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ok...another question about centrino vs. p4 ht vs. athlon 64

by Heboil / November 5, 2004 11:10 AM PST

I have been reading tons (more than I'd like) and researching as much as I can. I am going to have to buy locally (long story...and insurance is involved). I have been frequenting Best Buys and the like and looking/playing aound.

Here is what I have found:

- Centrino is fast while doing one task, but slows running multitasking. It stays cool and runs long (even with wifi) when unplugged. Lighter weight= more portable.

- Pentium 4 HT is fast. It is great for multitasking. Runs as well as like desktops. Can be heavy. Runs hot. Small battery life.

- Athlon 64 is fast. Runs hot and is heavy. Smallish battery life in comparison.

OK. I want a a desktop replacement without getting a 17"er weighing 10 lbs +. I want a big screen, DVD writer if possible, fast machine, decent battery, ability to transport to and from the office on a daily basis. I am a very big multitasker. I run programs pretty hard. I could be working with Photoshop files in excess of 50 MB while still surfing, e-mailing and listening to music...if not more.

I have found a couple HP or Compaq machines that have what I am looking for. HP ZV5325 or Compaq 3320. Both run Pentium 4 at 3.0GHz with HT technology. They both have ATI

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Re: ok...another question about centrino vs. p4 ht vs. athlo
by richfei / November 5, 2004 11:53 AM PST

I think the mainstream vendors are slowly getting better in trying to pair up high performing CPUs with better GPUs. I too am a little frustrated in having to make these tradeoffs

But recently I've seen Gateways and eMachines (essentially the same laptop) going for around $1400 i.e fabulous Athlon 64 and better GPU without shared memory or 3 year old video cards, 15.4 widescreen Ultrabrite WXGA, 80Gb, 512Mb. About 7.5Lb also (so not exactly ultra light, but certainly nowhere near the weight of those humungous 17inch widescreens

Upgrade the memory to 1gig and ensure the drive is at least 5400 rpm and Photoshop will probably fly regardless of how heavy you run it

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?id=1093468591790&skuId=6852783&productCategoryId=pcmcat22300050001&type=product

eMachines M6810 is also very similar in spec for the same $1400(7.5Lb 8.65 travel weight)
http://www.emachines.com/products/products.html?prod=eMachines_M6810

Personally I wouldn't go for an emachines or Gateway as I've read many horror stories about cracks in the case on earlier models

But anyway I can imagine that HP, Compaq and the rest will follow with similar specs soon at a slightly lower pricepoint. I'm kinda waiting for HP/Compaq to do something here, since they usually have rebate/coupon deals to take the price down even further

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Re: ok...another question about centrino vs. p4 ht vs. athlo
by KenSanramon / November 5, 2004 12:47 PM PST

Heboil:

You are running into all sorts of issues if you are forced to buy a prebuilt versus getting one at hpshopping. Note that hpshopping has a 1 year no interest plan (pay in full within 1 year with no interest) and also free shipping, $100 custom order rebate (any HP or Compaq configure to order notebook) and other discounts.

I have a Compaq X1000 series which is the same as the ZT3000 series --you have cited a prebuilt model for that -- the problem is that the 705 Pentium M cpu is not a Dothan cpu (with 2mb L2 system cache) -- it has only the 1mb L2 system cache of the older Banias chips -- HP is not even selling this chip now online and when it was the Pentium M 1.6ghz 725 Dothan is only $50 more. Do not get less than the 715 1.5 Dothan or 725 1.6 Dothan -- you are losing 1/2 the L2 cache getting the 705. Also, you can get 64mb dedicated video memory for only $50 or $75 more ordering custom.

Yes, only the Pentium 4M cpu has hyperthreading but you will really only see a huge multitasking benefit when the 2 cpu per chip 64bit chips are released by both Intel and AMD in the future (the Athlon 64 is 64bit but only a single cpu also).

Look at X1000forums.com and you can post questions there about the the HPZT3000 series (or any prebuilt) and./or the Compaq X1000 series (or any prebuilt). This forum has made it very worthwhile for me to purchase this and you can find out about all the current HP/Compaq discounts there in the general section (including Fatcash deferred 3%, 12% EPP employer discount (if qualified employer), 6% student APP discount (college student), and short-term coupon codes.

The Athlon 64 notebooks for HP/Compaq have up to 64mb dedicated RAM also and have the 15.4" widescreen same as the models above.

I really think you should shoot for the Athlon 64 or Pentium M Centrino unless you go for the award winning hpzd7000 (see zd7000forums.com) which is the fully loaded 17" Pentium 4M system (with up to 128mb dedicated video RAM).

What is your exact price point you want to achieve and why can you only buy retail ????

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Re: ok...another question about centrino vs. p4 ht vs. athlo
by Heboil / November 5, 2004 1:13 PM PST

Ken -

A - I don't like buying big purchases online or long distance. I have been burned before. Not saying they will "take me for all I've got", but I once bought a laptop online years ago that had a number of dead pixels. I essentially had to sell my soul to the devil to get it replaced, and it ended up being a huge hassle and costing me over $100 in shipping and insurance prices. I want to buy from some local dealer with reputation that if something blows up (or I just don't like it) within the first 15-30 days, I can take it back no hassle and get a replacement or a refund.

B - My latest laptop was stolen. This is an insurance claim. The entire claim has been somewhat troublesome. Doing a purchase online, and then getting the money from the company will be a greater challenge than just giving a price and salesperson's name. I am already fed up with this whole process, and I just want this purchase to go somewhat smoothly.

C - I am in Canada, and ordering through a US site could end up costing me through the nose...on taxes, shipping, duty and conversion. Can't customize from teh hp.ca store.

As for what price point I am looking at...somewhere in the neighborhood of $2k Cdn. That would be anywhere from $1400 - $1500 US.

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Let me comment on "warranty" extensions.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 5, 2004 11:01 PM PST

When I compare the offer of extended warranties, there are items you must be on the watch for.

1. The warranty must be from the maker of the product.

Sorry, my rule. I've found the third party warranties to be rubbish. You'll hear them tell you "We're better now."

2. Watch for this phrase...
"If the repair costs exceed the value of this contract, then we may offer a refund of the warranty fees and return the unit to the customer."

Yikes, you get your warranty fee back and a broken device.

I've found that if the warranty is from the maker (HP, IBM, etc.) then they don't get clever with item 2.

Bob

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"warranty" extensions.
by jcrobso / January 7, 2005 2:35 AM PST

I worked a FRY's Electronics service dept. Fry's performance contracts are very good, if you paid a contract with a loaner option and brought your laptop in for service you got a loaner. A woman came in with a 3 year old laptop with the hard drive going bad, she had 20gb, she left witha 40gb and we installed it and ghosted the harddrive all under warranty. So If you are close to a FRY's check it out. John

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Re: ok...another question about centrino vs. p4 ht vs. athlo
by KenSanramon / November 6, 2004 10:10 AM PST

Heboil:

First of all, the Canadien issue is a problem as HP does not do its custom ordering for shipments outside the US- and also it cuts out people for the $100 mail in rebate, student discounts, etc.

Is there a Costco in Canada near you?? The Costco policy is to allow a 6 month return of the notebook for any reason for dissatisfaction. You will not find a better return policy anywhere period. As long as you keep all the contents and your receipt you have time to use the notebook and if it has a bad pixel or you just don't like the performance etc you can return it. I returned a Compaq refurbished notebook I got through Costco after 5 weeks myself not because there was anything wrong but because the Pentium 4M model was getting only 1 hour 40 minutes battery life. I did plenty of research and ended up getting the Compaq X1000 Pentium M Centrino I have now (same as HPZT3000) and I am very happy with that (4 hours battery life).

Also, at least for the Costco US website, you order through them and link to the US hpshopping.com and order your notebook the same way as directly through Hpshopping. The bonus of ordering though Costco.com is you get the 6 month return policy I refererenced above even though it is a custom shipment from HP.

If you can't order with a US address based credit card and have it shipped to a US address though you probably can't do this (but I know plenty of people in the Detroit/Windsor area at least that have done that very thing to get the best price and setup custom).

Also, you have a 30 day return policy for any reason to hpshopping.com and they even pay for the return shipping and credit your card within a few days.

But if you can't do any of that but do have a Canada costco look at their in store models at least as they should have the same return policy as the US (check this out).

The problem I was seeing in many Best Buy Canada HPZT3000 or Compaq X1000 prebuilt models is that they had the Pentium M 705 1.5 chip in them which is not a Dothan Pentium M and thus has only 1mb L2 system cache instead of 2mb L2 system cache ..and the 1.6 Pentium M 725 is only $50 more on a US model.

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Re: ok...another question about centrino vs. p4 ht vs. athlo
by NancyR / November 6, 2004 2:45 AM PST

Wow, that Gateway system at Best Buy sounds like a great configuration. It must be too good to be true. Can anyone point out a weak link here? As for cracked cases, surely a warranty would cover something like that. I have always had good luck with Gateway warranty service.

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Re: ok...another question about centrino vs. p4 ht vs. athlo
by richfei / November 7, 2004 12:11 AM PST

Price has gone down even more now to 1250
From what I gather reading some of the Gateway/emachines boards, the cracked hinge issue was prevalent in earlier emachine models. These new machines hopefully are designed a little better
I think it's 250 for a 3 year warranty, which covers the LCD, so I think this is a fantastic deal

But will wait and see what HP/Compaq comes out with

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The HP/Compaq DVD recorder fiasco (or limitation)
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 7, 2004 12:38 AM PST

HP is being a stick in the mud over the DVD+R/W format and pushing that drive into most laptops and desktops. For that reason I'd skip the HP models without an all format DVD recorder.

HP invested how many dollars into that and they think they're right...

I think I'll get an all format drive, thank you...

Bob

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Re: The HP/Compaq DVD recorder fiasco (or limitation)
by richfei / November 7, 2004 12:49 AM PST

Actually never noticed that, but good point. My desktop burner is DVD-R and I'm loathe to buy new media for 2 different computers. But laptop wise, I don't really need a dvd burner. I'll still wait awhile and see what HP/Compaq comes out with by Thanksgiving

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Re: The HP/Compaq DVD recorder fiasco (or limitation)
by KenSanramon / November 8, 2004 2:59 AM PST

You can get multiformat DVD burners now at HPshopping on custom order notebooks -- many of in store models only have the DVD+ burners as that is what they sold up until about a month ago.

I saw the Gateway Centrino (Pentium M) notebook at Best buy and it does seem a very good value (and very thin and light) given it has a Pentium M 725 Dothan cpu with the full 2mb L2 system cache.

Many models now to get close to or under $1000 are selling the Celeron Pentium M which is a decontented Pentium M and you don't want that unless you truly can't spend a couple of hundred more.

Also, the Gateway I saw at Best Buy had the new Bright LCD like HP Briteview, Toshiba Trubrite, Sony Xbrite, etc.

Note that you can get the HP DV1000 series now (with a full Pentium M Dothan cpu) without dedicated video memory (5.3 pounds with remote and instant on DVD and Cd functions--14" widescreen LCD) or the HPZT3000/Compaq X1000 with dedicated video RAM (15.4" LCD widescreen) for great prices now at hpshopping (see X1000forums.com for all discounts) and you can get the multiformat DVD burner there or a DVD ROM/CD-RW most people get for much less $.

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Gateway and Emachine
by tomschiller1 / December 30, 2004 4:26 AM PST

THEY ARE BOTH JUNK. that is why they sound to good to be true. I don't care if you have owned them for years and you are so blind to the fact that they suck. you get what you pay for. and with the average 2 to 5 hundred cheaper you are getting JUNK. Broken hinges, bad screens, over heating. use of very poor chipsets. and other components on the main board. I repair systems for a living and they both have an awful track record.

TOM

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I used to think that too.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 30, 2004 4:35 AM PST
In reply to: Gateway and Emachine

As a sometimes recipient of nothing but dead systems you'll see all brand names and after awhile think that if this is the state of the PC world, then how can any maker not be left standing.

After some 20 years of dealing with machines pre-PC and embedded computing the real truth is that on the average you can't pan one brand such as IBM, Dell, other to be "pure junk". Doing so quickly paints you with the wrong color and shows you have taken a small view of the world.

The office has some 150 plus machines and only one model of one brand (Sony) suffered a horrible scorch mark in my book. It wasn't that all models from Sony are bad, it was the service group that failed to get the units exchanged for models that we could use on a desktop for 8 hours.

Best of luck,

Bob

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Gateway
by LrdBane / November 19, 2004 9:53 AM PST

I'm currently using the Gateway 7405GX. I drive for a living and its great to have the power of a comparable desktop in a small package. It does both DVDR + and - and the builtin wifi is great. Only drawback is the speakers are in the front pointed into your lap. Headphones work good for that. For the price you cant beat it. I almost bought the compaq that was close to this untill i couldnt find it when i was ready to by. Kind of glad i waited.

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