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Entry Level Centrino: Tosiba M10, IBM R40 or Dell 600m

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by Bryan Radley, Sep 7, 2003.

  1. Bryan Radley

    Bryan Radley Guest

    Hi everyone, I am just about to purchase two entry-level centrino
    laptops for my sister and I (for postgrad purposes). I have narrowed
    down my choice to the following three, listed below. Buying two M10's
    will save me between 400-560 Euro (approx $445/GBP280-$620/GBP395) and
    seems the best value. IBM's build-quality means the R40 is still in
    the running, and I'm unsure about the Dell. I'm particularly
    interested in hearing from owners of new M10's/R40's, but advice from
    all quarters is really appreciated!

    (XP Pro is the OS on all three)
    (1) Toshiba Satellite Pro M10 - 1299 Euro (excluding VAT)
    P-M 1.3GHz/256MB DDR RAM/40GB SMART/DVD-CDRW/15"TFT/NVIDIA GeForce4
    420 Go 32MBDDR RAM/WiFi-Intel 802.11b integrated, (802.11a/b) ready

    (2) IBM ThinkPad R40 - 1495 Euro (")
    P-M 1.30GHz/256MB PC2100 DDR SDRAM/40GB(ATA-100(Enhanced
    IDE))/DVD-CDRW/14.1"TFT/ATI RADEON 7500 32MBDDR SDRAM/WiFi-Intel PRO
    802.11b

    (3) Dell Latitude 600m - 1579 Euro (")
    P-M 1.3 GHz/512MB (266MHz) DDR RAM/40GB(Removable EIDE
    ATA-100)/DVD-CDRW/14.1"TFT/ATI RADEON 9000 32MBDDR SDRAM/WiFi-Intel
    PRO 802.11b or Dell TrueMobile 1300 Wireless 802.11 b/g (Also includes
    3 years International Next Business Day On-Site service)

    Also do people know if these machines have 5,400 RPM HD (or better
    still, 7200) - I don't want a system with the useless 4,500 RPM if I
    can help it?!

    :} Bryan Radley (Ireland)
     
    Bryan Radley, Sep 7, 2003
    #1
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  2. The screen resolution is the impoprtant thing (after the maintenance,
    and in europe ibm is trumps), and you don't give it. Nothing else
    matters apart from screen, keyboard, and maintenance (not in that
    order).
    Why? That's better for laptops in particular (lower power). Faster rpm
    does not mean higher data transfer rate either! And higher data
    transfer rate is not usually of much interest either. Your o/s will
    cache the disk. Forget it.

    Peter
     
    Peter T. Breuer, Sep 7, 2003
    #2
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  3. Bryan Radley

    George Mills Guest

    I was going to say the exact same thing. Screen resolution (not size) and
    maintenanceare are critical.
    I would also seriously consider onsite support which all 3 offer fairly
    cheap.
    If something minor goes wrong you can't afford to lose your laptop for a
    couple weeks.
    Also pointing devices are critical. Track point, track pad or both.
     
    George Mills, Sep 7, 2003
    #3
  4. Bryan Radley

    Joe Davis Guest

    The 512 MB RAM on the Dell is a major improvement over the 256 on the other
    two. That would be noticeable.
     
    Joe Davis, Sep 7, 2003
    #4
  5. But irrelevant. Ram is something you can change at any point in the
    lifetime of the machine. Screen, keyboard and goodness of maintenance
    care are not things that can be changed.

    Peter
     
    Peter T. Breuer, Sep 7, 2003
    #5
  6. Bryan Radley

    Joe Davis Guest

    I got the impression the Bryan was trying to weigh the pros and cons and
    that the cost was an important part of the decision.

    Buying the extra RAM and getting a 3-year international service contract on
    the Tosh and IBM would make a fairer comparison.
     
    Joe Davis, Sep 7, 2003
    #6
  7. Bryan Radley

    Bryan Radley Guest

    The screen resolution is the important thing (after the maintenance,
    and in europe ibm is trumps), and you don't give it.

    Sorry about that Peter - here's all the screen specs I found about
    these 3 models.

    Toshiba M10:
    size-15.0"/type-TFT display/internal res-1024x768/colour
    palette-16.77million
    IBM R40:
    size-14.1"/type-TFT/internal res-1024x768/colour palette-16.77m/also
    screen illumination-backlit
    Dell 600m:
    size-14.1"/type-TFT/internal res-1024x768/colour palette-16.8m/

    Point taken re the HD. Wasn't thinking straight. One other detail, the
    M10 & R40 models both have a firewire port, whereas the 600m doesn't
    seem to have one.

    What do you think is the best bet? Thx Bryan
     
    Bryan Radley, Sep 7, 2003
    #7
  8. That's secondary. Very secondary. Total cost of ownership includes both
    downtime, repairtime, and the usability. Low cost is silly if it means
    low maintenance or poor quality, etc.
    Ram is trivially cheap, and available anytime. You don't get the
    principle: anything that you can change is not a CRITICAL element. You
    can't change the keyboard and the screen, so they had better be right
    first time, because it's the only time.
    You must be in the states. Such things are not available elsewhere.

    Any toshiba that needs a fan fixing in S. europe gets sent on a
    six-week round trip to amsterdam. IBM will fix it in their local repair
    center in two days.

    And anyway, even IBM have to have the parts sent to them here, which
    means that a US machine serviced locally will have to wait for parts. I
    couldn't get a US keyboard for my X24, for example. UK was the nearest
    possibility.

    Peter
     
    Peter T. Breuer, Sep 7, 2003
    #8
  9. They're all under-specced for their size. There's no point in having a
    14" or 15" screen if it's not at least 1280x1024 or more usually
    1400x1050 (note aspect ratios).
    Doesn't matter. I know of no use for a firewire port - the only serial
    communications device I use on a laptop is the ethernet (wireless,
    usually)! That's far faster.

    I'd rule all three machines out on the grounds that the screen res is
    insufficient.

    Peter
     
    Peter T. Breuer, Sep 7, 2003
    #9
  10. Bryan Radley

    Bryan Radley Guest

    Thanks Peter, George and Joe for your responses. Here are some of my
    thoughts/clarifications arising from your comments.

    (1) Cost - As Joe pointed out, cost is very important to me. My max
    outlay is ideally about Euro 1600 (ex VAT - getting them through a
    business contact) on each machine.

    (2) Upgrading Display Res - Toshiba M10: Can't get local Irish info
    just now.

    IBM R40: No Centrino model with a screen res above 1024X768 listed on
    the UK site within hundreds of euros of the model we are discussing.
    The only option is a 2GHz Pentium 4M R40 with a 15" 1400x1050TFT
    display but which is only 'Wi-Fi wireless upgradable' and obviously
    non-Centrino. Cost: +65 Euro approx

    Latitude 600m: Would have to upgrade to P-M 1.4GHz, 1400X1050 res,
    SXGA+TFT
    Cost: +150 Euro

    Is it possible to survive with a screen res of 1024X768 - or should I
    avoid at all costs, since, as Peter said, it's a critical element that
    you can't change?

    (3) IBM over Toshiba (in Europe)? Peter said "That's secondary. Very
    secondary. Total cost of ownership includes both downtime, repairtime,
    and the usability. Low cost is silly if it means low maintenance or
    poor quality, etc"

    Peter's point re Toshiba's support in Europe has put me worrying. Is
    it better value to shell out the extra cash initially on an IBM model,
    with better support, instead? (and, if so, what if I can't afford a
    better screen res on an S40?! C.f. (2)) What are peoples' experiences
    of notebooks by these companies?

    (4) Buying extra RAM - RAM is a low priority. I'll invest in extra RAM
    when I get the chance but other things come first (ideally good
    design/keyboard, Centrino, DVD-CDRW, display, wireless etc) & RAM
    isn't a prioity for my sis either.

    Please continue to send advice. Your help is invaluable, and I'm
    grateful for it. Thx again, Bryan
     
    Bryan Radley, Sep 7, 2003
    #10
  11. That's only his opinion. Not only it is possible "to survive", but a
    lot of people actually dislike resolutions higher than 1024x768
    because things become just too small.
     
    Marcio Watanabe, Sep 8, 2003
    #11
  12. Bryan Radley

    Joe Davis Guest

    Peter is right about the screen resolution being a critical element because
    it can't be changed, but I'm not sure why resolutions above 1024x768 are
    critical on a laptop of that size. If you really need higher resolution,
    I'd recommend a larger screen. I think (you need to check) they all have
    higher resolution available for external monitors.

    It really depends upon the applications you'll be using. I have a Dell
    Inspiron 600 and use some fairly graphics-intensive software. I got the 64
    MB graphics card but purposely got the 1024x768 screen. The reason was that
    laptops are a lot more readable when you run them at "native" resolution,
    and I knew from experience that my old eyes and the projectors I plug into
    would both be happier with the 1024x768 than with higher resolutions.
    Higher resolutions are really difficult for most older projectors.
     
    Joe Davis, Sep 8, 2003
    #12
  13. I don't know of anyone who does - but everyone FEARS that they will.
    Then they get a machine and find that it's fine, because of the higher
    dpi.
    Incidentally, I have a 1024x768 screen myself, because I use a 12.1"
    ultraportable. If I were looking for a heavier machine, I would be
    looking for more resolution and a bigger screen. The ratio from
    12.1" to 15" is just under 25%, so I would be looking for 50% more
    pixels just to stay with the same size, so 1280x1024 would be just
    as I have it now and 1400x1050 would be more tight-packed.

    Peter
     
    Peter T. Breuer, Sep 8, 2003
    #13
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