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First Time Notebook

by Taekduu / August 2, 2004 9:07 AM PDT

I know a number of people have posted about htis and it might be repetitive. I apologize if it is.

I have been researching notebooks and PDAs for the last couple of months. I suspect I am more confused now than I was when I started.

I am a medical student who will be graduating in the next year. I want a laptop that I can take with me for a one month elective and that will replace my desktop at the end of the year. It doesn't need to be light, but it does need to be powerful and I don't really mind weight. Considering my regular hospital bag has weighed between 15 to 20 pounds, depending on where I am going so a little weight won't kill me. The max price I am looking at is about $2400.

I have been looking at the Dell 8600 and the HP zd7000. My question is this, is it really worth it to get one or the other or are they just equal? Or is there something else I should be looking at? I would like to not have to buy another one in a year.

Thank you for your help.

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Re: First Time Notebook
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 2, 2004 11:16 AM PDT
In reply to: First Time Notebook

What desktop is this replacing? That may help.


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Re: First Time Notebook
by Taekduu / August 2, 2004 10:23 PM PDT

I bought a Dell Dimension 4500 two years ago.

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Compared to 2 year old desktops...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 2, 2004 11:17 PM PDT

Today's laptops with dedicated video RAM, 5400 RPM hard disks and same amount of RAM can have CPUs that are on par with that desktop.

Sony, in my book has a black mark a mile wide. Just this year they stopped production of the Clie, but that wasn't the killer item. They also shutdown access to the programmer's information and support. This shuts out the PalmOS programmers from giving Clie owners support for the Sony features. This move was uncalled for and shows Sony's arrogance that filters down in other ways.

They are not a contender.


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Re: Compared to 2 year old desktops...
by Taekduu / August 3, 2004 2:29 AM PDT

When I bought my desktop 2 years ago I spent the extra money to get a better computer than the basic model. Right now the desktop still works very well for everything I need to do. Even playing games, admittedly nothing in the Doom class. But it works pretty well for The Sims.

I won't be picking up Sony. It seems a little strange to push the Clie for so long and then abruptly decide to not sell it or even support it anymore for those who already had the product. I don't want that to happen with a notebook.

Now you say that the 5400rpm is equal. I don't want an equal system per se. I want something that is better than the desktop. The reason for this is that when I graduate the desktop is being given to my father and the notebook will be my primary computer.

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Shop around.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 3, 2004 2:52 AM PDT

I noted the 5400 RPM since many desktops come with such and the 7200 RPM drives add a little more zip.

But in laptops the struggle is zip versus battery power. Also, as the drives rev up, they can begin to generate noise.


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Re: First Time Notebook
by KenSanramon / August 2, 2004 11:41 AM PDT
In reply to: First Time Notebook

The HPZd7000 is a desktop replacement in every sense of the word. If it will stay on a desktop or table in one building and you want the 17" LCD and Pentium 4M power for gaming and all other facets of a hot running, low battery life notebook (in other words you will leave it in place and on A/C the majority of the time) then these are just like a desktop with a 17" LCD flatpanel -- except all in one piece and it can be moved around more easily and you don't have wires going from the the LCD to the desktop. But they will get 2 hours or even less on a battery charge due to the huge LCD screen and hot running Pentium 4M. Toshiba and Sony also make full-blown 17" notebooks if you want to go down this avenue. But the notebook alone (don't even talk about the huge A/C power supply) is close to 10 pounds buy itself.

If you still want to have a large enough LCD to take advantage of DVD's (especially in widescreen), enhanced viewing area on spreadsheets (wider screen gives more data area on both sides) and still have reasonable portability then the other choice you made, the Dell 8600 is a better choice (Pentium M CPU and 15.4" widescreen).

If you want to stick with the Dell there are a lot of students that buy that. However, its drawbacks are that its case was not designed for the Pentium M which requires thickness due to the fact it runs much cooler. So the Dell still weighs 6.9 pounds. And the keyboard is not quite as good as IBM or the models below.

If you want a 8600 or equivalent I highly recommend the Toshiba M35 series (prebuilt example is M35S456 for $1999 retail) with the 1.7 Dothan Pentium M processor. This machine has everything and weighs 6.2 pounds. But its price is higher as it has a DVD burner that adds $200 to the price.

I have a Compaq X1000 series which is nearly identical in specifications to the Toshiba but it weighs 6.5 pounds. It can be completely custom ordered online and it is identical to the HPZT3000 except for appearance (HP is all black inside except for touchpad, Compaq is half silver and half black). By ordering custom, not only can you get a $100 rebate, qualified education rebate % discount, etc. but you can order it exactly as you want. For example, the 1.6 Pentium M is the same as the 1.7 (Dothan, 2mb L2 system cache) but it is $125 less so most people ordering custom get that. You want at least 512mb memory but you can order 256mb from the manufacturer if ordering custom and get Crucial or other memory yourself for much less (or add 512mb more for about the price of 256mb more). You can upgrade the video to 64mb for $50 more than 32mb, you can order a faster rpm hard drive], etc.

Toshiba can also be ordered custom as an M30 online.

Go to to see how low you can get the pricing if you are interested in either the X1000/ZT3000 or HP business nx7000 notebooks.

Or, see to read up on Dell and Toshiba but again they don't have forum for just this particular Pentium M notebook like Compaq/HP has.

Dell also is custom order of course so follow the same rules as above if you prefer the 8600.

Remember, video memory cannot be upgraded so choose that very carefully (and make sure you get a notebook with dedicated video RAM (ATI or Nvidia video card) not integrated video -- which draws off your system RAM.

And I would get no lower than the 715 1.5 Pentium M (HP and Dell don't offer this -- they offer the older Banias 705) or Pentium M 1.6 725 cpu.

As a benchmark, Pentium M's are comparable to a Pentium M cpu up to 1.5 times their mhz speed.

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Re: First Time Notebook
by Taekduu / August 3, 2004 2:40 AM PDT

Well, it's going to stay on a desk and plugged in. The only movement it's going to experience is from Ohio to Portland and back. I am buying it primarily because I absolutely must have a computer in Portland. If it had been up to me, I would have bought it until April 2005. Since I will be away from home, this will need to temporarily replace everything I have in my apartment.

I have looked at Sony and Toshiba. Sony did not particularly thrill me, it seemed a lot more design and less value. I have never purchased anything from Tosbiba but I did check the P25 out. I looked at it and went back to the HP.

In addition both Dell and HP have student discounts and coupons that made my "dream" system more approachable. Sony and Toshiba did not.

I did look at the X1000, you do recommend it a number of times. I stomached my dislike of the Comapq name and tried to set it up. It lacks the 7200rpm HD option. I have tried other people's laptops that run at 5400 and I have not been very thrilled with the performance. That could have been because of other limitations but that's how I felt.

I did check all the websites that you recommended and the zd7000 forums. They were helpful and are making me reevaluate some things.

My intent with whatever system that I get is that I will only get the basic 256 and add a 512 later because it is cheaper to buy it on my own and install it than buy it from HP or Dell. I don't want to have to upgrade much more than that. If I do then I might as well have a custom-built and designed model from somewhere else.

In terms of battery life I have noted that most people say it is better if you aren't using the WLAN or other programs. When I am traveling later this month and in November and December, I will not be far enough from an easy charge for it to matter.

So, I am confused on one last thing. The Pentium M is comparable to a Pentium 4? 1.5x the mhz speed? so
a PM1.8 = P42.7?

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Re: First Time Notebook
by KenSanramon / August 3, 2004 4:50 AM PDT

If you go to you will see that many buyers that want either the X1000 Compaq or ZT3000 HP (it is all black with silver touchpad so many prefer that more understated look) will order the smallest and cheapest hard drive and only 256mb memory (smallest custom order hard drive at hpshopping is 30mb 4200).

Then, they turn around and order the Hitachi 7200 hard drive from Newegg or another online site (see for pricing) and reformat the system with the faster hard drive.

I have read on the forums that the 5400 rpm hard drive you can order from HP/Compaq is about 50% faster in seek time and the 7200 rpm hard drive is about 20% faster than the 5400.

You can get a $100 rebate an an minimum through 9/1/04 by ordering a custom HP/Compaq notebook. There are some code coupon specials at certain times (we are in back to school period). You can order through APP (student discount) or EPP (employer discount) if applicable. And, Fatcash is offering 5% (normally 3%) cash back deferred if you access HPshopping through their site through August 31st (see

This dedicated forum is extremely valuable is you like to upgrade components, learn about bios/drive updates and to get the best pricing and specs (order at least the Pentium M 725 1.6 Dothan or above).

It is primarily for users of the X1000/ZT3000/nx7000 triplets.

And, also you can order a higher LCD resolution than XGA (SXGA or UXGA)if desired.

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