View Full Version : Notebook pcs - brands and thoughts

06-07-2007, 02:20 PM
The following post is totally tl;dr material. Feel free to skip to the bottom for the short version.

So hey! Although I'm not seriously shopping at the moment, I do hope to buy a new PC in the next year or two. My current machine, a Dell desktop, has been running strong and reliable for nearly three years, but these systems do have a lifespan, and besides becoming outdated (which it isn't quite yet), I would honestly be surprised if it made it through 2008.

I would like to get a notebook again, honeslty. Much as I love the hardware flexibility and affordability of a desktop, the clutter of wires and the dust the thing attracts really annoys the crap out of me. Also, moving a desktop safely is an expensive process... well, at least it is for me, since moving has the habit of going across oceans in my case. When I move next month, I'm not even sure I'm going to take my PC with me.

So a notebook is the most sensible option. The trouble is picking one that I'm comfortable with laying down the bones for. The brands I've looked at:

Dell. My last two pcs have been Dells, a desktop and a notebook. The notebook, bought in '03, is pretty run down. I abused the heck out of the thing in an extraordinarily unfriendly environment, though. I clearly didn't know how to take care of a notebook properly. It still sees occasional use, and the light use it does get it still runs fairly well. I'm pretty pleased with Dell's products. This would be the safe choice, but a little expensive.

HP. I've cracked a lot on HP systems over the years, but it looks like they've shaped up a lot in the past year or two. Keeping far, far away from those budget Compaq pieces of crap, their notebook systems actually look really nice. HP is probably the cheapest of the bunch, but not by a large margin.

Toshiba. Most of their notebooks are pre-built with no customization, but they do have one model that they build to order. Their prices are fairly reasonable, too.

Sony. Sony apparently thinks their systems are made out of gold. Their lowest prices are like two grand, and their systems offer no customization. lol

Alienware. See: Sony, but a little cheaper.

Mac. If I wanted to spent Sony or Alienware prices I would just buy one of these, thank you very much.

Is there any other brands I should look into? These are the only ones that come to mind.

One thing I am very interested in is a manufacturer that freaking allows me to choose XP as my os. I don't freaking need the useless, compromising system hog that is Vista. Only Alienware has that option for XP, and guess what? They charge you extra for it! How backwards is that? Considering how much more Alienware is to begin with (not to mention I don't want that dorky alien head on my case), I'll pass.

tl;dr version
I am considering a notebook as my next pc choice. What brands do you guys like and have experience with?

06-07-2007, 03:14 PM
So here's a weird random thought. I believe Dell is selling notebooks with Linux on them now. You can get that, nuke the drive (which, from what I understand, you want to do with Dell stuff anyway) and then install a copy of XP.

There's my random thought, now someone more knowledgable, get talking.

Calorie Mate
06-07-2007, 04:53 PM
Sorry, I absolutely detest laptops. For me, at least, moving around isn't too big of a deal, so I'd rather get more bang for my buck out of a PC...though I have been travelling a lot for work, and it would be nice to take my machine with me, but after the next two weeks I think the travelling is going to slow down again, so...yeah.

Out of curiosity, do you play PC games? I don't, and so when I told my friends that do that, aside from the new RAM I bought last summer, I didn't see to upgrade my machine anytime soon (it's 4 years old now), they all stared at me like I was crazy. Seriously, I use Photoshop to dick around sometimes, check email, use Word to type reports, browse the internet, and have occasionally played a few old ROMs...do I really ever need to upgrade again?

06-07-2007, 04:58 PM
i got a 400 dollar HP notebook with widescreen and xp before i went to japan, and it's served me well. its not going to win any awards or rock the gaming tip, but its a workhorse for basic functions.

06-07-2007, 05:11 PM
Dell laptops are workhorses, and if they do break it's easier to find parts. I thought they were still installing XP on their machines, but they put so many extra widgets and unnecessary crap on their machines you will probably just want to do a reinstall anyway. I've been slowly upgrading my fiancée's Inspiron and reinstalling Windows made a big difference in performance. If price is a concern, you might consider upgrading as a stop-gap.

I want a MacBook Pro so bad. I've wanted one for years and now that I can finally almost afford one, the wait is agonizing.

06-07-2007, 05:46 PM
Out of curiosity, do you play PC games?
Aye, my current benchmark is a system that can run Civilization IV smoothly. I can probably get a notebook that could do that and then some for 1000-1300, but I always fear games straining and wearing out the hardware.

That said, the new benchmark is coming in a year or two (Starcraft 2). Blizzard usually does a fantastic job of getting their games to run well and look decent on even low-end systems, but I have to keep it in mind while shopping. I understand notebooks are not easily upgraded.

06-07-2007, 05:51 PM
Out of the brands sold at Best Buy I'd say Gateway is my favorite. Fairly reliable and they use some common parts (batterys and power supplys are interchangeable). Dell's customer service annoys me to no end, so I'd have to skip on them, and HP I've had some issues with as a computer service person. Toshiba is fairly reliable and affordable, only complaint is they have had issues with dc jacks becoming loose. All manufacturers have this problem, but Toshibas are more frequent. It might be tricky not to get Vista.
I recommend Apple to everyone who doesn't do anything but internet and word processing. You can run xp on Apple now, and Blizzard usually does the whole 'mac' thing.

The smart thing to do is buy an IBM off ebay, but I don't want anything new myself. I just want to play Cave Story wherever I go.

06-07-2007, 05:52 PM
lol! civ 4 was my benchmark too =)