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desperately need help choosing a laptop

Discussion in 'Intel' started by Blondie, Jun 24, 2005.

  1. Blondie

    Blondie Guest

    I asked this question about three months ago and at the time didn't get much
    response so am hoping for better luck this time. I have visited many retail
    outlets over the last three months in an attempt to learn about laptops but
    am unable to believe a word any salesman tells me. What one bloke says is
    the best is garbage to another salesman and they always seem to want to push
    you towards one particular laptop they have for sale, doesn't matter what
    question you ask, that laptop will do it so I desperately need your help. I
    know that I want at least 80Gb hard drive and 2 * 512 Mb Ram but I am unable
    to understand the processor and monitor terminology and this is where I need
    your help. I want a 17" screen, what XGA, UXGA, WSXGA should I be looking
    at. I want a powerful processor as I will be using the laptop for video
    capture and editing and from my previous experience the rendering process is
    extremely power and RAM hungry but I am confused by Celeron and 800FSB and
    Centrino etc. Which one is more powerful. I do hope someone can shed some
    light on the subject for me and appreciate your help.
     
    Blondie, Jun 24, 2005
    #1
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  2. Blondie

    Gene Hora Guest

    Have you tried looking at reviews on:

    www.cnet.com or
    www.zdnet.com

    or just plain Googling on the different aspects? I know that Centrino is a
    better technology than Celeron. Look at reviews on the above sites for
    laptops (notebooks) of the screen size you're looking for. I'm not too
    knowledgeable as to laptops, but believe you would be better off with 1 GB
    RAM module rather than 2 * 512 MB RAM modules. I've been looking
    extensively myself for a laptop for my granddaughter for school and have
    been able to learn quite a bit just by searching the Internet. Still no
    expert but much better educated now. I'm still searching -- that's why I'm
    on this NG.

    I offer this limited response in the event you have no better luck than your
    first time. :)
     
    Gene Hora, Jun 24, 2005
    #2
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  3. Blondie

    Blondie Guest

    thanks for your response. I have tried googling different stuff but I just
    don't understand all the terminology so was hoping that someone who did
    could share their wisdom with me. I think 2*512 Mb RAM is better than 1*1Gb
    RAM because DDR (Double Data Rate ) aspect of RAM doesn't work with only one
    stick but I'm not sure about this
     
    Blondie, Jun 24, 2005
    #3
  4. Blondie

    Dick Monahan Guest

    I've spent hours googling and reading reviews, and finally came across
    www.laptoplogic.com. I think if you thrash around there and visit some of
    the forums, you'll find some real help. I did.

    Dick.
     
    Dick Monahan, Jun 24, 2005
    #4
  5. Blondie

    Kevin Guest

    Blondie,

    If you want a laptop that can handle video editing and processing you need a
    Pentium 4 processor, at least the 3.0 Ghz version, with hyperthreading. As
    for RAM, yes DDR RAM, if used on a system that handles Dual Channel Memory,
    will be much faster. And yes, you would need to pair up the RAM sticks.
    The classes of screens run from good to better to best. A screen with the
    designation of WSXGA will have high resolution, on the order of 1280 x
    1024, widescreen, for WSXGA. Here is the link to information about what
    those letters mean when referring to screens.

    http://www.gen-x-pc.com/lcd3.htm

    A Celeron processor will not do what you want to do. As for FSB, which
    stands for Front Side Bus, the faster, the better.

    Good luck. Be prepared to spend about $2500 (US) for the machine you want.
    Keep in mind that you can get an absolutely awesome desktop system, with a
    19" LCD monitor, and surround sound speaker system for this kind of money.
     
    Kevin, Jun 24, 2005
    #5
  6. Blondie

    Pagan Guest

    Two sticks are required for dual channel DDR, while regular DDR needs only
    one. I've yet to read a review or opinion that dual channel has much
    benifit at today's speeds, especially in a laptop. I feel you'd do better
    with at least 1 stick of 1gb RAM, allowing you to upgrade without loosing
    money.

    As for the screen, nobody can tell you the 'best' one. Go to the store,
    find the prettiest screen, then write down what it is. Everybody's eyes are
    different, so what looks good to you may look like crud to me.

    A faster Centrino should allow you to do any video capture and editing. I
    don't recommend a full blown Pentium 4 in a laptop, as there have been too
    many problems with heat and such.

    Your best bet is to buy a laptop from a place that will allow you to return
    it in a couple weeks. That way you can see if it works for you.

    Then again, for video capture and especially editing, I don't recommend a
    laptop at all. You are going to pay through the nose for something that
    will loose at least 1/3 of it's value in a very short time, and isn't too
    upgradable. If you can get by with a portable computer that can't run off
    batteries, you might want to consider an SFF (Small Form Factor) system,
    which will be a whole lot cheaper and will last longer. www.shuttle.com

    Pagan
     
    Pagan, Jun 24, 2005
    #6
  7. Blondie

    Veritech Guest

    Screen wise the best ones are the Sony's with their "X-Black" feature, but
    you don't really get your moneys worth with a Vaio, hardware wise. Plus i
    don't know anyone that has ever praised their battery life. In times gone by
    i would say, Get a 17" powerbook, but thanks to "Macintel Gate" i can't
    really advise people down that route anymore, but if you can afford to
    change again in two to three years go for it.

    Dell shift some good product, and their prices are reasonable.
    Theres this company in the UK, they make some pretty impressive systems
    http://www.rockdirect.com/index.html

    Unfortunately beyond that i would say stick to the big boys, Dell, Toshiba,
    Sony, HP etc. See what model you like the best, in person(especially
    important for the screen). Then once you've settled go to their online store
    and configure it to your spec. Plus stay away from shared graphics, get a
    laptop with either a ATI or Nvidia Graphics solution
    Heres my specs
    (for battery life)

    Intel {Centrino}Pentium M 745 (2.17Ghz)
    1GB DDR 633(in dual Channel)
    80GB 5400 RPM
    DVD+/-RW
    Widescreen 15.4"(WXGA or 1280*768)
    Independant Graphics

    (for power)
    Intel Pentium 4 3.06GHz With HT
    1GB DDR 633(in dual Channel)
    60GB 7200RPM
    DVD+/-RW
    17"(SXGA or 1600*1200)
    Independant Graphics

    I hope that solved your problems a little, if in doubt just ask for more
    help :)
     
    Veritech, Jun 24, 2005
    #7
  8. Given the requirements, why are you going with a laptop? A laptop with
    the power you want will be quite expensive and given large memory,
    intensive CPU usage, and big display all will reduce battery life. Big
    laptops have big weight, even finding a case for 17 screen was a
    struggle, only about 10% of the cases I like would hold it.

    Therefore, several thoughts:
    - go 64 bit, probably meaning Athlon64, fast now, will support Win64 and
    64 bit versions of your video software.
    - if you need to do on-site capture, get a camera, or a cheap laptop
    just for capture, and do your editing on a desktop. I suspect the
    overall cost will be similar and performance better.
    - the big commercial animators and editors seem to be running Linux. I
    would avoid getting a laptop which doesn't support it, it might be
    important in your future.

    And a question, what's your video input channel? Firewire? Still not on
    every laptop, so don't forget it.
     
    Bill Davidsen, Jun 24, 2005
    #8
  9. There also will be 32bit versions for the next couple of years, and very
    likely much longer than every notebook bought today will be in use. Unlike
    the crowd opinion, 64bit doesn't make Your software faster. Usually the
    contrary is the case, 64bit programs often are more or less slower than
    their 32bit counterparts....
    Well, maybe You didn't notice that most of the "big commercial animators and
    editors" usually do all their editing on a Windows machine and use Linux
    systems mainly for rendering, something that's hardly a job for a notebook.

    Linux certainly is a nice operating system but certainly not the first
    choice for a video editing platform...

    Benjamin
     
    Benjamin Gawert, Jun 24, 2005
    #9
  10. Understandable. But be prepared to get different opinions here, too.
    Well, I can't agree with another poster who recommend getting a
    Pentium4-based notebook. Just don't do that! The Pentium4 CPU gets very(!)
    hot and needs lots of power, and simply is misplaced in a notebook. Go for a
    Pentium-M-based unit instead, often also (wrongly) referred to as
    "Centrino". Centrino is just a marketing term for the combination of
    Pentium-M CPU, intel chipset and intel WLAN. A notebook that doesn't have
    intel WLAN is not allowed to carry the Centrino sticker. This doesn't mean
    this notebook is worse, it's just no Centrino. But the really important part
    is the Pentium-M anyways...

    The Pentium-M, despite its low clock rate, is a very powerful CPU. A 1.7GHz
    Pentium-M is around as fast as a Pentium4 2,8GHz, but consumes much less
    power and also doesn't dissipate as much heat. A 1.7GHz Pentium-M is more
    than fast enough for video editing...

    The Celeron-M is a stripped-down Pentium-M which doesn't know Speedstep
    (Powermanagement) and has a smaller cache. Better get a P-M instead...

    I'd also recommend getting a brand name unit from Dell, IBM or HP instead of
    a cheaper noname or OEM unit. Especially for a notebook You need a good
    service...

    BTW: if Your main concern is video editing I'd also have a look on an Apple
    iBook or Powerbook as it's a great video editing platform and already comes
    with the necessary software...

    Benjamin
     
    Benjamin Gawert, Jun 24, 2005
    #10
  11. Blondie

    Yousuf Khan Guest

    VGA XGA SXGA UXGA WXGA WSXGA TFT LCD Monitor Info
    http://www.gen-x-pc.com/lcd3.htm
    In terms of performance on Intel processors, this the general hierarchy
    (from lowest to highest):

    Celeron, Centrino (aka Pentium-M), and Pentium 4

    In terms of power efficiency this is the heirarchy (lowest to highest):

    Pentium 4, Celeron, Centrino (Pentium M).

    800FSB means "800 Mhz Front Side Bus", the faster the better generally.
    Other choices are 400FSB and 533FSB, and 1033FSB. 400 is generally the
    speed that older Centrino Pentium M's run at. 533 is the speed at which
    newer Centrinos and Celerons run at, as well as older Pentium 4's.
    800Mhz is generally where modern Pentium 4's run at. 1033 is not used
    by any laptops, just desktop Pentium 4's.
     
    Yousuf Khan, Jun 24, 2005
    #11
  12. Blondie

    Nate Edel Guest

    Feh. If you need that much processor performance, buy a small form factor
    desktop and a flat panel at that point. Such a machine as a laptop is good
    only to use plugged in on a desk, as it will likely burn your lap and run
    down batteries in no time.

    For that matter, ram/HD matter more for most video editing purposes, and
    laptop hard drives typically SUCK for video. The few 7200rpm laptop drives
    help, but not that much.

    I wouldn't buy a desktop P4 laptop, period. The P4-Ms were bad enough, and
    topped out at 2.4ghz. Besides which, for most things, a 2ghz Dothan will
    outperform a 3ghz P4.
    A bit on crack, that. WXGA is fairly standard at 1280x768, not 1280x1024 and
    not 1366x768 as the site says.

    Manufacturers are NOT 100% standardized for anything except XGA (1024x768)
    and VGA (640x480) but in GENERAL:

    SXGA = 1280x1024 (sometimes x960)
    SXGA+ = 1400x1050
    (SXGA+ is Dell's term; resolution is quite common in any case.)
    UXGA = 1600x1200
    WXGA = 1280x720
    (one of the more variable ones, though! I've seen that also used for
    1024x576 on older subnotebooks, for example.)
    WSXGA = 1680x1050 (may just be a Dell term)
    WUXGA = 1920x1200 (may just be a Dell term)

    Moral of this story? Always check the detailed specs on a given machine.
    Don't go by acronyms.
    Probably the best advice you've given.
     
    Nate Edel, Jun 25, 2005
    #12
  13. Blondie

    Nate Edel Guest

    X-Black and other high-contrast screens look good to some people and really
    don't to others. To the original poster: go look at them in the store;
    you'll either love them or go "why would I pay extra for that???"
    Depends on which Vaio; for their time, the old 505s were great, and Sony has
    consistently made some of the best subnotebooks.
     
    Nate Edel, Jun 25, 2005
    #13
  14. Blondie

    Nate Edel Guest

    Not on many that I've seen, actually; fortunately, an extra $50 (roughly)
    will get you a nice cardbus firewire card.
     
    Nate Edel, Jun 25, 2005
    #14
  15. Blondie

    TechnoCheese Guest

    Definetely a Toshiba
     
    TechnoCheese, Jun 25, 2005
    #15
  16. No, WXGA usually is 1280x800, not 1280x768. Not much of a difference,
    though...

    Benjamin
     
    Benjamin Gawert, Jun 25, 2005
    #16
  17. Blondie

    Nate Edel Guest

    You're probably right about which one is more common.

    One of the problems is that you DO get both of them out there - even at the
    same manufacturer, at least in Dell's case. That, and other little
    inconsitencies pretty much just say to me "always check detailed specs,
    don't go by the marketing initials."
     
    Nate Edel, Jun 26, 2005
    #17
  18. Blondie

    bxf Guest

    My sympathies, Blondie. If you thought you were confused before, I can
    just imagine how you feel now.
     
    bxf, Jun 27, 2005
    #18
  19. Haven't been reading this group much have you ;-) I've been saying for a
    year that there's no reason to dump an existing 32 bit, people whould
    wait until they're going to buy a new one anyway and then get 64 bit as
    a hedge against future software. But since this *is* a new system and a
    fairly serious application, it makes sense to cover the bases.

    Existing 32 bit programs don't run slower on 64 bit hardware in any
    benchmark I've seen (or all that much faster in most cases, either). It
    still makes sense to be able to choose.
    Nor a reason to lock yourself out. I will agree that the Windows
    software is easier to use because you don't need a whole raft of
    packages, but you certainly can do editing on creation on Linux now, I
    have no intention of lugging a desktop on vacation.
    Not YOUR first choice, and why is that an argument to ignore the
    capability? For all I know you might want Linux or OS/X on that laptop
    in a few years. Covering all the bases doesn't have to cost more, you
    just shop a little harder.
     
    Bill Davidsen, Jun 27, 2005
    #19
  20. Your conclusion is correct, for heavy floating point (encoding) you may
    be a tad optimistic, I would have said 2.4, but there will be no lack of
    capability.
    Your point is well taken, but Toshiba has been around for a long time,
    and I've been pleased using them since about 1990.
    Totally correct.
     
    Bill Davidsen, Jun 27, 2005
    #20
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