 mhz. What difference does this make?

    d) How useful do you anticipate a DVD-RW will be in the future?

    e) How would you compare the reputations of Toshiba and Compaq for reliability, value, overall performance?

    Thanks in advance.
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    C++ Developer XSquared's Avatar
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    I'm typing this message on an A70-TS1, and I love it. I haven't had any issues with it. As far as graphics performance, it wasn't a major point for me, as my desktop has a Radeon 9800 Pro. Toshiba has very good support for their laptops from what I've experienced. I know that Compaq's phone support kinda sucks (friends of mine do tech support for them).
    Naturally I didn't feel inspired enough to read all the links for you, since I already slaved away for long hours under a blistering sun pressing the search button after typing four whole words! - Quzah

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    a. Are either of the two mobile processors? Would you prefer one, or would you be fine with a desktop processor? Remember, the processors do get hot, desktop processors moreso than mobile ones.

    b. For the video cards, I can't really help you because I don't game that much on the comp, so.. But I do prefer non shared memory. You just lose ram, and if its a case where you don't want to lose that much ram to your video memory, then..

    c. For the system bus, it just means that the Toshiba runs more efficiently, I think..

    d. As for DVD-RW's, that is dependent on what you think you will use it for. Do you think you will need that much space from a CD to store certain data? But if don't get one, externals are getting cheaper. But if you do want the DVD-RW burning capability with you whenever you have the laptop, you might want to look into one that is built in, or a laptop with a second style bay to later add one..

    e. I have both a Toshiba laptop and a Compaq desktop. I prefer the Toshiba. Compaq's reliability as of late hasn't been very good, according to reviews. I have had some issues with hardware compatibility. I had to swap burners close to when I first acquired the desktop because the burner that came with had compatibility issues. It's a good thing that I had the burner from my previous IBM.. imo, Toshiba and Dell are great computers..

  4. #4
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    Dell has award winning support for a reason. Me and my family have owned more than a few systems from them and have had nothing but good experiences. If its not a BIM, it'll be a dell.

  5. #5
    ¡Amo fútbol!
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    Either of those are gonna kill your battery. You won't be getting more than 2 hours of battery life. I highly recommend that you get a mobile processor. If you don't, your laptop will become a portable desktop.

  6. #6
    'AlHamdulillah
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    Dell has award winning support for a reason
    the gullibility of the US populace? That is hardly a reason for support them.

    to OP:

    basically, you have not told us what you want from your laptop, i.e. are you going to be traveling or away from power for awhile? I personally recommend that you get either that toshiba or the ibm.
    there used to be something here, but not anymore

  7. #7
    Carnivore ('-'v) Hunter2's Avatar
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    >>basically, you have not told us what you want from your laptop
    Ah right, forgot that minor detail...

    Well, I don't anticipate being away from power for extended periods of time, and if I am, it'll probably be a camping trip or something of the sort where I wouldn't be needing the laptop anyway. Perhaps a plane trip, but then I hardly go on the plane, and I'm never on the plane more than around 2 hours anyway, so battery life isn't too much of an issue as long as it lasts around 2 to 2.5 hours (which is how long both the compaq and toshiba last).

    >>If you don't, your laptop will become a portable desktop.
    Actually, that's part of the reason I'm getting a laptop; it's supposed to last me until I get my undergraduate degree (in some engineering or the other), and since there's Co-op I'll have to move every few months; a desktop would be a pain in the butt. Battery life would be a plus, in case the need should ever surface, but isn't a priority.

    >>Are either of the two mobile processors?
    I don't believe so, the Toshiba just says Pentium 4 and the compaq says Athlon 64... they don't mention mobile anywhere I looked.

    >>if its a case where you don't want to lose that much ram to your video memory, then..
    They both come loaded with 512mb DDR, so as long as we developers don't suddenly increase our programs' memory usage horribly, I don't think it would be a problem.

    >>But if don't get one, externals are getting cheaper.
    Oh, good idea! Didn't occur to me to get an external one

    >>Compaq's reliability as of late hasn't been very good... issues with hardware compatibility... and (XSquared)Their phone support kinda sucks...
    I'll keep that in mind, thanks for the heads-up.

    >>imo, Toshiba and Dell are great computers..
    I've heard that Dells are good from some people, but on CNet (I think that was the one), the Latitude D800 only has 54% positive ratings; the other 46% gave it negative... although almost all the comments had to do with customer support, half good half bad. I do know that it has a Pentium M 1.8ghz CPU though, and a good-looking nVidia card.

    But I still would like to know how a 1.6ghz 64-bit would compare to a 3.06ghz P4. Can anyone help me out with that? (Thanks for all the replies so far, keep 'em rolling in! )

    **EDIT**
    XSquared: How useful are the Toshiba utilities included with the A70-TS1?
    Last edited by Hunter2; 08-24-2004 at 09:56 AM.
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    'AlHamdulillah
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    do know that it has a Pentium M 1.8ghz CPU though, and a good-looking nVidia card.
    the problem is that the Centrino chipset in most laptops lets the battery last for around 5-6 hours between charges, but dell of course messed up and they only last for ~2.5 hours.
    there used to be something here, but not anymore

  9. #9
    Carnivore ('-'v) Hunter2's Avatar
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    Actually, it's supposed to be ~3.5 hours, but yes... a lot of reviews did mention that it has really bad battery life for its hardware. But my question still remains, how would a 1.6 64-bit compare with 3.06 32-bit?
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    'AlHamdulillah
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    well, once again, it depends on what you are going to run on it. there is nothing inherently better in the 64 for most user/dev applications, so I do believe that the 3.06 would be better.
    there used to be something here, but not anymore

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    If you go with Toshiba be sure to get an extended warranty. The backlight for the LCD on mine went out 3 times, each time the support was great, fixed it had the laptop back in about a week.

    JMD

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunter2
    >>But if don't get one, externals are getting cheaper.
    Oh, good idea! Didn't occur to me to get an external one
    On that note, I went to Costco today and saw a dual format Sony external, don't remember what speed, but it was for $150. pretty good deal..

  13. #13
    Registered User axon's Avatar
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    I have a compaq laptop, which is a bit older then 3 years now...I'm pretty satisfied with it, but had some minor problems as well - they were all RAM related. They had to replace it twice under warranty. My friends had similar problems: one with a laptop and another with a desktop.

    I'm on the look out for a new laptop as well, and will either get a compaq, toshiba, or sony - and it will surely be a mobile.

    And as a side note, more than 70% of all the parts in my compaq laptop are manufactured, and carry the Toshiba logo...

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    C++ Developer XSquared's Avatar
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    >>XSquared: How useful are the Toshiba utilities included with the A70-TS1?
    Dunno, first thing I did was format the thing.

    What university/college are you going to, by the way?
    Naturally I didn't feel inspired enough to read all the links for you, since I already slaved away for long hours under a blistering sun pressing the search button after typing four whole words! - Quzah

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    Crazy Fool Perspective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvBladeRunnervE
    the problem is that the Centrino chipset in most laptops lets the battery last for around 5-6 hours between charges, but dell of course messed up and they only last for ~2.5 hours.
    haha, thats funny. The reason the Dell only gets 3.5 hours is because they use a 6-cell battery (vs 8-cell in most other laptops) to reduce weight. portability is an issue.

    FWIW: ive had nothing but good experiences with my Dell 600m. ive had it for about a year. I usually get about 3.5-4.5 hours of battery life, i can play doom 3 with the graphics settings on "high" @ 800x600 with my 64MB radeon 9000. and its only about 5lbs. Oh, and i run my laptop at 1400x1050... this LCD looks nicer than any toshiba or compaq ive seen. just my opinion though.

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