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I guess I've said this a few times already, but I was looking forward to the Mac Mini. But now considering that it'll cost me about $900 to buy one (I'd upgrade the RAM), I might as well take a serious look at laptops.

Really the only place I could think of looking at was Dell, and they've got an interesting selection all right around that price range. What are your experiences with good and not good laptops to look into?


  • edited February 2006
    Hmm...I could get a pretty nice Dell laptop for about $879. Windows Media Center, 1 gig RAM, pretty much same identical Intel Core DUO processor and integrated chipset as the Mac Mini.

    Really it wouldn't be that much different than the Mini...smaller harddrive, $20 cheaper, but it wouldn't be OSX and it would be a laptop (a complete system compared to the Mini). Hmm....decisions decisions.
  • Heh. Thats a damn cheap laptop for the spec i must say. I just recently invested in the HP DV5094EA, which is the highest UK spec of the US model DV5000z (which is uber-configurable - i fell in love with one i built up for $1800 but didnt want to get stung for import tax - the base is around $700 iirc). It's a 2ghz turion64/1gig ram/100gig drive/15.4" brightview screen thing and it's really rather nice. Not exactly what i wanted but since i got it for £720 i cant really complain. I had a tough time deciding between the core duo's and the turion, and in the end i just went for the cheapest. I dont use a massive amount of processing power and this way i'm all ready for the 64bit step (though honestly i dont see it happening before i get my next pc anyway). My HP seems reasonably well built and supported, and there are a ton of accessories available. It also has blue twinkly lights. Given your choice (mac mini vs that dell), i'd NOW go for the mac mini since i have a laptop, but a month ago i would have gone for the laptop as i knew it was the sensible way to go. For you it all depends how much you'd actually use your laptop away from the desk (it was a godsend for me last night tucked up on the sofa with flu, thats for sure) And how much the mac-ness means to you. I'm considering getting one of the new minis when i can afford to waste the cash anyway. So...
  • Dell's laptops suck ass! As do Fujitsu-Siemens, it turned out. But here's the thing: how come you wnat a laptop if you were considering buying a Mac mini? I mean, I can hardly imagine you ever taking your mini when you drop by a friend of yours. So compared to a regular big-sized heathen-box PC, mini is a no-brainer. But if you are considering a laptop, I'd recommend waiting for the Intel-based Mac Books (fomerly known as iBooks), especially the expected 13-inch widescreen version. Can't wait for one myself!
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    It's all about how you use it.

    I got a laptop a couple of years ago because I needed to be able to take my computer to client offices for on-site work. I fell in love with it instantly, and I'll never buy a desktop for daily use ever again.

    I use my computer for development. Period. I don't care about fancy graphics processing or insane cpu speeds. So, when I bought a replacement laptop, I went for the things that mattered to me: weight (hence mobility), and appearance. I *hate* ugly laptops, and I searched high and low until I found a PC laptop that I liked.

    I ended up buying a VAIO, and despite everyone saying how much sony laptops suck, I *LOVE* my vaio, and it hasn't given me ANY headaches. It's pretty, it's super thin, it's light, it's plenty fast for what I use it for.

    But that's me. Your needs might be different.
  • lechlech Chicagoland
    Dells laptops aren't that terrible. I actually have an old model of theirs and it's been flawless through the years. It really all comes down to what you'll be using it for in the end is where you'll be drawing all your options. Mark, I would instantly trade up the laptop if I was offered a desktop with dual screen capabilities :) Nothing matches working in one screen and testing on the other. No virtual windows or key combos to mess with. Just flick the wrist to one screen, click, done. :)
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    That's the great thing about laptops, lech. You can plug your desktop monitor into the back of your laptop and you've got duals.
  • I'm running a setup like that, but my only gripe is the often different resolution and different physical size.
  • I had a 14" ibook & just moved to a homebrew linux tower with a 19" lcd monitor. I work mostly at home with the odd trip. I'm going to pick up a iPaq with wifi for being on the road.

    I went from ibook to tower because the screen was getting darker and darker & was starting to hurt my eyes a bit. Plus I got sick of the ibook always having be in the shop for a week at a time for repairs. Laptop hardware can be really nasty. There's no skipping over to the shop for a new part and being back up in an hour.
  • lechlech Chicagoland
    Mark, true, but you're still limited to the physical screen size of the laptop display, which is usually never over 19". Where I can have 2 monolithic 30" displays and love them! :D
  • i love my Powerbook
  • lech: 2 30" displays? wow.
  • lechlech Chicagoland
    just an example, but if you had to pick between the options (dinky laptop screen and single 30" screen, OR, 2 massive 30" screens attached to a desktop) which would you choose? Naturally, I'd go for the desktop and kick the laptop off to the side.
  • I've got a 17" Toshiba, and a 17" CRT for work. These days all my work is from home so I'm tempted to sell and get a beefcake desktop.... decisions...
  • I think i'd keep the laptop lech. I'd get neck ache looking at 45" of screen nevermind 60!
  • Mark: Does your VAIO overheat or generally get pretty hot? That was the problem with my old laptop (Toshiba) it was very fast but it got very hot. If I was going to get a laptop I'd get one that's light and doesn't overheat. Also at least 1gb of RAM.
  • Our VAIO used to overheat to the extreme (eg. launch firefox and browse with 4 tabs and it'll start freezing up on you), but then we went ahead and opened it up and found about 1/4 inch layer of thick dust plastered against the heatsink. Once that was removed, it ran as good as new.
  • I must say i've been quite happy with how cool and quiet my laptop runs. It has the powerNOW stuff which means 99% the time i'm using it its only running at like 800mhz which in turn means the fans are very rarely on and it only moderately warms my lap as opposed to slowly burning its way through.
  • edited March 2006
    i'd just like to note quickly that *most* laptops don't have the horsepower to actually push a 30-inch lcd panel at it's native resolution, which is something like 2500x1600.

    some can.

    also, as far as i know, there isn't a video card out there that will actually support dual 30" monitors.

    but holy cow, i'd hit that...


    further research suggests that there really ISN'T a single video card that could do it, because the monitor needs TWO DVI ports to function.

    also, this is my monitor setup... just without the 3007wfp in the middle
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    ADM: Mine only gets hot when I've got the heat vents blocked - like if I'm working in bed and it is resting on the blanket. If it is on the desk it generally stays very cool. But I should add that even when it is really hot, it doesn't seem to affect performance at all.

    They don't make my exact model anymore (sony tends to make minor alterations to their laptops regularly), but this is just about the closest one I could find on sonystyle:

  • um, jsanders, have you read the article? "Note that it is possible to get a dual-dual-Link graphics card capable of driving two 3007WFP monitors (!)." I suspect they're relatively few though. And quite expensive. Not that anyone buying dual 30" displays cares..
This discussion has been closed.