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Thinking about Compaq R3000Z for about $1000 for Athlon 64

by richfei / November 3, 2004 9:06 AM PST

Hi,

I currently use an old Compaq N610C (Pentium 4-M 2Gz, 5.5 lbs, 512Mb, 40Gb, very nice 1400x1050 screen display), Mobility Radeon 7500 at work, and have an old Compaq 906US (AMD 1600, 512Mb, 20Gb, 14 inch TFT, Shared graphic)

However I'm looking to buy a HP or Compaq for personal use at around $1300 max

I'm just looking at HP/Compaq laptops right now, since I can take advantage of a 12% company discount (EPP) and there's a $100 rebate floating around and fatwallet of 3%

I don't travel at all, so lightness isn't a huge concern, but I like to sometimes work with having the laptop on my lap. I cruise the internet a lot. I do a lot of manipulation with digital images (mostly low intensive Photoshop work i.e crop, curves), minor games playing e.g Dungeon Siege 2, and not really into FPS like Farcry.

I was thinking about the Compaq R3000Z
That decision (although not final) was largely driven by

A) the notion that AMD chips should have a higher price/performance ratio compared to equivalent Intel Pentium Ms ?
B) I can get a 12% EPP discount (and there are various rebates floating around and hard disc upgrades for HP/Compaq laptops)

This is my Compaq 3000Z spec that I'm considering: Athlon 64 1.8Ghz, 15.4 WXGA Brightview, 64Mb Nvidia Geforce 4 440 Go, 256Mb ram, 80 Gb 5400 RPM drive, DVD/CD-RW combo drive, Free 54g 802.11g

This comes to about $1053, with free shipping. But I think I can also go to fatwallet for 3% discount and also there's a $100 rebate kicking around somewhere for CTO products, so would bring it to around $921 plus tax, gets me to around $1000 (so well under my budget of $1300)

I really like the sharpness and clarity of the brightview type screens (I've seen equivalents from Sony and Toshiba and they look amazing)

1) Are there forums around similar to http://www.x1000forums.com which discuss the R3000Z

2) Is an Athlon 64 at 1.8Ghz a worthwhile upgrade compared to Athlon XP 2800 at 1.6Ghz (extra $100). I know it's 64 bit, but is current software e.g Photoshop or web cruising, taking advantage of this.

3) Am I losing out on battery performance by going with Athlon 64 compared to lower spec Athlon or Pentium M

4) What is the Intel Pentium M equivalent of the AMD 2800 ? Is there still a price performance benefit for the AMD over the Pentium-M ?

5) I definitely don't want shared graphics. But I see alternative video cards within the Hp/Compaq range e.g Nvidia Gforce Go5700, ATI 9000, 9200, Intel Extreme graphics (On the Compaq V2000).

If gamesplaying is not a top priority, is the Geforce 440 64Mb good enough ? How does it compare to my current Compaq N610C with Mobile Radeon 7500 ? Is 440 significantly worse than ATI 9000, 9200 and Nvidia 5700

6) Are there any laptops (HP/Compaq or non HP) that offer brightview and resolution similar to what I can get right now with my N610C (i.e 1400 x 1050) at a reasonable price i.e $1200. It seems as though there are tradeoffs between brightview and resolutions higher than 1200

7) Does HP Brightview compare favorably from a sharpness and brightness perspective to equivalent technology from Toshiba and Sony ? I saw in Frys recently that there was some kind of luminance measurement for the Sony of 300

Cool Does anyone know if the HP coupon for 10% off (NB8384) will work with EPP ?

9) Are there any other models in the HP/Compaq range to consider for a similar type spec/price than my current configuration with the Compaq R3000Z. Can I do much better for $1300 ?

10) From what I gather 5400 RPM drive is about 50% faster than 4200. Is this in theory, or is this real world applications i.e Photoshop use, bringing up large files etc ?

11) If there are any people who own the R3000Z, do you recommend this laptop. And where you considering any others ?

12) Incidentally are there any laptops in the current HP/Compaq range or slightly older that have the old trackpoints (I still like to use it rather than the touchpad) and to me it's a negative for the 3000Z

A lot of questions, I know, and specific to HP/Compaq and to the R3000Z, so if anyone knows of any good forums to get a wider response, can you point me in the right direction

Thanks
Richard

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Re: Thinking about Compaq R3000Z for about $1000 for Athlon
by KenSanramon / November 4, 2004 3:57 AM PST

Pentium M's definitely get better battery life and are lighter than the Athlon 64 notebooks. However, an Athlon 64 is much better than a Pentium 4M.

Someone posted yesterday that low voltage Athlon 64 notebooks are coming that may in fact give the 3.5-5 hour battery life Pentium M (Centrino) notebooks are already getting. But that is not what you are looking at.

The HP/Compaq Athlon 64 models offer very similar specifications to the HPZT3000 and Compaq X1000 (Centrino) that I have but they are a bit thicker and heavier and have lower battery life.

You can get the HP Briteview LCD (which is basically the same as Toshiba Trubrite or Sony Xbrite -- it is a coating over the manufacturer LCD so you have to look at the specifications (resolution) of the LCD underneath to determine which has the best picture.

Athlon 64bit will give you more benefits when Windows Longhorn 64bit appears in late 2006 or 2007 but unless you are using Linux (64bit already) that will not occur mostly until 2007 -- therefore, the Pentium M gives you the other benefits (lighter weight, longer battery power, thinner) over the Athlon 64 until that time.

However, when the Athlon 64 lower voltage notebooks are released that may all change.

One ergonomic drawback to the HP/Compaq Athlon 64 models is that the spacebar is not centered over the touchpad so if you use that it is not as ideal as the centered spacebar on the HPZT3000/X1000. But if you use an external mouse that is not a large issue.

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Re: Thinking about Compaq R3000Z for about $1000 for Athlon
by richfei / November 4, 2004 4:35 AM PST

Hi Ken

Thanks for the response. Good points and bear them in mind. Perhaps I'm a little too overawed by the AMD 64s and price/performance and there's little truly available to take advantage of it for the foreseeable future. I'll certainly consider the Pentium-Ms again or lower spec AMD Athlons in that case

I was actually in Circuit City today and saw the 3000Z but unfortunately I wasn't hugely impressed by the Brightview on WXGA (1280x800). The models (I don't remember which) which had Brightview equivalent for Sony and Toshiba look a lot lot better.

Do you know if there's a reference point to check the quality i.e like scanrate or DPI or whatever you call it for brightview LCD screens, and what the values are for competing models ?

It just looks as though the Sonys and Toshibas were better. But I don't know if I can get much better if I change the graphics card settings (color, luminosity, gamma...whatever the settings are). I tried quickly, but I still couldn't really get close to the other manufacturers models

Any thoughts ?

If it really is lower quality on the HPs/Compaqs, I'll probably end up with WSXGA+ and perhaps get a third party screen guard (if I ever go down that road)

Do you know if there are many competing models of screenguard and if they are in fact comparable to an LCD which already has brightview or topbright on it ?

Thanks again
Richard

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Re: Thinking about Compaq R3000Z for about $1000 for Athlon
by KenSanramon / November 4, 2004 7:19 AM PST

Richard:

The Athlon 64's are great notebooks right now. I just wanted to point out to you that until this low voltage Athlon 64 appears the Pentium M's have them beat for notebook thickness, weight and battery life.

The real change will come when other vendors get a good enough cpu to be forced to install AMD chips. At that point Dell does not sell any nor do Toshiba, etc (in notebooks). Only HP/Compaq and E-machines have them at this point.

If you go over to X1000forums.com (HPZT3000 / Compaq X1000 Pentium M centrino I have) you will see pinned topics on LCD resolution and manufacturer type (you are great if you get LG or Samsung on a SXGA but not if you get the lower refresh rate Hitachi) -- you don't know for sure what LCD manufacturer you will get beforehand).

Some people have tried the LCD covers and they seem to improve contrast but the Briteview treatment is the best I think (or Trubrite, etc) if you want the brighter XGA LCD.

Again, if you are going to use Linux or another application that will be 64bit now or soon definitely get the Athlon 64.

If you are mostly using it for Microsoft Office, Windows programs and web surfing (especially with wi-fi) then if you spend $1500 or less the Pentium M Centrino will serve you well until Windows Longhorn (64bit).

I spend $1299 plus tax and I will get about 3 years of productive life out of it (mid 2004 to mid 2007) likely and at that point the 2 cpu 64 bit chips should be in full swing from both Intel and AMD.

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Re: Thinking about Compaq R3000Z for about $1000 for Athlon
by NancyR / November 4, 2004 9:57 PM PST

I went to the X1000 forum you referred to but I am not familiar with the term "pinned topic". Could you please explain?

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Re: Thinking about Compaq R3000Z for about $1000 for Athlon
by KenSanramon / November 5, 2004 5:52 AM PST

Yes, on internet forums important topics (like needed software updates and popular questions like what LCD resolution to get) are placed at the top of the forum section and they have a 'Pin' notation next to them which indicates they are important sections for everyone.

These topics are 'pinned' so they don't get lost in the hundreds of other topics or threads posted every day.

If you go to the general section on X1000forums.com you will see pinned order specification threads at the top and a LCD discussion thread, etc.

If you go to the upgrades section you will see a pinned topic on current memory (RAM deals at the top)

This format should be similar on other forums at well.

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Re: Thinking about Compaq R3000Z for about $1000 for Athlon
by NancyR / November 5, 2004 8:44 PM PST

Thank you for the explanation. I had not seen that system on other boards.

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Re: Thinking about Compaq R3000Z for about $1000 for Athlon
by JK654 / November 4, 2004 2:18 PM PST

The Athlon 64 is a great performer running 32 bit software. They are many people who buy Athlon 64 desktop systems to get great performance running 32 bit software such as games, Photoshop, cad, etc. There are those who don't intend to upgrade to 64 bit software who buy an Athlon 64 for its 32 bit performance.

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Re: Thinking about Compaq R3000Z for about $1000 for Athlon
by richfei / November 4, 2004 10:54 PM PST

Yes I agree. But I think for what I do, it may be overkill (no CAD stuff, certainly Photoshop - but running 3rd party actions, curves, levels) which right now I'm running on a Pentium M 1.7 and Athlon 1800, and they're ok. I think I need to give this some more thought. Doubtless Athlon 64 is a huge step up, but probably more than what I need, especially since most of them are paired up with low end GPUs (although I see some new laptops from Gateway and eMachines with Athlon 64s and faster ATI GPUs coming in at $1400). There isn't a hugely compelling reason for me to go with Athlon 64 - but there is obviously a degree of future prooofing for XP 64 and Longhorn, but I figure once they get released, it needs to mature and by then the laptop generation has moved on a bit more at a better price/performance. I think I can make do with a lower spec machine

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Re: Thinking about Compaq R3000Z for about $1000 for Athlon
by KenSanramon / November 5, 2004 5:56 AM PST

The pricing on HP/Compaq for the HPZT3000/Compaq X1000 Pentium M Centrino (with up to 64mb dedicated video RAM) and the Athlon 64 models are very similar.

They both can be ordered with the same 15.4" widescreen with Briteview and both can be ordered with 5400rpm hard drives (much faster than 4200rpm), DVD ROM/CD-RW or DVD burner drives, etc.

The choice to decide between one or the other is not money it is whether you want the the 64bit for the future (if you don't want to upgrade within 2-3 years or are a programmer or use Linux now) or you want the thinner case, lower weight (about 1 pound less) and longer battery life (but AMD 64 is still much better at that than a Pentium 4M system)

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