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View Full Version : Recommedations for a PC Notebook


jaw04005
Sep 3, 2003, 11:43 AM
Hey everyone,

Before I get flamed (hehe) I currently own an iMac G4, iBook, and a Power Mac G3. This is my second year of college, and I am a business major. I have to have a PC notebook for Accounting and some other courses. There software will not run on Mac, nor does the school's IT department support Macintosh. Only the media folks, have macs in the entire school. Anyways, I was wanting to know if anyone had any recommendations for obviously a mac user as far as notebook wise. I really don't want a Dell. (they are so ugly).

Josh

dcb
Sep 3, 2003, 12:04 PM
What is your price range?

Chealion
Sep 3, 2003, 01:15 PM
Don't get one ;)

Though for what you want to do, any one will work. Expect it to be a horrible experience compared to your Mac though (that is if you're getting an older laptop, instead of the latest and greatest). Or you could get Virtual PC and run those Accounting programs through that. It shouldn't be too hard considering you don't need enormous horsepower to play games.

CmdrLaForge
Sep 3, 2003, 02:11 PM
You are on the wrong page !

Thats all I have to say.

patrick0brien
Sep 3, 2003, 02:25 PM
-joshuawaire

Well, if it is looks you are after, I'd say Sony VAIO, but you'd getter a better bang for your buck with a Dell. Personally though, I prefer the utilitarian nature of IBM notebooks.

ewinemiller
Sep 3, 2003, 02:30 PM
Originally posted by joshuawaire
I really don't want a Dell. (they are so ugly).

You may want to put your sense of style aside and look at Dells anyways. They are priced well, quality is good, and the service is excellent. In most quality/service surveys you end up seeing Apple and Dell swap back and forth in the top two spots year after year. I've also used IBM laptops, they are generally rugged, but I don't like them because of where they put the function key (it's where the Ctrl key is normally) so it's a pain to move back and forth between an IBM laptop and a normal desktop keyboard.

Independence
Sep 3, 2003, 02:39 PM
i recommend you go with an IBM Thinkpad. those are some solid laptops. my Thinkpad will be celebrating its 10th birthday in 2004 and it still works. :)

Schiffi
Sep 3, 2003, 02:48 PM
Try VPC for a whirl first. It may run your accounting stuff alright. Most stuff like that runs fine in VPC (still check it out with an AppleStore first, they usually have VPC set up on a machine). VPC is way cheaper than a new computer and you'll still be able to run your mac apps. IT doesn't need to support Macs. My HS didn't and my PB worked with the network just fine. You may want to contact the IT depart if you need to use the network for storage though (names for drives usually differ on a mac, but not always). And about only the graphics people using macs, hell most of the mac ppl on my campus aren't art majors.

jaw04005
Sep 3, 2003, 03:43 PM
Thanks for all the useful comments. I have been using a Mac since the Apple IIc. I rarely have to deal with Windows but this is a case Im just going to have to deal with. The school's network is Novell Netware, and they won't help me connect to it (because they dont support Macintosh). Also, virtual PC is way too slow, I have already tried with version 6. Thanks again.

Backtothemac
Sep 3, 2003, 04:59 PM
Originally posted by joshuawaire
Thanks for all the useful comments. I have been using a Mac since the Apple IIc. I rarely have to deal with Windows but this is a case Im just going to have to deal with. The school's network is Novell Netware, and they won't help me connect to it (because they dont support Macintosh). Also, virtual PC is way too slow, I have already tried with version 6. Thanks again.

I would say one of the new Dell 8500's or 8600's. I have a Dimension 8300 and the support from Dell has been flawless for me. They system is right around 1500, and is a 15.4" Widescreen.

Check it out.

el greenerino
Sep 3, 2003, 05:16 PM
I'd go with an IBM Thinkpad because they're thin and rugged, some have expandable battery packs, a keyboard light-basically they're the most Apple-like... :)

vollspacken
Sep 3, 2003, 05:25 PM
I agree with the previous posts... get an IBM Thinkpad, that's the closest you'll get to a mac on PC (even Apple trusted IBM when they gave "Big Blue" the contract to design the Powerbook 2400c...)

vSpacken

FuzzyBallz
Sep 3, 2003, 05:59 PM
IBM ThinkPad and Sony VAIO are both expensive choices, but if you want better quality, go w/ the ThinkPad. I've been using T series for the past 3 years and it's still running strong. My boss on the other hand bought an expensive Sony VAIO, and it lasted a year before the battery died and he had to cough up nearly $200 for a new battery. Did I mention the Sony VAIO's really heavy and costs a lot more than the ThinkPad?

Schiffi
Sep 3, 2003, 06:02 PM
I connected my Mac to a Novell network. I just plugged it in and it worked, no setup. VPC seems pretty spiffy, then again the fastest machine I've used XP on is a P3, and the emulation is as fast as my Mom's PC so I don't notice anything.

losfp
Sep 3, 2003, 07:10 PM
I'm a big fan of the IBM ThinkPad. Solid as a rock, and generally non-tacky in appearance (you'd better like black though!!).

macrumors12345
Sep 3, 2003, 07:21 PM
Originally posted by joshuawaire
Hey everyone,

Before I get flamed (hehe) I currently own an iMac G4, iBook, and a Power Mac G3. This is my second year of college, and I am a business major. I have to have a PC notebook for Accounting and some other courses. There software will not run on Mac, nor does the school's IT department support Macintosh. Only the media folks, have macs in the entire school. Anyways, I was wanting to know if anyone had any recommendations for obviously a mac user as far as notebook wise. I really don't want a Dell. (they are so ugly).

Josh

From what I've heard, I'd say IBM T40. IBM is going to be the most reliable on the PC side, and the T40 seems to have quite a good reputation.

Abstract
Sep 3, 2003, 09:31 PM
Are the IBM Thinkpads really that good? I have always considered (only slightly, in the back of my mind) getting a PC laptop instead of an iBook or PB, but didn't want to buy another PC and didn't know of any particularly good PC Laptop makers, but after reading this thread, I'll need to consider a Thinkpad more strongly even though its ugly. :o The PB update is coming too slowly to my liking, and I need to order a laptop of some sort in November. I guess it'll depend on how everything plays out.

Macnewbie1
Sep 3, 2003, 10:52 PM
Originally posted by Abstract
Are the IBM Thinkpads really that good? I have always considered (only slightly, in the back of my mind) getting a PC laptop instead of an iBook or PB, but didn't want to buy another PC and didn't know of any particularly good PC Laptop makers, but after reading this thread, I'll need to consider a Thinkpad more strongly even though its ugly. :o The PB update is coming too slowly to my liking, and I need to order a laptop of some sort in November. I guess it'll depend on how everything plays out.


I agree...In the past I never even looked at ThinkPad (just didn't like the track button in the earlier models and no choice of the usual track pad) and when my faithful Sony Vaio died on me, the tech told me to stay clear of ThinkPads and all I had to do was look around his shop and I knew why :D

But they may have come a long way in 2 years

just my 0.02

thanks
HG

Abstract
Sep 4, 2003, 01:45 AM
So there were a lot of Thinkpads being repaired?

Anyway, what about other brands like Fugitsu? Toshiba? Gateway? ;) Are there others that are considered good in terms of reliability and sturdiness? I can't even find a store that sells Fugitsu's. :o

riwanami
Sep 4, 2003, 07:24 AM
I would seriously recommend a ThinkPad, either the X31 (if you want an ultraportable, or a T40 (if you want a think and light). I've owned many PowerBooks and ThinkPads in the past. My current ThinkPad T40 is an excellent Windows notebook, although it's definitely not the cheapest.

If you get the T40p version, you get a 7200rpm 60GB hard drive and a 64mb Video Memory, which may be a close competitor to the Ti PB 15inch. For some reason, the T40p does no come with a FireWire, so some of the devices you already own may not work on this. (Oddly, the X31 does come with both USB 2.0 and FireWire)

I think reliability and durability are the two best things about the ThinkPad. You'll find other lighter, cheaper, faster, and better featured PC laptops, but from my experience, ThinkPads are very reliable (AS LONG AS YOU DON'T GET A LEMON). Beware that while the T40 came with a 3 year 24/7 warranty, a minor problem with an I/O System took almost 3 months and 5 roundtrip AirBorne Express shipments before they found the problem. However, once this was fixed, there have been no problems, and I have not once seen the "Blue Screen of Death".

legion
Sep 4, 2003, 08:13 AM
Originally posted by Macnewbie1
I agree...In the past I never even looked at ThinkPad (just didn't like the track button in the earlier models and no choice of the usual track pad) and when my faithful Sony Vaio died on me, the tech told me to stay clear of ThinkPads and all I had to do was look around his shop and I knew why :D

But they may have come a long way in 2 years

just my 0.02

thanks
HG

Are you on crack??? Of all the laptop models ever made, the ThinkPad line is definitely the most reliable for the past TEN (10) years. I think that tech wanted more of your business which is why he told you to steer clear. Not to mention, the ThinkPad warranty would have had the laptop taken to an authorized service center (and I have never seen a Sony _and_ IBM authorized service center)

As a long-time ThinkPad owner (I'll open up that can o'worms for some to call my opinion biased; but that also means I have a lot of experience with the product), I have never had a single one fail and the last three I've owned are still running today with no problems (I sold them to friends and family when I wanted to move to the latest and greatest.) They aren't cheap, but they are definitely worth it when you're looking for something to use for a long time with no problems.

Finally, if MHO doesn't mean anything, look at another ThinkPad owners:

Steve Jobs (his persona seems to carry a lot of weight around here.) He used a ThinkPad as his personal laptop throughout the NeXTstep days and even when he came back to Apple. Chances are he still uses them, though so much was made of the fact that the IBM was his preferred laptop (even 2 years back at Apple) that he started showing up with PBs in public. Who knows what he'd rather use in private, but all I know is it was damn hard to part with my old ThinkPads even knowing I was planning on getting a newer model.

Andrew Grove (Chairman) and Craig Barrett (CEO): The two men who run Intel use IBM's ThinkPads as their personal computers. You'll see them somewhere near to the two guys in any picture where they have their own stuff (see any NY Times pic of them or pics at board meetings.) I'm fairly sure that these two very wealthy men could have the pick of the litter in notebooks (and get them comp'd too), but they both use ThinkPads. (I know using these two guys' names on this site is a bit like quoting the Devil to God around here, but if the "God" (Steve Jobs) and the "Devil" (Intel) can agree on something, it's gotta prove a point)

[/soap box]

Having written all of that, I won't claim ThinkPads are perfect or infalliable (any laptop claiming that is BS), but compared to all other lines (sorry Apple), it comes out on top (hell, in the T40 series, the most dead pixels I've ever heard of in the LCDs is one(1), and that's a rarity. Plus if you buy directly from them in the US, you can even have those laptops replaced till you have a perfect one-- no questions and they'll cover the shipping costs.)

Abstract
Sep 4, 2003, 09:00 AM
Cool, thanks for the heads-up. :)

I'm actually looking at the R40 CU2 model, as it does everything I want, plus I hate docks. I didn't realize that most of these models didn't come with a Combo drive or CDRW drive of any sort. It took me 2 hours of wandering around to figure it out. :( Something about an Ultrabay dock being necessary for some models to have an optical drive bay installed. I don't know why you would need to get a dock to have an optical drive bay installed into the system since I don't want it to come installed in a dock, but whatever. I still don't really understand it all. I wonder what else I could have missed. Does it not come with an AC adapter or something stupid like that? Hmm.....

Also, the price of a ThinkPad R40 2772CU2 is advertised at $2049 at the Canadian site (this excludes an optical bay drive), but at another part of the site (HERE (http://caipsgws001.can.ibm.com/store/family?type=fb&action=search&family=ThinkPad+R+Series)), I find that the price of an R40 CU2 (didn't give the 2772 before it) is $1999, and this would include an CD-RW/DVD Combo drive, Carrying Case, Targus Lock and AC Adapter. I wonder if this is the same model of computer (it carries a weird Model #), because why wouldn't they make Sale prices more visible like with other computer manufacturers? :confused:

legion
Sep 4, 2003, 08:11 PM
The X series is the only one that doesn't have an optical drive (it has no optical bay either which is why it requires a dock or an external bay to attach to the port) That's part of the reason why it weight under 4lbs (and why it feels like a very solid slab-- the case is extremely rigid since it doesn't have to deal with any flex from externally accessible bays)

R, T, G, A series all have optical drives. The ones without a drive specified have CD-ROMs where as the ones specified have CD-R/RW/DVD. It seems to be a java glitch why it isn't showing up.

To get a complete breakdown of every current system available from IBM, look through this pdf (it'll give you every detail right down to pitch, stroke, and size of the keyboard)

ftp://ftp.pc.ibm.com/pcicrse/psref/tabook.pdf

(it's a rather large pdf, but well worth looking through on major purchases like computers-- plus you might see something you like better)

As for the specific model of interest, I'd get the Hardware Maintenance Manual (it may be too technical for most, but I heavily research all my buying decisions) Here's a link to the model (R40) you mentioned:

http://www-1.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?rs=0&uid=psg1MIGR-45899&loc=en_US

As for pricing, I've never had a problem finding the pricing, but traditionally IBM's laptops are bought on purchase orders through reps for Corporate fleets or Government/Military use (my latest ThinkPad was bumped for a Navy Seal order of 500 of my exact model) where you do per unit pricing and not individual pricing. Plus I just looked at the Canadian site and is confusing compared to the US site. With what you're looking at (cost wise), this is probably the best model/package:

part number 3WTE122
(BTW, part numbers refer to packaged solutions where as model number refer to the laptop: ie, 2722-CU2 is the R40 you were referring to and can look up in the pdf above. If you are unsure of which laptop is included with the package, call IBM up or use the online chat and ask for the model number.)

Look carefully for what OS is included, the one above is WinXP Pro (not Home) Also, don't get the Intel ProWireless miniPCI card (the official wireless part of Centrino which seems to have a lot of problems) but either the Cisco/b card (if you demand that security) or the IBM dual-band a/b (or if you can wait a week, the newly announced a/b/g card from IBM based on the Atheros Chip-- under $100 US.) They're all mini-PCI and use the 2 antennas in the LCD. You can get them latter too since the R40 is wireless upgradable and pop 'em in yourself (but you have to use miniPCI's bought through IBM-- it is not cross-manufacturer compliant) For FireWire, get a 800 PCMCIA card from firewireDirect and you'll have both 400 and 800.

Hope this helps... now back to Macs :rolleyes:

jefhatfield
Sep 6, 2003, 01:19 AM
go with a name like sony, compaq, or gateway if you don't want to go dell

and these days, you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to get a lightweight laptop so you can save your shoulder or back

i cart around my 7.3 lb compaq from the dark ages and it weighs a ton with my textbooks...and since it has no battery life being a nickel metal hydride battery, i need to have an adapter which adds more than an extra pound or two...today's long lasting lithium ion batteries make it so you can leave your adapter at home and if you can stand a 12 inch screen, you may only have to cart around 4.5 lbs.

MacFan25
Sep 6, 2003, 05:57 PM
Anyone know what stores sell Thinkpads? Or do you have to buy direct from IBM?

I'm not really interested in one at the moment, but I was just thinking about how I have never seen them in stores. :confused:

Abstract
Sep 6, 2003, 07:17 PM
My university computer store has a single IBM Thinkpad on display. It was a 12" model. Other than that one single sighting, I haven't even seen one before.

I just saw a Gateway that I fell in love with. I'm going to buy a PB or iBook, but I'll consider the Gateway (and IBM) depending on the Mac support they give me at the university I'm attending in Australia. If I have trouble getting on their network or something (a topic I know nothing about :( ), then I'll go with the Gateway or IBM.

It was a 1.3GHz Centrino, 512MB of RAM, 40GB HD, Combo Drive, 14.1" screen, and best of all............it weighs 2kg (around 4.4 lbs). It costs $2299 Cdn, which is around $1500 USD. Its less than 1" thick, and weighs nothing.

Again, I don't know what brands are good, but I'm trying to stay away from Dell. Don't know why, but I just don't like them. :o

mgargan1
Sep 6, 2003, 11:53 PM
that's the 200x... yea, it's one of our best sellers, and it's awesome. The only problem is if you do games, cause it uses shared memory, but if you don't play games, you won't notice a difference at all. And right now, we're throwing in a free upgrade to the 6 cell battery... go into a store and take a look. And if you live in the Maryland/DC area, come to the Gaithersburg store, and ask for Mike, and I'd love to help you out. But the best choice by far is the powerbook... windows sucks.

macktheknife
Sep 7, 2003, 12:59 AM
I switched back from a TiBook to a Gateway 450 X, and I have absolutely no regrets about my decision. I honestly don't know why Gateway has such a bad reputation because my 450 X is the best laptop I've ever owned (a list that includes a Toshiba Satellite, two Dell Inspirons, and of course, an Apple TiBook). Here is a link:

http://www.gateway.com/home/prod/hm_450x_proddetail.shtml

I paid about $1649 for the laptop with a 1.4 GHz Pentium-M processor, 40 GB 5400 RPM HD, 512 MB of RAM, 32 MB video card, and a 15 inch SXGA screen. It is quite speedy and capable compared to my TiBook. My only qualm about the Gateway is that it is not as light or thin as my TiBook, but the difference in form factor is not terribly great.

edesignuk
Sep 7, 2003, 07:01 AM
IBM Thinkpads are great laptops. I work with and support hundreds of them every day, they are solid, fast, reliable laptops, and personally I like the flat black blocky design, nothing to fancy, but functional.
The X series is the same kinda size as a 12" iBook, but w/o any optical drives (they have to go in the docking station :rolleyes:), so that's a good one if you want real good portability, and don't need to be accessing anything but our hard drive. Other than that the T series is a great all rounder. A bit bigger, but more powerful, bigger screen, and onboard CD/DVD or floppy (hot-plug bay).

So yeah, basically, for my money itd be IBM.

legion
Sep 7, 2003, 05:32 PM
Originally posted by MacFan25
Anyone know what stores sell Thinkpads? Or do you have to buy direct from IBM?

I'm not really interested in one at the moment, but I was just thinking about how I have never seen them in stores. :confused:

IBM, on their website, has a "business partner" lookup (that's what they call their resellers, just specify ThinkPads or you might endup at a server dealer.) You can use that to find a local dealer. However, chances are you'll only find a few demo models at these resellers and they don't usually sell from stock. IBM is very particular about the condition of a sold ThinkPad (they come double sealed, double boxed; if either of these are tampered with (there's tampered evident tape), the laptop cannot be sold as new.) University shops are the only ones I've seen that keep stock of them on the premises.

etoiles
Sep 7, 2003, 06:19 PM
a bit more on the 'heavy' side (17"widescreen), but full featured and cheap:


Sager 4760 (http://www.sagernotebook.com/pages/larger_systems/displayx.cfm?type=4760)
configurations and price (http://pctorque.com/4760.php)
some real world pictures (http://talknotebooks.com/showthread.php3?threadid=5020)


Don't worry, I don't work for that company. But I was toying with the idea of getting one myself at some point. I'll probably wait for the new PB and get one of those instead...;)