1. You may have noticed things look a little different around here - we've switched to a new platform (XenForo) and have some new forum styles and features. This how-to guide will help you find your way around. If you find anything that looks strange, post it in this thread.

Looking for a small but VERY fast laptop

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Dark Energy, Oct 23, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Dark Energy

    Dark Energy Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    5
    Well, I get the feeling many people are ;)... but heres roughly what I'm after. I travel a lot for work, but at the same time my job involves running fairly intensive codes... hence I want something small enough to use easily on a plane, but that is also pretty **** fast. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1) What is your budget?

    Any amount up to 5000

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?


    Either of:

    a. Ultraportable; 12" screen or less
    b. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen

    but certainly no bigger than 14"

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


    CPU and memory intensive scientific codes mainly, presentations, watching movies in hotel rooms.... basically I need as fast a machine as possible.

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

    Lots of different places!


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

    Yes, and I have to confess I quite like games like Half-Life 2.

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

    Not a huge Sony fan, but I have no strong preferences or dislikes.


    7) How many hours of battery life do you need?

    At least 3 on a single battery

    8) Do you mind buying online without seeing the notebook in person?

    Not in the slightest.

    9) Please select your country's flag as a post icon and tell us what country are you buying this in?


    Done, but USA just in case it doesnt show up.


    Screen Specifics

    10) Would you prefer standard or widescreen?

    No preference

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

    I would prefer:

    b. SXGA - 1400x1050 - Compromise resolution between XGA and UXGA.

    or
    e. WSXGA+ - 1680x1050; Wider viewing version of SXGA, good for movie viewing or spreadsheets.

    if widescreen, but its not that important

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

    No preference.

    Build Quality and Design

    13) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?

    Not in the slightest.

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

    January/February 2007, At least 4 years.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you want; 40GB to 160GB?

    80Gb or more

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

    Yes, DVD-RW
     
  2. jetstar

    jetstar Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    1,095
    Messages:
    7,036
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    205
    Notebooks to consider include the Asus W3J and A8J, the Dell XPS 1210 and the Sony Vaio SZ series.

    The Asus notebooks have the better graphics cards.
     
  3. coriolis

    coriolis Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Reputations:
    2,319
    Messages:
    14,121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    455
    Though the W3j and A8jm are both 14" and on the bulky side of their class size though with a x1600/7600 respectively - the SZ is 13.3"(7400) and the m1210 is 12"(7400).

    To add to the list the Compal HGL30, which is 14"(7600), The ASUS A8js 14"(7700) and the ASUS W7j which is 13.3"(7400)
     
  4. claudione314

    claudione314 Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    96
    Messages:
    940
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    30
    One more thumb up for the Asus W3J. It's one of the lightest 14" notebooks at 5 pounds, and it can host a second battery in the "traveller's tray" to weigh 5.5 pounds and last up to 5-6 hours.

    The Asus A8Js is a good alternative. For 13.3" machines, Asus W7J (but battery life is somewhat disappointing) and Sony SZ. You may also look into the Dell m1210, which is a 12-inch notebook with a decent graphics card. [edit: coriolis beat me to it :p]

    C.
     
  5. coriolis

    coriolis Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Reputations:
    2,319
    Messages:
    14,121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    455
    Honestly speaking, the 14" weight class goes from under 4lbs to over 6lbs, where the W3/A8/HGL30 are on the higher side(probrably de to cooling and the GPU.
     
  6. camvan

    camvan Notebook Evangelist

    Reputations:
    12
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    30
    mmm! I nicely tuned mx1210 would make a very sweet laptop. I got a decent config at $1818, but I'm confused. the readout before you 'customize' says you can have 7400Go graphics, but you're never given the option for it and when it compiles your config, it show sit with the stupid Intel GMA :mad: if I get that 15% off coupon from my friend, that makes it an even sweeter deal :D
     
  7. Dark Energy

    Dark Energy Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    5
    You guys officially rock!

    Going to check out Asus notebooks now...
     
  8. Angrymob

    Angrymob Notebook Consultant NBR Reviewer

    Reputations:
    108
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    30
    Let see... there are already some very good recommendations above.

    Given your budget of $5000 or so (US$ I assume), as fast while as light and lasts as long on battery as possible, I'd say...

    The Sony SZ Premium series, like the VGN-SZ381P/X. Core 2 Duo T7400 (2.13GHz) processor, 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 Memory, 160GB HDD, GeForce Go 7400 graphics with the Carbon Fiber lid and a 13.3" WXGA LED backlit LCD. 0.9"-1.3" thin, 3.7lbs with the standard battery and just around 4lbs with the extended 9-cell battery with upto 7 hours battery life. With some of the customizable models, you can even go all the way to the C2D T7600 (2.33GHz) processor.

    While the ASUS above are good choices, lets see what we have that's mentioned so far:

    W7J - pretty much the competitor to the Sony SZ, however, the pre-built Ensemble system only comes with the Core 2 Duo T5500 (and non-upgradable unless you want to void the ASUS global warranty to customize it), 1.5-2 hour less battery life than the Sony, around 0.2" thicker (1.14"-1.45"), and pushing 4.5lbs with the 9-cell extended battery (0.5lb heavier). Oh, and you can only fit 1.5GB memory max for now (since 512MB is soldered on and only 1 SoDIMM slot).

    W3J - 14.1" WXGA screen, but again, only a Core 2 Duo T5500 (1.66GHz), however it has much gruntier ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics. It's actually pretty thin at 1.18"-1.28", but with a 5.5lbs standard weight, and close to 6lbs with the 2nd drive bay battery (nearly 2lbs heavier than the SZ Premium), although you can get probabally 5 hours of juice with it (standard + drive bay battery).

    A8Js - 14.1" WXGA+ screen, Core 2 Duo T7200 (2.0GHz) and even gruntier GeForce Go 7700 graphics. However the battery life is 2.5 hours at best, 1.37"-1.47" thick (nearly 0.5" thicker than the SZ Premium), and weighs 5.3lbs (1 to 1.5lbs more).


    And why have no one mentioned the Lenovo IBM Thinkpad T60p?
    It's got a 14.1" screen with up to SXGA+ resolution, customizable to a Core 2 Duo T7600 (2.33GHz), best-in-class ATI Mobility FireGL V5250 256MB graphics (M66GL, someone correct me if I'm wrong but that's the workstation equivalent of the Mobility Radeon X1700 which is M66P), 5.4hr 9-cell or 7hr with 9-cell + UltraBay module battery, 1"-1.2" thin (as thin as the SZ Premium), and weighs 5lbs (less than the ASUS 14.1"s above).


    Honestly, it's all about compromises. The 14.1" ones will give you easily 2x the 3D graphics performance over the 13.3" models. So, if you plan to use 3D intensive apps and games, I would go for the 14.1", and that Thinkpad T60p just looks real good.

    If you would rather carry something lighter, and your tasks are more processor intensive (like encoding movies, and as you said yourself: "CPU and memory intensive scientific codes mainly, presentations, watching movies in hotel rooms.... ") and not need as much 3D grunt, I'd go for the SZ Premium anyday, as it gives you the same, if not better CPU choices and performance, and, a much longer battery life compared with the ASUS.
     
  9. Greg

    Greg Super Moderator Super Moderator

    Reputations:
    7,857
    Messages:
    16,219
    Likes Received:
    57
    Trophy Points:
    466
    I would say your best bets are the M1210 and HGL-30 as mentioned.
     
  10. chrisyano

    chrisyano Hall Monitor NBR Reviewer

    Reputations:
    956
    Messages:
    5,504
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    205
    I like the Compal HGL30, Asus W3J and A8Js recommendations for gaming power.

    If you're OK with less gaming power but more portability, then the Sony SZ is nice but a little expensive. Also the Asus W7J and Dell XPS M1210 are worth looking into.

    Of all of the above, I like the Compal HGL30 the most as it's a great deal and is customizable. The Sony SZ is also somewhat customizable, but doesn't give you the same level of components and is a bit pricey.
     
  11. stamar

    stamar Notebook Prophet

    Reputations:
    443
    Messages:
    5,802
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    206
    The most powerful machine in this class is the asus a8js for $1600

    I think you want the w3j though. the reason is it can have another battery instead of its opticla drive giving it like 5 hours of life for a plane ride.

    Does that sound apealing?

    unfortunately it not only comes with a lower gpu than the a8js it has a slower cpu as well.
    Youre loaded though and you could pay to put a faster cpu in.
     
  12. Dark Energy

    Dark Energy Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    5
    Just wanted to say thanks for all the EXCELLENT advice on this thread - I've definitely been made aware of laptops I didnt know existed before... will purchase in about a month and then post a review.... of course, any further thoughts from anyone in the meantime are very very welcome.
     
  13. abrichr

    abrichr Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    5
    A thought: one of the touted 'advantages' of the W3J is the available extra internal battery. But how is this really any different functionally from purchasing an extra main battery for the A8J, and switching them when one is empty? The W3J's batteries will degrade over time just like those of the A8J's anyways. Plus, if you take the extra internal battery along, you won't have a DVD player. Is this pretty much the case, or am I missing something here?
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page