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Old 04-14-2004, 06:03 PM   #1
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Help choosing a laptop...

Hi I'm looking to buy my first laptop in a few months or so. What's important to me is size and computing performance: I don't want to carry around a 10 lb monster (ideally, I could slip the laptop into a large purse or tote-bag) and I will be using this for scientific computing. Unfortunately these two features seem to be mutually exclusive. There are no pentium 4 3GHz processors on 5 lb machines. Right now I'm looking at the Dell site. For about $1500 (my budget) I can get either:

The Inspiron 600m with a 1.4 GHz pentium M processor, 512 GB of ram on 1 Dimm (max ram is 2GB), 40 GB hard drive, CDRW/DVD combo drive. This weighs 5lbs.

The Inspiron 1150 with a 2.66 mobile pentium 4, 1 GB of ram on 2 Dimms (maxed out), 40 GB hard drive, CDRW/DVD combo. This weighs 7 lbs.

Unfortunately both come with a bunch of M$ crap I can't seem to opt out of.

My questions are, does anybody know anything about the performance of the pentium M vs the mobile pentium 4? What other things factor into the performance of the laptop? Does dell offer laptops without M$ pre-installed? Any suggestions about other manufacturers to look at? How important is it to have a (big ugly) protective bag? Any other general advice appreciated.

Thanks for reading!
Old 04-14-2004, 06:55 PM   #2
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usually you can't opt out of the M$ stuff, you just have to bite the bullet and format it off when you get it.

for $1450 you could get an R40 Thinkpad with the same specs as the i1150 except 256MB less memory. but you can get 256mb for ~$50, so roughly they are the same, for a *much* better computer than the dell. and you could probably do a lot better custom configuring one -- that $1450 model was just a preconfigured listing.

if weight is a main concern, you might want to consider looking at smaller-screened notebooks, even down to the 12.1". Asus has some nice ones in their S-series (someone on the forum has said his Asus A2 is super linux-friendly, fwiw) but other than those i'm not sure b/c i've been looking mainly at multimedia notebooks.

add roughly 1Ghz to P-M (or centrino) for equivalent P4 performance, depending on task, and increasing with increasing centrino Ghz. so 1.4 centrino roughly equal to 2.4Ghz P4 at the upper limit, 1.6 about = to 2.6-2.8Ghz P4, etc.

Old 04-14-2004, 07:10 PM   #3
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I almost hate to say it, but notebook shopping really shouldn't over look Mac iBook/Powerbook
Old 04-14-2004, 07:23 PM   #4
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Aren't they more expensive though? And is it possible to double boot with linux?
Old 04-14-2004, 07:24 PM   #5
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They are not much more, and Yellow Dog Linux will run fine on Mac
Old 04-15-2004, 10:39 AM   #6
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I've got an IBM Thinkpad i1300 series P-3 750Mhz and it has been very reliable. If I was going to replace it right now I would definitely go back IBM. A Mac would be nice but they are to expensive for my budget now.



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