General discussion

Multimedia Portable Laptop

I'm looking for a great multimedia laptop under 7 lbs. So far, I'm leaning toward the Acer Aspire 2020, but I'm also looking at HP Pavilion DV1000, Compaq V2000, and Toshiba Qosmio E15 (over 7 lbs.)

Any idea which is best?

Discussion is locked
Reply to: Multimedia Portable Laptop
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: Multimedia Portable Laptop
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

You have to decide first if you want dedicated video RAM for games and higher end video programs. You cannot add a dedicated video card to a notebook with shared video memory (integrated) later (and this also uses part of your system RAM -- dedicated video memory is separate on the video card).

The Toshiba Qosmio is very expensive and only worth it if you use all its features (DVR built in, all the multimedia functions, etc). Sony also has a notebook over $2500 with similar features.

The HP DV1000 is an outstanding new notebook with a 14" widescreen (I don't know of another mainstream notebook with a 14" widescreen except the Compaq) -- it has the DVD/CD functions with the computer turned off and the Pentium M Dothan with 2mb L2 system cache available. It also weighs only 5.3 pounds. The only negative is that it has integrated (shared) video memory but if you use it mostly for wi-fi, Microsoft Office, etc it is fine. I would get this over the Compaq V2000 as that model does not have some of the DVD/CD features the HP DV1000 has and the cost difference is negligible (HP DV1000 has remote control also that fits into PCcard slot).

The Acer2020 is a great notebook but it is only sold as a prebuilt so you have to like the specifications and it is a bit pricey. But if you want 128mb dedicated video (ATI 9600) then buy it. It is a 15.4" widescreen at 6.6 pounds.

The Acer 2000 series is built by the same Chinese company (Compal) as the HPZT3000 and Compaq X1000 series (I have the Compaq X1000 series). It is fully customizable with the 15.4" widescreen and HPBriteview LCD in XGA (or SXGA and UXGA resolutions available). It weighs 6.5 pounds. You can only go up to 64mb dedicated video with an ATI 9200 but that is fine for many people. You can order the memory, hard drive speed, optical drive (DVD ROM/CD-RW or DVD burner multiformat, etc) you want -- a 5400 rpm hard drive will give you up to 50% better performance at startup, etc.

There are a ton of discounts for HP and Compaq notebooks. See the dedicated website for ordering specs and discounts available (many of which would apply to the HPDV1000 also).

You can easily get the HPZT3000 or HPDV1000 for between $1,000 and $1,500 fully loaded dependign on specs (save money buy ordering 1 stick RAM now 256mb and adding your own 512mb PC2700 module yourself later for under $100 when on sale).

Going with the Toshiba Qosmio is breaking the bank (over $2500) and too much considering you will want a 64bit notebook in 2 years when Microsoft Longhorn is out.

The Acer is also a bit pricey (near or above $2,000) but if you like the specs and the 128mb dedicated video buy it.

Otherwise, look at the HPZT3000 (or sister Compaq X1000) or the HPDV1000.

- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

Keep in mind also that if you do spend over $2,000 on a notebook you are tempted to spend additional money on an extended service plan and/or accidental damage warranty.

For most notebooks under $2,000 this is not necessary (unless accidental damage coverage is needed if carried around all the time).

I got the standard 1 year limited warranty and my American Express card (and certain Visa/ Mastercards) doubled my limited warranty for 1 year so I have 2 years limited coverage for no extra cost.

If the notebook fails after 2 years I am ready to buy a new one anyway and didn't invest too much (under $1500) in it.

I have not found the need to buy an extended warranty on anything except our 57" Hitachi HDTV as that was over $2,000 and I do plan to use that for 5+ years (the extended plan took the warranty from 1 year to 5 years).

- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

Thanks for all the details! I was actually leaning towards the Aspire 2020 until I discovered the entire series has been discontinued due to patent infringement or something like that. I haven't been able to find one anywhere.

That said, I really like what I hear about the DV1000, with the exception of the shared video memory. I'm not much of a gamer but I have the feeling I'll notice the difference at some point. is great! Thanks again for the advice.

- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

Can I replace the graphics card in the HP zt3000 (ATI Mobility Radeon, 64MB dedicated memory) with a better card (such as a ATI Mobility Radeon with 128MB dedicated memory)? If so, how hard is it? Can I do it myself or do I have to have someone else do it?

- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

It's highly unlikely. IF HP offered it as an option, you MIGHT be able to get it from HP Partsurfer, and take off the keyboard and replace it (it honestly doesn't look that hard but I'm a seasoned PC tech.

But alas, the 9200/64 appears to be the biggest baddest card HP offers for the X1000/zt3000.

- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

The Acer 2025 (Acer 2000) is the same notebook internally as the HPZT3000/Compaq X1000. See for photos of the Acer to confirm this.

They offer the ATI 9700 video card with 128mb dedicated video but this model seems to be in limited supply in the US so research it carefully. Also, Acer sells only prebuilt model versions online (not custom builds like HP/Compaq, Dell or Toshiba in some cases).

The Acer 2025 is 6.6 pounds and the HPZT3000 is 6.5 pounds -- there is some difference in the lights and jacks on front of the keyboard deck but otherwise they are the same internally.

People have discussed the video card issue at for a long time but at this point the ATI 9200 with 64mb dedicated video is the maximum.

You are better off if you don't trust the Acer scarcity or presence in the US by getting the Dell 8600 Ryan got refurbished --but order a new one custom with same ATI 9700 128mb dedicated video, the Hitachi 7200rpm hard drive (this will do as much for your game performance as the video card -- it is much much faster than a 4200rpm hard drive or even a 5400rpm hard drive) and get the Intel 2200b/g wi-fi (don't get a b wi-fi card only now).

- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

I also have been leaning towards the Acer Aspire 2020. Unfortunately, I believe the HD is rated at 4200 RPM and the screen is only XGA, which cannot be custom ordered. Those are the only two reasons I have not already purchased this product.

The Dell 8600 has some nice things to offer, but unfortunately in only has 2 USB ports and the case is clunky. I have also heard the keyboard is lame. I am also pretty positive that once I buy the 8600, they will come out with a new model. The current 8600 is so plain!!!

Ken mentions some pretty good things about HP/ Compaq. If they had a model with a dedicated 128 MB vid card, I would definitely think about it.


- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

Did you read the post 2 lines up that mentioned the Acer 2000 series may have been discontinued due to patent infringement ??

As I indicated there are photos on our showing the internals of the Acer 2025 and Compaq X1000/HPZT3000 series are identical (cases outside are somewhat different and Acer weighs 6.6 to the HP/Compaq 6.5).

Yes, many people want the 128mb dedicated video on a HP/Compaq Centrino model (they have that on the HPzd7000 but that is a tank with a 17" LCD and the Pentium 4M).

You are also very well informed about the case integrity and keyboard of the Dell 8600 -- this has been posted on our site as well as that is the only mainstream Pentium M notebook with the Hitachi 7200 rpm hard drive option and ATI 9700 video 128mb dedicated option.

Supposedly, the Dell 8600 case can even creak and crack if you pick it up the wrong way (and put too much stress on the casing). Also, that case is wider and heavier than it should be (6.9 pounds) as it was not designed for a Pentium 4M.

People with the Dell 600M (which is thinner and lighter)have complained about the heat near the touchpad due to the hard drive been located right under that area.

The Compaq X1000 series / HPZT3000 series is also completely quite (fan only comes on at bootup and using hard drive alot (games or DVD playing/CD burning) and that is important to me as I mostly use wi-fi at night in front of my 57" HDTV.

- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

Yes, I did read the contri on Acer. My confidence in Acer continues to alter, due to the information in the last contri and the inability to purchase Acer laptops from an actual person/ reputable store.

As you, Ken, and many others have mentioned, it is imperative that you "try-before-you-buy". With Acer, it is nearly impossible. Since we are on the subject, I am curious about these Dell kiosks you mentioned. I reside in the San Diego area and would enjoy visiting one of these places. Are there any in the surrounding area?

- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

I live in the San Francisco Bay area and the Dell kiosk I am aware of is in the Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton (which is a relatively upscale shopping mall) where I-580 and I-680 intersect in the East Bay.

I assume Dell would have some sort of website information on where these kiosks are located as since they no longer sell Dells at Costco (as they did at one time in the 1990's) there is nowhere else to try them out.

The personnell they had at the kiosk I visited (in the center of the aisle just outside a Sears at that mall) were very knowledgeable -- much more so than many of the retail people you would talk to elsewhere. The notebooks are set up on platforms in a circle around the plaform in the center so you can try out the keyboard, LCD etc. on various models and they are there if you have questions.

In San Diego, you would think that Fashion Valley or North County Fair (Escondido on I-15) or some of the surburban malls that have interior passages (this would not work at Horton Plaza in downtown probably) would have a Dell Kiosk.

The Acer 2025 had an outstanding review and consumer posts at Cnet so the issue with that model is why it now in short supply. Fujitsu, like Acer and Dell, is mostly over the internet but they do stock Fujitsu's in Fry's Electronics (you have 2 of those in San Diego County -- 1 near San Diego Stadium north of it on I-15) and Dell is now using the kiosk method.

- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

Thanks Ken, I will check those places out.

- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

Focus on malls that are inside -- I think even Fashion Valley is mostly an outdoor mall (with stores off open plaza). University Town Center in La Jolla is also an outdoor design.

North County Fair in Escondido is definitely indoor and also the mall in Carlsbad off I-78 is indoor. The other mall in the valley near San Diego stadium is indoors (across valley from Fashion Valley) but I can't rememember the name (that is where Seau's restaurant is located).

At any rate, you should be able to determine from the Dell website where these kiosks are.

- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

I will look into those places along with one's in your area. It turns out my family lives in the area. Thanks again.


- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

After a couple of trips to Microcenter, I've narrowed it down to the DV1000 or the ZT3000. I love the media features of the DV1000 but the shared video RAM bothers me. Exactly how much of a difference does that make? I'm not a gamer at all, but I might use it to edit video. With enough RAM, albeit shared, will I be ok doing that?

The ZT3000 is definitely heavier, but it also feels sturdier and more rigid. Perhaps it was just the display model, but the DV1000 in the store was very creaky when I picked it up or adjusted the screen angle. The screen almost felt like it had a little flex to it. Is that normal?

- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

Read my lips --- Look to custom order at before you buy a prebuilt !!!

Not only can you get a ton of discounts (see (for HPZT3000 or Compaq X1000 -- same notebook except for appearance) but you can save money by ordering less RAM and putting more in yourself later, get a faster hard drive upgrade, get the Briteview XGA LCD (this may not be available yet on all store models), etc.

Dedicated video RAM is essential for gaming and high end video programs (autocad, photoshop) -- you may be ok with shared video for video editing but you would likely want 1gb RAM (but you could add 512mb of that yourself --remember notebooks only have 2 slots).

The HPZT3000/Compaq X1000 has an aluminum bezel around the LCD so that makes the LCD more rigid than other notebooks. I have not tried the DV1000 yet so perhaps that does not have the metal bezel/aluminum top.

The big thing you have to consider is LCD size and weight. If the 15.4" LCD is not too large and bulky for you (6.5 pounds versus 5.3 pounds) then the ZT3000 has all the features you need.

The DV1000 has the DVD and CD playing capability with the notebook turned off (and 2 headphone jacks -very slick for sharing in the car or on an airplane) and is smaller and lighter.

There is a dedicated forum for the DV1000 also -- you can find that on but I don't know what it is offhand.

Read about all the discounts (available for any hp shopping custom order notebook) at and also you can get 1 year free financing (so you don't have to pay it all at once but can pay it off within 1 year with no interest) -- also free shipping.

Here are a few of the available discounts but read about them at the forum -- $100 custom order rebate (any hpshopping custom order notebook through 12/1/04), 3% deferred Fatcash portal rebate, 6% APP student (college) discount, 12% qualified employer discount (EPP).

And, you can order things like a 5400rpm hard drive or 64mb dedicated video memory (on ZT3000) that may or may not be offered on your prebuilt (also internal bluetooth option and multiformat DVD burner/CD burner option instead of CD-RW/DVD ROM)

- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

Thanks! I was planning on customizing throught anyway, I just wanted to look at the models in person.

I think it is going to have to be the ZT3000. I like the features of the DV1000 more but it just feels flimsy. Pity I can't get the 80GB 5400 rpm drive on the ZT3000. I can deal with the extra weight -- my old Dell is probably close to 10 pounds!

- Collapse -
Re: Multimedia Portable Laptop

Make sure you go to (dedicated site for HPZT3000/Compaq X1000 and business HPnx7000 notebook series) ---

you will see there in the upgrades section that many order the cheapest 4200rpm hard drive and then get a Hitachi 7200rpm hard drive themselves for under $200 and install it themselves. This is an option on the Dell 8600 but that notebook is heavier, the case integrity is not as good, and the keyboard is not as good (but you can get 128mb dedicated video RAM).

Also, see the specs people are ordering in the pinned threads on top of the general section and make sure you take advantage of all hpshopping ordering discounts ($100 custom order rebate, code discounts at times, 3% fatcash portal discount, 6% student APP discount (if applicable), etc.

The Compaq X1000/HPZT3000 is a bit sturdier as it has a metal bezel going around the LCD (and the lid is alumninum as well).

I guess the HP DV1000 series may not have that metal bezel surround -- I have not seen one in person yet.

You can get Briteview on either notebook (new bright XGA LCD's) you trade the computer off DVD/CD functions and remote on the DV1000 (and 5.3 pound weight, 14" widescreen LCD and shared video memory) for the up to 64mb dedicated video, 15.4" widescreen, 6.5 pounds on the HP ZT3000/Compaq X1000).

Both run off the same Pentium M (Centrino) processers. Battery life on the HPZT3000 is about 4 hours when using wi-fi and longer not using it (I have a Compaq X1000) -- this is an 8 cell battery.

The HPDV1000 should have somewhat longer battery life is using the same size 8 cell battery as the LCD is smaller but if the battery if smaller (to save weight) then it may in fact not get longer battery life (even though using less power).

CNET Forums