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HP ZT3000 or IBM Thinkpad T42? PLEASE HELP!

by Plinkerton / September 13, 2004 7:19 PM PDT

I am at somewhat of a complete loss as to what I should do. The prices will come out to be pretty similar, with the T42 being a couple hundred more. Also, the 42 will have a 40gig HD instead of a 60gig, and the 42 will have a smaller screen, 14.1 compared to 15.something.

It would be nice to have the bigger HD, but it's not that important. Also, the screen isn't really a big deal.

My main concern is reliability. I just want something QUALITY. The reviews for both of these notebooks are great on this site, and I'm just not sure what I should do.

There are some features on the HP that are cool, like the scroll section on the touchpad, etc.

The specs of either one I get would be 1.7ghz, screen resolution not the lowest (not exactly sure what I would get with the HP). Ideally for now, I would want at least 512mg ram, but it seems in the thinkpad, I would go for 256mg of ram, as that is the standard amount. I guess I can always upgrade later.

I have heard a bit about the "ghosting" effect on the Thinkpads during certain animations, and I was wondering if this was something to be concerned about.

Also, I definitely need out of the box wifi. I understand what comes with the HP, but the specs of the T42 are foreign to me. I've never heard of the options available, and don't know if I need to upgrade or not, or if it's fine how it is.

As you can probably tell, the idea of a notebook PC is a bit new to me. Since this will be a one-time investment for a long while, I just want to make sure I am not making a mistake.

I'm not a big gamer, and watching DVDs really isn't that important. I just want power, reliability, and the least problems I can have. Since I'll be in school, sending it back to get it fixed could cause some huge problems. I keep hearing about the "bulletproof" design of the Thinkpads, and it just makes me want one.

ANY info on the two will be greatly appreciated, as I have not been able to find any specific info from any real users of these notebooks.

Thanks again.
-Plink-

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Re: HP ZT3000 or IBM Thinkpad T42? PLEASE HELP!
by KenSanramon / September 14, 2004 4:29 AM PDT

You have not read any of the posts in the last 2 months on this notebook forum as they are flooded with people who have considered the HPZT3000 or its cosmetic sister Compaq X1000.

Also, when you say the prices are similar you have not gone to X1000forums.com (also all over this board -- site for Compaq X1000/HPZT3000 and business HPnx7000) to see all the discounts.

If you order an HPZT3000 custom online you can get the new Briteview (similar to Toshiba Trubrite or Sony Xtrite) XGA LCD for $50 more than the standard XGA. Also, you can get SXGA or UXGA resolution if you want but be careful as you have only 1 native LCD resolution.

If you note the order posted here on the boards on 9/13/04 for the HPZT3000 he got a $100 instant discount (back to school). That is gone now.

But you can still get a $100 custom order rebate (see how to get this instead of the $50 one posted at X1000forums.com) and a 6% HP APP student discount (did you consider these in your pricing with IBM?)

You should order 256mb of RAM and then add your own Crucial or Kingston or PNY PC2700 notebook memory later for much less -- I upgraded my X1360US Compaq from 512mb to 1gb (512mb RAM 2nd slot) for $69.99 after rebate on sale for a Kingston.

Recommended configuration:

Pentium M 725 1.6 Dothan processor ($125 less than 1.7)
60gb 5400 hard drive (50% faster than 4200 hard drive)
Intel 2200b/g wi-fi with Bluetooth ($19 more)
CD-RW/DVD ROM (DVD burner costs about $200 more)
256mb RAM (order 512mb later yourself-only 2 RAM slots)
15.4" Briteview XGA (Briteview just available last week
64mb dedicated video memory (can't upgrade later)

**** IBM's are more durable and they came out recently again as #1 in service for PC's -- they only sell business models so they are built for more abuse. Their hard drives use a 'air bag' like technology that will park the hard drive if it detects a severe tilting of the notebook or a fall. They also have excellent keyboards.

For most IBM's you are going to get a 14.1" LCD and a higher price versus the 15.4" widescreen HPZT3000/Compaq X1000 series.

It is up to you to decide whether the IBM is better for you but you will pay much less for the HPZT3000 with the 6% APP student discount and the $100 custom mail in rebate (you missed the $100 instant discount)

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Re: HP ZT3000 or IBM Thinkpad T42? PLEASE HELP!
by Plinkerton / September 14, 2004 7:04 AM PDT

I have been reading over at the X1000 forums. I have received some good info over there, but I just figured I would try to get my info from as many places as I can, as I can not afford to make a "mistake" as to which one I buy. I'm sure I will be pretty happy with either, but I just want to make absolutely sure.

Obviously, paying less would be great, but if only comes out to a couple hundred dollar difference, the price difference wouldn't really matter.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a Thinkpad to actually see in person. I would pretty much be getting the configuration you stated, whether I got the HP or the IBM.

Do you know if IBM gives student discounts?

Thanks.

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Re: HP ZT3000 or IBM Thinkpad T42? PLEASE HELP!
by KenSanramon / September 14, 2004 7:15 AM PDT

No, I am only aware of the HPshopping student 6% APP discount (for any Compaq or HP desktop or notebook).

What is the LCD size on the IBM thinkpad T42? I suspect it is 14.1" If you want that size (it will weigh 5.5 pounds or less probably) then go with the IBM as the HPshopping notebooks have no models with a 14.1" LCD (they have the HPnc6000 business notebook which is excellent but you will not get the student discount or rebate).

The IBM hard drive and casing is built to be a bit more durable (and they have the hard drive motion parking technology) so if you are really concerned about dropping it or shaking it around get the IBM.

But many students are using the Compaq X1000 series and HPZT3000 series and it will fit in a Targus 15" student backpack (fits sideways -- 15.4" widescreen is actually narrower when sideways than a 15" square). It weighs 6.5 pounds.

I would not want to give up the 15.4" widescreen and you are not getting any discount (actually a premium as the 14.1" notebooks are only on business lines mostly) but if you want a smaller and lighter notebook that may be a factor.

As I stated, the HPZT3000 and Compaq X1000 just got the new Briteview XGA LCD option last week on hpshopping. They don't have this yet at retail but you can see a Toshiba M35S456 at Circuit City (called Trubrite on that notebook) and if you like that new vibrant LCD (with thin glasslike layer over LCD -- Sony Xbrite was the first) then get the HPZT3000 or even consider the Toshiba M35 series.

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Re: HP ZT3000 or IBM Thinkpad T42? PLEASE HELP!
by Plinkerton / September 14, 2004 7:54 AM PDT

Yes, the T42 screen will be 14.1. I really don't need anything super small and light. The 14.1 screen doesn't seem like it will be that bad though. When I saw a super portable notebook with a 13 inch screen, I thought even that looked great.

Of course I'm not planning on dropping it or anything, and I'm very good about keeping my expensive "toys" in great shape.

As for the screen, I'm not sure what I should get. I really don't know the differences between XGA, SXGA, etc. etc.

I understand the TruBrite stuff, as it's pretty obvious which ones have it. I like how it looks, but would be somewhat worried about the bothersome reflections. Is it that bad? In Circuit City, it looks great, but how is it in other settings, like outside, different lighting, etc? Are there any disadvantages of TruBrite technology that may cause me not to get one?

Also, what resolution did you get? Is the highest choice really to small? Should I get the middle of the road resolution?

It seems I am stuck making my own decision... Haha... While that's a great thing in one context, I wish someone would come and tell me that one of these notebooks is much better than the other one, so I can either bite the bullet, and pay more, or go for the better "bargain".

I've just always been about quality. I like "overbuilt" things, that are very strong. I like quality, and would be willing to give up certain things, for the confidence that the overall quality and build of a product will be better than another.

In my mind, I want the T42. It just seems like a more no-nonsense kickass computer.

At the same time, I don't want to get sucked into the notion that Thinkpads are just "the best" notebooks, because I'm not 100% confident that it's true.

Money-wise, it's a toss up. They come out to be pretty similar, that I would be happier spending the money now, and worrying about it later.

One question about that: Do you know if IBM does financing like HP does? Not for businesses, but for students and private people?

Thank you VERY MUCH for taking the time to wade through my long-winded posts. I've never spent this kind of money on a computer, and just want to make a perfect a decision as I can.

Thanks again.
-Plink-

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Re: HP ZT3000 or IBM Thinkpad T42? PLEASE HELP!
by KenSanramon / September 14, 2004 8:50 AM PDT

As I indicated from the recent PC magazine poll, the IBM service is tops in PC's (Apple is not included or they would be #1 probably).

Gateway was #2 for notebooks (surprisingly as they are in transition after having closed their retail stores) and then Dell, HP/Compaq, and Toshiba were very tightly bunched (no material difference but in that order). Sony was dead last by over 1 full percentage point.

The IBM is a bit more durable but if you take care of your notebook and carry it in a suitable notebook backpack or bag when traveling the Compaq/HP should be fine.

HP does have the 1 year no interest financing also.

Note, that you can order any Compaq/HP custom order notebook through Costco.com. You will still be ordering through the HPshopping site so the custom order $100 rebate still applies. Costco even gives a small discount (but you can't get the APP student pricing 6% discount this way.

Costco also charges tax -- if you live in CA HP will also charge tax but if you are in another state you may be able not to pay tax at hpshopping.

The advantage of ordering via Costco.com is you get a 6 month return policy (in addition the 1 year standard manufacturer limited warranty) which is great if you want piece of mind that you did not get a lemon notebook (for 6 months).

Also, you can double the 1 year warranty on many credit cards like AMEX and Visa/MC gold/platinum for free but if you get the 1 year financing you would not be using a credit card.


So, if you are happy with the 14.1" LCD then get the IBM as you will have the stronger case construction and hard drive protection. Also, it will be at least 1 pound lighter.

The new Trubrite, Briteview, Xbrite LCD's could have a reflection issue if used a a lot under intense office flourescent lighting or outdoors so if you will use it a lot in those conditions the matte LCD would probably be better (you can only get the Briteview, etc in XGA anyway).

The higher LCD resolutions allow you to get more information on the LCD as each pixel is smaller. DVD's will look better at the higher resolution. However, many websites are optimized for 1024x768 (or the widescreen equivalent of 1200x800) so getting a more extreme resolution may affect that.

UXGA seems to be too extreme but people working in business with spreadsheets love it. The SXGA is a compromise and you might be interested in this.

Keep in mind that the 15.4" widescreen will allow you to see more spreadsheet columns to the left and right that you won't see with the 14.1" LCD already. So, look carefully at the 15.4" widescreens (HPZT3380US and Toshiba M35S456 are at Circuit City -- often side by side) and determine if you really want to forego that for a 14.1 square LCD or not.

There are forum threads at X1000forums.com for the LCD resolution issue. Also, if you post a new thread about your ordering dilemma in the general topic area you will get honest replies.

The only key thing I advise is to get the most dedicated video memory you can up front as that is not upgradable (don't get shared or integrated). I think 64mb is the max on the IBM and it is the max on the HPZT3000/Compaq X1000. There are some games, etc that can be played on 64mb and not 32mb and it only costs $50 more custom on the HP/Compaq.

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Re: HP ZT3000 or IBM Thinkpad T42? PLEASE HELP!
by Plinkerton / September 14, 2004 9:26 AM PDT

Wow. Thank you so much for that long post. I will definitely be getting 64mg.

I just went to CompUSA to play with the HP again. I knew I wouldn't see a Thinkpad in there, as no one carries them. 10 minutes after I walked in, a guy walked in with his Thinkpad. I asked him how he liked it, and he just started beaming. He said he's had it for 7 years, and it's just been kicking *** from the beginning. He said his HD has been literally practically overflowing for years, and it has never crashed or had ANY problems. It looked a bit tattered, and he said it's been through hell. He said it's NEVER skipped a beat. He was in there buying a wireless card for it, as it was a much older model.

I don't know... I now think I'm pretty much sold. The "comprimises" that I will have to make, because of the IBM price seem like something I am willing to do.

Thank you so much for your help. I think I will now focus my time on figuring out how to pay for the T42, instead of deciding which one I want.

Thanks again,
-Plink-

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Re: HP ZT3000 or IBM Thinkpad T42? PLEASE HELP!
by KenSanramon / September 14, 2004 9:57 AM PDT

Keep in mind that both notebooks use name brand components. So, your hard drive could have a failure in either notebook (they use Fujitsu, Toshiba, Samsung, Seagate, etc hard drives).

However, as noted, the IBM has a special mechanism to park the hard drive in the case of a drop or an extreme vibration, etc.

And, yes, the IBM notebook shells are designed to take more abuse then the consumer notebook shells but if you transport it properly then that is not as much of an issue (it is an issue for businesses where workers abuse the notebooks).

If you are interested in business line notebooks also check out the HPnc6000 (8.5 rating on Cnet -- also comes with HP business support instead of consumer) which is 14.1" LCD and the Toshiba Techra business line.

But the IBM appears to fit your criteria so go for it if you can afford it.

Remember, however, Microsoft Longhorn 64bit is coming in 2006-07 and the 2 cpu chips from both AMD and Intel (under extreme pressure now from AMD) are coming probably late next year.

So, I would not spend over $2,000 on any notebook (I spent $1299 before taxes and after rebates on my Compaq X1360US).

Otherwise, it will be obsolete before it breaks.

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Re: HP ZT3000 or IBM Thinkpad T42? PLEASE HELP!
by Plinkerton / September 14, 2004 10:34 AM PDT

I've heard about Longhorn, and the new chips. By the time 2006-2007 hits though, I probably won't even be in school anymore!

If it was sometime in 2005, I would probably wait, but it's just to far away to consider.

I realize the problem with things becoming obsolete so fast. For one reason or another, it's never bothered me to the point of replacement.

I have been using this 450mghz Pentium III for a long while now, and only recently has it begun to bother me. I'm not much of a Power user or anything, and the older processors are okay. I am an active student however, and I don't have much time to deal with computer problems.

Now this HP business computer is something I didn't think of... This just throws another thing into the mess...

In the end, it seems the pricing will come out to be very similar actually... What to do... What to do...

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Re: HP ZT3000 or IBM Thinkpad T42? PLEASE HELP!
by KenSanramon / September 15, 2004 3:54 AM PDT

Look at the Consumer Reports September 2004 on the newsstand (I just bought it last night).

They do not discuss these models exactly but for repair history IBM came out #4 to Apple,Toshiba and Sony in Notebooks and in Tech support IBM came out #2 to Apple (meaning IBM is #1 in PC notebook tech support which is what the PC magazine poll I referred to already stated also).

HP was midpack for both (and Compaq was near or at the bottom for both).

So, if you are happy with what the IBM offers (the LCD, etc) and are not as price sensitive as many are it sounds like you may want to go that way.

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Re: HP ZT3000 or IBM Thinkpad T42? PLEASE HELP!
by Plinkerton / September 15, 2004 5:35 AM PDT

Man... I just typed a page-long response, and it all got deleted...

I guess I'll recap.

It seems like the IBM will indeed fit. I do plan having this pc for a long while, as even when the new stuff comes out, I doubt I will be the first to jump on the bandwagon, and buy a new notebook. As long as this one will still do the basic functions I need, at a reasonable speed, I should be fine.

The financing is too bad. They said they could give me an educational discout, but they offer no financing. I'll have to figure out something...

It's not that I'm not price sensitive. I am, in fact, a poor college student. It's just that, I have this mental problem of always wanting quality, and I don't like to settle for things. If I really want it, I usually try to find a way to get it... It's great in one respect, but it has left my wallet empty on more than one occasion.

Since I don't really feel like typing everything I typed before, I will just thank you again.

Thanks,
-Plink-

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Re: HP ZT3000 or IBM Thinkpad T42? PLEASE HELP!
by Plinkerton / September 17, 2004 9:54 AM PDT

Hey Ken, if you're still paying attention to this thread, I just wanted to say thanks again. I just ordered the T42, and am very happy about it. I think I made the right choice.

Thanks!

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Re: HP ZT3000 or IBM Thinkpad T42? PLEASE HELP!
by KenSanramon / September 17, 2004 10:12 AM PDT

If the IBM LCD size is ok for you then you will get a more durable case and hard drive with an excellent keyboard.

I just hope you didn't spend much over $2000 as when the 2 cpu 64bit chips arrive you will want to upgrade (but not essential until Microsoft Longhorn until 2006-2007).

So, this notebook should last you for at least 2 productive years and it can still be used beyond that for web surfing, Microsoft office, etc.

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