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Old 06-19-2000, 08:55 PM   #1
Overtime
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Unhappy OT: SONOVA! Notebook's all but trashed...gonna need a new one. Reccomendations?

Well, my Compaq Presario POS (I HATE Compaq) finally got its diagnosis done. After the cat knocked a glass half full of orange juice on it from a ledge a few weeks ago, it's gonna need a new keyboard. What's the point of burning all that money on an obsolete 233 mhz MMX? I should've gotten it looked at sooner, but noooo...I had to try and fix it (and I made it worse, I think).

It still burns me up though. I don't know who I'm angrier at...the cat or Compaq.

Since there are a ton of tech guys here, what would you reccomend? Looking at $2-2.5k, high processor speed, P3, excellent graphics, sizable display, solid memory, etc. etc. I'm gonna need to use it for a few years if possible. Schoolwork and the occasional gaming run. Not really worried about portability...I can carry stuff around, it won't kill me.

I'm looking at the Acer 730 series or maybe a Dell. I'm not a big Compaq fan as my old notebook was a high-maintenance low-output junker. Like a Taurus or something.

Any help would be appreciated. I know some of you out there are computer geniuses and can help out a computer foot soldier like me.

I hate that d*** cat.
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Old 06-19-2000, 09:12 PM   #2
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That would make me VERY mad!

My recommendation is a PowerBook G3. The G3 processor is incredibly fast for portable use, and I WISH I had the current model, with wireless Internet via AirPort. The screen and trackpad are both great, and it's really a slim unit for being a full desktop-replacement system. All the goodies are there: DVD, FireWire, USB, PC Card slot, and great battery life. Mine runs 3-4 hours even with NO power conservation used. Remember to double the MHz on a G3 processor to get a fair rough comparison to a portable Pentium II or III. (Reason: a G3 may run fewer cycles per second, but gets more done in each cycle.)

The PowerBook is priced like a mid-range laptop--right in your range--but even the bottom model challenges the highest-end PC laptops in most regards. So you'll have cash left to add Virtual PC. In my job I need Windows, so I can vouch for Virtual PC--it's not as fast as a real PC, but it works extremely well. It's just plain cool to have Mac and PC windows open on the same screen, and be able to drag stuff back and forth.

I own several other computers--the one before the PowerBook was a Windows PC--and I will never buy anything but a PowerBook again--even for Windows.

For gaming, I play all the current 3D games (Quake 3, Unreal Tournament, Descent 3) on my PowerBook, which is not even as nice as the current ones. And you'll find whatever software you need for schoolwork--probably MS Office. Or just run your old software under Virtual PC and migrate to Mac software over time for better performance.

For the future, Mac OS X (Unix meets Mac) should give this laptop a longer life than most--and Macs do tend to stay useable longer than PCs in general.

So--an unusual recommendation, but as one Windows PC owner to another.... this Mac is the best purchase I ever made.

Good luck!
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Old 06-19-2000, 09:15 PM   #3
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1.) iBook developer's edition (dark grey, nice.
2.) Dell Laptop
3.) Newest G3 Model (450mhz? or 500mhz)



[This message has been edited by STi Sev (edited June 19, 2000).]
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Old 06-19-2000, 09:18 PM   #4
RSJeff
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I would definetly agree with Em the G3 Powerbook is an amazing laptop. I would get one in a second if I needed a laptop.

Jeff Baum
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Old 06-19-2000, 09:40 PM   #5
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other than my 950mhz Athlon (alex, heh heh)
i have an blueberry ibook.
very cute, but kinda slow and screen waaay too small

Get the top ofthe line powerbook
Here are the specs. (personally, i'd buy the 3500$ one much cheaper)

$3,499.00
14.1-inch TFT screen
500MHz/1MB L2 cache
128MB SDRAM
12GB Ultra ATA
DVD-ROM/DVD-Video
8MB video memory
10/100BASE-T
56K internal modem
Optional
Optional






$3,997.00
14.1-inch TFT screen
500MHz/1MB L2 cache
128MB SDRAM
18GB Ultra ATA
DVD-ROM/DVD-Video
8MB video memory
10/100BASE-T
56K internal modem
Extra Battery
Extra AC Adapter

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Old 06-19-2000, 09:58 PM   #6
Overtime
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Thanks for the help, guys...anyone else with an opinion, feel free to chime in. I'd like to hear from everyone who knows about this stuff...it's always good to learn.

I talked with my dad and he says he's willing to help me out if it's the one I'd keep through college. I'm not sure what sort of limit he's imposing, or what he has in mind, but he's a big Mac fan. I'll talk with him. I do appreciate the help.

So things are looking up from when I went to CompUSA. Those guys suck.
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Old 06-20-2000, 12:13 AM   #7
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I really like my winbook XL3 500mhz PIII laptop.

They have new 700mhz ones out now for lots less than what I paid 6 months ago, try www.winbook.com

Larry
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Old 06-20-2000, 03:05 AM   #8
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Cool

Hey, I know of a line of laptops that are pretty damned cheap for the features they pack. They're called Pro-Star, and they are manufactured in Hong Kong, but they have a full time support operation setup here in the US. Here's the specs for one I'm looking at:

Pro-Star 8293 Series
Screen: 15.1" TFT
Processor: P3-700 SpeedStep w/256KB on die cache
128MB RAM
6X DVD drive with/MPEG-2 hardware decoder.
2 USB/1 ser/1 par/1 IEEE 1394 (FireWire), S-Video out, audio out and in
LS-120 120MB Floppy
18 GB hard drive
PCMCI 10/100 Ethernet/56K Modem
ATI Rage 3D Pro 8MB video/w video capture.


This setup is $3105 direct from Pro-Star. It, of course, includes a carrying case and AC adpater.

The only caveat is that these machines are not featherweights. The 8293's weigh in at almost 10lbs with the battery. But you said that weight wasn't that big an issue, so....

Check out www.pro-star.com for yourself.
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Old 06-20-2000, 09:43 AM   #9
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Under certain circumstances I might also recommend a Sony VAIO laptop:

a) You need to run certain software that is only on Windows (rare--the big-name software all runs on Mac too)

b) You need to run it fast--calculations that take hours or something (meaning that the VirtualPC emulator would slow you down too much)

If these were both true, I have used Sony laptops and they seem well-made. Avoid the really cool ultra-compact ones, I am told the performance is quite poor. But the full-size high-end ones seem pretty good--not cheap though. I didn't think the trackpad worked as well as on the PowerBook, but I haven't used the latest VAIO. I kind of like the purple color of the Sonys.

I might recommend a Compaq too--good reputation and nice speakers--but you don't want to hear that!

For PowerBook info go to http://powerbook.com
(The grey iBook SE is nice too, but you get what you pay for--the screen is smaller. Some nice productivity software is bundled with iBook though.) You'll see they are pushing home moviemaking on the PB--the software for that (iMovie) is free for download from Apple. Could be a fun way to do some cool school projects. For PB and iBook pricing see http://store.apple.com --and the best deal you can get is probably to figure out how to qualify for educational pricing--students and educators get great discounts. (The Education button is at the top when you enter store.apple.com.)

I'd recommend the lowest-end PowerBook--simply because my old 333MHz one flies, easily outrunning my 400MHz PC, and the current low-end PB is much faster then mine (better CPU and graphics board):

* 6.1 lbs. (less with DVD removed), sleek, slim black system with "bronze" keys, looks really nice. The power light is a big glowing Apple on the back of the screen--you'd think it wastes power but it just uses the screen's own light.
* 14.1-inch TFT screen/stereo speakers (plenty loud but too small for much bass)
* Built-in mic for voice chat (say goodbye to long distance bills to your friends)
* 400MHz G3/1MB L2 cache (equals ~800 MHz PC)
* 64MB SDRAM expandable to 512 or 1024!
* 6GB Ultra ATA HD
* DVD-ROM/DVD-Video
* 8MB video memory
* Built in S-Video and regular video out--send your image right to a TV for presentations (or watching DVD movies!)
* 56K internal modem (with fax software)
* FireWire and USB
* Full-size keyboard and trackpad
* 10/100BASE-T Ethernet (you'll definitely want 100Base-T Ethernet for connecting to your school's network--and I've never heard of a PC laptop that doesn't make you buy an add-on for that.)
* PC Card slot
* AirPort card slot (for wireless networking)
* Slot for a security chain
* Media bay for internal Zip drives, CD recorders, or whatever storage devices you want to add
* "Up to" 10 hours battery life if you add a second battery (5 otherwise)
*Sherlock 2 Internet search software--you'll never go to another Web search site (Sherlock searches them all at once and puts the results in one list--fast)
* And one of the coolest things: dual monitor support. Plug in any old monitor--or even a TV--and you get 2 screens. They can be the same, but more fun is to have the 2nd monitor add workspace. You can actually move your mouse off the edge of one screen and it appears on the other--like having one double-wide screen. Lots more room for windows and controls that way. You can have 1024x768 resolution on both diplays.

Price: $2499, or $2349 educational price. Nice deal for what you get.

Plus they've been having special deals with a free color printer when you order it with more RAM, or maybe vice versa. More than 64 MB is nice (especially for games and graphics) but not vital.

If you can't get education pricing, look at mail order places like outpost.com (free shipping), macconnection.com, cdw.com, maczone.com, etc.--they have to advertise using Apple's price, but the way they compete with each other is to throw in extras like floppy drives (just say no--very little fits on a floppy that can't be more easily emailed) or printers. Sometimes if you call them they will even give you the cash discount instead of the freebies--that's what I did.

If you want a PowerBook mouse, the Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer or Optical are great--5 buttons plus scroll wheel, and no ball to clean. Cool glowing red light too.

I've talked people into buying Windows PCs before, I started out with PCs, and my other computer is a PC--but the benefits of using the majority system (Windows) are really non-issues for most purposes. (Meaning it's nice to have 5000 great games to choose from instead of 500--but how many will you actually buy?) And troubleshooting a Mac is much easier--you don't need to be a technical wizard. I've done tech support for Windows and Mac both, and there is no comparison in terms of ease of management and solving problems. You'll never have to edit obscure files of code on a PowerBook--even technical things like drivers and libraries (which you can probably just ignore anyway) are all managed by point and click. A nice side effect of the Mac being a newer platform perhaps.

And after all, Mac is kind of the Subaru of computers--a great system, but dominating the market only in certain niches....

I should say that although I love my PowerBook after 8 months, I still consider both Windows and the current Mac OS to fall short in many important ways. No surprise--they were both designed in the ancient past. But I am really impressed by Apple's totally new Mac OS X, coming out over the next 6 months. It merges UNIX with a version of the Mac OS that is far more powerful than anything yet seen. It will run on any PowerBook you buy. See http://www.apple.com/macosx if you're curious.

FYI, I use my PowerBook mainly for developing Mac and Windows CD-ROM software, building Web sites, 3D animation and other graphics, audio processing, word processing/fax/email/general office tasks, and gaming. (If your old laptop couldn't handle 3D gaming you're in for a treat with a PwerBook--and most games have a free demo version for download.) I find http://maccentral.com/forum is a great place to ask for Mac-related help and get quick answers from other users.

[This message has been edited by Em (edited June 20, 2000).]
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Old 06-20-2000, 03:29 PM   #10
Overtime
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Em and co., you guys have been a big help. I leave Thursday and will hopefully have a chance to do some computer browsing in the Northeast.

Once again, thanks for the info-another benefit of the i-club! And any other opinions are welcome still.

have a good one!
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Old 06-20-2000, 03:36 PM   #11
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People are suggesting Mac's?!? No good unless you put Linux on it.

I have't had a laptop but I know that Dell, IBM, and Gateways tend to be good machines out of the box.

If you wanna save a little cash and know which machine you want, try checking for it at http://www.pricewatch.com - I've found quite a few things there rather cheap.
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Old 06-20-2000, 03:38 PM   #12
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Mac's GUI and stability is better for actual working. Since gaming will be reduced to a minimum on a laptop MAC is better.

Altough that Hong Kong deal sound incredible! 700mhz P3??? I only got a 950mhz k7
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Old 06-20-2000, 03:49 PM   #13
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8Complex, finally someone agrees with me, I wouldn't waste my time with MacOs, I'd install Linux or Rhapsody on the bad boy If I got a Intel based laptop, I'd probably go with FreeBSD, if not, Slackware.
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Old 06-20-2000, 06:45 PM   #14
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You COULD get the G3, and in about two weeks time, you'd have every software program ever made for it (read: there in no longer anything good that runs on MacOS that can't run on Windows- even Adobe saw the error of their ways four or five YEARS ago). I like LINUX from what I've seen, but again, no major industry-leading programs. I'd say a DELL with some form of (GASP) windows. Compaqs aren't that bad- that is, once you strip everything Compaq-software out of them. The hardware itself (HCF modems aside- they're all terrible) is very good.
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Old 06-20-2000, 07:27 PM   #15
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you certainly cannot blame Compaq for spilling the glass of OJ on it, unless of course every other brand has some sort of an OJ guard on it. but then again, I think anything Presario is junk. Armada notebooks are not that bad.
as for choosing an OS, you should remember what you are using it for, not what is the coolest OS out there. what is the best for you? if Windows fills the bill with ease of use, choice of software etc etc then go with that. if you want top end performance with bombproof reliability go with some version of Linux. just remember that each has its drawbacks.
whatever you choose, enjoy.
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Old 06-20-2000, 09:09 PM   #16
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I have both an iBook and a Winbbook PIII, and find I am happier with the stability of the iBook, but I need to run programs for Windows. So do many other's, Like "Overtime".

When my Winbook PIII was being repaired after dropping it on the garage floor three weeks ago, I had to run Virtual PC 3.0 with Win 95 on the iBook. This was barely an adequate solution for me.

The iBook is fast but the screen is too small (800x600), the 32mb ram had to be upgraded to 64mb and is still not enough, and the tiny 3gb hard drive is useless for running OS 8.6 and Win 95 on the same hard drive. At least I can use my HP printer, cable modem, and 250 mb zip drive on both laptops.

If you want to run multiple OS on a Mac Laptop (Mac, Linux and Windows), get the fastest most expensive one Apple makes!

Larry Ganz www.ImprezaRS.com

PS: Winbook customer service is excellent, and they decided to let the $299 extended warrantee pay the $263 repair job!! (I wont question them about this).
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