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Light Laptops

by Element / August 3, 2004 7:50 AM PDT

I am going to college in a few months and am in need of a notebook that will be light enough to carry, but still powerful, and not too costly(meaning under $1600). I've looked at IBM's T series and I loved everything about it except the price. If anyone can help me out in deciding what to purchase it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Re: Light Laptops
by KenSanramon / August 3, 2004 8:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Light Laptops

If you want the best bang for the buck, lighter weight, and maximum battery life using wi-fi (3.5 to 4 hours at least) get a Pentium M processor (Intel Centrino).

If you want a 14.1" or smaller LCD then IBM's are great (as are their keyboards and case construction/durability) as are the Toshiba Techra series, etc.

If you are willing to go up to the 15.4" widescreen (6.2-6.5 pounds for Toshiba M35 series or Compaq X1000/HPZT3000) then these are great notebooks.

You need to specify what the LCD size is that you want. Everything else falls into place after that.

You will get a better deal with exactly the specifications you want ordering online custom.

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Re: Light Laptops
by Element / August 3, 2004 8:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Light Laptops

Thanks alot. You're advice helped alot. I probably want a 14" display. I won't really be watching movies on it. I just want it light and still effective. Could you please recommend certain models that meet my standards. Remember I don't want to spend more than $1700 on it. This would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Re: Light Laptops
by KenSanramon / August 3, 2004 9:40 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Light Laptops

IBM is great for the keyboards and durability but they are pricier for what you get. I think their notebooks may be out of your price range.

The Dell 600M is an option for a Pentium M cpu with a 14.1" LCD. That model is decent but there are better ones out there.

Are you a student or do you work for a company with an employer discount with HP/Compaq. If so you can benefit from either the APP or EPP programs by custom ordering either an HP or Compaq notebook. HP 14.1" LCD's are in their business lines mostly -- an advantage of getting one of these is you get an international warranty and access to the business warranty line as opposed to the normal consumer support line. To view HP/Compaq consumer models you go to -- to access the business models you go to -- go there and then choose small/medium business from the upper right corner of the screen-- then choose business notebooks -- then choose the thin and light notebook PC's --here there are 3 options and the only one with the 14.1" LCD is the HP nc6000 series. The weight is 5.0 pounds as compared to the 15.4" Compaq X1000 series I have at 6.5 pounds. Go to Cnet and read the new editor review and user reviews for the nc6000 -- it scored a high 8.5 (anything 8.0 is very good and recommended for Cnet) and was reviewed on 5/10/04. I recommend that you get at least the Pentium M 725 1.6 ghz Dothan cpu - this has the new 2mb L2 system cache.

Also, if you use the new notebook reviews link on cnet and select the Pentium M cpu filter and choose the LCD screen size filter (14.1-15.9") you can view all the brands that fit that category and their Cnet reviews / user reviews.

HP/Compaq has a $100 rebate on all custom ordered notebooks through 9/1/04 but that may only apply to the consumer line.

You also seem like a good candidate for either the Fujitsu notebooks (they have a 13.3" LCD model you may like a lot) -- they only sell them retail at Fry's electronics however (otherwise you have to look online).

The Toshiba Techra series is their business line with a 14.1" LCD but I don't know whether you can get under $1700 with those or not.

A couple of tricks -- order only 256mb RAM and then you can put in your own additional 256MB for much less. (someone quoted $120 more for ordering it from the manufacturer but you can probably cut that in half). Many people with my Compaq X1000 series model order the 256mb from Compaq/HP and then get a 512mb memory module for around $100 for a total of 768mb (so you get more memory for less $ in this scenario).

Also, if you don't care about games or intense video programs like Photoshop, Autocad, etc you may find a notebook like the Fujitsu with integrated video memory. Otherwise, get at least 32mb of dedicated video memory and 64mb is usually only about $50 more.

The HPnc6000 and Toshiba Techra definitely have the dedicated video memory separate memory and video card and does not subtract from your RAM like shared or integrated video like Intel extreme graphics).

The problem with going to the business notebook lines is you lose many of the consumer rebates and discounts that are out there. My retail 15.4" Compaq X1360US was only 1299 after rebates and you can get one now with a faster cpu for less money now ordering online.

But try custom configuring the HPnc6000, Toshiba Techra, and Dell 600M online and see what pricing you come up with (just order 256MB RAM to save $ and get at least the 1.6 Pentium M 725 processor).

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Re: Light Laptops
by KenSanramon / August 3, 2004 10:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Light Laptops

ok, I researched the nc6000 at (small/medium business). The thing you may not need that business notebooks come with standard is XP professional instead of XP home.

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Re: Light Laptops
by KenSanramon / August 3, 2004 10:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Light Laptops

I have researched the custom order Toshiba Techra series M2 for you -- go to Toshiba website and select home/small business -- Techra line -- and customize the M2 series.

They have 10% off on any custom ordered Techra laptop (and there are 3 model variations for Techra) though 9/30/04.

This is what I recommend for this and the price comes in at 1698 - 169.80 (10% off) = 1528.20

1.5 715 Pentium M (this is the 2mb cache Dothan -- the 705 Banias on the HP is 1mb L2 cache)

XPpro (you still have to get this --business line)
14.1" XGA LCD
60gb 5400 hard drive (50% faster than 4200 speed)
64mb dedicated video graphics (better than 32mb on HP)
Firewire port included with option above (Gold)
This also has the 3 year limited warranty
The drawbacks of the HPnc6000 is that it does not have a firewire port (consumer models like X1000/ZT3000 all have 3 USB 2.0 ports and 1 firewire).

If you choose the Toshiba as above with the 64mb video gold package option you get the firewire port.

Note: you could order 256mb more RAM for 512 total for $100 more but you can save $ on this by getting more later yourself (remember notebooks only have 2 memory slots so if you fill both you have to take something out to upgrade memory).

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Re: Light Laptops
by Element / August 3, 2004 11:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Light Laptops

Thanks alot Ken. The Toshiba Techra sounds great, but the only thing is that I am familiar with computers from Dell, and IBM and I'm afraid of going outside those consumers. I had a Compaq desktop once also and iy was horrible. You said you have a Compaq notebook...what are the specs and is it any good? In my first post I forgot to mention that I am looking for long battery life also. I have heard that the Dell Inspiron 600m lacks battery life so that is the only flaw with that. How long is the battery on the Toshiba? Thanks.

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Re: Light Laptops
by KenSanramon / August 3, 2004 12:10 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: Light Laptops

Nearly any Intel Centrino notebook with a Pentium M cpu will go at least 3.5- 4 hours using wi-fi all the time (or playing DVD's) or up to 5-6 hours in some cases when doing simple programs and not using wi-fi (like Microsoft Office).

As I told you, I have a 15.4" widescreen Compaq X1000 (X1360US) Pentium 1.4 mhz --that is a 'Banias' Pentium M and had 1mb L2 system cache --the new Pentium M's with a code of 715 or higher have 2mb L2 system cache.

You will find better values overall with 15" square and 15.4" widescreen notebooks as that is what is selling at the consumer level -- except the ultralight models from Fujitsu (13.3") and Sony go to smaller LCD screens.

Again, keep in mind that consumer models will normally have 1 year warranty while the HP business, Toshiba business and IBM (all business) and the Dell business models should all have 3 year warranties -- so you have to weigh that in the pricing.

If you find an IBM you want buy it as it is more durable and has a better keyboard than nearly any other notebook. They stick to 14.1" and smaller and charge more for what you get but you don't seem to want a larger LCD than 14.1"

You can read about the sister models I have at (10,000 users) as well as all the discounts you can get --

You could get something like this for under $1500 at 6.5 pounds (and it will fit in a 15" Targus notebook backpack).

Pentium 725 1.6 Pentium M cpu (2mb L2 system cache)
256mb RAM (get more on your own)
64mb video -- ATI 9200
60mb 5400rpm hard drive
CD-RW/DVD ROM optical drive
Intel 2200 b/g wifi
15.4" XGA LCD
3 USB 2.0 ports, 1 firewire port
SD card slot (for newer digital cameras)

Also, I really like the Toshiba M35 series --it is nearly identical to the above but weighs 6.2 pounds with the 15.4" LCD ....

Dell has the 8600 line similar to the above with a 15.4" LCD at 6.9 pounds.....

All of these consumer models have a 1 year limited warranty standard and Windows XP home.

One important thing is the keyboard --the IBM's and the Compaq X1000/HPZT3000 have some of the best.

If you want to see all three of three of these 15.4" LCD models to see whether they are too big for you or not go to Circuit City to see the prebuilt HP ZT3380, the Compaq 1480US, and the Toshiba M35S456 ...

These cost more retail as they all have 512mb RAM, a DVD burner (which you probably don't need and they cost 200 more just for this) and they have an Intel Pentium M 1.7 735 which is $125 more than the 1.6 Pentium M you can order custom

You can also view all 3 of these models at if you wish -- choose the filter with Pentium M (Centrino) cpu and you will see only notebooks they sell with a Pentium M cpu (and you can do this on Cnet also)

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Re: Light Laptops
by KenSanramon / August 3, 2004 12:17 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: Light Laptops

If you order an HP/Compaq and use the APP student discount, the $100 custom order rebate through 9/1/04, the 5% fatcash rebate through 8/31/04 (you can read about this at -- this is a 'passthrough' portal site discount you receive later) the pricing is hard to beat.

Also, consider an Apple if you are going to college as they are the most reliable of any brand (any PC brand) and they cost a bit more but they are very competitive and attractive notebooks. There are various sizes and two model ranges (Ibook and Powerbook).

I can tell for a fact I get 3.5 4 hours using wi-fi on my X1000 series -- I use wi-fi nearly all the time so I don't know how much longer it can go when not using wi-fi but it would be higher. The Toshiba M35 has nearly identical performance.

A Pentium M notebook with a smaller LCD should use less battery power but then often they put in a smaller battery for less weight and that is why the Dell 600M may not have any better battery life despite the smaller LCD.

Note: all the claims of 5-6 hours of battery life for Centrino (Pentium M) notebooks you see are for ideal conditions with the brightness of the LCD turned down (you can control this) and not using wi-fi and doing simple tasks like Microsoft office.

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Re: Light Laptops
by Element / August 3, 2004 12:17 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: Light Laptops

Thanks alot. You seem to know quite a bit about computers. If you can, will you please read my other posts and give me an answer to them as well. One of the posts is in the notebooks messageboard, right above this one. And the other post is in the Wi-fi messageboard. They are both under my name, Element. Thanks for all your help.

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Re: Light Laptops
by KenSanramon / August 3, 2004 12:42 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: Light Laptops

Go to if you are interested in that line at all and you will see a flood of information specific to that model only (Compaq X1000/HPZT3000/HPnx7000 triplets -- this one is business)

You can log in with a screenname as you do here and post a question. I am over there also of course as I own one.

Read posts for Dells and Toshibas in general (not model specific but posts themselves may be model specific) at

Again, since you are a student check out which custom order companies will give you a specific discount for being a student (in addition to any rebates or instant coupons that are available to all).

HP/Compaq definitely has this (APP) but you have to research Dell and Toshiba.

As IBM is a business line only they may not.

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