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Laptop specifications

shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,053
Thanks: 28
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Laptop specifications

I am thinking (just thinking) about retiring my laptop which still runs W98, and is more reliable and often faster than my new XP desktop. But mechanically, it is creaking and the batteries will have to be replaced at some time. After seven years of faithful use, it deserves to be able to collect the OAP winter heating allowance !

IF I replace it, it would seem sensible to go for the best specification needed for general use, in the hope that it will last as long as the old one without getting too out of date, and be compatible with new technologies as they emerge.

I am confused about two things -
    1. All the different processors on the market these days - Celeron, Pentium 4, AMD Athlon, etc. etc. and I think there is a new Intel chip but I have forgotten the name. Can anyone tell me if there is a benchmark so that I can judge what is best for me ? Alternatively, would anyone recommend what is best ? My use is basically research (surfing), email, Office products, writing - no games, no music, no videos (though as I watch little TV, I have wondered about using it to record programmes to watch at a later date).
    2. Wireless. I keep seing products saying they are "Wi-Fi Enabled" but I fear there is a catch. Does "Wi-Fi Enabled" mean that it is ready to connect to a router, or does it mean ready for some other component to be installed in order for it to use a Wi-Fi network ? My existing Wi-Fi network is based on a pcmcia card in the laptop with a router connected to the desktop, so I already have a Wi-Fi router, but I do not want to have to use a pcmcia card with the new laptop. I am just very suspicious of marketing words like "Enabled" which do not necessarily mean what you think they mean (what it says on the tin!) - rather like "free phone calls" which often exclude the initial connection charge !
Any help or advice much appreciated.
7 REPLIES
Denzil
Grafter
Posts: 1,733
Registered: 31-07-2007

Laptop specifications

For the kind of work you are doing with it any current processor will be fine, although for furture proofing it might help to have something at the top end. For security whilst using the internet you really need an operating system that can be regularly updated. Microsoft are no longer supporting Windows 98 http://support.microsoft.com/ph/1139 so it is time to change.

If portability and battery life are an issue then choose one with a small display (as the backlights use power) and a mobile processor. AMD and Intel both make them - they run at lower voltage so consume less power but they usually cost a bit more.

It is often better to have more memory than a fast processor. 512Mb is good, if you can get 1Gb even better.

Wifi enabled means it has the card built in, and will connect directly to a wireless router. There is usually a switch on the case to turn the wifi off for security if it is not used. If in doubt ask the retailer! For new processor do you mean the Intel Centrino? This isn't a new processor, it is just marketing speak for a mobile processor and built in wifi.
holdtight
Grafter
Posts: 1,634
Registered: 15-06-2007

Laptop specifications

Most of the current crop of mid range laptops would suit your needs perfectly without you spending a fortune on top end stuff, acer packard bell and toshiba all have good systems out at the moment that are very reasonably priced

As Denzil points out something with a mobile chip whether it be intel or amd would be preferable due to battery usage and heat and you will probably find more intel based systems than amd when you take a look

I have two laptops running with mobile chips ones a 2.4gb celeron the other is a 1.6gb sempron (socket 754) and i have found the sempron to be the better performer all round plus being a mobile it only runs at 800mhz if its not doing much then kicks in at 1.6 when you give it something to do which keeps the battery in top condition and it performs admirably so my own personal choice would be the mobile sempron but you may find something from intel (not celeron) would suit your needs just as well around the 1.4 to 1.7ghz mark

Things you should really be looking for in a laptop are battery life a dvd rewriter as much ram as you can afford built in wifi and a company with solid reliable CS
N/A

Laptop specifications

I bought an inspiron 1300 from Dell for £299 all in. It has a dvd writer, 256mb ram, xp home, a 14.1" widescreen, and is very, very silent with a pentium M 1.5GHz chip.

I purchased an extra 512Mb ram, and bought a wireless usb adapter. All in all came to £350 approx. Has about a 2hr battery but i mainly use it on mains and does a fine job!


I convert videos on it too, stressing it out NEVER had a problem but don't use it every day like my desktop.
N/A

Laptop specifications

you should look to get an Intel Pentium M (m = mobile) chip (less power drain), also Wireless ready means it just has a wireless card built in.

If you wait about 2 weeks the new Core Duo chips will start to ship, and you will see a marked price drop in all things "out dated"

Also, if you can find a laptop with a Yonahan intel chip in it, get it, they really use very little power so all is good.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,229
Thanks: 1
Registered: 30-07-2007

Laptop specifications

Quote
I bought an inspiron 1300 from Dell for £299 all in.

thats a pretty sharp price -- cheapest at the moment is around 349 -- did you get yours thru the dell "outlet store" ?
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,877
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Laptop specifications

How about a macbook or if you can get one an iBook (which is currently being replaced by the macbook but still a capable machine, I am typing this on one)? That should do everything you want although they are macs if that puts you off (although I can't see why it would especially seeing as you can install win xp on the macbook)...

The macbook uses a Intel Core Duo CPU whereas the iBook uses an older PowerPC G4 CPU.
N/A

Laptop specifications

i ordered it on the phone through dell. the meory i ordered from crucial. I got in at exactly the right time!