New Laptop

I was just given an IBM ThinkPad by my employer. It’s a T30 model – 1.8 GHz P4-M, 512 MB, 30 GB HD and pretty nice 3D acceleration. I think it’s an integrated Intel chip. It is quite a nice machine – robust, light and runs cool, generally. I have Solidworks on it and it performs well. It sometimes crashes Solidworks, which subsequently crashes just about everything else – but that might just be Solidworks itself. I’ve never had Solidworks show much stability.

I use both Mac and Sony laptops at work. Both are good choices. I will throw in the two cents from some friends who are software engineers / developers. They are noticing that a really large percentage of programmers at big conferences now are using Apple PowerBooks.

As for design software, VectorWorks is a mainstay program which works on Macs. It can be used for everything from setting up the lighting and sound in an auditorium to designing a gear to be made with a CNC mill. Shade and Blender are also available on Mac.

Some of the high end computer animation programs will only run on a Mac.

The person who asked about getting a laptop for your team. If its not for the animation, then just about any laptop will do for programming the bot. If it has a USB port, its probabally good enough.

Mac’s are Mac’s you know when you want one usually, but it doesn’t hurt to research.

If I we’re to get a laptop under $2000 I’d be looking at the Acer Ferrari, nothing really parallels it, AMD 64 bit processor, lots of Ram, nice nVidia Go 128mb video card and lots of other stuff.

The Ferarri is actually rather expensive (at least the 4005WLMi model). It’s like $2050 before tax and shipping.

It looks cool, but there’s better values out there. As I noted before, Acer uses the cheap 4200 RPM hard drives. To upgrade to the same size and 5400 is like an extra $80. I’ve also heard a ton of complaints that the ferrarri series quickly turns into a space heater as soon as you start doing anything graphic/processor intensive.

I took a quick look at a couple websites I considered when buying my laptop last year, and I came across this(I eventually ended up buying from here. 110% satisfied with my purchase).

after customizing it to the original poster’s specs, it comes out to about $1950 fully loaded. The best part is that they don’t charge sales tax (outside of nevada), so you save about $150.

As I noted in the thread I linked to earlier, if you don’t care about having a name brand computer, I would highly reccomend buying from a company that sells laptops made by the ODM. For example, you can get any of the laptops Alienware sells, just without all the alienware branding all over it, at a significant discount. Same goes with a bunch of other models from various manufacturers.

You also get the same warranty, with exactly the same tech support as the name brands. They just thank you for calling a different company instead of Dell, Gateway, or what have you.

It turned out that I got even better tech support from the no name brand than from the mass merchants, since they’re located about 30 minutes from my home. I had one very minor issue, and I drove it right over and got it back within 24 hours.

When it comes down to it, very very few manufacturers make their own laptops. I believe Apple was one (someone told me recently they don’t anymore) and one other smaller company. Might as well pay less and get the same thing, with a different logo on the case :slight_smile:

Last summer i got a new inspiron 6000 with a intel pentium M 750 1.86GHz 512Mb of Ram 80Gb HD ATI Radeon Mobilty X300 w/Hydravision. This is a great computer and i have few complaints. I am able to run autodesk 7 with little trouble (altho sum more ram would be nice) as far as gaming goes it is decent but its no powerhouse. Dell now offers this computer with a 2Ghz Pentium M and i belive a better graphics card. It is a great computer doesnt weigh too much but i suggest getting a bigger battery since it only gets about 2 hours with wifi on. For the price you cant beat it.

Can’t forget Marathon! The entire series makes having a mac worthwhile!

To be honest, I never heard of Marathon…

But as far as Windows computers go, Here are some ideas for specs…

A processor with at least 1.5 GHz
1 GB of RAM
(at least) 80 GB Hard drive
Video card @ 256 MB

Might not be helping, but I’m typing up some quick notes before I log off. (Need sleep)

Anyways, I hope those idea as far as specs go are useful to some degree

I have to point out, there are some decent wireless network laptops on sale right now from Dell and Gateway for ~$600, that would be great for a student to use for all HS and most college courses

for $2,000 you could buy 3 of them, and still have $200 left over for SW!

After looking reading your responses I was looking at the following laptops.
http://www.sager or the
the hp zd8000
however if I can get a laptop for $600 that will do everything I need then I might just save some money.

Your link is broken. Even if it did work, you’d be linking to a page full of computers, not the individual one you were referring to.

As for getting a laptop for $600, if all you’re planning on doing is word processing, surfing the web, and watching some DVD’s, you’ll be fine. If you want to do anything graphic intensive (CAD, games, etc) a $600 laptop will suck a whole lot.

If you want to replace your desktop, the ZD8000 will do well, but it will be just that. The P4 uses so much power and creates so much heat you won’t make it through a long class to take notes, not to mention having an uncomfortable warm lap.
If you do get a HP, get the 12 cell battery. It both lets you use your laptop longer and it also sticks out the bottom, elevating the rear. The rear is where the exhaust fan is and allows much better air flow, meaning the fan gets used less and giving you even longer battery life. I get ~5.5 hours on my HP L2000 for general use: note taking, spider solitaire, video (not DVD). I know I can watch DVDs for at least 3 hours with some other use mixed in. Best $25 I put in the computer. I just wish I has ponied up and gotten 1gig of ram instead of 512, but you got to make budget somehow. :-/

Good luck!


PS: If you spend less than you had planned to, take the money difference and stick it in a retirement savings account. Compound interest is awesome.

Thanks, I will stay clear of the zd8000. Is there a $400 difference between the hp zv6000 with 15.4" screen, Athon 64 4000+ CPU, and 128MB RADEON® XPRESS 200M video card. And the Sager np475-v, with the athon 64 3700+ CPU, RADEON 9700 with 128mb sdram, and 17" screen. The screen size does not matter to me, all I care about is performance and I know the smaller screen will boost battery life. If the only difference is in playing games then I might have to buy a 360 and switch over to counsel gaming.

I would suggest this model over the np475-v unless you really want the Athlon processor.

The 9700 pro is almost two years old. It’s still a pretty good card, but it’s two generations behind the current PCI-E cards. The model I linked to features the second best notebook card ATI has out right now. It’s also 17", but with a Pentium M processor. It comes out to right around $2000 from Sager. It’s less from About $1914.

If you want all out power, the same model, but with the brand new Nvidia go Gtx 7800 w/ 256mb comes out to exactly $2000 without a OS. (

That is the Pavilion zd8230us Notebook that I purchased on Fourth of July and got it with all the sales + a 3 year service plan for about $2,200. Yes it is a major investment but I didn’t want to get a desktop for college also and I wanted to be able to beat it like I do with our desktop at home. It is something that i can take home easily and do my school work at home with all the college software that we have to use.

The 1 GIG of ram is very nice. I can play Battlefield 2, MIRC, GAIM, firefox and be burning a dvd and it still has memory to spare. It is a great laptop for its price and it is something that I know will last for at least the 5 years of college.

With the P4 3.4ghz processor yes it doesn’t get the best battery value. I get about 1 hour 40 mins out of mine. The media center is also nice because if you are gone for a class or have homework (yes we all have that) you just set it to record the show or series and it does it all automatically and the quality is great.

Thanks goes to everyone, but especially Cory. fits me perfectly, because since I joined the Air Force I get huge discounts on all kinds of software and no OS saves me big. The only question I have is with the tv tuner would I be able to watch tv on the laptop? If I can that is just one less item I need to have in my dorm.

edit: I can watch TV on it. I should have looked at the details page, and thanks again for all your help.

I checked the discountlaptop site - holy cow! that place is expensive

$1200 for a laptop with a cheap battery, that doenst even come with windows? you can get one from Dell or gateway or HP for $600 with the same HW/RAM/HD with windows installed.

Something is not right there!

you guys got me wishing for a new laptop now! Thinking of this one:

$629 W/ window home XP and free shipping.

Oh yeah Discountlaptops was expensive, your better off checking ebay out for an Acer Ferrari (my DREAM laptop) the hardware is built for a performance/gaming laptop. It’s AMD (therefore better for CAD and Gaming) based and its got a whole lot of Ram and Awesome Video

On the budget laptops, about 2 months ago I got a HP ZV600 for a grand total of…$450, yes Office Depot had 3 $100 rebates and a $50 dollar one too, I priced the very same laptop out online for $1000. It’s got nice specs too and is AMD based (i got the Athlon 64-M 3200+) and has Dedicated Video unlike its cousin the V2000 linky

Their market isn’t bargain bin laptops. They can’t sell them any cheaper than the name brand companies do.

Compare their upper end stuff to Dell’s upper end notebooks, and you’ll find that you can get a significant discount–up to hundreds of dollars off.

P.S. the reason that one is more expensive is because it probably has a 5400 RPM hd vs a 4200 in the $600 laptop, and it has a dedicated graphics card, something you’ll never find in the cheapie laptops. Not sure that those $600 ones come with integrated a/b/g wireless at no extra charge either. it certainly wouldn’t come with gigabit ethernet They also aren’t going to have a 1.7-1.8 ghz Sonoma processor. It’ll be Celeron, or an older slower Centrino.

Let’s compare theDell XPS M170 from, fully loaded, to the Sager NP5720 with the same specs from

Dell’s fully configured price-$3,951
Dell Sales Tax for CA-$327.95
Dell Shipping and Handling-$25

Dell total~$4,300

discountlaptops fully configured price-$2859
discountlaptops sales tax for CA-$0
discountlaptops shipping and handling-$25

discountlaptop total~$2884

That’s a difference of $1400

This is from NoRemorse…

I bought a gateway 7000gz series, and it cost me $1600

ati 9700 gfx card
1 gb ram
100gb gdd
2.4 ghz 64 bit AMD
Dual layer dvd burner
integrated wireless G
6 in 1 card reader
bettery lasts about 2.5 hours
s-video out

in my opinion, best buy out there… period