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Need some help buying new laptop

Ok guys I know thats a common question and maybe boring but anyone who has the patience pls reply.
So I am planning to buy a laptop cause I will be studying in Germany for 8 months and I need a PC here and it has to be portable.
I basically need the PC for Internet surfing(maybe DLS too), office work etc. That means normally no multimedia or heavy games. But most probably I will be using some application which need calculation power like Matlab or PSPICE. Furthermore it would be desirable that it could run sufficiently non-heavy games like Generals for example or other strategy games. And dont hurry to say that any laptop can cause I know laptops who cant.
I m lookin for a low cost model either. Lets say 1000-1200

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Re: Need some help buying new laptop

In reply to: Need some help buying new laptop

If you custom order from HP/Compaq, Dell, or Toshiba you can get better specifications in some areas without paying hundreds more for a prebuilt with other expensive features (like a DVD burner over a CD-RW/DVD ROM drive for $200 more US at least).

The Pentium M Dothan Cpus (Centrino Notebooks) can be had with a large 15.4" widescreen (great for DVD's and wider viewing angle - -more room at sides for spreadsheets) and still weigh in the mid 6 pound range.

The Dell 8600 is a decent option but it is a bit heavy and keyboard is not as good as others (6.9 pounds).

The Compaq X1000 series I have and the HPZT3000 series (same makeup but different case appearance) has a great keyboard. You can read about these at

The Toshiba M35 or M30 series is also great and they weigh in at 6.2 pounds.

All have at least 32mb dedicated memory but it is better to get 64mb now if you can (not upgradeable -- only $50 or a bit more if ordering custom) -- Dell has the 128mb video dedicated option but that is more expensive and 32mb or 64mb dedicated should be ok for you.

Order the lowest Dothan Pentium M cpu you can -- the higher ones are not worth the higher prices. The 715 and higher Pentium M cpus are Dothans (2mb L2 system cache)

In the US you can get a 6% APP student discount, a $100 custom mail in rebate and other discounts (5% Fatcash) that can get many people down to the 1100-1300 US price range but if ordering outside the US probably not.

See for posts on Toshiba and Dell and for all the specification and discounts for the HP/Compaq models.

Also, if you can order 256mb of RAM only it is cheaper to add RAM in the 2nd slot yourself. In this way you could end up with 256mb + 512mb = 768mb for less than the manufacturer will charge you for 512mb.

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Re: Need some help buying new laptop

In reply to: Need some help buying new laptop

the deal with shared video RAM is that it is only shared if you choose that option at boot-up. If you do shared video RAM it comes from system memory, not the 512 you intend to buy. Look for at least 64MB video graphics to run strategy games. I would also go with a 40G harddrive and a 2.6G processor. That should handle everything you'd need it to. If not let me know cause i bought the wrong computer then. Good luck.

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Re: Need some help buying new laptop

In reply to: Re: Need some help buying new laptop

If you have shared video (integrated) it will use your system RAM. You have to buy dedicated video on an ATI or Nvidia card to avoid this. So whatever switching David is referring to is invalid. You can adjust how much shared video RAM is being used but you are stuck with an inferior notebook with shared video.

Most desktops can be easily upgraded with a video card later is you have an expansion slot (AGP slot or PCI) but this is NOT the case with notebooks.

Also, David's recommendation of a 2.6 Pentium 4M cpu is ok for desktops but they use a ton of heat and give low battery life.

Go with the Pentium M Dothan cpus --the notebook will be thinner and weigh less as the heatsinks can be smaller. You will be fortunate to get 2.5 hours out of a Pentium 4M but a Pentium M Centrino notebook can go 4-5 hours.

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