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Advice Needed on Replacement for Winbook Laptop

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by Don Cohen, Jan 18, 2004.

  1. Don Cohen

    Don Cohen Guest

    I have a 4 year old Winbook XL3 laptop that I need to replace, and am
    researching options. My needs are:

    A. high quality display for working with digital images (my primary
    passion - see link to my site below)
    B. minimizing size and weight without too much harm to A
    C. longer battery life preferable for the occasional plane trips
    D. ability to burn DVD's (probably rewritable) to backup my digital photos
    while out of town shooting
    E. reasonable system and video speed to run Photoshop and similar graphics
    F. wireless internet access is not an issue and would likely not be used (I
    have ethernet cable to my bedroom and desk)

    Here are my questions:

    1. I am considering the Dell Inspiron 8600, Gateway 505XL, Gateway 450XL.
    Any general thoughts on the suitability of each for my purposes, and/or
    other brands/models worth considering.

    2. The Inspiron offers 1280x800, 1680x1050, 1920x1200. I lean toward the
    1680x1050, thinking the highest resolution might be problematic (i.e. fonts
    too small) on a 15.4" display. Any thoughts here?

    3. The Dells offer DVD+RW/+R, while the Gateways offer DVD-RW. I'm not
    sufficiently familiar with format issues here to know which will be best for
    me. I want to be able to play standard DVD movies. I also want to be able
    to burn rewritable DVD data discs to backup photos while traveling, and if
    possible read these on my Desktop GW700XL (which has a Matshita DVD-RAM

    4. I want 1 GB of RAM total. I'm inclined to buy the system with 512 MB in
    one DIMM from GW or Dell, and then get the other 512 MB from Crucial or
    Kingston. Any reason not to go this route, and/or any preference on 3rd
    party supplier of memory?

    5. I also lean toward the 60 GB 7200 RPM HD that Dell offers; any reason
    not to?

    Any other relevant thoughts, suggestions or options greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    Photo Website at:

    [Remove the "lens cap" for email]
    Don Cohen, Jan 18, 2004
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  2. The 8600 and 505XL are directly comparable; the 450XL is a bit smaller.

    Your call. If you live near a Gateway store, a look might be worth the trip.
    Dell is part of the +R/+RW consortium. The -R/-RW format is more
    universally compatible
    with DVD players (it's been around longer). DVD-RAM drives usually can
    read -R discs, but not -R, or the + formats.

    Crucial; can't go wrong there.
    That's likely the best performer out there (there is also a Toshiba 7200 now
    in addition to the Hitachi Dell uses).

    If you don't need the portability, get a CD-RW drive and an external
    universal-format DVD+/-R/W drive.
    Edward J. Neth, Jan 19, 2004
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  3. Don Cohen

    zhukeeper Guest

    I found this forum almost too useful for the gateway m505x and the


    , but I still would like to input from this group on that laptop as

    Personally I think the m505xl suits most of your needs since it has
    about 4.5 hours of battery life (according to the proud owners on that
    forum), it has a dvd burner, has a zippy pentium m processor, and most
    importantly a 9600 mobility. The only thing that might not suit you
    is the screen which is neither sxga nor uxga. it's the standard xga
    15.4 inch widescreen.

    The thing is that the m505xl has a toshiba 16 mb 5400 rpm. you can
    probably purchase a separate 7200 rpm drive and replace the 5400 rpm.
    However, the thing is, the owners on that forum claim that the laptop
    is very very quiet except with a higher rpm drive, the whirr of the
    hard drive becomes very apparent.

    the highest resolution does prevent a problem but it's all based on
    personal preference. at uxga, the text is very very small, but you
    can adjust the DPI to make the text larger. Of course, you would have
    enormous real estate especially for the graphics that you need to do.

    well, i've heard bad things about the 8600. there is a link within
    the thread that i provided for you that points to a forum that
    specifically discusses the problems dell owners are having with the
    8600. from what i hear of the m505xl, there is nothing majorly wrong.
    zhukeeper, Jan 19, 2004
  4. Don Cohen

    Don Cohen Guest

    Thanks for the reply and link. I'll check out that and other posts on that

    I've been researching the Inspiron 8600, and so far the main thing I've seen
    is complaints about the buttons associated with the track stick requiring
    excessive pressure to operate. Seems to be a common complaint.

    Both the M505XL and the Inspiron 8600 look to be nice machines. I'd
    probably be happy with either, but hopefully my research will lead one way
    or the other.

    Best regards,

    Photo Website at:

    [Remove the "lens cap" for email]
    Don Cohen, Jan 19, 2004
  5. Don Cohen

    Whelan Guest

    Have you seen the Gateway in person?
    I did and I liked it.
    I had just purchased and received a Dell 8500 (same chassis as the 8600 but
    pre-Centrino) and while trying to decide whether to keep it, I took it into
    the Gateway store and plopped it down beside the 505.

    The 505 is not quite as wide (½-1" narrower?) as the Dell. The Gateway had a
    front slot-loading CDRW drive, like in a car. It also had a slot for a tiny
    disk (maybe a SD??; I only know that it wasn't a memory stick which our
    cameras and Clies use). They said it had a built-in subwoofer too. They do
    not make a port replicator for the Gateway, whereas the Dell 8500/8600 has a
    really nice one.

    Another important distinction: you can configure the Dell 8600 any way you
    want, any combination of processor speed, RAM, hd size, CDRW vs DVD-RW, etc.
    And Dell has 3 screen resolution choices.
    Gateway gave you only two overall choices, a lower model or a higher one;
    you could not choose or mix features.
    But if either of the two 505's is configured like you want, and you don't
    need a port replicator, they seem really nice.

    Whelan, Jan 19, 2004
  6. Don Cohen

    Don Cohen Guest

    Hi Whelan,

    Hi Nan,

    Thank you very much for the reply and feedback.

    I actually did see the Gateway over the week-end. At the time, though I was
    more mesmerized by the 17" display on the 675XL. Pretty impressive. But I
    decided it was too big/heavy. I'll be heading back in the next couple of
    days to take a closer look at the M505.

    I've been doing more reading at www.notebookforums.com - there's quite a lot
    to review there.

    Best regards,

    Photo Website at:

    [Remove the "lens cap" for email]
    Don Cohen, Jan 19, 2004
  7. Don Cohen

    pdb Guest

    Look at the screen quality on the Fujitsu N3010. Nothing else compares.

    pdb, Jan 19, 2004
  8. Don Cohen

    Don Cohen Guest

    I'd like to take a look, but it could be hard/impossible to actually find it
    anywhere near me. But I have read some other good comments on the Fujitsu

    Battery life seems substantially less than the other options I'm considering
    (possibly related to their use of what seems to be a 'standard' desktop
    CPU - Pentium 4 2.8 GHz.

    Also a bit on the heavy side (8+ pounds ).

    Still it priced out at $2049 and included 1 GB RAM, 60 GB HD, ATI 9000/64 MB
    Video, DVD-RW.

    I'll keep researching, and appreciate the tip on the Fujitsu.

    Best regards,

    Photo Website at:

    [Remove the "lens cap" for email]
    Don Cohen, Jan 19, 2004
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