Of course, I want it all and don't want to break the bank

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Budvus, Feb 27, 2008.

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  1. Budvus

    Budvus Newbie

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    I'm looking for a good all-around laptop. My current laptop is a Thinkpad T43; I've been very happy with it but will be getting a new one for a variety of reasons. The new machine will get heavy usage as a work laptop, mostly running the MS Office suite and using the internet. I also play a few games, predominantly Second Life, so I would like halfway decent graphics. I travel enough that I would like something that is reasonably portable but not enough that I feel like an ultraportable is important. So, like everyone else, I'm looking for the sweet spot of price, quality, durability and performance.

    Thus far I've considered the Dell XPS M1530, Lenovo T61p, and Sony VAIO FZ. I've had good luck with Dell desktops; the M1530 seems like a good option but the comments on the quality of Dell's laptops concern me (plus I can get a coupon to knock the price down a tad). I saw the VAIO FZ in the Sony store and the pricing seemed competitive, but I don't know anything about their quality. Have been leaning a little toward the T61p, but am wondering if it is a bit like buying a Honda Accord; you get a solid machine that has very little oomph.

    My key questions:

    • Are there any machines that I'm overlooking that I should consider?
    • Which of the three I mentioned would be the best choice?
    • Thinking a few years out, what would be the ideal minimum that I would buy now for processor, memory and graphics card that would not give me a cow a few years from now?

    Thanks for your help.

    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?

    No more than $1500, but a bit less would make me happier

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    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.


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

    Not really. Currently have a Thinkpad T43 laptop and have had good experience with Dell desktops

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

    This is primarily a work computer but when I travel, I would like to use it for some fun. Will mostly use MS Office functions, web browsing, light gaming

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

    Yes, a level of portability is important but don't need an ultra-portable.

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

    Mostly Second Life

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

    Ideally 3 hours.

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

    Not really.

    10) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista), Mac OS, Linux, etc.

    Some version of Windows. I like the XP that I'm running now, but would consider Vista.

    Screen Specifics

    11) Would you prefer standard or widescreen?

    Don't have a strong preference

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

    Good mid-range screen.

    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.

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

    Don't really care.

    Build Quality and Design

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


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

    I plan to purchase in a month or so. I would love for it to last 3-4 years.

    Notebook Components

    16) How much hard drive space do you want; 40GB to 200GB?

    No less than 100 GB

    17) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD, Blu-Ray or HD-DVD drive?

    DVD is fine
  2. skywalker

    skywalker Business Notebook FTW!!

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    the Thinkpad T61p is solid built business machine with decent graphics card. Build quality, battery life and keyboard are great features to have.
  3. lappyforphotoshop

    lappyforphotoshop Notebook Deity

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    Oh again , build quality hype, common , it is just a plastic box of another kind.
  4. jooooeee

    jooooeee Stealth in disguise

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    Would you just get off the forums if you have nothing to say?

    But to awnser your question the T61p is as fast as the other 2 laptops you looked at. And the Quadro FX 570M is basically the same thing as the 8600GT they get the same 3Dmarks score. The only diffrence as Skywalker said is that the Lenovo has better build quality than Dell or Sony.
  5. elfroggo

    elfroggo Notebook Evangelist

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    If you believe in changing your computer yearly, take lappyforphotoshop's advice.

    Thinkpads are great laptops and a T61p would work great for you. It's a solid machine and has the power to back it up too ;)

    "I think most of guys changing their system as often as possible , lets say in a year or 2.

    So no need to worry about build quality too much , if you still care about build , get a Panasonic , thinkpad is just a normal computer , if you drop it , it dies."


    "to get a mid range computer and switch every 1.5 years or so.
    I think this is the best way to deal with the fast moving digital technology.
    I think the Thinkpad is a complete waste , some rave about its build but so what?
    Do we use it for more than 3 years ?
    I do not think so."

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