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The $500 laptop

FremFrem Registered User regular
So, I'm getting a laptop! Yay.
My budget is $500 (maybe a little over)

I'll be using this computer for running Linux, compiling stuff, and playing old games.
On the game front, the only things even worth mentioning are Half-Life 2, UT2004, Oblivion, and StarCraft 2 (When it comes out). It goes without saying that all of these will be played on low settings.

Right now I'm looking at the Dell here (the one in the second column)
Vostro 1000
AMD AthlonTM 64 X2 Dual-Core processor TK-57 (1.9GHz/256KB)

Operating System
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Basic, Service Pack 1

Optical Drive
8X DVD+/-RW with double-layer DVD+R write capability, Cyberlink Power DVD

Memory
2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHZ, 2 Dimm


Hard Drive
120GB2 5400RPM Hard Drive

Video Card
ATI Radeon® Xpress 1150 256MB HyperMemory™ (integrated)

Sound Card
Integrated Audio

Wireless Cards
Dell Wireless 1395 802.11g Wi-Fi Internal Card

Primary Battery
53 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery

Limited Warranty, Services and Support
1 Year Basic Limited Warranty plus 1 Year Mail-in Service


and the Acer here.
Model
Brand Acer
Series Extensa
Model EX5620-4025
Part# LX.E970X.025
General
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium
CPU Type Intel Pentium dual-core T2370(1.73GHz)
Screen 15.4" WXGA
Memory Size 1GB DDR2
Hard Disk 120GB
Optical Drive DVD Super Multi
Graphics Card Intel GMA X3100
Video Memory shared memory
Communication Modem, Gigabit LAN and WLAN
Card slot 1 x Type II PC Card slot
1 x ExpressCard/54 slot
Battery Life Up to 2.4 hours
Dimensions 14.2" x 10.5" x 1.2"
Weight 6.4 lbs.
CPU
CPU Type Intel Pentium dual-core
CPU Speed T2370(1.73GHz)
CPU FSB 533MHz
CPU L2 Cache 1MB
Chipset
Chipset Intel GL960
Display
Screen Size 15.4"
Wide Screen Support Yes
LCD Features Acer CrystalBrite Technology
Display Type Wide XGA
Resolution 1280 x 800
Operating Systems
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium
Graphics
GPU/VPU Intel GMA X3100
Video Memory Shared system memory
Graphic Type Integrated Card
Hard Drive
HDD 120GB
Memory
Memory Slots 2 x DIMM
Memory Speed DDR2 667
Memory 1GB
Max Memory Supported 2GB
Memory Spec 512MB x 2
Optical Drive
Optical Drive Type DVD Super Multi
Optical Drive Interface Integrated
Optical Drive Spec Integrated Super-Multi drive (DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-RAM)
Communications
Modem V.92 56K
LAN 10/100/1000Mbps
WLAN 802.11b/g Wireless LAN
Ports
Card Slot 1 x Type II PC Card slot
1 x ExpressCard/54 slot
USB 4
IEEE 1394 1
Video Port 1 x VGA, 1 x S-Video TV-out
Audio Ports headphones/speakers/line-out
microphone
line-in
Audio
Audio Integrated Sound card
Speaker Two integrated Acer 3DSonic stereo speakers
Input Device
Touchpad Seamless touchpad with four-way integrated scroll button
Keyboard Standard
Supplemental Drive
Card Reader 5-in-1 card reader for optional MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO or xD-Picture Card
Power
AC Adapter 65-watt AC adapter
Battery 6-cell lithium ion
Battery Life Up to 2.4 hours
Physical spec
Dimensions 14.2" x 10.5" x 1.2"
Weight 6.4 lbs.

Frem on

Posts

  • bowenbowen beso el culo shitlord in residenceRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    If I had to pick, I'd pick that Dell.

    Warning: I am a programmer/sysop. Do not take my word as law in any other fields, it is not professional advice.
  • iTunesIsEviliTunesIsEvil Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    bowen wrote: »
    If I had to pick, I'd pick that Dell.
    Ditto.

    The Vostros I've seen have seemed pretty solid to me. Acer ... ehhh, not so much. Anecdotal ftw, right?

  • SilvoculousSilvoculous Registered User
    edited July 2008
    The Dell beats out the Acer for specs, and it looks like a damn nice system for $500. The choice is clear, I think.

  • FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I don't know a lot about hardware, but isn't the Core 2 Duo faster? It's got a much larger cache.

    Notebookcheck.net also shows that the GMA X3100 beats out the ATI Xpress 1150 slightly?

    Edit: Ok, it's just a Pentium dual core, not a Core 2 Duo. But still.
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Processors-Benchmarklist.2436.0.html

    Restrict to laptop processors, then look at items 57 and 65.

  • Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. Surreal. Immersive. Earth.Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    If you go with the Dell, are you getting Ubuntu pre-installed?

    Skidzilla360.jpg | NH844lc.png | GACSALB.jpg My Blog | Gravatar | PSN | 72INGtl.jpg | HkSlskT.png
  • FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    No, though I've installed Ubuntu so many times, that's not really an issue for me.

  • Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. Surreal. Immersive. Earth.Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Oh, I was just wondering if Dell had done the sane thing and actually made it's Ubuntu offering cheaper than getting a traditional windows laptop. :P

    Skidzilla360.jpg | NH844lc.png | GACSALB.jpg My Blog | Gravatar | PSN | 72INGtl.jpg | HkSlskT.png
  • FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    One thing that does worry me slightly is the ATi graphics card. My current card, the Xpress 200m, has a well known OpenGL firmware bug which offloads almost all OpenGL rendering onto the processor. For a while, I couldn't hibernate in Linux at all because ATi had a bug in their Linux drivers.

    I'm just slightly wary about upgrading to something using what is essentially an souped up version of my current video card.

  • Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. Surreal. Immersive. Earth.Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    AMD have released all their specs now though, so the open-source drivers should get a lot better.

    Also, can you believe this?:
    http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/linux_3x?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

    $549, and you can't choose Ubuntu for the better-spec Vostro. :|

    Skidzilla360.jpg | NH844lc.png | GACSALB.jpg My Blog | Gravatar | PSN | 72INGtl.jpg | HkSlskT.png
  • Dance CommanderDance Commander Registered User
    edited July 2008
    You might try calling them, it's possible that you would have that option via phone service. Because really, why pay for a $150 license you don't want or need?
    If you do try that, let me know how it goes, 'cause I'd probably follow suit!

  • FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Well, crap. As I mentioned, the Xpress 200m has huge issues with OpenGL, and they appear to have persisted in it's successor. This is bad.

    Edit: No wait, somethings screwy here. My roommate has that exact same card, and it runs Savage smoothly, even though Savage is a slideshow on my Xpress 200m. It's way more than a 30% improvement. :?

  • FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Ok, final stupid question: Toshiba Satellite A215-S5849
    Operating System Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit)
    Processor AMD® Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core Mobile Processor TL-60
    Processor Speed 2.0GHz
    Level 2 Cache 1MB Level 2 Cache
    Data Bus Speed 800MHz HyperTransport System Speed
    RAM Installed / Max RAM Supported 2048MB PC-5300 DDR2 RAM (Expandable to 4GB)
    Memory Configuration (2) 1024MB SO-DIMM Memory Modules
    Memory Slots Available (0) Available 200-pin SO-DIMM Slots
    Hard Drive 200GB 4,200RPM Serial ATA Hard Drive
    Multimedia Drive Labelflash SuperMulti Double Layer DVD±RW Drive
    Display Type 15.4" Widescreen XGA TruBrite Display
    Video Card ATi Mobility Radeon X1200 Video Chipset
    Video Card Memory Up to 319MB of Shared Memory
    Internal Max Resolution 1280 x 800
    Sound Card High Definition Audio Chipset
    Network Features 10/100 Fast Ethernet Network
    Wireless Network Features Atheros Wireless LAN (802.11b/g) Connection
    Ports and Connectors (1) VGA 15-pin Port; (1) S-Video Out Port; (4) USB 2.0 "A" Ports; (1) FireWire IEEE-1394 Port; (1) RJ-11 Modem Port; (1) RJ-45 Network Port; (1) Microphone Input Port; (1) Headphone Output Port
    Memory Card Reader 5-in-1 Bridge Media Adapter
    Supported Flash Media Secure Digital, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, MultiMedia Card, xD Picture Card (shared slots)
    Expansion Slots (1) Express Card/34 Slot
    Built-In Devices Stereo Speakers, LCD Bezel Webcam, Microphone
    Input Devices Keyboard, Touchpad
    Included Power Supply 75 Watt AC Adapter
    Included Battery 4000mAh Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery
    Included Software Microsoft® Works Version 9.0, Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2007 Edition (60-Day Trial), Norton 360(tm) All-In-One Security (60-Day Trial), Ulead® DVD MovieFactory® 5 for Toshiba, TOSHIBA Speech System, TOSHIBA Disc Creator
    Dimensions (WxDxH) 14.3" x 10.6" x 1.55"
    Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year Limited Warranty

    It looks good aside from the hard drive. Isn't 4200 RPM horribly slow?

  • Dance CommanderDance Commander Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Apparently you can refuse to agree to the Windows EULA and the manufacturer is required by law to refund you for the copy of Windows you refused to install, since you were given no choice at time of purchase not to buy it.
    Interesting...

  • TyrantCowTyrantCow Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    How to get a Windows tax refund

    Also, the Eee are right in your range, I see them more as a remote device; and, not ideal for gaming (that's for sure).

    But, the new one has a 10 inch screen and a 40 GB solid-state harddrive.
    I just think they're cool.

  • FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The EEE is neat, and it was one of the first affordable UMPCs to appear after the One Laptop Per Child project (Ok, so the XO isn't an UMPC, but it really did start the whole "Cheap laptop" thing), but this laptop is going to be my main machine.

    If I was going to use a cheap ultramobile PC as my main machine however, I'd definitely get the MSI Wind. It's is what my sister is getting based on my advice, actually. All she wants to use a laptop for is to take notes in class and write reports, and it's plenty enough for that. Well, if we can find one before school starts again, obviously. Stupid battery shortages.

  • Dance CommanderDance Commander Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Yeah, I want to get an MSI Wind, but I'm troubled by reports that the realtek wireless card doesn't have linux drivers. I'm also not sure if it can be placed in RFMon mode, which is really important to me. Honestly the Vostro looks really good, it's just so damn heavy!
    It's weird that there's nothing on the market in between ~2 lb UMPCs and ~6 lb full desktop replacement notebooks.

  • RookRook Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    It's weird that there's nothing on the market in between ~2 lb UMPCs and ~6 lb full desktop replacement notebooks.

    I hope that's some kind of unfunny joke.

  • FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Not in the ~$500 price range. :-/

  • Dance CommanderDance Commander Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Yeah, I kind of left that part out and ended up sounding stupid =(
    I dunno about you Frem, since you're looking for a full-on desktop replacement, but I'm just gonna hold out for the Linux Wind models in Sept.

  • FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Yeah... I wanted to get a Wind for my sister, but everything is all backordered and such, and we both start classes like the second week in August. (Shocking how much plans can change in two days, isn't it? ;-) )

    It then occoured to me that I could get a Vostro 1000, get a weaker CPU, (and smaller HD, less RAM, etc), install XP (or do drastic tweaking to Vista), and add the 9-cell battery to it for at 7+ hours of battery life. Yes.

    As for myself, I've found a nice deal on the Vostro 1510. It turns out that the ATI Xpress 1150 drivers still have really bad 3D acceleration in Linux, and the Intel GMA X3100 is more powerful anyway. There are even rumors that the Linux drivers perform better than the Windows ones, which makes me quite happy.

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