So, by the grace of a fine season in beaver pelt fees, an adjunct of the Dominion of Canada known as the Province of Ontario has seen fit to give me money for a new laptop.
Not just some money, though. My budget is $2000 CAD.
Out of that $2000, I want to get a laptop and some sort of extended warranty. Taxes are applicable, and they are 13%.
I can throw in an extra $100 if absolutely necessary. Educational discounts are fine, straight-up dated sales aren't (I have to submit quotes and so on, yay!)
-Runs World of Warcraft in 25-person raids without gagging (at 1400x900)
-At least a three hour battery life. If I can skip replacing a battery due to its charge dropping under three hours in the next two years (assuming 24 full recharge cycles a year), that would be fantastic. (Three hours is the longest class at my university. A not-insignificant portion of lecture halls don't have power outlets at the desk.)
Now, now, I know, all of this so far sounds like usual H&A garble. But I'm wondering about some specific issues and I think people who actually know which end of a HTML document is the <head> would be a help.
Models I've been looking at include:
-A 13" MacBook Pro. Starting off with the 2.26GHz/$1299 educational model (yes, the old regular MacBook), upping it to 4GB RAM and a 320GB hard disk, and including 3 years of AppleCare, comes to about $2080 with educational discount. Has a GeForce 9400M and a few other doo-dads.
-A ThinkPad T500. Start off with the 2.53GHz/recordable DVD drive model (about $1300, I think, left that page), up it to 4GB RAM, and a 250GB hard disk. Go for 3 years of "ThinkPlus 3 Year Onsite 9x5 Next Business Day Warranty and Maintenance Option." Has a nine-cell battery and a few other doo-dads. Comes out to about $2034.
-A Dell Studio XPS 16. Start off with the 500GB/Radeon 4670 model ($1299, but Dell's pricing is screwy). Don't need to up the RAM or hard disk, but with 3 years of "3 Years Next Business Onsite/In Home Service with CompleteCare," it comes to about $2122. I filed the Dell sound and wireless off.
My basic issue is what I'm perceiving as quality against strength. See, I've been on an okay Toshiba Satellite with Intel integrated graphics for the last three years. It's been alright (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, terrible sound), but it's not been fun fighting with issues of consumer quality and its total lack of graphical wherewithal.
And so, three years on, part of me is like "Hey! You can play WoW at more than 5 fps! You can not have window clipping issues and actually game on this thing!" and yet the part of me that's a little wiser is like "Fine. But get something that will stay working and well until you can replace it."
Quite obviously, the Dell is the beefiest. But I've heard mixed things about them and the battery life worries me.
The Lenovo is reliable, quite obviously. ThinkPads are legendary in aspect. This is the safe option. The warranties are confusing, though.
The Apple...well, yes, I'm an Arts major and I'm bought into the iPod/iTunes ecosystem. The allure is high. Additionally, I work for an on/off campus magazine and being able to do layout from home on one of their CS licenses would be really great sometimes. However, the 9400M sounds a bit eh graphically - like, it'd work for WoW and other midrange stuff, but if I could play upcoming titles like Dragon Age, I'd be ecstatic.
Additional question: Quite obviously, right now these would likely ship with Vista. I'd grab the free upgrade to 7 of course. But what edition of Vista do I need to get to not get screwed over by the upgrade. Is Home/Business Premium enough or do I need to go to Ultimate? (Obviously, 32-bit editions need not apply, and I'd grab a $30 Win7 license for the MBP.)
Any thoughts? Thanks in advance for your help.
Seems about the best I can find for your price range. If it was me buying it I'd get a refund ($30-50) on Vista and install Ubuntu.
[edit: turns out that'll put you over budget. I think you should save up a little more and go for it, if you're set on a performance laptop.]
You just need to tell them what you've done in detail before sending it in for warranty service so they don't throw away or bother troubleshooting your 3rd party blu-ray drive. Likewise, if you bought RAM or an HDD, they'll make sure to move it to a new machine if you need the whole thing replaced.
Just a note, Macs are absolutely not the portable best gaming machines or anywhere near the top bang for your buck, but I think they're pretty rad and the hardware build quality is excellent.
I like Linux (I've handrolled my own Gentoo installation in the past), but it's not for me and what I'm looking for in a computer right now. I'd go from Vista to 7, like I said, instead.
The only issue with this is that, like I said, I'm basically getting the money for this through a pseudo government-bid process. I get to submit three quotes and one gets picked and each one should be one fully detailed invoice or receipt. I realize it's cheaper, but it's not something that works for me this way right now. The only way I could conceivably see that working would be if I bought a laptop and ram and a hard disk all at once in one place, which would be...interesting. And difficult to explain.
Edit: To clarify, this is why I presented a few things I was looking at and then some follow-up questions. I don't want this to be "do my work for me with increasingly arcane requirements," I just haven't kept up on hardware/brand quality in the last few years and am a little lost.
It's cheaper to buy new RAM and a new HDD online and throw away the stock hardware than it is to use the Apple online store's Build to Order options. So if you want, go to a big merchant like Amazon and get the laptop, bigger HDD, and 4GB of RAM there. Hopefully you can also score the education discount too.
Pick up a USB-SATA enclosure while you're at it for the stock HDD. It's $24 and worth it for the storage.
Nice stealth windows shill work there
 to be more serious, it always seemed to me that for notebooks, looking out for a good discount is important. There are always coupon codes for the US sites as well don't know about Canada though.
For instance with this deal You could get a notebook (HP HDX16t) with a 130M video card (should be decent enough) for $750.
Just buy two of those and say fuck it to way overpriced extended warranties.
Then again you are in Canada so maybe notebooks freeze to death or something.
(Please do not gift. My game bank is already full.)
Coupon codes for Canada are almost non-existant. Its terrible.
Also, I have my doubts that "Here's $2000 for a laptop" can be turned into "Heres $2000 for two laptops for yourself" and will more than likely end up being turned into "Oh you can get by with a $750 laptop? We'll just give you $750 then"
For instance for 1,299 at New Egg you can get an ASUS G51VX-X1A Laptop
-15.6" screen (1920x1080)
-NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M
-offer extended warranties for up $290ish
This is the same reason I'm not looking at some sort of obvious netbook+desktop deal that would fit my needs. I'm thinking it's down to the MBP and this, right now.
And I'll throw my recommendation in on the MBP 15". They're SATA, I think they're at least 5400 RPM although they did have some problems with the performance of the drives... not real clear if they ever cleared those up.
Uh, I'm sorry... but no, just no... I'm not letting you buy a 17.3" laptop. That thing will become the bane of your existence. Especially not one thats that expensive and when you're considering a MBP as an alternative.
If you REALLY want the dedicated GPU go for the cheapest 15" MBP because it has a 9400 for low power stuff and 9600 for higher power stuff. It only knocks you slightly over budget, and thats only if you buy the 3 year warranty with it (which you could buy up to a year later yourself if you can't find the extra cash to put in now)
Ok, I'm a total noob when it comes to buying laptops (never regularly used one until my 9 year old main comp started breaking down a couple of months ago) so I'm coming to you guys for advice. The laptop will be used mainly for internet browsing and writing reports. However, my wife does want to do some video editing, and I'm into games so the laptop will need to be fairly beefed up.
Any models/brands that I should strongly consider buying or avoiding?
Assuming I treat it well, how long can I reasonably expect a laptop to last?
What kind of warranty should I get?
Remember, my budget is only 1000 dollars. Is that too little for a decent gaming laptop?
As an aside, Windows 7 is coming out next month, so I'd like to wait until then before I buy the laptop.
Thanks for the help!
Gaming/video editing is not the kind of thing you want to be doing on a laptop. If I were you I would say pick up a Netbook for $300 - $400 and then spend the rest on a desktop. Desktop gets you more power for cheaper, netbook gets you portability.
Problems with gaming laptops -
1) REALLY HEAVY
3) No upgradeability
4) Crappy battery life
5) Noisy as hell
7) A year from now you have a laptop that can't play games, overheats, has terrible battery life, and is noisy.
Is this a typo, or do you NEVER unplug your laptop? I got a new battery for my MBP under warranty at the beginning of July, and I've had 63 charge cycles since.
I generally only take my laptop to class/school for my three-hour night classes, of which you generally get twelve a semester in two semesters. So maybe 48 if I have two.
edit: my current Toshiba is a 17" monstrosity, so that may have something to do with it.
That does look good and it does fall under budget. If that comp is the same price or lower after windows 7 comes out, I'll consider it. Anyone own an HP laptop? This laptop comes with a 12 month warranty from HP...would getting a laptop with an extended warranty be worth it?
Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
This is a personal opinion from experiences I have had but I stay away from HP like the plague. Thier Customer Service is worse than any I have ever delt with. EVER.
care to elaborate?
I can vouch for these laptops. I have an Aspire 5920G and it is awesome. I paid €425 (around $620) six months ago and it's been performing perfectly. With a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB ram, 250GB drive and a Radeon 3470, it plays WoW at near to highest settings at it's native resolution with no problem at all. The battery lasts just over three hours and I never even unplug it most of the time - just last week I had to and it still gave over three hours battery life.
The laptop quoted by Zilla has a GeForce 9500M, which would play Dragon Age just fine, and WoW would be no problem. Again, I can vouch for these laptops. I'm extremely happy with mine.
Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
I am in charge of ordering computers and laptops for a company of approximately 2000 or so. When I took this job the prior employee ordered tons of HP Printers and a few Laptops. I havent had much experience with the desktop but I imagine they funnel through the same CS department.
The last call I had with them I had a printer that was DOA. I was the tech in charge of the install so I called up HP and they ran me through the typical procedure to narrow the problem. It was the formatter board so they needed to send another. Remember this Printer was brand new just out of the box. They wanted to charge 60 bucks to send a REFURB to us. This was not acceptable to me and so I asked if there was anyone I could talk to about this. They took my info down and I had to wait for a call back. No way to get past tier 1 I guess.
I got an email from someone stating that it was company policy to send "used" (they used the work refurb)units for replacements and that the charge was for processing and the warranty would be extended yadda yadda. What good is a warranty when it has a damn deductible of sorts.
I talked to the department about this circumstance and they didnt want to pay the cash as you will understand we are budgeted and they didnt have a CC anyway. So I emailed back the vendor I purchased the printer from and he asked but had no options even with it being DOA they had no return plan for these types of items. So I emailed back the HP tech and no response. I called up HP and my Case had been closed.... wtf? I had to run through the damn debugging procedures again to get a new case generated and they still wanted to charge me.
After a chat with my boss and the department it was decided that they would pay the 60 bucks and so I called back HP and the tech I got looked at my case file which had been closed again! If you ever talk to HP CS do not hang up the damn phone until your case is resolved as I guess they close the case at the end of the phone call. I told the Rep I had on the phone now about the case and he said well we will send out a replacement one for free to you....
I WILL FUCKIN KILL YOU! /hatebeam
After about a month of working with a different CS Rep each time I got the damn thing replaced for free by damn luck of the draw. Fuckin HP.