Laptop (non-mac) recommendations?

So my laptop with the overheating and whatnot finally gave out - video card just isn’t displaying anything. Inevitable that I’ll need to grab a new laptop. Now, given that all of the programs I have are for windows, a mac is pretty much out. So what’s a good brand of laptop? Specific model? Mostly for basic stuff like Word, email and such, but also somethng that won’t crumble under the weight of Illustrator or Photoshop.

I’m looking for a new laptop myself, after my laptop just broke down (nice to know I’m not the only one).

The HP Envy series are a pretty nice laptop, the 15" is the most price competitive. I would normally recommend a Dell for office use, etc. but since your last one was a Dell I’m pretty sure you don’t want to go down that path again.

I got a Lenovo U450 mentioned by before (By Jason Cross?) for $500-$600 recently. It has a HDMI port which is nice. Sturdy. The one caveat is I really dislike the glossy screen. Had no idea it was a new trend. Also hate touchpads, but ymmv.

Anyone have experience with vaio laptops? The nw270 seems to be fairly cheap and got some good reviews.

HP ProBook?

Mac -> Bootcamp. Like MacOS or not, the MBPs are amazing pieces of pure hardware, before you even consider the software.

Is this where I chant ASUS ASUS ASUS! again?

I also recommend ASUS laptops, I love mine. Mine is too old to be a useful model recommendation to you, but I recommend you look into their currently available stuff.

Fuck Apple. They do make very nice hardware but I’m diametrically opposed to their locked-down vision of the future of computing. If they get away with the current App Store shenanigans (and they probably will) it is only a matter of time until they attempt to bubble that model up to the Mac systems.

The Dell Latitude E6500 I use at work has been rock-solid.

Hey guys, I was thinking of getting my very first laptop to supplement my five-year-old desktop computer. I looked at some ASUSes at a Best Buy but didn’t like their keyboards. So I went to Dell’s site and put together this:


Inspiron 15 Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T6600 (2.20GHz/800Mhz FSB/2MB cache), Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English Unit Price $859.00
Save $180 off Dell Inspiron 15!
Catalog Number: 29 DNDOZM2 Module Description
Inspiron 15
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T6600 (2.20GHz/800Mhz FSB/2MB cache)
Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English System Color: Jet Black
Memory: 6GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 800MHz
LCD Panel: Bright, glossy widescreen 15.6 WLED display (1366x768)
Video Card: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD
Hard Drive: 320GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
Network: Integrated 10/100 Network Card
Adobe Software: Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 9.0
Combo or DVD+RW Drive: 8X CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)
Sound: High Definition Audio 2.0
Wireless Networking Cards: Dell 1397 Wireless-G
Integrated Web Cam: Integrated 1.3 MP Webcam
BLUETOOTH: Dell Wireless 365 Bluetooth Internal (2.1)
Productivity No Microsoft Office
Software - Antivirus McAfee SecurityCenter, 30-Day Trial
Battery: 6-cell battery
Hardware Support Services 1 Year Basic Service Plan
Datasafe Dell Online Backup 2GB for 1 year
Dial-Up Internet Access No ISP requested

Sub total:$679.00

I’d be using it for mobile word processing (thinking about going with OpenOffice for the first time instead of Microsoft Office), web browsing, some gaming (nothing too hardcore but it’d be nice to play Sins of a Solar Empire or Mount & Blade with all the graphics to full, especially using my TV as a monitor) and possibly getting Vegas or Premiere/Final Cut for some video editing down the line.

Here is where I reveal the depths of my ignorance:

  • what’s the difference between a “Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T6600 (2.20GHz/800Mhz FSB/2MB cache)”, an “intel® Pentium® Dual Core™ T4400 (2.2GHz/800MHz FSB/1MB cache)” for $75 less and an "Intel® Core™ 2 Duo P7450 (2.13GHz/1066Mhz FSB/3MB cache) for $60 more, other than the increased memory cache? All three are dual core processors, right?

*Should I leave the graphics card as is or upgrade to the 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD433 for an extra $100? How difficult is it to upgrade a video card on a laptop? (I am comfortable with putting in a card on a desktop.)

*What’s the difference between a 6-cell and 9-cell battery, like how much longer would a 9-cell last? Dell is cagey about the battery duration here too.

*Ports on a laptop: if it doesn’t come with firewire or HDMI ports, do I have to buy an adapter or a card or something if I want to plug in firewire or HDMI? Is that even possible?

Thank you, hivemind!

From what I know, if you don’t upgrade the graphic’s card at the build stage it’s not worth doing it at all. As you’ll have to change the mobo aswell as the card for an upgrade.

6 cell batteries should give you an idle time of ~2.30 hours with 9 cell coming in at about ~4 (How you set your power saving option will affect this as well obviously), so the choice is up to you. I’ve never bothered with 9 cell myself purely because I don’t like the bulky battery sticking out the back of my laptop but YMMV.

If it doesn’t come with a HDMI port as standard you could be in trouble. AFAIK there’s no way of connecting to a HDMI input without a built in port but then again that’s not my area of expertise (i.e I’m talking out my ass here)

The P7450 is more expensive due to both the higher cache and the fact it runs at the faster 1066Mhz rather then the two older cores running at 800Mhz. Other then that they are all Dual Core so it’s up to you, although I’d avoid the Pentium.

In my experience – which is admittedly out-of-date – Vaio’s high-end stuff is as good as Apple’s, but also just about as pricey. They do a fantastic job of qualifying drivers, though.

I worked with someone who worked for Intel and had direct experience with the Vaio team, and she had an extremely high respect for them. Also, in the interests of full disclosure, I have a friend who works for Sony in that department as well.

If price is no object Sony Vaio are badass, but they are really expensive. If you are willing to get one they hit almost top scores in everything however. For instance the Z series(13 inch) is amazing with better hardware than Apple 13 inch MBP but they cost a lot more if you can believe it.

What sort of budget do you have? I think the nw270 is really expensive based on a quick search of it. this seems fairly close to it in specs and costs a lot less based on what I saw.

Virtually no difference other than price and branding and numbers assigned. For all intents and purposes I’d say the are the same CPU. If you have the money the P7450 might use less power overall but I don’t know if it really does. Unless you have a specific program that performs better with more cache(and most don’t) it is not worth the money. I’d spend my money on other upgrades myself and get the cheapest CPU option there. See - Intel® Product Specifications,

Basically you can’t upgrade a video card on a laptop, unless it’s made for it which almost none are. The HD4330 card is better than the default choice but the HD4330 isn’t very powerful, I wouldn’t pay $100 for it. If you really want to game I’d look for a laptop with better GPU options. HD4330 - AMD ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 - Tech

McKnight is dead on, maybe 4 hours or so max with 9 cell but it adds weight too.

Hmm, it doesn’t have a HDMI port? That’s odd and pretty crappy. It doesn’t even appear to have display port or DVI either? You’d need a converter box to go VGA to DVI/HDMI etc as that is analog to digital. As for firewire I never use it but I highly doubt there is a converter or what not for that.

To be honest I wouldn’t buy that Dell at all, it appears over priced and utterly crappy in almost every way. I say this just having bough a new Alienware(owned by Dell) so it isn’t like I don’t support some of their products.

I recommend this site for laptop info, do some reading there and get a feel for what you want/need -

This brand-new ASUS has caught my eye. I’m in the market but not in a huge hurry, so I can afford to wait and see how people like it after they’ve had it a while.

I bought this Asus a couple of weeks ago - It’s very similar to the Acer pg linked but it has a little more hard drive space and it’s an Asus. Nothing special but it’s a very sturdy laptop.

Those are two interesting new laptops that just came out. A bit more expensive but I really think they would be worth the money over say the standard $600 Dell. If you really want to save money buy one of the various $400 Acer models out or what not.