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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)
Spoiler:


and the Acer here.
Spoiler:

Frem on

Posts

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    If I had to pick, I'd pick that Dell.

  • 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 Spaaaace! In Space.Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    If you go with the Dell, are you getting Ubuntu pre-installed?

  • 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 Spaaaace! In Space.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

  • 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 Spaaaace! In Space.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. :|

  • 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
    Spoiler:

    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
  • 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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