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MathNerd05

In the Market for a computer?

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My good 'ol Dell laptop blew a fuse this morning, annihilating what was once my motherboard and erasing any hop of repairing my machine. So, I'm suddenly in the market for a computer. Any suggestions?

edit: I need a laptop capable of high-end image generations, so a CPU high in processor, RAM, and graphics. I'm not brand loyal, but I do need a fairly low price, under 2 grand.

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Well, with a budget of under $2 grand you really have a lot of options open for you. I guess it depends exactly what you're doing with it. CAD generation is done differently than something like the latest 3D shooter, but I guess having said that, you may be pressed to find a laptop with a CAD specialized graphics card in it for under $2 grand. In all honesty, it's probably a coin toss, more than one really. IBM just sold their PC division, taking the famous Thinkpads with them. Not sure of their fate as some Chinese company bought them. I have a Dell I'm typing this on, and Inspiron 8200 that's about two years old. It's been a good laptop, but it weighs nearly 8 lbs. so forget carrying it everywhere you go. For that I bought a Apple iBook G4 which does quite well and is very light weight. It sounds like you are really paying more attention to graphics output though. I guess more clarification on "what for?" would help.

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Honestly, your best bet is to drive up to Memphis, go to Best Buy, Circuit City, and a few other stores to find a laptop that matches your needs and budget.

The Best Buy at Riverdale and TN-385 was a place I shopped at quite often. ;)

Toshiba makes great laptops, but really the brand isn't as important as the price and features you need.

FYI: I work for Dell, and I can attest that their products aren't superior to anything. They have a few good desktop models, but I honestly think their laptops are lacking bigtime. Even some of the concept models I've played with are a bit crappy. I was a Circuit City the other day and was blown away at the higher quality LCD screens, and competitive prices over Dell's Inspiron models. Dell's LCD screens look really cheap.

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I was a Circuit City the other day and was blown away at the higher quality LCD screens, and competitive prices over Dell's Inspiron models. Dell's LCD screens look really cheap.

I bought the Inspiron 8200 with the UXGA version LCD and it is a fairly nice display. I can't say the same for the regular LCD's they put on them though so I agree with you. For a desktop replacement, this Dell has been a good laptop but it has had it's issues, but the same could be said for every laptop I've ever owned, including my iBook.

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I had a Dell before that was very reliable but was also heavy. I've been attracted to the Apple Powerbooks and the Dell 8600. I was just in Circuit City off Winchester yesterday and was unimpressed with what they had. While the LCD's were indeed nice, most units did not have the memory power I will need. And those that did were well over $2400.

Tell me about the differences between your 8200 and the ibook, Neo.

It needs to have at least: P4 3.0 GhZ (or equivalent), 512 Mb RAM (Preferably 768, 1 DIMM) and 64 Mb video card, preferably 128 Mb.

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My 8200 has a 1.8GHz Pentium Mobile with 640MB RAM. It gets hot but I don't keep it on my lap as it's a desktop replacement, so it doesn't bother me, neither does the weight. I used to use it as a laptop, but it got old fast with it being so big and heavy. I got the 15" version with the UXGA screen so I could get resolution of 1600x1200. I like a lot of real estate on my desktop. Why do you need such a high clock rate in the CPU? It depends on what kind of CPU, bus speed, etc. as well. The 8600 has the new Pentium M 1.4GHz but is optimized a great deal so it is faster than my 1.8GHz despite the clock speed being higher on mine. The 8600 is bulkier than mine I would imagine as it has a wide screen and my 8200 does not.

I prefer laptops the size of my iBook but with one disappointment in screen resolution. The max I can get on the 12" screen is 1024x768. I'd like it to be a little higher than that. I bought it in March so they've had newer revisions come out since. It has a G4 800MHz CPU, I think the newer iBooks go up to 1.2GHz. I maxed out the memory in it so it has 640MB, the same as my desktop. Things run quite well on it, no complaints but I do wish it had a little more power. I had thought about getting a Powerbook, which I would suggest you look at. It had a lot more power and options. You really can't relate Apple hardware to PC hardware, they're in completely different worlds. Go to an Apple Store (not sure if one is near you) and play around with the Powerbooks. Their people seem to be fairly knowledgeable unlike the part timers at the local Best Buy. I prefer PC because of the software available, and the fact that I manage a Windows shop with Windows servers so I'm kinda stuck with the PC as my primary machine. Apples just do some things better than PC's, and vice versa.

PS, my 8200 has 64MB video RAM but I think 128 comes on the new 8600's. My iBook has 32MB which is the same on the newer iBooks as well I think. You'll have to get a Powerbook to get the higher video RAM amounts.

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The clock speed has to be high to handle many billions of calculations at once. I do some research into random 3-d generations and defining existing 2-d and 3-d objects by a series of finite, peacewise functions. Sim City buildings generations may be revolutionized by this idea, as well as existing architectural rendering techniques. The RAM needs coincide with thi CPU need. The video need is so that I can overlay skins onto stick-and-wire frames with precision as well as being able to handle multiple overlays at once. All this combines to allow me to generate and layer up to a thousand 3-d images continuously. I've been told that an Apple Powerbook would do this job much better than a PC, although a Dell 8600 has the hardware I need cheaper than the Powerbook can offer.

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This is such a beautiful piece of machinery!  Behold, the Apple Powerbook G4:

2.jpg

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abfab_patsy.jpg

"he was so anally retentive he couldnt sit down in fear of sucking up the furniture!!!"

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Seriously, do you live in a hotel or something? How about an empty coffee cup or some random papers. I feel like a pig looking at your desk.

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Seriously, do you live in a hotel or something? How about an empty coffee cup or some random papers. I feel like a pig looking at your desk.

Haha, nah. That's not my laptop. Here is my desk at work:

T40412131149451.jpg

Sorry for the low quality image. Unlike in Asia, us peeps in the US are stuck with sub megapixel camera phones. Ugh....

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Sounds as if you settled on Dell before you undertook this questionaire.

In anycase, high end graphics are almost always done on desktop computers.  They don't use components that have compromised speed to save power and space.  Also the Windows OS really isnt that good in utilizing this power.  Best to go with some kind of unix variant like Linux or Apple OSX (which is really linux under the covers).

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If I had settled on Dell I wouldn't have asked the question. I have to be mobile in a college environment otherwise I would just build a desktop, which I may end up doing anyway. Anyone know if a pc machine with linux and a mac machine with Linux can talk to each other?

I just got back from the Apple retailer near me and was blown away by the 15" powerbooks. 1.5 GhZ/128 Mb video memory, 512 RAM, S-video out, Airport express wireless and Firewire 800 for $2400. Joygasm for the day. :)

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Anyone know if a pc machine with linux and a mac machine with Linux can talk to each other?

Yes they can through Samba. I connect my Mac to the Windows network here at work, no problems.

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I have always been told that Apple is better for graphics and stuff any any PC.

Well, to some degree, but not nearly as much as it has been in years past. Previously, say 10 or even 5 years ago this was certainly the case but PC's have come a long way in contending with the graphics rendering abilities, etc. of Apple. Apple still has the fastest desktop PC though. The new dual G5 desktops are the fastest end user computer available, bar none. And Pixar, notorious for movies like Toy Story use Apple hardware to render the frames as do many other rendering farms. I think for what needs to be done here, the Mac would certainly give you the advantage.

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So it seems that there are some slight differences between Macs and PCs but those are minimal. So I suppose the question really becomes do I want to risk going through the change or stick with what I know, which is a much more personal question.

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If you do decide to get a Mac, you might want to invest in Move2Mac to transfer your files from your PC. I moved all my stuff over by burning it to disc, which was tedious, but didn't take too long (I could have waited until I networked the machines, but I wasn't planning to do that right away).

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So it seems that there are some slight differences between Macs and PCs but those are minimal. So I suppose the question really becomes do I want to risk going through the change or stick with what I know, which is a much more personal question.

Well, I think a Mac would do what you want it to much more efficiently. Macs are extremely easy to use so I get a little bored with it. I guess if I spent more time on it I'd like it more, but my job doesn't allow me to do that so I must stick being a PC man for the most part.

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If you do decide to get a Mac, you might want to invest in Move2Mac to transfer your files from your PC. I moved all my stuff over by burning it to disc, which was tedious, but didn't take too long (I could have waited until I networked the machines, but I wasn't planning to do that right away).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I have no files to transfer, I lost everything to a stupid fuse. and the ensuing electrical surge. Thanks to everyone for all you help and comments. :)

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If you didn't find a special at Circuit City, try every other store. Sears, Best Buy, CompUSA, or other stores. You'll find something for certain. Laptops aren't like a Desktop, you can't expect them to have tremendous graphics power without paying at least $1500-2k.

Being someone who has built his own computer for years now, I know what you mean about the desire for customization. Laptops are different though. You especially want to buy them in person - not through mail order or online. You need a place to physically go back to with a service plan. Laptops break easy, they are more expensive, and its worth the extra $100 for a service plan of some type with a place to go visit instead of spending weeks mailing things around when problems occur.

You may think I'm nuts, you may agree. I don't know, but its what my experience tells me.

Here's a few things you should focus on:

a) Battery life, weight, and durability - this is amazing as some laptops won't even operate but an hour and 30 minutes, others last for 5-7 hours. Battery power can be related to weight, the bigger the battery, the heavier the system. But also don't get a laptop so light it is not durable.

B) Graphics chipset, make sure its a Radeon or GeForce based mobile graphics chip of course.

c) Processor speed - more cache and lower clock speeds may be better then the highest GHz. Be wary!

c) everything else second, you can add RAM for after you buy - just make sure it has an SODIMM slot free.

The best battery life can be found with Intel's Pentium 4 M chips. They have a new speedstep technology combined with speed enhancements from cache, not high clock speed, which keeps the laptop cooler and running hours longer then others.

If AMD has a new power-saving chip, I apologize for not keeping up to date. LOL

Just do your shopping. And good luck!

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Warning, do not buy apple computer. It is a totally hassle to switch from PC to a Mac. Mac doesnt have enough programs. If you want a good work station with good graphic output, try Alienware, high end workstation. Not everybody know about this, but u are a computer nerd, u should know that Alienware is like the Ferarri in the car world.

No AMD either, it is piece of crap, go for P4 Mobile Hyperthread

I work with CAD everyday and this is my recommendation. DELL is good for budget buyer but the customer service is based in India which u can hardly understand any words they speak.

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The best of Alienware laptop is that you can upgrade it and possibly add your hardrive up to 200 GB, 2 G Memory and speed up to 3.6 GHZ.

Dont settle for Dell or buy anything is ready on shelf at Best Buy or Circuit City.

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