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1st Laptop Questions...

Like many others, I am shopping for my 1st laptop. Forgive me if this is redundant, but I'm going blind from reading and research...

The laptop will primarily be used at home, but I would like it to be reasonably portable (< 7lb.) so battery life is a concern.
I will be using it for email, web surfing, documents, and on occasion digital photos.
So far I have narrowed my search down to:
-Hp ZT3000 / Compaq x1000 (both customized)
-Dell 8600 or 700m
-14" iBook G4 1.33Ghz

Two other points, if I have 768 MB or 1 GB RAM with 64 MB shared video, will that still run worse than say 512 MB with 64 dedicated?

Lastly, for the uses I've listed above, how much of a learning curve is there moving from XP to Mac OSX? Is the web interface that much different?

Thank you all for your help and patience with yet another new buyer thread.


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Re: 1st Laptop Questions...

In reply to: 1st Laptop Questions...

Battery life varied widely with usage. Also, if a desktop replacement, then that's lower too.

As to the 512M with 64M dedicated video ram, such will handily outpace the same CPU with 1G RAM and shared video RAM. Why has been noted in this forum a few times but it basically has to do with the CPU possibly stalling while the GPU is reading the shared RAM.

The Mac OSX was a cakewalk for me. What many overlook is that it also has built in help. The downside is that I can't use one since I am currently developing for Windows...


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Re: 1st Laptop Questions...

In reply to: Re: 1st Laptop Questions...

Thanks Bob, that totally rules out the 700m for me. The small screen had me concerned too, but now it's definately out.

From all I've read, the iBook may just be perfect for what I need. Everyone that mentions Safari says it's a dream to surf with.

I've also read alot about people moving from PC to Mac and loving it. I guess I'm just curious to hear if there are many people who try to switch and DON'T like it???

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Re: 1st Laptop Questions...

In reply to: 1st Laptop Questions...

first i will talk about your questions...
- 16mb shared vs. dedicated graphics... if you run movies (not so much) or graphics intensive applications... you will notice a lag... if not... you won't notice anything. Either way, i would recommend going for the 512 with 64 should run cheaper and more efficient. you wont need 712 on a laptop.... if you do need it... you shouldnt have a laptop... it means you are taxing it too much with hardware and background software.
- mac osX runs well. i would recommend it for beginners... and the learning curve is short. i personally like PCs better... but thats cause i build them myself, and a mac would have to be taken to a service center.

I would recommend the MAC... however you wont get much batery life. but if you use it at home... no biggy.
the other two... i would say Dell. cheapest and best combination of quality and service. Compaq tends to be more user friendly... but tha also means tons and tons of programs that run in the background that kill the battery and slow down the system.

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Re: 1st Laptop Questions...

In reply to: Re: 1st Laptop Questions...

If you don't need to sync to much with a work pc and don't require a PC only program than Apples are great and they are #1 in notebook service and notebook quality. You do get somewhat less specifications for what you pay for but they are among the lightest of notebooks for what LCD they have (the 17" Powerbook is only 6.9 pounds -- that is comparable to the 15.4" Pentium M Centrino HPZT3000/Compaq X1000 series at 6.5 pounds).

If you were really serious and comparing the HPZT3000/Compaq X1000 (which has the Pentium M 725 1.6 Dothan processor or higher -- Centrino -- with 2mb L2 system cache -- you should be comparing it to the 15" Apple powerbook which is between $2,000 and $2500 depending on what optical drive you choose. Remember Apple costs more for what you get and that is the comparable model with full options to the HPZT3000/Compaq X1000 (and also comparable LCD size).

You will get 3.5 to 4 hours using wi-fi on the HP/Compaq and up to 5 hours not using wi-fi (especially if you turn down the LCD brightness when you don't need it, don't use an external optical mouse (use built in touchpad, etc).

You should definitely get the 64mb dedicated video RAM if you can and there are a ton of discounts (see for coupons, rebates, 6% student APP, 12% employer EPP, 3% fatcash portal deferred rebate, etc. You can easily get a loaded system for between $1200 and $1500 (getting a multiformat DVD burner will cost you about $200 more at hpshopping than a CD-RW/DVD ROM drive many people get -- this same extra cost applies to the Apple powerbook (but that is a slot loading drive).

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Re: 1st Laptop Questions...

In reply to: Re: 1st Laptop Questions...

The Dell 8600 has the 7200 rpm Hitachi hard drive option and the 128mb dedicated ATI 9700 video option for gamers --it is heavier though (6.9 pounds) and the case flex and keyboard compared to the HPZT3000/Compaq X1000 is not as good (HP/Compaq also has metal bezel surrounding the LCD for stability and and an aluminum top).

The HP/Compaq has had many users order the cheapest hard drive 4200rpm and later order and put in the Hitachi 7200rpm 60gb themselves for under $200 -- you can order a 5400rpm hard drive at hpshopping which is still 50% faster in seek time versus a 4200rpm standard.

Remember, you effectively cannot upgrade video memory later (soldered, very expensive to order later -- can't add it at all to noteobooks that only use shared/integrated video) -- you should order your RAM 1 stick (either 256mb or 512mb) and then you can easily add a PC2700 512mb RAM stick yourself later for under $100 (just off sale at Best buy for 79.99 after rebate for a Kingston notebook 512mb PC2700 RAM stick).

The Dell 600M was rated a lot below the Dell 8600 and HPZT3000/Compaq X1000 (all 3 of these were 8.0 or higher -- the 600M was in the low 7's -- 8 is the recommended barrier). The Powerbooks rate very high also --you will have to look up their rating on the Ibook.

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