Laptop for graduate school

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by anino, Jul 4, 2006.

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  1. anino

    anino Newbie

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    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    $800 - $1200. I reckon I should be able to afford a good laptop after school, so I dont want to spend a lot now.

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    a. Ultraportable; 12" screen or less
    b. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
    c. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    d. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen

    Prefer - Thin and Light
    Can do with mainstream

    3) What tasks will you be performing with the notebook?

    Powerpoint and some heavy duty excel -- solving equations and running simulations. No games, none. Plus the usual surfing, email and occasional movie.

    4) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places or leaving it on your desk?

    Will have to take it to class often.

    5) Will you be playing games on it; if so, which games?

    6) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?

    Prefer - Compaq, Toshiba, Dell
    Cant afford - Lenovo, Sony

    7) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    Average 3 - 3.5 hrs will be good

    8) Do you mind buying online without seeing the notebook in person?
    No. But I will need some opinions about the average build quality.

    9) What country are you buying this in?
    US of A
    Screen Specifics

    10) Would you prefer standard or widescreen?

    11) From the choices below, what screen resolutions would you prefer?

    a. XGA -1024x768 - Large and easy to read text + graphics icons, but you fit less stuff on the screen.
    b. SXGA - 1400x1050 - Compromise resolution between XGA and UXGA.
    c. UXGA - 1600x1200 - Very small text and graphics icons, you can fit lots of stuff on the screen.

    d. WXGA or WXGA+ - 1280x768/800 or 1440x900; Wider viewing version of XGA, good for movie viewing or spreadsheets.
    e. WSXGA+ - 1680x1050; Wider viewing version of SXGA, good for movie viewing or spreadsheets.
    f. WUXGA - 1920x1200; Wider viewing version of UXGA, good for movie viewing or spreadsheets.
    Doesnt matter much.

    12) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen?

    Build Quality and Design

    13) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Not really.

    14) When are you buying this laptop and how long do you want this laptop to last?
    Two years.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you want; 40GB to 120GB?

    16) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD-ROM, DVD-CD/RW or DVD-RW drive?

    I dont think I will need core duo. Centrino/Turion with 1GB RAM will do nicely. I am having trouble deciding between Compaq v2000z, v3000z; Toshiba Satellite A100/105; and Dell Latitude (though the latitudes are slightly over my budget). It seems to me that I can configure something to my liking at around $1100. Which brand will give me the best build quality and service?

  2. titaniummd

    titaniummd Notebook Deity

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    Compaq V2000 will be more than adequate for what you do. Also look at the HP DV2000. Keep in mind that as a student, you can get educational discounts through the Academic Purchase Program, APP, through

    The Latitudes are excellent and the D520 is a no-frills but affordable and more than adequate choice. If you can push the budget, get the D620. The latitudes will have a 3 year standard warranty which will at least ensure some longevity beyond your required 2 years. The Dell Small Business service is above that of the Inspirons.
  3. psuguy

    psuguy Notebook Enthusiast

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    See if you can get a 30% of coupon from Ebay

    Dell D620
    XP Pro
    14.1" Widescreen WXGA+
    Core Duo T2400 (1.8Ghz)
    1GB (2 533Mhz dimms)
    256MB Nvidia 110M
    60GB 7200RPM
    24x CDRW/DVD
    Dell a/b/g wireless
    65W Adapter w/ 6 cell battery
    3 year limited warranty

    Comes out to $1060 Shipped including 6% tax for me.

    I just did the sorta same deal for a D820 with a little higher specs for $1325 .. i just like the extra inch of screen space and dont want to give it.
  4. anino

    anino Newbie

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    What is the difference between the compaq and hp notebooks? It seems to me that similar configurations cost appx similar. Any difference in service or build quality?

    I have been using a latitude D610 for 3 years now at work. It is a solid workhorse, and I love it. But I want something that feels and looks different for school, just for a change.

    Also, I think I can save quite a bit of money on the AMD processors(hence hp/compaq). Anything I will be losing out on, apart from battery life?
  5. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies TG Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    HP/Compaq are the same company. All their notebooks are the same, the only differences being the cases. Whether you prefer HP or Compaq styling is personal preference.

    Don't get anything that doesn't have a dual-core processor. The Compaq V3000Z is an option, as well as the HP dv1000t.

    As long as it is dual-core, you'll be fine.
  6. Whistler

    Whistler Notebook Guru

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    Compaq vs HP is like Chevy vs GMC... they are both the same company and sell the same product, but the Compaqs have a couple less features.

    IE in the dv1000 you get a multimedia remote and touchpad scrolling. The equivalent v2000 is mostly the same machine, but has no remote. Its little differences like that.
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