I need a non-mac notebook recommendation

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by maise, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. maise macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    #1
    My fathers company is buying him a new laptop and he needs help deciding on which one to get. The only restriction they have given him is that it needs to run windows (virtual pc does not count). Here are the limitiations and things he wants it to have:

    -Price range of $1500-$2000
    -reliable, he had a horrible experience with his old Dell, i have heard good things about IBM
    -14-15 in screename, as light and durable as possible
    -at least 512kb of ram
    -80gb HD

    He does not do any heavy video editing, mostly MS office stuff, internet and pictures so he does not need too powerful, but at the same time we would like it to last for as long as possible. I know a lot of people here need to work with or own PCs due to their jobs and I was hoping someone could point me the direction of a good one to purchase as I have lost touch with them since I got my Powerbook. Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. Cross macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    #2
    Well in the PC side of the house, buying an ThinkPad is like buying a PowerBook, you pay a lot more but you get the veru best in quality and parts. I would say if your looking at thinkpads the T40 Series is the best. I have a T40 I am actually going to sell with the Centrino Package if you want. I was going to ask for 1000. But then Dell has cleaned up there act to I also have a 9100 Laptop, the most powerful 15.4 inch widescreen you can get unless you bump up to the 17" systems. It has processor and graphics upgrades from the P4 Extreme Edition to the ATI 9800 Graphics card.


    There are other good systems but the ThinkPad and the Dell line are the best places to look on warrenty service.
     
  3. Vanilla macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2002
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #3
    No Brainer, if you need a quality windows laptop,get a ThinkPad
    Vanilla
     
  4. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #4
    My friend has an acer for school and pretty good, but then again its windows :p
     
  5. Jsmit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2004
    Location:
    Boston
    #6
    With IBM leaving the consumer market wouldn't you be worried about future support? I know they are fine machines, but that concern has prevented me from recommending them to my friends... I have nothing else to recommend though.
     
  6. nutmac macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #7
    Price is non-issue: IBM ThinkPad T42 or R51.

    Looking for better value: HP zt3000 or dv1000.

    Although IBM is more rock solid, I recommend extended warranty with both, particularly HP.
     
  7. khammack macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #8
    I'm a thinkpad user, and IBM is my first recommendation as a laptop. (after apple of course, but I'm still saving for that one...)

    Get an IBM Thinkpad T42.

    If you can give up the CDROM, consider an IBM Thinkpad X40. They are smaller (12" screen) and lighter.

    -kev
     
  8. mrdeep macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    #9
    I had a thinkpad T20, it pretty much completely died 2 years in (for no good reason ... and i'm not exagerating) and everything was replaced (Hard drive, Monitor, Motherboard, Keyboard ... I think the plastic shell of the bottom half of the computer was the some one I had before. So you should DEFINITELY get more than a 1 year warranty. Other than that, it ran perfectly for 2 years, had everything replaced, and now, 2.5 years after the replacement, it still runs perfectly.

    Now, I have a HP zx5000 for work, it's fast and the price was good (for the performance), but very big & heavy, cheap looking & feeling, the lid is very scratched from being in my backpack (rubbing against the zipper when sliding in? pens at the bottom of my backpack?), and that was noticeable after less than three months.

    And it has some serious flaws, such as:

    The fact that the heat vent is on the right hand side, and blows out so much hot air (seriously uncalled for amounts of heat, and it's on a good deal of the time) that I have to put something in front of hit to deflect the heat back so it doesn't make my hand really hot while mousing.

    And whenever it's in sleep mode, a led on the front of it blinks, this is acceptable, if only it wasn't accompanied by a strange interference based (probably) hissing noise with the blinking. Loud enough to drive me mad to the point that the computer _MUST_ be turned off if I'm going to sleep in the same room.

    And (along the same lines as the previous complaint), the hissing noise also pops up when a lot of network (ethernet or wireless, especially wireless) is taking place, but it's even louder, to the point that when transferring a large file, I will often place the laptop in another room to do it.

    And the battery locking device is slid back (towards the back of the computer) to remove the battery, unfortunately, it's right where i grab the laptop (middle-ish) when picking it up, so 1/2 the time, i hit it and the battery falls out. This is _VERY_ annoying (and there is no backup battery to keep it running in sleep mode like in my powerbook).

    Next time I get a computer for work, I'm going to fight a lot harder to have a higher budget so I can buy a better computer.

    I've also had some experience with a dell, all I can say about them is that their tech support was so terrible that I refused to buy one. I called to get a hard drive replaced, and they had me on the phone for 4 hours (to someone from india probably) running dell diagnostics (don't loose those cds!!) to confirm something that I told them right from the start. All just to have them ship me a new hard drive so I could replace it and reinstall everything. Seeing as a fresh install of windows xp has been shown to last less than 20 minutes on the internet, how they expected an average individual to do this is beyond me.

    Both IBM and Apple will send you a box that you can send them your laptop in, then mail it back to them (all paid for by them, if under warranty). Apple does it all overnight, not sure about IBM.

    Ok, I spent _way_ too much time on this reply, hopefully it helped.
     
  9. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #10
    I've heard some good things about Toshiba... my friend has one, its pretty nice. No issues (aside from it being WINDOWS) for over a year.
     
  10. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #11
    Not discrediting or ignoring anything Mr. Deep said, but computers do die, even like that, once in a while, from any vendor. If you look around here, even Apple curses a few customers here and there with a lemon. But in my experience (I've used Compaq, Toshiba and IBM extensively, gotten good up-close time with Sony, Gateway and Dell but never owned), what's been said in *favor* of IBM above is spot on. I've seen few Win laptops with IBM design, build quality or reliability, and I don't think any have all three at once.

    I think, modulo the limitations of Windows, Thinkpads are definitely the cleanest laptop implementations. They aren't as fancy as VAIOs, but every feature IBM does implement works as well as I've seen it work in a Windows laptop, and I think you have the best odds of getting long term reliability of any PC laptop.

    I think the point about IBM exiting the market is a good one, but I also tend to think that anyone who buys the line will respect it for what's good about it. It's a little like Gateway buying eMachines...there isn't much doubt about which side knows what it's doing and which side doesn't. Also it's going to take time, and I seriously doubt spare parts will become unavailable anytime soon, if ever.

    If for some reason IBM doesn't work for you...hmmm...with reliability as a top importance item, hmmm....I don't have any personal recommendations for you. The business world likes Toshiba laptops a lot too, and liked them consistently before Dell pricing became an issue. I think they're okay, but definitely no better than okay.
     
  11. khammack macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #12
    Keep in mind that all laptops from all manufacturers have a certain defect rate. All of them. Any time you buy an electronic component you are taking the risk of getting a bad one.

    If you are concerned about reliability, consider checking the consumer reports buying guide. Actually I happen to have the 2005 guide right here....

    Out of over 57000 responses, overall 20% of all laptops required repairs.

    The following brands were considered: Apple (16%), Toshiba (17%), Sony (17%), IBM (19%), HP (20%), Dell (21%), Compaq (23%), Gateway (24%). Difference of less than 3 points are not meaningful, and those numbers are my best guess based on the picture, since it was a bar graph no exact numbers were printed.

    -kev
     
  12. AmigoMac macrumors 68020

    AmigoMac

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Location:
    l'Allemagne
    #13
    Right now, I'm on the same situation, i was looking to IBM until the IBM news came out and I changed my options to HP or Toshiba. I have to decide before end of the year...
     
  13. garybUK Guest

    garybUK

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
  14. The Man macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    #15
    ThinkPad?

    My brother has a ThinkPad R40. The one thing you should consider is that ThinkPads don't come with installer CDs. It uses a system called Rapid Restore. This means that a hidden partition on your HD is used to store a complete system install/backup. Frankly, Rapid Restore is a pain and slow in use. To restore your system, the HD has to swap between the two partitions like crazy. And where's your installer CDs when your HD dies and you install your own HD? You have to request those from IBM. Having the hidden partition also means that you have less room on your HD than you thought you'd have. Why skimp on a few cents worth of installer disks? At least with my iBook, I got a whole set of nice CDs.
     
  15. dragula53 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    #16
    alienware

    if price is no object, alienware puts very nice components into their systems, once you get past the extremely lame exterior.

    the Dell 9200's/XPS are also very good.
     
  16. plus_c macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2004
    #17
    Maise,
    You might want to have him consider this machine from Toshiba. I've had a Toshiba Satellite for 2.5 years now, and it's performed beautifully. I've even dropped it once, and it's still ticking.

    The Tecra line is for business professionals, and one of the advantages that it has over other competitors is that it comes with WinXP Pro, right out of the box. I'm assuming that for your father's application, he'll need it, and with other notebook purchases, that adds $200 to the price right there. A Toshiba Tecra M2 customized to the specs you want comes in at $1779, right in the middle of your range.

    If weight is a bigger issue, you might consider the Portege line.

    Hope that helps!
     
  17. maise thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    #18
    Thanks for all of your help guys....appreciate the opinions.
     
  18. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #19
    If/when you do get something, please share your experience.
     
  19. CaptainCaveMann macrumors 68000

    CaptainCaveMann

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    #20
    HP dv1000 or is money is no object ibm t42
     
  20. hob macrumors 68020

    hob

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #21
    I dislike laptops at the best of times - and this comes from me on my powerbook right now (best laptop ever!). I've had some pretty bad experiences with mid-range Windows laptops by manufacturers such as Dell and Acer. So basically, go with what everyone else has said - use your common sense, IBM and Sony are great. I wouldn't personally go for Toshiba as I'm not a fan of their business practices (they released a PDA which turned out to be a lemon. then re-released it as the next model up and didn't upgrade any of their users... including me...)

    Good luck

    Hob

    P.S - There's always Virtual PC... as long as you get him a 2.5GHz G5 tower with portability upgrade pack (a petrol-powered generator ;))
     
  21. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #22
    I have owned Toshiba, Sony and Apple laptops. And I will say that the Toshiba's and Apple's have been the best in reliability.
     
  22. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #23
    Petrol powered???? We're talking a full-on Ghostbusters unlicensed portable nuclear reactor here. :)
     
  23. ozone macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #24
    I'd say IBM. I've also had an ACER and Compaq: both have been pretty good. I've only had my IBM for a short while, but it's rock solid. Built like a tank and definitely more "built for the road" than my wife's TiBook. I have an X31 and the screen is second-to-none. Check out http://forum.thinkpads.com/ for user opinions on various IBM models.

    If your Dad needs to save a few bucks but still wants good quality, IBM often has current or older models that are refurbished or recertified. Mine was a refurb, but it sure looks new to me. And they all come with a 1 year warranty.

    IBM may be getting out of the PC side of things, but I don't think they'll be dropping support too soon. IBM is selling its PC unit to Leveno in China: many of the best laptops these days come out of Taiwan and China anyways, including Apple, so quality is not likely to be a big issue. As always, the more you pay, the better it likely will be.
     
  24. hob macrumors 68020

    hob

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #25
    Ray: You know, it just occurred to me that we really haven't had a successful test of this equipment.
    Egon: I blame myself.
    Peter: So do I.
    Ray: Well, no sense in worrying about it now.
    Peter: Why worry? Each one of us is carrying an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back.

    :D
     

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