If you go to X1000forums.com you will see people with the Compaq X1000/HPZT3000/HPnc7000 (same notebooks) that are eying the Acer you describe because of the available 128mb Dedicated video (ATI 9700 video card).
There are even photos on the forum (general area) showing the Acer and Compaq/HP are the same chassis (built at the same site in China) but there are differences on the external case.
What people really want to do on my forum if figure out if they can put a 128mb video into the Compaq/HP.
The Acers are nice but they are prebuilt (no custom orders) so that means you will pay more and not get exactly what you want. If Acer has what you want at the price you want then get one.
Go to X1000forums.com -- you can see the specs students are ordering for maximum value .. if you are a student still you can save 6% with the APP discount at HPshopping, there is a 100 custom order rebate good through 9/1/04 and you can learn how to get another 5% savings by ordering through Fatcash (portal) through 8/31/04.
Many students are getting a 725 Pentium M Dothan 1.6 (cheapest Dothan available on HP/Compaq for best value), 256mb RAM (add 512mb later to slot under notebook --very easly), 30gb 4200 hard drive (upgrade to 7200 rpm hard drive -- or order 5400rpm 60mb drive from HP/Compaq), and you can order a higher resolution (SXGA or UXGA) if desired (standard is XGA).
Go to www.newegg.com - they have some good pricing on Acers.
Looking for P-M 1.6 notebook:
512 Mb in one slot (though willing to settle for 256mb)
60gb hard drive with at least 5200 rpm
64 mb dedicated video +
all the usual internet and other goodies - though no software wanted
3 yr warranty would be better
cd burner/ dvd player (dvd burner of course nice but not necessary)
I'm a grad student that crunches a lot of data so speed is nice, so is not going blind looking at a screen. Don't need too many frills. Some portability and battery life would be nice (thus M chip). Also, don't want to break the bank.
would be willing to do some add-ons of memory and hard drive stuff myself since that'll be cheaper, though i have a habit of breaking computers so I'd prefer the manufact' install the harddrive even if it costs 50 bucks more.
Seems like HPzt3000 and Acer Aspire 2000 series would be my best bet. I know I can get all of the above with HP but it seems like I can get a tad more with the acer (better graphics, possibly better hard drive) plus I think the hp is a bit older (though I don't know how much difference this makes).
Thing is: I'm having trouble finding a wide selection of acers online. i've checked compusa, newegg, circuit city, jandr, costco, and even rudimentary google/froogle searches. Is it possible to find acers with the above in the US?