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Author Topic: In the Market for a New Computer  (Read 6824 times)

mberan42

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In the Market for a New Computer
« on: 20 Feb 2007, 08:55 »

(Cross posted a few places - I want the most advice possible.)

So I need a new computer. I want a laptop.

Here's what I'm thinking of getting. Any advice on it would be appreciated:

Sony Vaio - VGN-AR370
  • 17" WXGA+ display with XBRITE-HiColor Technology and NVIDIA GeForce Go 7600 GPU
  • 120GB SATA Hard Disk Drive
  • Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T5600 (1.83GHz)
  •      Should I up to the 2.0GHz for $100?
  • 2 GB DDR-SDRAM (DDR2-667, 1 GBx2)
  • DVD+-R Double Layer/DVD+-RW Drive
  • Wireless LAN 802.11 a/b/g with Bluetooth Technology
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Business
  • Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2007
  •      Is upgrading to Professional to get MS Access worth the extra $125? I don't know if I'd need it, though.
  • Norton Internet Security 2007 (2 Yr)
  • Standard Li-Ion battery
  •      Should I upgrade to the Large Capacity for $100? Should I get a 2nd battery?
  • 2 Year Express Ship Service Plan for Notebooks
  •      Should I get anything else? This one is standard.
  • Price as configured: $2,529.98. Financing as low as $74 a month; no interest, no payments for 12 months.


What do you think? A comparably-equipped 15.3" Vaio is only $340 cheaper. I'd much prefer to have a 17", so I'll pay the extra.

Any other brand you think I should check out? I won't buy a Mac - the 17" MacBook Pro is $2,800.

My desktop is really starting to die on me, and I don't know why... It randomly shuts down when it's almost finished loading XP. Last night was something new, though - rather than shutting down, it kept resetting. It must've reset 6 or 7 times on its own before I finally turned the damn thing off.

So, I'm thinking about buying this sooner rather than later. If I can get a good finance plan on it, I'm thinking about buying it by the end of next week.
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Melodic

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #1 on: 20 Feb 2007, 09:08 »

I'm not very knowledgable with laptops, but I'd advise upgrading to the 2.0ghz, and staying the hell away from Vista. That is all.
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Will

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #2 on: 20 Feb 2007, 09:10 »

The only question I can really give any input on really is the battery question, and as far as should you go for a second battery or a large capacity battery, depends on how you plan to use it.  I use my laptop primarily at home, and it's plugged in roughly 80% of the time.  I have a battery life of around 3 hours give or take (standard HP 6-cell lithium) but for my purposes that's almost always enough.  If you're going to be travelling with it a lot, or using it on the go where you rely on the battery heavily, I'd say go for it; if you're going to use your notebook more as a replacement for a desktop system, then that's probably just an extra expense that you could avoid.
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mberan42

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #3 on: 20 Feb 2007, 09:40 »

Yeah, I suppose I should've mentioned the primary uses for it: typing papers for Grad School, surfing the interwebs and that's about it. It's not going to be a gaming machine at all, except for Solitaire and maybe Civ IV.

I'll be using it at home, in class, in the library and in coffee shops (in order of most-to-less usage), all of which have outlets readily available.

Anyone have a Vaio? Comments on it? Any other brand recommendations?
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Catfish_Man

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #4 on: 20 Feb 2007, 12:48 »

Boooooooooooooo Sony.
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mberan42

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #5 on: 20 Feb 2007, 13:23 »

Ok, well, that was constructive...

What about this comparable one from Gateway?

  • Intel? Core? 2 Duo Processor T7200 (2.00GHz, 667MHz FSB, 4MB L2 Cache)
  • Genuine Windows Vista? Business (32-bit)
  • Microsoft? Office Small Business Edition 2003 (Basic + PowerPoint & Publisher)
  • 2048MB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (2-1024MB modules)
  • NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS Graphics w/ 256MB DDR
  • 17.1" WUXGA TFT Active Matrix (1920 x 1200 max. resolution)
  • 100GB 7200rpm Serial ATA hard drive
  • 8x Multi-Format Double Layer DVD Writer (DVD?R/ ?RW/ CD-RW)
  • Notebook Value Service Plan -- 1 year parts/ labor/ no on-site/ 1 year technical support
  • Primary 8-Cell Lithium Ion Battery w/ 1 Yr. limited battery warranty
  • McAfee? 15-month Internet Security Suite with VirusScan, Personal Firewall Plus, SpamKiller & Privacy Service (for Genuine Windows? Vista?)


All that for $2,211 - cheaper than the Sony. Thoughts?
« Last Edit: 20 Feb 2007, 13:40 by mberan42 »
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Will

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #6 on: 20 Feb 2007, 13:36 »

Vaio's have always been a little bit out of my price range (and by a little bit, I mean a lot.) All I know is that I got my little Compaq Presario last year for just over $600 and it does everything I've asked it to do so far except run San Andreas well.  The Vaio's sure do look pretty though...
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Dimmukane

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #7 on: 20 Feb 2007, 14:00 »

Ok, well, that was constructive...

What about this comparable one from Gateway?

  • Intel? Core? 2 Duo Processor T7200 (2.00GHz, 667MHz FSB, 4MB L2 Cache)
  • Genuine Windows Vista? Business (32-bit)
  • Microsoft? Office Small Business Edition 2003 (Basic + PowerPoint & Publisher)
  • 2048MB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (2-1024MB modules)
  • NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS Graphics w/ 256MB DDR
  • 17.1" WUXGA TFT Active Matrix (1920 x 1200 max. resolution)
  • 100GB 7200rpm Serial ATA hard drive
  • 8x Multi-Format Double Layer DVD Writer (DVD?R/ ?RW/ CD-RW)
  • Notebook Value Service Plan -- 1 year parts/ labor/ no on-site/ 1 year technical support
  • Primary 8-Cell Lithium Ion Battery w/ 1 Yr. limited battery warranty
  • McAfee? 15-month Internet Security Suite with VirusScan, Personal Firewall Plus, SpamKiller & Privacy Service (for Genuine Windows? Vista?)


All that for $2,211 - cheaper than the Sony. Thoughts?

I'd pick that over the Sony, but only because it's cheaper.  Truth is, if you want one that's going to last, you gotta cough it up.  Most Dell's have the absolutely shittiest insides in a name-brand PC I've ever seen, but then their XPS lines offer things like water-cooling  (not in their laptops.  most laptops have cramped innards, as a rule).  If you do decide to get the gateway, you might wanna throw in an extra sixty bucks or so and get one of those chill pads you stick on the bottom to keep it from overheating, just to be safe.
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mberan42

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #8 on: 20 Feb 2007, 14:07 »

I checked out Toshiba, but the website doesn't allow customizing. I'm not buying a Dell - everything my family has bought has been a Dell and they're fraught with problems.

Here's a Compaq:

  • Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo T7200 (2.0GHz/4MB L2Cache)
  • Windows Vista Business
  • 17.0" WSXGA+ BrightView Widescreen (1680x1050)
  • 256MB NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) Go 7600
  • 2048MB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
  • 120GB 5400RPM SATA
  • LightScribe Super Multi 8X DVD+/-RW w/Double Layer
  • Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network w/Bluetooth
  • High Capacity 8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • Microsoft(R) Office Small Business 2007
  • Norton Internet Security(TM) 2007 - 15 Months
  • 1-year HP Accidental Damage Protection with Express Repair extended service plan


All that for $2,107 w/ 12 months no interest, no payments.
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mberan42

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #9 on: 20 Feb 2007, 14:17 »

Sorry for the double post, but I want to sum up the three lappy's pros and cons.

Pros

Sony:
  • Looks awesome
  • Great brand reputation
  • Longest standard anti-virus subscription


Gateway:
  • Highest screen resolution of the three
  • Fastest Hard Drive


Compaq:
  • Cheapest
  • LightScribe burner
  • Cheap high-capacity battery
  • Great warranty / service plan
Cons

Sony:
  • Buttfucking expensive
  • Slowest processor


Gateway:
  • They sit wrong with me. I couldn't tell you what it is, but they just don't seem reputable.
  • Smallest HDD size
  • Ugly


Compaq:
  • Smallest screen resolution
  • Ugly



Anybody have anything else to say about this? I'd love to have the Sony, but I'm probably going to go with the Compaq, unless people think otherwise.

Thanks, as always, for the help.
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Melodic

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #10 on: 20 Feb 2007, 15:57 »

If you aren't using it for gaming, the 7900Go GS in the Gateway, and the 7600Go in the Compaq, are unneeded.
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Scytale

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #11 on: 20 Feb 2007, 23:04 »

I'm not the hugest expert on laptops, more a desktop guy, but do you really need a 17" screen???

If you want a nice laptop buy a Mac.

I bought a macbook pro about 12 months ago now and it's served me well ever since.  It only has a 15" screen though, but on the plus side I don't have to put up with a POS operating system like Vista...

If you're dead set against macs, IBM thinkpads are very decent it's what my work uses, they've been spun out to some other company now but are still very decent.
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Will

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #12 on: 21 Feb 2007, 09:01 »

Those LightScribe drives are nifty...I'd recommend the Compaq for my part; as I said before, that's what I have, and I have had zero problems with it so far.  Slightly off-topic, do those cooling pad things really work? I've seen them at Staples for around $30, and considered getting one to cool my laptop when I'm using it away from home, but I don't want to drop the money on something that doesn't really do anything except make my notebook bigger.
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Dimmukane

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #13 on: 21 Feb 2007, 09:21 »

Those LightScribe drives are nifty...I'd recommend the Compaq for my part; as I said before, that's what I have, and I have had zero problems with it so far.  Slightly off-topic, do those cooling pad things really work? I've seen them at Staples for around $30, and considered getting one to cool my laptop when I'm using it away from home, but I don't want to drop the money on something that doesn't really do anything except make my notebook bigger.

I'd recommend it for laptops that have overheating issues, like the one I have, and gateways.  Gateways especially, I know a person who stuck a desktop of theirs in the middle of some books, and there was melted plastic in 3 hours.  Sony is usually good about cooling, and Compaq's is pretty decent as well.  Toshiba laptops are my favorite, regardless of their ugliness. 
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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #14 on: 21 Feb 2007, 09:26 »

Mine doesn't have an overheating issue so much as it generates enough heat to make it slightly uncomfortable to hold my laptop on...you know, my lap, for any extended period of time.  Probably not something worth spending any money on though.
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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #15 on: 21 Feb 2007, 16:47 »

(This is all in my experience/opinion, your mileage may vary)

High quality brands:
IBM, Apple (don't buy rev. 1 stuff), Shuttle*, various specialty manufacturers

Mid quality brands:
Dell (bumps up to high quality for displays), HP/Compaq

Low quality brands:
Gateway, eMachines (bleh!), PeoplePC

Boycotted brands:
Sony (lol rootkit)

There are plenty of other ones out there of course, I just don't have much experience with them (is Toshiba any good?).


*in general. I don't know if they even do laptops at all.
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JJMitchell

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #16 on: 22 Feb 2007, 05:14 »

My vote for best brand goes to IBM also but they tend to be more expensive.
Yesterday my CAPS LOCK key fell off my Dell laptop so they are now officially on my DNB list. (The warranty went out in Jan.)

Brands I've worked on in the past that really sucked: Toshiba and Compaq. 
HPs were just a little bit ahead of them and seemed to be more durable.
My brother has a Gateway that he loves but avoid the Celeron processors which shouldn't be an issue now.
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mberan42

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #17 on: 22 Feb 2007, 09:18 »

Catfish, you still haven't given me a reason as to why you hate Sony laptops.

I've got my choice narrowed down to two, a Sony and an HP. I also decided, with the advice of an IT guy from work, that a 17" is pretty impractical if I'm going to be transporting it all over the place - class, library, coffeeshop, home, etc - so I've decided to go with a 15.4".

Here are the specs:

Sony VGN-FE890 Vaio
  • 15.4" WXGA display
  • Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz
  • NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400
  • Wireless 802.11 a/b/g with Bluetooth
  • 120Gb HDD; 2Gb DDR-SDRAM
  • Vista Business; Office 2007 Small Business
  • DVD +/- Double Layer
  • $2,139.98
HP dv6000t
  • 15.4" WXGA display
  • Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz
  • NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400
  • 120Gb HDD; 2Gb DDR-SDRAM
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG w/ Bluetooth
  • Vista Business; Office 2007 Small Business
  • LightScribe 8x DVD +/- double layer
  • $1,891.96


I'm leaning towards the HP lappy, but still would like to hear thoughts. Why do you hate Sony, Catfish?

And thanks, everyone, for the help. I appreciate it.
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Catfish_Man

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #18 on: 22 Feb 2007, 09:33 »

Catfish, you still haven't given me a reason as to why you hate Sony laptops.

I don't care about their laptops, I hate them as a company and refuse to recommend any of their products. Their flagrant and illegal disrespect for their customers on multiple occasions has lost them my business permanently.

Things like the exploding battery issue and other quality control problems just cement the dislike.
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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #19 on: 22 Feb 2007, 10:19 »

I also do not buy any Sony products if I can help it.  The rootkit issue was the last straw.  Hubris, arrogance, and total lack of respect for consumers took it's toll on me. 

Besides, the HP sounds like a better deal all around. 
« Last Edit: 22 Feb 2007, 10:22 by celticgeek »
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JJMitchell

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #20 on: 22 Feb 2007, 10:27 »

That HP looks pretty good for that price.  You might do some reasearch online for that model of laptop just as a quick check to make sure it doesn't OMGSUCK.
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Dimmukane

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Re: In the Market for a New Computer
« Reply #21 on: 22 Feb 2007, 18:11 »

HP all the way, man.
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