New laptops are a bust; PC alternatives?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by mason.kramer, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. mason.kramer macrumors 6502

    mason.kramer

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Location:
    Watertown, MA
    #1
    Ok, well I was waiting on this product refresh to pull the trigger on a portable device to complement my mac pro at home. I think the new offerings are so weak - and the price so high - that I'm looking at alternatives in the PC world. Obviously, I'd never use Vista - instead I'll install Ubuntu or one of the newer user-friendly Linux distros. I've been using Debian on a file server for years now and I just installed Ubuntu on a second partition of this machine to get used to the desktop environment (Kubuntu, in fact). Now, I mainly need the laptop for when I travel to conferences, to take notes during presentations or to give presentations, and for google maps while I'm out of town. I'll keep the laptop synced with my home computer using a homebrew "cloud" that consists of a series of rsync acron/cron jobs to my personal webserver.

    I'm thinking something in the 700-1000 range would be more than enough juice, and please, please do not link me to the MacBook "White". (What a ****ing insult.)

    Has anyone been doing research on cheaper PC alternatives? Portable, battery life, heat, noise, option not to buy a bundled Microsoft product are my main concerns now.

    Cheers in advance :)
     
  2. Dybbuk macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 8, 2006
  3. Peabody macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #3
    Might I suggest you go to an appropriate forum to ask such questions?

    Dissing the new Mac offerings, then asking for PC alternatives at MacRumors might not be your best choice for getting solid, unbiased advice.

    Oh, and I don't have a clue as to what to buy. Sorry, but I don't own any PC notebooks...

    :)
     
  4. Pedromiguel20 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
  5. fuzzycuffs macrumors member

    fuzzycuffs

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #5
    HP dv3500t if you're looking for a competitor for the new Macbook.

    In fact you can get a faster proc (with more 6MB L2 cache), more ram (3gb is a free upgrade right now), 9300M GS 512mb dedicated graphics card, and a firewire port and fingerprint reader.

    All for the same price.

    It's a little thicker, but actually a little lighter than the Macbook.

    These are the two machines I'm cross shopping now. I too am not an OS adherent; I can do what I need to in any operating system.
     
  6. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #6
    Either give the guy appropriate advice or look elsewhere for God's sake.

    Sony seems to be on top of the ultra-portable laptops design wise, but most likely will not be in the price range your are looking for.
     
  7. Eluzion macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    #7
    There are no alternatives to the new MacBooks. ;)

    Seriously though, I wish PC manufacturers would design some better looking notebooks. The only one that I think looks decent is the Voodoo Envy, but that's in the mid $2,000 range.
     
  8. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #8
    hey, if your happy with windows, more power to ya.

    Mayb a nice dell? (is that an oxymoron? i kid i kid)
     
  9. mason.kramer thread starter macrumors 6502

    mason.kramer

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Location:
    Watertown, MA
    #9
    Thanks Dybbuk, but yes, that is out of the price range. If I were going to spend that much, I'd get a MB instead. Also, it's bundled with Vista.

    To Peabody: From my point of view, this is the perfect place. I still appreciate the sensibilities of the mac community, why would I take the advice of someone who has bad enough taste to own a PC? :D.

    To Pedromiguel: Honestly, there is not much difference between a kunbutu distribution and a mac. Both are POSIX certified UNIX-like operating systems. Both operate the hardware. Both respond to the same terminal commands. Both have firefox. The only things I'll miss in the switch are Xcode and the Mail.app/iCal/Address Book stuff. Oh, and Quicksilver. Damn. Maybe I will be punishing myself....But the price spread between a PC and a comparably-specced Mac has just gotten too big for me to stomach.
     
  10. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Location:
    Paddyland
    #10
    An MSI wind/Advent 4211?

    A few simple mods will make it a damned good machine, and they're cheap and very portable. Not a performance machine, but it works very well.


    have a look at http://forums.msiwind.net for some advice on mods



    P.S.(there's an interesting section on OSX;))
     
  11. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

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    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #11
  12. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #12
    better yet, VISTA! woo hoo!

    scathing sarcasm works both ways man.
     
  13. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #13
    I am sure you can downgrade to XP or get Ubuntu on it :p
     
  14. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #14
    lol yes an upgrade to xp will do nicely:p ;)





    (note: before I recieve anymore of those stupid fanboy comments, im joking here, im no vista fan at all as im running it right now, but I can see that some people might not have a problem with it.)
     
  15. iShater macrumors 604

    iShater

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #15
    :eek: moi?






    Disclaimer: I use systems of all kinds, fanboy of nobody. I just like my systems to work. :D
     
  16. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #16
    Besides price, what are your priorities in terms of... CPU horsepower, video capabilities, size, weight, aesthetics, storage space, optical drive, quality / durability, etc?

    All that would really help to know what to look at.
     
  17. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #17
    no you havent called me a fanboy, ppl like wild bill (the dude with the "mobile fail" avatar and other super sarcastic comments towards apple in his sig :rolleyes:) and mosx. Both of whom seem to be incredibly anti apple for some reason.

    To each his own tho.


    TS, have you thought of a toshiba satelite? im using one now and I can say other than being plastic and running vista, its a good machine. This one cost me $450 (note it has turion processors)
     
  18. mason.kramer thread starter macrumors 6502

    mason.kramer

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Location:
    Watertown, MA
    #18
    From my original post,

    I thought that these concerns, plus the price range that I mention, would have served to narrow the field. But adding to that, weight and a smaller form factor would be important factors (in my opinion, when it comes to laptops, less is more). More specifically,
    *13.3" or smaller
    *At least a DVD burning drive
    *I'd be willing to spend a little more for a computer with a bluray drive that can connect to a HDCP TV
    *At least 3 hours of battery life; 5 hours would be better
    *I really, really don't want to buy something with a bundled MS product, if at all possible
    *2.0ghz+
    *2GB RAM+
     
  19. mason.kramer thread starter macrumors 6502

    mason.kramer

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Location:
    Watertown, MA
    #19
    j26 - YES!! This looks really interesting! Thanks for the link. Bookmarked…I'll let you know if I get one. Do you have one?
     
  20. Beric macrumors 68020

    Beric

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #20
    BTO tx2500z series
    • Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
    • AMD Turion(TM) X2 Dual-Core Mobile Processor RM-70 (2.0GHz) (more if you want - to 2.4 Ghz.)
    • 12.1" diagonal WXGA High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen (1280 x 800) w/Integrated Touch-screen
    • FREE Upgrade to 3GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm) from 1GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
    • ATI Radeon(TM) HD 3200 Graphics
    • $50 OFF upgrade to 320GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive from 250GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
    • HP Imprint Finish (Echo) + Microphone + Webcam
    • Wireless-N Card with Bluetooth
    • SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
    8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
    $1,078.99

    BTO dv3500t series
    • Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
    • Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo Processor P7350 (2.0GHz) (more powerful available)
    • 13.3" diagonal WXGA High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen Display (1280 x 800)
    • FREE Upgrade to 3GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm) from 2GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
    • 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS
    • $50 OFF 320GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
    • HP Imprint Finish (Intersect) + Microphone + Webcam + Fingerprint Reader
    • HP Color Matching Keyboard
    • Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-card with Bluetooth
    • Integrated 56K Modem
    • SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
    • 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
    $1,103.99

    Seems like some pretty solid and well-priced choices to me. Myself, I'm looking at a $1299 HP 15" MBP killer, but I have more patience, and will wait until at least the next Apple notebook revision before deciding to buy a PC.
     
  21. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Location:
    Paddyland
    #21
    Yes, I got one recently and find it ideal for moving about. It can run a (wide) variety of OS's with no hassle, and the while the keyboard is not full size, tbh I find it better than my Macbook one. I've upgraded to a 320 gig HD and 2 gigs ram for feck all.

    It works really well with the mods I've implemented so far (cough!), although I still need to sort out the wifi (cheap mod) and audio (to be sorted soon apparently).
     
  22. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #22
    Well, seems like MSI Wind is the one for you. (Plus OSX on it maybe?)

    I know you don't want to buy a new whitebook, but have you considered a refurb SR macbook?

    I love mine, and at 2.2 ghz with 4GB ram (very cheap at the moment) and a 320GB HD, it's faster than the new whitebook (and cheap alu MB too) , with more RAM and more diskspace than all of the alu MB and MBPs, and cheaper than all of them. And it has FW goodness.

    If you're lucky and get a good price on a 2.4 ghz whitebook (or blackbook for super rarity value) then with extra RAM and HD, it will be just as fast as any of the new MB or even MBPs.

    x redTomato
     
  23. mason.kramer thread starter macrumors 6502

    mason.kramer

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Location:
    Watertown, MA
    #23
    I'm also looking at http://system76.com/product_info.php?cPath=28&products_id=76, but it really doesn't seem like a lot of bang for the buck, considering that there's no windows tax. It really seems like they're missing out on the buying power discount of a Dell-sized company.

    Re: RedTomato, you're right about the refurb deals, they're better than anything available new.

    Regarding OSX on my new PC, i certainly wouldn't think of doing that, because that would be illegal! :eek:

    j26, thanks for your advice about the mods. That's really good to hear ;)
     
  24. macbooker15 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Location:
    Hello! I'm over here!
    #24
    Hmmm.....mosx should be here by now! Meh...we have Beric, but its still not quite the same:D. I miss the constant;)
     
  25. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #25
    lol beric is no where near the level of mosx

    beric is a good guy, just a little too money oriented for me (but as a student, he is in the right to consider pricing as heavily as he does)
     

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