PC Laptop buying recommendations? (No flames. Period.)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ravenvii, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #1
    I am looking for a cheap PC laptop to use as a Windows machine. I need Windows for law school, for various websites that don't work quite right in Safari and Firefox, and for Examsoft.

    I don't plan to use this as my main machine (the PowerBook will keep that function).

    I'd like it to be fairly light (so no desktop replacements, please). I'd like it to have Windows Vista Home Premium. No Home Basic, please.

    WiFi built-in is a must as well. I don't care about Bluetooth.

    I don't really care much about the specs. A 40 GB+ drive will be good enough. A CD burner is a must, though. DVD, both ROM and RW, not so much.

    I don't plan to play much on it, so integrated graphics is fine, as long as it supports all the eye candy in Vista.

    RAM doesn't matter either, since it's so easily upgradeable later.

    I'm looking to spend $700 or less. I'm in college, so if you can point me to some educational discounts, that'd be nice.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Chaszmyr macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    #2
    Just a reminder that things like VMWare Fusion and Parallels work exceedingly well for this type of thing. CodeWeavers Crossover would probably work too. So I'd say sell the PowerBook and get a MacBook.
     
  3. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #3
    I agree. Is there any reason a MacBook wouldn't work?
     
  4. psycoswimmer macrumors 65816

    psycoswimmer

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    #4
    I have to second the opinion of selling the PowerBook and getting the middle-spec MacBook, and then installing Vista Home Premium on it. This sounds like the best option you could have.

    After about 10 minutes of customizing a Dell Inspiron and going through that unnecessarily long customization process, I got this:

    PROCESSOR: Intel® Pentium® dual-core T2080(1MB Cache/1.73GHz/533MHz FSB)
    OPERATING SYSTEM: Genuine Windows Vista™ Home Premium
    LCD PANEL: 14.1 inch Wide Screen XGA TFT Display with TrueLife™(glossy)
    MEMORY: 1GB DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz, 2 Dimm
    HARD DRIVE: 80GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
    OPTICAL DRIVE 24X CD Burner/DVD Combo Drive
    VIDEO CARD: Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950
    SOUND OPTIONS: Integrated Audio

    It comes out to about $728. I also didn't include any anti-virus or extra warranty. It's as basic as I could.
     
  5. PseudoWoobie macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    #5
    Why not post PC laptop questions on a forum for PC users?
     
  6. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #7
    First thing I would do is.... look into the hardware specs required to run Vista Home Premium with all its "eye candy". I *suspect* it will require more than a $700 laptop pc.

    Like Chaszmyr...a Macbook sounds like a VERY good idea (selling the Powerbook), but I'm not sure if it's integrated graphics can "play nice" with Vista either. The X3100 (santa rosa) should be enough for Vista, but Macbooks do not have that chipset yet. Maybe worth the wait....unless you're in need immediately. Otherwise, HP, Lenovo, Dell should have their Santa Rosa laptops out already...but I kind of doubt they are $700 or less...

    Seems to me...with the cash from selling the Powerbook plus the $700 you're willing to invest...you would be VERY close to getting a 15" MBP with Santa rosa...which should be out quite soon...a few days to a few weeks. That would be a huge upgrade over your current Powerbook. Bootcamp or Parallels is your friend. :)

    good luck...
     
  7. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #8
    On why I don't post on a PC forum, firstly I don't want to sign up just to ask about this, and secondly I value the opinions of people here.

    As for the MacBook, I used to own one, and I don't really like them, to be honest. Their build quality sucks frankly, and I hate the glossy screen (worst viewing angles I've seen in a long time). I plan to save up and get a MacBook Pro sometime next year, but for now a PC laptop will do.

    Unless they begin to sell MacBook Pros at $1,500 (educational price), then I can sell this PowerBook, add what I would've paid for the PC, and bought a MBP. But alas, they are way out of my price range at the moment.
     
  8. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #9

    ### Can the Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950 run Vista Home premium with all the "eye candy"? If so, sounds like a solid choice for the OP.
     
  9. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #10
    Have you considered becoming a student developer and using the discount to help defray the cost? Or a refurb? :)

    (I'm not trying to be a pain -- I'm just suggesting what I'd try to do)

    Edit: The cost of an MBP, not an MB.
     
  10. PCMacUser macrumors 68000

    PCMacUser

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    #11
    Um, well for starters, this chap has stated he only has $700 to spend. The cheapest Macbook is $1099. He hasn't said he wants to sell his Powerbook either. So $700 it is. Also, I couldn't recommend using virtualisation software to run Vista Premium. I've done a lot of testing of it under VMWare and while it DOES work, it's not particularly speedy.

    My recommendation would be the Dell E1505. It's currently $699.

    1.73GHz Core Duo Pentium (read Celeron)
    1Gb RAM
    ATI X1400 256Mb Graphics
    80Gb HDD
    CDRW/DVDROM combo

    It comes with Vista Home, but Home Premium is a $29 upgrade.
     
  11. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #12
    The Dell E1505 is what I've been looking at as well. I am considering buying the Ubuntu edition, then installing Windows XP on it (since I have a copy).

    But...

    After looking at the Apple Store, I'm beginning to think that you guys are right. I just have to scrape up $300 more to get the bottom MacBook Pro, which is MUCH more power than I need.

    Perhaps I will join the Santa Rosa waiting game after all.
     
  12. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #13
    ### That's cool. Just a fyi...I've seen refurbished 15" MBPs at the apple store for $1600..and with new machines arriving SOON...maybe that's something to consider. Check the site OFTEN if you're interested. Also, smalldog.com can be a good source for replaced models.
     
  13. PCMacUser macrumors 68000

    PCMacUser

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    #14
    If you want the best price/performance ratio purely for running Vista, you'll still be better off buying the E1505 with an upgraded CPU (rather than buying a Macbook). Mostly because of the dedicated graphics card that Dell includes. If Apple offered something like this as an optional upgrade to the Macbook I'd be very happy and would buy one myself.
     
  14. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #15
    *grumbles* And why is it that we can't delete posts on this forum?
     
  15. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #16

    ### The Dell that someone recommended seems like a great value, but if you want to go "apple"...you don't need Santa Rosa...the current MBPs will more than serve your needs, thus giving you an opportunity to get the older model for less moolah. Refurbish is the ticket. I just got one. New MBPs will be out by June 11th....possibly this Tuesday.

    $1299. Right now.
    Refurbished MacBook Pro, 15-inch, 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo
    15.4-inch widescreen display (1440x900 resolution)
    512MB (single SODIMM) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
    80GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive
    Slot-load SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 128MB GDDR3 memory
    Built-in iSight Camera
    Front Row and Apple Remote

    Please do remember this is a first generation MacTel (Not Core 2 Duo aka merom)...issues galore, but it is still an example of good deals going refurbished.

    http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APP...re.woa/wa/RSLID?mco=A35F9A3&nclm=CertifiedMac
     
  16. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #17
    Indeed. $700 + your old Powerbook would buy that nicely 8)
     
  17. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #18
    DON'T BUY THE INSPIRON E1505.

    I have one, it's a piece of ****. Overheats, its huge and cheaply built, and the driver support is **** so the software is very buggy. My wifi still doesn't work right even after having this thing for almost a year and updating the drivers monthly.

    Why can't you use Bootcamp?
     
  18. PCMacUser macrumors 68000

    PCMacUser

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    #19
    Yep this might be his best option. Although a RAM upgrade would be essential. 512Mb won't run Vista so well!
     
  19. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Location:
    Defenders of Apple Guild
    #20
    It is not cheap :)
     
  20. synth3tik macrumors 68040

    synth3tik

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #21
    I used to really like Toshibas, but lately I have seen a lot of them over heat and shut down. So, now I have to say Dell. Now with Micheal Dell back in control their products are seeing some much needed advances. If I had to use a PC laptop it would be a new model Dell.


    There, totally Flame free.:D
     
  21. skubish macrumors 68030

    skubish

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    #22
    Why 2 laptops.
    Just get a MB or MBP and install bootcamp or parallels.
     
  22. biturbomunkie macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Location:
    cali
    #23
    are you sure teh school supports vista?

    i also second the MBP + parallels option. i put xp pro on mine and it's been awesome.
     
  23. blackstone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #24
    If the only Windows-specific things you'll be doing involve Examsoft and a couple of web-browsing tasks, you may just want to buy a refurb IBM T42 or T43 from Lenovo running Windows XP Pro. This will meet your needs and won't fail unexpectedly, which is by far the most important consideration when taking exams with your computer.

    If you want to go on the extremely-cheap-but-still-workable end, a refurbed T23 1ghz would be adequate for Examsoft, especially if you turn off the visual bells and whistles in XP.

    Really, Windows Vista is overkill for Examsoft and web browsing. And keep in mind that most university IT departments are only just starting to figure out how to support it. Why not just get a computer with XP Pro? Is there anything you're using this computer for other than taking exams and occasionally loading stupidly-designed IE-only websites?
     
  24. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #25
    Not really, it's just the techno-geek in me that wants to play around a bit with Vista ;)
     

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