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Laptop Purchase - Two Questions

by flingwing / December 2, 2008 9:28 PM PST

I just started shopping for a new laptop. There are so many brands with so many different features, it's difficult to separate what's important from what's not in computer specifications.

(1) First, what in practical terms is the difference between an Intel Core 2 Duo 1.60 Ghz chip and the same chip running at 2.00 Ghz? Where will the difference be felt and is it really noticeable?

(2) Is there a buyer's guide web site that can help narrow down the choices to be made in purchasing a new laptop? For example, a web site that asks you questions about what's important to you (use, cost, weight, size, etc.) and then presents the laptop choices from the web site's database similar to what you need? Any other web sites or ways one can winnow the many laptop choices when going shopping?

Thanks.

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The first is easy math.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 2, 2008 10:43 PM PST

2.0 / 1.6 = 1,25 or something that takes 2 hours to compute at 2GHz should finish in 2.5 hours on the 1.6GHz machine. Since you can never change the CPU (some may disagree) it's a good idea to get as fast a CPU as you can within reason. For example if the bump from 1.6 to 2.0 is 100 bucks, well done. If the bump to 2.2 is 500 bucks I would pass.

Take a moment and consider reading http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10064769-1.html which has a fairly current list ranked by price.

I have not found such a site that can keep up with the flood of models.
Bob

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Roger on the math . . .
by flingwing / December 2, 2008 11:41 PM PST

Thanks - the time analogy for the CPU speed vs. price has given me a ballpark idea of value now.

I took a look at the CNET site you mentioned and quickly noticed that an Acer laptop had high scores. Acers are popular around here. Of course, reading the story I found that a big drawback to the machine was the one thing I'm trying to avoid: a cramped keyboard.

It's a "chicken or egg" problem: do you find the laptops you want in the stores and then read about them on the internet, or do you search the internet first and then go shopping? Both methods aren't working too well.

I went to a mall today with maybe 75 computer stores and it was like being in a candy store. Everything was there but no way to get a line on value vs. price.

So tonight I tried searching (again) for a "laptop finder" site and - you're right - the ones I've tried are either too simple (price and screen size), or have poor algorithms to read between the parameters you select. If you say you want a 14-inch screen it won't tell you about a laptop that fits everything else you want but has a 13-inch OR perhaps a 16-inch screen.

Thanks again. I'll keep looking and asking around until I get myself up to speed.

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The last laptop i bought i saw in the store and researched
by orlbuckeye / December 3, 2008 1:25 AM PST

on the internet. Then I went to the store and played with it and purchased because the discount they had beat any price in the USA. That laptop was an Acer 9810.

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Chicken & Egg
by Renegade Knight / December 3, 2008 3:57 AM PST

First I did the research and bought a laptop based on a Cnet review. From there I learned from experience. Cnet reviews them new. They don't do longevity. When my highly rated POS laptop did what users started posting in their ratings...I started paying as much if not more attention to user ratings. The problem is new things where there hasn't been time.

Over time I gained expereince. What works, what doesn't, who's laptop broke, who's didn't.

Ones I'd consider now are:
Lenovo ThinkPads. (3 Used ones so far. Great laptops).
Apple MacBooks.
I just dropped the Dell Latitude from this list but mine could have been a lemon. I see others hold up well. Their support was ok right up until I needed service. We are fighting now which is why I just ordered a MacBook.

Others I'd consider are:
Toshiba Satalite/Qosmio (Bad Keyboards)
Fuji Lifebook
Panasonic Tough Book.

I would avoid:
HP. Great design, not so well for longevity. Support has been good.
Gateway. Dealing with them on a High End Desktop has convinced me they are not worthy of anyones business. My sister is ready to toss her Gatewawy laptop in the trash and borrow one of my old thinkpads.

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