Mid-range, gaming & school laptop - UK £1000

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Pete_H, Jul 28, 2008.

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  1. Pete_H

    Pete_H Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi there,

    I am looking for a laptop for my son. I have a few dells that I use, and was looking at the XPS 1530. Worried about the nvidia chip problems though, and not impressed by the fact its older tech (not Centrino 2, and 8xxx series).

    Here are the specs I am thinking of:

    1) What is your budget?
    Around £1000

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    b. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
    or c. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen

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

    UK

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    Prefer 'mainstream' - dell, sony, hp, etc.

    5) What tasks will you be performing with the notebook?
    MSOffice & gaming, main runescape, WoW, but a few FPS (I would like to be able to play crysis, but doesn't need to be at highest levels ;) )

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

    7) Will you be playing games on it; if so, which games?
    As above, WoW, Dawn of War, FPS such as Crysis...(maybe)

    8) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    Mainly running plugged in, so not really a problem.

    9) Do you mind buying online without seeing the notebook in person?
    Online is fine.

    10) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista), Mac OS, Linux, etc.
    I prefer Linux (Ubuntu or Redhat) or OS X, but for my son it should be XP or Vista.

    Screen Specifics

    Note - When this FAQ was started many years ago, the split between standard screen notebooks and widescreen notebooks was about 50-50. In the meantime, widescreen notebooks have become the new standard. If you're looking for a standard screen notebook, some people are, you may wish to mention it. There are a few standard screens still being sold, but they're going the way of the Dodo bird.

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

    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.

    Prefer 1440x900 up. One of my bugbears is the pechant for these widescreens. Try reading documents or coding on them - not fun.

    12) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen?
    not bothered

    Build Quality and Design

    13) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Not really - though nothing really ugly!

    14) When are you buying this laptop and how long do you want this laptop to last?
    next week or so, last at least 2 yrs
    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you want; 40GB to 500GB?
    200GB should be enough, ideally 7200rpm

    16) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a CDRW/DVD-ROM, DVD Burner or Blu-Ray drive?
    DVD Drive

    I am considering the XPS 1530. When is the hp dv5 coming to these shores? How about the Tosh Qosmio X300? Looks more Quasimodo to me though... Is the Sony FW a bit low on the graphics front to be compared in this company?

    Thanks for any advice or suggestions.

    Please remember that I need to be able buy these in the UK :)

    Thanks!

    Pete
     
  2. Gophn

    Gophn NBR Resident Assistant

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  3. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    Maybe the Rizeon JHL90 is worth looking at. It's a Compal. Another possibility is the Zepto Nox. Both these use the new nVidia GPU which, I hope, doesn't contain any manufacturing bugs and both can have 1680 x 1050 resolution (might be a little small for your eyes, however).

    John
     
  4. Pete_H

    Pete_H Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the suggestions - looking through them now. How does build quality and support compare to the mainstream though? By the way, I am using a Dell 830 with 1920x1200 resolution - which works fine with my eyes! :p I just wish it was a bit more square. I can just about put two A4 pages side by side though.

    Anyway, this laptop is for my son, for gaming. Would it be better to go for a lower res screen, to better match the gfx card?

    Thanks!
     
  5. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    For gaming you can reduce the display resolution in order to get better FPS although there will be some loss of display sharpness.

    The underlying problem is too many brands offer either 1280 x 800 or 1680 x 1050 at 15.4" and nothing in between. 1280 x 800 is too low a resolution to make proper use of the big screen.

    John
     
  6. Pete_H

    Pete_H Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks John. When running a game at a lower resolution, the pixels will be interpolated won't they? Not sure what res I (oops, my son) would be able run at, but would WoW for example be able to run at native 1400x900, assuming a 2GHz Core Duo CPU and a M8600GT say? Or would it be better to stretch to a 1680 x 1050 or even 1900x1200?

    Still slightly concerned abou the longevity of the less well known brands, but then my step daughter destroyed a toshiba keyboard in about a month, with irate IM typing. My son is much calmer ;-)

    Cheers,

    Pete
     
  7. Dariel3012

    Dariel3012 Notebook Enthusiast

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    If you want a DV5 on the UK, if you don't mind, the only place currently is to buy it from Argos.

    Link
     
  8. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    Yes running a 1680 x 1050 display involves interpolation, but it also increases the FPS in gaming because the GPU has less logical pixels to calculate.

    You could visit the Compal forum (in the case of the JHL90) to look for info about the keyboard.

    Good find. However, I think it's like some new Samsung models. It is in the catalogue because it should have been released about now but I presume the catalogue went for printing a month or two ago. The evidence for being in stock will be when see them available to order for delivery.

    John
     
  9. gintor

    gintor Notebook Evangelist

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    I think the apple power book in their outlet is worth a look, it is light, comes fully loaded and you are also able to load XP on it if you dont much like the Mac OS..........

    Failing that and i know i harp on about them, i would get the Vostro 1500. Check out my spec below, you can pick this up with 3 years next business day support for around £500 the best places for these deals are:-

    http://www.itcsales.co.uk/acatalog/Vostro_1500_1510.html
    http://www.sterlingxs.co.uk/scpages/cheapdellvostro1500laptops.htm

    Cheaper than your budget, no need to over spend :) and built like a tank.

    I brought one after trialing many other notebooks and i have been that impressed i brought 2 more, 1 for my nine year old boy and one for my 20 year old son, one is used daily and thrown all over by the little lad, the other is dragged all over UNI. A truly stunning lappy in my opinion
     
  10. Pete_H

    Pete_H Notebook Enthusiast

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    Wow - I have to say those Vostros do look great value if I can get one with the 8600GT gpu!

    Another one ot add to the list!

    Thanks,

    Pete
     
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