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Yet Another "What Should I Buy" Thread

by Eschy12 / December 9, 2004 12:25 PM PST

My story: Student, need laptop for word processing, wireless Internet access, and gaming. Maybe MATLAB or Maple once in a great while.

I think I've narrowed it down to the Dell Inspiron 8600, the HP zt3000 or the HP zv5000. Please guide me towards one.

I'd like to choose based on:
Which one can last 2-3+ years?
Which one can play "intense" games like Far Cry and World of Warcraft?
Which one has the most power and speed?

I'm not too, too concerned about battery life, as I'm usually near an outlet, but I'd like it to last at least 2 hours...

Thanks for your input!

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Re: Yet Another "What Should I Buy" Thread
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 9, 2004 8:20 PM PST

Anytime you write about a 3D game, you instant opt for video with dedicated RAM. As a side benefit, the machine runs faster all around since the CPU doesn't pause when video RAM is refreshed.

Bob

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Re: Yet Another "What Should I Buy" Thread
by Ryan T / December 9, 2004 8:50 PM PST

1. Which one will last 2-3+ years?
Answer is none of them. In 2-3+ years we will be down the buisness end of Windows Longhorn 64. We'll all need to upgrade to 64-bit processors of some sort to run it. If you want to have one that will run Longhorn, you need to wait for the low-voltage Athlon 64's to come out early next year.

2. Which one can play intense games
Well not the DV5000 for sure. It uses shared video memory as Bob already mentioned. The Zt3000 offers the 64MB ATI Radeon 9200 which is good but it's the minimum for some games already. If you really want intense gaming you have to go with the available 128MB Ati Radeon 9700 available on the Dell 8600.

3. Which one has the most power and speed?
Well this is really a Centrino vs P4 question which as we've seen is more a matter of preference. I've found that my P-M 1.5 GHz is faster than the 3.0CGHz Pentium 4 desktops at work with Hyper Threading. At least in real-world applications. But it's a tradeoff, you'll likely get more power out of a P4, but at the expense of a very heavy, hot laptop that doesn't have a long battery life.

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Re: Yet Another "What Should I Buy" Thread
by Eschy12 / December 9, 2004 9:12 PM PST

"The zv5000z notebook PC features sharp images and true color via the NVIDIA GeForce 4 440 Go graphics solution with 64MB of dedicated video memory." This is shared video memory?

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Re: Yet Another
by KenSanramon / December 10, 2004 5:26 AM PST

The HPzv5000 series has the Athlon 64 cpu, up to 64mb dedicated graphics (Nvidia). So it is better for the future but it will not have the battery life it could achieve when the low voltate notebooks come out next year.

If you really want to play top games you should go for the Dell 8600 (Pentium M Centrino) with the 128mb dedicated ATI 9700 option and the Hitachi 7200rpm 60gb hard drive (the hard drive speed is as important to robust games as the video card is in some cases).

The HPZT3000/Compaq X1000 I have also has up to 64mb dedicated video but it is the ATI 9200 which is slower than the ATI 9700 on the Dell 8600.

If gaming is your number 1 priority, the Dell 8600 will give you better battery life now (as it is a Pentium M Centrino) -- about 4 hours on average or longer if not playing games or using wi-fi (games may be less but still far more than a Pentium 4M or Athlon 64 right now).

The Athlon 64 will give you more future potential but you won't be able to get the 128mb dedicated video right now from any major manufacturer. 64mb dedicated requires you to lower the game settings (textures, shading, etc) on many of the new games like Doom 3 but they will play (but 64mb dedicated is the effective minimum).

All 3 of these have the 15.4" widscreen so that is not a factor.

You should see the dedicated forum R3000forums.com (R3000 is the Compaq version of the HPZv5000) for the Athlon 64 and X1000forums.com (for the Compaq X1000/HPZT3000 I have).

Note there that you can find all the best discounts and specs. You can get a 6% APP student discount from HP is your are a student. Note on hpshopping that some models (like the HPZT3000) have a $100 instant discount right now and the rebate applies also and you can use the student discount and Fatcash as well........

You are on your own finding a dedicated Dell forum but they do have posts at www.notebookforums.com on Dells in general.......

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Re: Yet Another
by Ryan T / December 10, 2004 5:28 AM PST
In reply to: Re: Yet Another

See there it goes again. I replied to that this morning saying that I was mistaken and had looked at the "T" series which has integrated graphics and I still pointed out that the Dell had the option of a 128 MB video card.

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