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Need some experienced advice please...

by Momo26 / August 1, 2005 4:33 PM PDT

As money is an issue with me, I must be cautious in my laptop purchasing persuit. From what i've read/researched, I am going to go with the Dell6000 some time this month. (Please tell me if you know of any deals/discounts on now, or in the near future with the Dell6000 ([Canada] - I'm sure same deals will be in U.S.))
There is a $200CDN difference between the 6000 and the 6000d. Every part of both machines is identical EXCEPT the 6000d has 512MB standard and the 6000 has only 256MB. AS WELL, the 6000d has "128MB DDR ATI's MOBILITY? RADEON X300 PCI Express x16 Graphics" and the regular 6000 has "Integrated Intel

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Shared RAM
by jas0nhe / August 1, 2005 8:11 PM PDT

I've noticed, on Dell's Web site, that the 6000D comes with better memory -- the 6000 is configurable with "shared" RAM only.

The 6000D will offer better performance. If you're not going to upgrade to Windows Vista next year, then you should go with it. It's worth the $100 Canadian dollars.

If you're planning to upgrade to Vista, you may want to save your cash and get the 6000. It offers adequete performance for work/school tasks. Note that, however, the standard battery with it does not last very long--CNET tested the extended-life battery only (which lasted about 5 hours).

I'm not sure of any special deals, but laptops should be a bit cheaper now than they are during non-back-to-school weeks.

-Jason

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Video cannot be upgraded -- get dedicated video now if cheap
by KenSanramon / August 3, 2005 9:53 AM PDT
In reply to: Shared RAM

You cannot upgrade your video RAM options later in most cases. If you get integrated video and decide your need dedicated video later that is too bad.

System RAM on the other hand can be upgraded later at anytime easily (and relatively cheaply) given that you have an unused RAM slot (most notebooks only have 2). So, if you get a notebook with 256mb RAM you can add a 512mb RAM stick later yourself for less and go to 768mb RAM easily. Or even if you have both RAM slots full you can take one out (a waste so try to get 1 stick RAM only when you order it) and upgrade to a higher capacity per slot.

So, get the dedicated video now -- it will make your notebook perform better when viewing streaming videos, etc (Yahoo music, etc) as it uses dedicated video RAM and not the cpu resources (integrated video).

If it was a huge price difference of course that is a different issue but if you can get a dedicated video card now for under $100 take that (and upgrade system RAM and/or hard drive seek time speed and capacity if desired later).

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Do you think?....
by Momo26 / August 3, 2005 3:01 PM PDT

Do you think dedicated graphics alone is worth $200 CDN? (That is fair bit considoring I will have to pay even MORE tax on top of the greater purchase). ALSO, the $200 will buy me "not shared 512MB DDR2 RAM". What I mean is, the machine $200CDN LESS has SHARED RAM and Integrated graphics appose to the other, more expensive alternative.

Well, my tasks are pretty basic and I know I could make do without Dedicated Video BUT, if the system will run overall more flawlessly and smoother, than perhaps I should considor...

Thanks
- Mo

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Definition of "basic"
by jas0nhe / August 3, 2005 3:31 PM PDT
In reply to: Do you think?....

It depends on what you mean by "basic".

The non-dedicated graphics Inspiron should be able to handle most school assignments very well. The only problems you could run into with the laptop is if you're doing some heavy-duty calculations or processing some huge files.

You'll see a noticeable performance difference with the dedicated graphics Inspiron, but the non-dedicated graphics one should suffice.

-Jason
http://www.uni.uiuc.edu/~jasonhe/

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Well....
by Momo26 / August 3, 2005 3:56 PM PDT
In reply to: Definition of "basic"

Usual "basic" school assignments ect. Word Processing, some web surfing (although I will try to avoid in fear of viruses ect), playing some live streaming and/OR music from HD. Business related assignments ect (I am yet to know what that will all include). Yet I do want a machine that will stay with the times and not fall helplessly among it's competitors in a short while, although it is bound to happen with the rapid introduction of technology on a day-to-day basis. Oh and play DVDs once a while (being able to burn would also be a plus - which is included in the model specs I am looking at).

But among other things, REALIABILITY. A machine that will always boot up and not leave me hanging. Also, no glitches/freezing/lagging ect. Basically a machine that is one overall SOLID, dependable, innovatice notebook. Happy

- Mo

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Dedicated video versus intergrated -- Sonoma versus Dothan
by KenSanramon / August 4, 2005 9:38 AM PDT
In reply to: Well....

They have improved the integrated video on the new Intel Centrino Sonoma standard. So this newer technology will run video better than the past integrated video computers.

To have a Sonoma System the Pentium M chip needs to end in a 0 not a 5. So a 725 1.6ghz Pentium M is the older Dothan technology from last year. A Pentium M 730 1.6ghz Pentium M is the same 1.6ghz Pentium M updated with a new chipset for Sonoma.

The Dell 6000 is one of the brand new Sonoma designs you can consider. It is integrated video but may have a dedicated video option now.

If you are going to do heavy video streaming (or any serious gaming at all) the dedicated video is worth it.

But you can get by on the newer integrated video for most web surfing and normal computer use.

Note that the newer Sonoma notebooks also have a 533mhz system bus speed while the Dothan notebooks (both Centrino but Dothan is 2nd generation, Sonoma is 3rd) have only a 400mhz system bus.

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Great Post.
by Momo26 / August 4, 2005 10:36 AM PDT

Thanks for the informative post. I will keep that in mind. Is the new Sonoma technology the way to go? Even for my needs?

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Sonoma definitely if integrated video/Dothan if dedicated
by KenSanramon / August 4, 2005 10:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Great Post.

From what I have read so far the new Pentium M Sonoma verus the 2nd generation Pentium M Dothan (which I have on my HPZT3000/Compaq X1000) is not necessarily as dramatic as predicted.

However, the integrated video is definitely supposed to be improved with increased bandwidth (I have a dedicated ATI 9200 video card with 32mb dedicated video).

Also, the system bus speed goes from 400mhz to 533mhz so if you can get that is an improvement on the motherboard itself.

Also, the memory speed is increased from PC2700 to PC3300 but again if you get a great deal on a Dothan notebook consider that.

Again, a Pentium M ending in a x5 (725, 735, 745) is a Dothan Centrino with the 400mhz bus and ending in a x0 is a Sonoma (730, 740, 750...) with the 533mhz system bus.

If you get a Dothan notebook with a dedicated video card at a good price I would go for that. But if you are getting integrated video I would make sure to get one of the new Sonoma notebooks for the improved integrated video bandwidth (Dell 6000, HPDV4000).

The IBM T series did have dedicated video cards in the past (Dothan models at least) so that may be a key consideration in deciding what to buy.

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IBM....
by Momo26 / August 4, 2005 10:57 AM PDT

You said the IBM T series did have dedicated video cards in the past, they no longer do?

I take it IBM ThinkPads aren't big on multi-media and gamers aren't the target market yet it seems the machines lack.

For one the T series do not have DDR2 memory. Just DDR (surprisingly upgrading more RAM during customization is relatively inexpensive).

Second, the ones in my price range atleast aren't the new Sonoma technology. (They end in a 5 - 725)

Cheapest T42:
http://www-131.ibm.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=8783412&storeId=10000124&langId=124&categoryId=2049168&dualCurrId=1000075&catalogId=-124

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Dedicated video does not use RAM -- improves all video
by KenSanramon / August 4, 2005 11:08 AM PDT
In reply to: IBM....

When the new Sonoma Pentium M standard was released in February 2005, there were very few dedicated video RAM options available.

The Dell 6000 was the only notebook available at launch. Most other manufacturers came out in March -present.

There were many viable Pentium M (Dothan) notebooks that had dedicated video RAM. But as I said, manufacturers have been slow to offer dedicated video in the Sonoma notebooks.

Yes, the Sonoma standard has the 533mhz bus and the faster RAM speed and the improved integrated video (versus Dothan integrated video bandwidth).

But as I said, reports seem to indicate the improvement of these items is not as much as predicted so if you like the IBM and it has dedicated video memory (on the Dothan model) that may be a big selling point over the Sonoma notebooks with only integrated video.

Note that dedicated video memory does the work on its own separately from the processor so it does not bog down the cpu (and integrated video uses part of your system RAM as well).

So, with a dedicated video card if you have 512mb RAM your cpu has full use of that. An integrated video solution uses 64mb or 128mb of your system RAM so you actually only have 512-64 = 448mb available to use.

So, to repeat, if you like the features of the IBM (more rugged case, better keyboard, ,etc) getting dedicated video memory would be an offset to a faster bus speed and slightly faster RAM on the Sonomas (but part being used by video memory may negate that).

Dedicated video is essential for gamers but also if you are watching videos, etc online (video streaming) that will be preferable on dedicated video as well.

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They all seem....
by Momo26 / August 4, 2005 11:23 AM PDT

All of the machines considored seem as if they will get the job done. It comes down to the technicalities. The price difference is apparent when looking at the new Sonoma machines.

I think you have a good idea of what I need in a laptop and your input is Greatly Appreciated Ken Sanramon.

Not just looking at my needs but the overall success of these various machines, could you perhaps narrow down the selection to 2 or 3 max. Again, having the Sonoma technology is not a must as long as the Dothan model can meet my requirements.

Do you feel, integrated grapics is vital at my stage? I do want a crisp image, but do not plan to play games - strictly business.

I will continue my research but at my rate the semester will come and go and I will still be debating.

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Comparisons
by KenSanramon / August 4, 2005 11:30 AM PDT
In reply to: They all seem....

I would look at those 3 models and pick one -- Dedicated video Dothan Pentium M IBM T series, Dell 6000 or HPDV4000.

Note that the HPDV4000 has some slick extra features like a built in remote control in the PCcard slot and instant on DVD/CD. This means you don't have to boot the operating system to play CD's or DVD's. This is not only faster it saves battery life as well. This started on the 14" widescreen DV1000 model (which is lighter but I like the 15.4" widescreen better).

Also, note that there is a new HP AMD Turion (64 bit low voltage AMD cpu not as efficient as Pentium M but lower price and 64 bit for future -- Pentium M 32 bit) model out sponsored by Lance Armstrong. Look at these AMD Turion models as well.

Note that Dell does not sell AMD chips at all.

You should be able to see the HP/Compaq models at Best buy for comparison. Decide if you like the Briteview LCD treatment or not as this is very important (very nice if using indoors and with no bright light source behind you but bad with harsh business overhead flourescent lighting or with outside light behind you (window) or when using outside.

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Thank You
by Momo26 / August 4, 2005 11:44 AM PDT

I will look at those three closely. The IBM is starting to fall back however (Dell or HP seem more promising). I will check out the various LCDs at Best Buy as well.

As for HP, are they as big as their competitors? Are they experienced in the notebook industry? Ofcourse I want a make that has a few successes under their belt.

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Dell is #1 in computer sales, HP/Compaq is #2, IBM is #3
by KenSanramon / August 4, 2005 11:54 AM PDT
In reply to: Thank You

Is HP big?? The main issue with them is that they are too big and in fact they are working to shed workers and some processes and products to become more efficient than Dell is.

HP printers are their gold standard and the source for a huge chunk of their overall corporate profit.

The PC division was in disarray a few years ago but actually in the past couple of years they have turned out some good product. They are making a small profit on their computers but not much -- they are mostly trying to get you to buy a HP printer with your loyalty and buy lots of profitable inkjet refills.

HP/Compaq reliability and service is not as high as Dell overall (see Consumer Reports) but Dell is now as highly rated as Apple or IBM either (midpack).

Dell was the first to market with the Sonoma in the 6000 model (as they sell only Intel products so likely Intel gave them a time boost -- HP/Compaq sells AMD 64 and AMD turion models also which Intel as a monopoly does not prefer).

You get the same 1 year standard warranty with either brand (with an option to purchase more coverage with either) and many of the components (LCD's, hard drives, cpus, etc) are the same.

So, you have to look at both and decide if based on your knowledge (friends, cnet, etc) one company has a clear advantage at that point in time in service and reliabilty.

One key advantage for my Compaq X1000 (sister to HPZT3000) at the time I bought it is that it had a dedicated x1000forms.com user forum (outside HP). That helped me solve the few issues I had and I have never called HP service. I only used their website to download driver and system bios updates for free (and Dell would be similar in this respect).

As you are hearing about a possible LCD issue with the Dell 6000 this may be a reason to look at the HPDV4000 series (as the LCD's in this model I think are identical to what I have in my Compaq X1000/HPZT3000 and I am not aware of any quality issues -- the LCD's themselves are manufactured by Hitachi, Samsung, LG, etc not by Dell or HP/Compaq in any event.

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That HP I will check out
by Momo26 / August 4, 2005 12:04 PM PDT

Yes, HP is huge in the printer industry - will be my next purchase sometime this year. I wasn't aware they were so big in the laptop industry.

I will definately need to feel it in my hands before I make a decision but overall from what I see on the website, the machines are of quality.

Prices are competitive as well and I always knew Compaq was a reliable manufacturer.

It is great I am communicating with you, someone who has experience with the HP products. But again, one person may get a flawless machine and never have to call customer service for as long as they own it, while another, ordering the same thing, receives a lemon.

I want a machine for which I am guarenteed not to recieve a lemon. I have had more than enough headache with my desktop.

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Oh and if you are still browsing around the forum....
by Momo26 / August 4, 2005 12:07 PM PDT

Check back to that WYSIWYG discussion regarding the Dell6000 discovery I made - need conformation.

Thanks

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Sonoma Dedicated video Dell 6000 -- Yes !!!!!
by KenSanramon / August 4, 2005 12:10 PM PDT

I posted the answer in a new thread (as that one was full) -- Yes, get the Dell 6000 with dedicated 128mb video and scrimp on RAM and hard drive size if necessary to cut costs (but 5400rpm hard drive over a 4200rpm hard drive is one of the largest improvements you can make).

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Yup
by Momo26 / August 4, 2005 12:20 PM PDT

I don't require a large HD but I did ask a sales rep. if I were to downgrade the 80GB standard to a 40GB the price would be reduced by $50CDN only. Doesn't seem worth it considoring how much it costs to upgrade now or later to a larger capacity HD.

I am not sure how much money I will save on RAM (downgrading to 256MB) and I will probably feel the need to upgrade later, it seems pointless to get less than 512MB now. I will try however, to get it down to 1x 512MB stick.

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