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Help -- Toshiba A75-S206 vs HP ZT3302US or HPZV5220us

by txjayhwk / September 2, 2004 9:29 AM PDT

I've been reading through past posts and see info./comments regarding these notebooks and would be curious to get your thoughts on what I am considering and if you think the costs are reasonable and which you would recommend.

I'm getting a notebook to basically replace my desktop. I travel only occasionally so size and battery life are an issue, but most important is to get the best value I can -- the most for my money and I'd like to spend around $1200. I need for email, Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations, but don't really care about games, etc.

I'm considering the Toshiba A75-S206, Intel Pentium 4 Processor, processor speed 2.8 GHz, bus speed 533 MHz, and 512MB RAM for $1149 at CompUSA (http://www.compusa.com/products/product_info.asp?product_code=313044&pfp=BROWSE)

and the HP ZT3302US Intel Pentium M Processor, 1.5 GHz processor speed, 400 MHz bus speed, 256MB RAM for $1299 (http://www.compusa.com/products/product_info.asp?product_code=313569&pfp=srch1).

I've seen comments about getting custom and called Dell and the price point was a little higher than I want to go $1600. Also called HP and the guy recommended the ZV5220us for $1149 before shipping, etc. It's at about 8 pounds which is a little heavy. Toshiba also has this problem.

Also looked at Compaq online and it appears it's a little more expensive as well. I'm not techy and all this information is overwhelming. I'd like to get something tomorrow and am leaning toward buying at a store rather than ordering custom, waiting, etc.

Thoughts, suggestions greatly appreciated.

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Re: Help -- Toshiba A75-S206 vs HP ZT3302US or HPZV5220us
by KenSanramon / September 2, 2004 10:10 AM PDT

The Toshiba A75 series has integrated video memory (shared). You can't upgrade this on a notebook like on a desktop (which can add an video card at any time with an available slot).

The HPZT3000 series and Compaq X1000 series are the same notebook. See X1000forums.com

I bought my X1360US at Circuit City for a decent price ($1299) in May 2004 but by doing it this way you pay more for RAM (you can order 256mb and add your own 512mb RAM stick for under $100 later) and you also are limiting your video memory, hard drive speed, and cpu options.

Also, the HPZT3000 custom online order right now has 3 things:

1) $100 instant discount
2) at least a $50 rebate -- a custom $100 rebate was available instead through 9/1/04.

3) free DVD ROM to CD-RW/DVD ROM upgrade

I recommend that you get the 64mb dedicated video, Intel Pentium M 725 1.6 (lowest Dothan), 5400 rpm hard drive (50% faster than 4200 -- note that your desktop has a 5400 or 7200 rpm hard drive already - if you don't upgrade the notebook hard drive it will be slower and at least 512mb RAM (but only order 256mb 1 stick or 512mb 1 stick and add your own later for less).

The Toshiba you should be comparing the HP/Compaq to is the M35 -- this has dedicated video (retail model is M35S456 with DVD burner) It is very close to the HP/Compaq in specifications but it has the new slick Trubrite LCD.

Note: Compusa has the worst return policies (restocking fees, etc) of anyone so I would recommend that you also look at Circuit City, Best Buy, etc if you insist on retail but you will save $ and have exactly the components you want if you go to hpshopping.com

See X1000forums.com for all the information on the instant rebate and rebates available now (for either the Compaq X1000 or HPZT3000 or the business twin HPnx7000).

The HPZT3000 weighs 6.5 pounds
The Toshiba M35 weighs 6.2 pounds

The Toshiba does run a bit hotter but it does have the Trubrite LCD which you have to see (XGA only). The HPZT3000/X1000 do not have the new HP Briteview equivalent bright LCD yet (also similar to Sony Xbrite).

If you really will never play any games or use any more demanding program then consider integrated video.

But otherwise, get dedicated video (at least 64mb is better and only costs $50 over 32mb dedicated if you order custom at HPshopping).

Also, you can get the Bluetooth module option for only $19 more ordering custom (add on to wi-fi Intel 2200b/g wireless). Many people want this option for synching to a PDA, using an Bluetooth mouse, using a bluetooth cell phone, etc (HP/Compaq)

You can get a USB bluetooth module to plug in externally but most people prefer internal and these cost much more later to purchase (up to $100 and over).

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Re: Help -- Toshiba A75-S206 vs HP ZT3302US or HPZV5220us
by KenSanramon / September 2, 2004 10:18 AM PDT

Also, BOTH of these notebooks are using the older Pentium M Banias 1.5 processor which has only 1mb L2 system cache (see that on the spec links you included). For only $50 more ordering custom at HP/Compaq (or at Toshiba custom also which is 10% for online orders) you will get a Dothan 1.6 Pentium M processor with 2mb L2 system cache (double).

I also confirmed your Toshiba A75 is shared video which severely limits what you can do on the notebook and also uses a portion of your system RAM (dedicated video cards from ATI (HP/Compaq) or Nvidia (Toshiba) have their own separate dedicated video.

Gamers want notebooks with 128mb video like the Acer 2025 (which is similar to the HPZT3000 as it is built by the same Chinese company in China -- Compal) but I don't think you may need to go that high if you have not already specified that. But that is an option (15.4" LCD also and 6.6 pounds).

At any rate, don't order a Pentium M cpu now on any notebook that is less than a 715 Dothan Pentium M 1.5 -- the HPZT3000 and Compaq X1000 start at the 725 Dothan Pentium M 1.6 for only $50 more than the Banias 705 (not a Dothan and 1/2 the cache) on custom order notebooks.

You can see the updated HPZT3380US (with DVD burner so price higher) and Toshiba M35S456 at Circuit City (both have Pentium M 735 Dothan 1.7, DVD burner, etc) for comparison if you want.

Only Toshiba has the Trubrite LCD (XGA).

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Re: Help -- Toshiba A75-S206 vs HP ZT3302US or HPZV5220us
by txjayhwk / September 2, 2004 1:26 PM PDT

Ken, thanks for taking the time to reply and provide input. The HPZT3380us and Toshiba M35S456 are out of the price range I've set for this purchase. Good to know the input on CompUSA, I just assumed it would be like returning any kind of consumer purchase. Unfortunately the sales people at Circuit City and Best Buy today were less than knowledgeable and helpful.

I assume then you are recommending the HPzt3000. This notebook appears to meet my needs and price range. Again, I'm not technical and you tended to lose me on the Dothan, Banias... So you think this will be a good notebook that should last me the next several years?

Thanks again for your assistance.

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Re: Help -- Toshiba A75-S206 vs HP ZT3302US or HPZV5220us
by KenSanramon / September 3, 2004 3:47 AM PDT

The reason the retail Toshiba M35S456 and the HPZT3380 exceed your price range is that they have a DVD burner instead of a CD-RW/DVD ROM most people get (at least $200 more for this alone) and also both have the Pentium M 735 Dothan 1.7. If you order custom, you will save $125 ordering the Pentium M 725 1.6 Dothan (at hpshopping for either ZT3000 series or Compaq X1000 series) and you will save at least $200 not getting the DVD burner.

So that means you are at least $325 down and by getting only 256mb RAM and putting in your own Crucial, Kingston, PNY 525mb RAM module later (only 2 slots on notebooks) you will have 768mb RAM for less money than 512mb RAM from the manufacturer. That will probably save you at least $50 more.

L2 system cache is a form of high speed memory that is faster than system RAM and is on the cpu itself. One of the secrets to the Pentium M performing better than its mhz speed (1.5X or better compared to a Pentium 4M) is this L2 cache. The Pentium 715 or above (HP/Compaq starts at 725, don't buy 705) has double this L2 cache (2mb instead of 1mb). This will allow you to access web pages and other frequently accessed information much faster as it comes from the cpu and not the RAM or the hard drive.

Go to X1000forums.com and see the configurations people are ordering. If you can order while the $100 instant discount is still there as well as at least a $50 mail in rebate (and possibly $100) you can easily get down to between $1,000 and $1,400 after rebates.

Also look at the Toshiba M35 online if you like the Trubrite LCD (10% discount on custom orders).

Recommended HPZT3000/Compaq X1000 configuration for example (same except for case colors, few minor details)

Pentium M Dothan 1.6 cpu ($125 less than 1.7)
CD-RW/DVD ROM (free upgrade from DVDROM on Hpshopping)
60gb 5400rpm hard drive (50% faster seek time over 4200
Intel 2200b/g wireless (order Bluetooth for $19 more)
15.4" XGA LCD ($50 more for SXGA, $100 for UXGA)
256mb RAM (buy 512mb RAM yourself for less later)
64mb dedicated video (only $50 more than 32mb dedicated -- very important as you cannot upgrade it later -- in store models that are cheaper have 32mb)

You can order nearly everything above on a Toshiba M35 custom build also if you like the Trubrite LCD but if you get the instant discount and rebate you can come out ahead on price with the HP/Compaq.

See www.x1000forums.com for this model info or notebookforums.com for Toshiba info.

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Re: Help -- Toshiba A75-S206 vs HP ZT3302US or HPZV5220us
by KenSanramon / September 3, 2004 3:52 AM PDT

As far as your question as to how long this notebook will last. It is one of the best options now (Pentium M Centrino) for Windows XP or XP professional, etc. People even have a modified Linux version on the X1000forums.com website.

But when Windows Longhorn comes out in late 2006 or 2007 (64bit) that will necessitate a change. AMD and Intel are developing completely new CPU's for that (2 cpu's per chip for even better performance with less heat).

That is 2-3 years away if you buy now. You can still use the notebook after that but the change to 64bit will push many to upgrade at that point.

All of the Pentium M notebooks are great with their built in wi-fi (will work right out of the box if you set up your wi-fi router properly) and both the HP/Compaq and Toshiba will get 3.5 to 4 hours battery livc if using wi-fi 100% or longer (up to 5 hours or so) if not using wi-fi (turn it off).

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Re: Help -- Toshiba A75-S206 vs HP ZT3302US or HPZV5220us
by KenSanramon / September 3, 2004 9:09 AM PDT

By the way, the custom ordering site I referenced for the HP/Compaq builds (and all the discounts) is at hpshopping.com

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