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jcampi
11-28-2008, 04:21 PM
John - I started a new thread for you in Hardware Reviews to discuss the selection of a new laptop. The subject will have better visibility here rather than buried in the Toshiba won't boot thread - Terry


I'm glad I have waited and given this issue some time. I don't want to throw almost $100 (or more) into a four year old laptop for nothing. I'm pricing replacement laptops now and would like some advice on them. I'm trying to get the most bang for my buck and spend about $500. At this price I see my preferred preferred, which is a Intel Core 2. I don't want an AMD processor (there are plenty of laptops for less than this price point of $500, but I don't want a hot running Intel Dual Core or Celeron.
I have had good service from my Sony now for about two years, but Sony laptops seem pricey. I kind of prefer HP, Compaq or Dell. What laptop brands do you guys like (please keep in mind my budget. I am a little flexible.)

qldit
11-28-2008, 06:16 PM
Good Morning John, well you have a bit of work to do!

To begin you obviously desire an Intel Core2 Duo, 3 Gig of ram, 160 Gig hard drive, suitable sockets and USB's (infra red is debatable) reasonable sound and inbuilt WiFi. The DVD should be "blueray" and it may be preferable to consider a laptop which could be classed as "industrial" quality.

Acer had a range of "Extensa's" which were in this area but they may no longer be available.

When you begin examining what is available you will likely find that "Acer" machines have the "biggest bang for your buck", but for some odd reason many people are warded off buying them.

For a general use machine by a careful owner I feel they are the best!

So search for the critereon as you desire, list the short runners, then inspect the machines remaining in the running, some just feel crappy in your hands, other things to consider are the carry case, recovery system, screen size, warranty and general mechanical construction.

I suspect that many of the available machines may originate in the same factories in China!

I have a "Medion" which is simply a rebranded well-designed generic machine made in China, and it has been really good.
This machine was a "doorbuster" special for the "Aldi" supermarket chain, you might keep an eye on your local Aldi shop if you have one, the value from their products is unbeatable.

Cheers, Lawrence.

Dan18960
11-28-2008, 06:47 PM
HP dvt5 series basic package is $579 specs:

Vista Home Premium 32 bit
Pentium Dual-Core T3200
15.4 Widescreen
2 gb DDR2 RAM
Intel Graphics Media Graphics Card
Free Upgrade 250 gb SATA drive
Webcam Only
Wireless G card
NOW this is a FIRST - No Modem in basic system :eek:
DVD +/- RW Double Layer "support"
No TV Tuner on basic
System Recovery DVD with Vista Home Premium

guest102
11-28-2008, 06:54 PM
I have no use for Gateway Desktops but their Laptops are super...I would recommend only Lenovo or Gateway these days, too many motherboard issues with HP Dan. Check this out and not to worry about refurbished, I have bought and sold many of these:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=4292349&sku=S445-150013

jcampi
11-28-2008, 10:33 PM
Dan, I have seen a HP with similar specs for less than $450. I thought the Intel Dual Core was old technology and I'd be better off with the newer Core 2. I do see many cheaper laptops with the Dual Core T3200 mobile chip, but isn't this an old chip that gets plenty hot?

Rob-S
11-28-2008, 11:21 PM
I have no use for Gateway Desktops but their Laptops are super...I would recommend only Lenovo or Gateway these days, too many motherboard issues with HP Dan. Check this out and not to worry about refurbished, I have bought and sold many of these:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=4292349&sku=S445-150013

Refurbished??

guest102
11-29-2008, 10:30 AM
Refurbished??


Rob,
Yes refurbished. Between myself and my clients over the last year I would rather have a refurbished Gateway than a new HP...we have bought about 12 of them with no issues whatsoever on the Gateways ( we won't talk about the disappointing new HP's bought this year and last).

Rob-S
11-29-2008, 09:24 PM
Interesting Rich.

Funny thing is my neighbor just bought a couple of refurbed HP6715b Notebooks direct from HP for $375 each. He has no complaints with them so far...

guest102
11-29-2008, 11:25 PM
Interesting Rich.

Funny thing is my neighbor just bought a couple of refurbed HP6715b Notebooks direct from HP for $375 each. He has no complaints with them so far...
I meant to say some of the refurbs have been Lenovos too.

jcampi
11-30-2008, 10:43 AM
Rich, I'm strongly considering Gateway but they don't seem to allow you to purchase direct from them. I wish they built a laptop for you and shipped it directly like Dell or HP. Unless I'm wrong - Gateway doesn't seem to offer this option. The price point between the Intel Dual Core and Core 2 processors is a few hundred dollars. Is the Core 2 really worth the price premium?? I know the Dual Core (T3200 in most cases) is older technology and runs hotter but Dual Core models are usually about $500 while Core 2 models are about $650 or more.
On the power-issue Toshiba, I'd like to get what little I can for it on ebay. Without the hard drive I'm thinking the laptop is worth considerably less. I don't want to sell it with the hard drive because there are files on the drive I don't want others to access. Is there a quick way I can erase the drive if I remove it from the laptop? Otherwise, I might just take the hard drive out and sell the laptop without the hard drive. Of course, I'll note the power supply or input issue when I sell it and inform the potential buyers of the issues.

guest102
11-30-2008, 10:55 AM
John,
I wouldn't even consider the new ones when Tiger has such good prices on refurbished, and they work out so well so I have never tried but it looks as if they retail in all the stores you guys go into all the time, pick one out if that is what you want to do.

As for Core 2 Duo yes, that is all I would buy it is worth the difference. Remember heat is more of an issue in a laptop then it is in a desktop and the Core 2 Duos run cooler though the Allendale cpu's are really close to C2D in makeup if you want to save the $ I suppose.

Use kill disk on the hard drive if you are that worried. I just formatted mine, reinstalled XP and sold it on ebay without a thought.

steveie85
11-30-2008, 02:15 PM
I would not get a Dell, I would not recommend a Dell to any one, not even my worst enemy. If you do go Dell, you will not get very good tech support, and everything you say is wrong and can't be. I agree with Rich, Gateway and Lenovo are probably the best out there right now.

jcampi
11-30-2008, 03:10 PM
I have priced and looked at Gateways. I like them very much. I have had great experience with my two year old Sony laptop. I'm tempted to look at Sony laptops but don't know their history. One reason I like Sony is I'd already have my power supply to check either laptop. I'm presuming the power supply on mine and the new Sony's are the same. I looked at Sony laptops and they appear to use the same power cord and adapter. The negative about Sony seems to be their price.

One interesting note on getting a Sony laptop. I visited their site and they offer you a trade in value for you rold laptop. You can use the trade in value if you order online or at a local retailer. I entered the info. for the old Toshiba laptop on Sony's site and it was estimated at about $150. I can obtain a nice Sony online for about $799 minus the trade in value of $150 the balance for the new laptop would be $649 (a pretty good price for a Core 2, etc.). My main concern with trading in the Toshiba would be a requirement to include the hard drive with the laptop. The hard drive has some private files, etc. I'm going to look into pulling the files from the hard drive and/or erasing the hard drive so I can include it in the laptop for sale to Sony or ebay.

guest102
11-30-2008, 03:26 PM
I have priced and looked at Gateways. I like them very much. I have had great experience with my two year old Sony laptop. I'm tempted to look at Sony laptops but don't know their history. One reason I like Sony is I'd already have my power supply to check either laptop. I'm presuming the power supply on mine and the new Sony's are the same. I looked at Sony laptops and they appear to use the same power cord and adapter. The negative about Sony seems to be their price.

One interesting note on getting a Sony laptop. I visited their site and they offer you a trade in value for you rold laptop. You can use the trade in value if you order online or at a local retailer. I entered the info. for the old Toshiba laptop on Sony's site and it was estimated at about $150. I can obtain a nice Sony online for about $799 minus the trade in value of $150 the balance for the new laptop would be $649 (a pretty good price for a Core 2, etc.). My main concern with trading in the Toshiba would be a requirement to include the hard drive with the laptop. The hard drive has some private files, etc. I'm going to look into pulling the files from the hard drive and/or erasing the hard drive so I can include it in the laptop for sale to Sony or ebay.

One little thing, is I have worked on 3 Sony Laptops, and in every case there are no ways in on the bottom of the case so I had to take the entire laptop apart to change a hard drive. Same would be true to add ram so that's enough reason for me to stay away if that is still true.

jcampi
11-30-2008, 09:18 PM
Maybe I'm repeating myself, but one thing I don't like about Gateway is their purchase options at their web site. I sure wish they offered their laptops for purchase directly from their web site like Dell, HP and Sony do. Gateway just refers you to a retailer when you select a laptop from their model line of computers. I would have like to just purchase the Gateway laptop direct from the company's web site. Gateway does make a very nice laptop.

guest102
11-30-2008, 09:35 PM
Don't forget Lenovo John, they do it your way and IBM was always top of the line!
http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:expandcategory?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=8FA114A7D9FF4F38AE8E19B36EC665A7

TonyDi
12-01-2008, 10:28 AM
Consider an Apple Macintosh. I have two that I use everyday. One is my personal machine and the other is my business machine. Both are usually powered all day long. The business machine goes with me when I make a 'house calls'. They're more expensive than your typical Windows machine but they go on forever. I think the personal machine was purchased in Feb 2000 and the business machine in late 2001.

Support at the Apple Store is top-notch. Apple Care is English speaking - no India outsourcing.

When it comes to a Windows-based machine, I've purchased Lenovo laptops for one of my customers. They and I have been happy with them.

allheart55 (Cindy)
12-01-2008, 01:12 PM
John, I have found the best bang for the buck at Dell. You can "build" it to your specifications and don't forget, with a Dell machine you not only receive all of your CDs but the recovery partition. (I usually wipe out the partition and replace it with Acronis secure zone)

I "build" the notebook, save it and then contact Live chat, and have someone help me with what I want.

They ask you from the start what you have/want to spend. I have always gotten exactly what I have requested at a far lower price. You do have to remain firm and stick to your guns about the price.


I would not get a Dell, I would not recommend a Dell to any one, not even my worst enemy. If you do go Dell, you will not get very good tech support, and everything you say is wrong and can't be. I agree with Rich, Gateway and Lenovo are probably the best out there right now.

Stevie, I have to disagree with you about Dell. I have been dealing with Dell for over 10 years.
I discovered the way to deal with warranty or problem issues of any kind is, if possible, the live chat function on-site.

When I have a warranty issue I keep a step by step list (in notepad or OE) of exactly what trouble shooting steps I have taken, as well as results.

I then go to the web-site and use the tech chat, fully prepared. After the initial information has been answered, (name, service tag, address, phone number etc.) I copy and paste into the text box the steps taken to resolve the problem or rule out something else. I am usually elevated to the level two tech chat immediately.

I use the copy/paste function again. Usually after approx. 5-10 minutes of sitting in front of the monitor waiting I have my replacement request approved.

I do agree with you about the physical tech support, having been the recipient of it myself. Dell sub-contracts warranty work to local's.

It is hit or miss whether or not you get someone good or really awful.

I haven't used a Dell tech for anything at all for more than a year now.

I replace the part myself and ship the bad one back via a paid shipping label. I realize this method wouldn't work for everyone because you must have a fair/decent amount of knowledge when it comes to computers.

Of course, I haven't always had the knowledge and I have had to go through the question after question it can sometrimes take before they schedule a tech to come to my home.

I have never had a problem with them backing the warranty. In fact they actually covered the cost of Dee's mobo when it went. It was no longer under warranty but due to circumstances they agreed to replace it.

The mobo was delivered in less than 24 hours later.

jcampi
12-01-2008, 03:02 PM
Cindy, Dell does make some really nice laptops and the prices are fair. However, I hear very negative things about Dell's quality and performance. I was really sold on HP about a year ago and now they are getting negative reviews for laptops. So far, it seems to be coming down to Gateway (my preference) or Lenovo. Apple is out because we want the laptop to be a PC and the cost is way too expensive. The more I think about it the more I may try to meet a $500 price target. Investing too much in a laptop seems foolish. They don't seem to last very long and are prone to all kinds of issues.

jcampi
12-07-2008, 11:40 AM
Well, I took the plunge and purchased the Gateway laptop at the link below:
http://shop.bjs.com/-749-99-less--50-Instant-Coupon-on-Gateway-15-4--34--Laptop-PC-with-Intel-Core-2-Duo-T5750-Processor--4-096MB-DDR2--320GB-HDD-Bl-Laptops---Desktops_stcVVproductId54783095VVcatId428430VVview prod.htm

The price is decent and the specs are solid. I like the processor (Intel Core 2), 4GB of RAM and wireless N. Now I'm starting to think about the clear laptop skins that might be useful in protecting the outer screen and the keyboard hand rest area. Does anyone have experience with these clear protective skins? They come off and don't leave any residue or mess. I think the cost of about $12 for them is a reasonable way to keep the laptop free from scratches and marks.

guest102
12-07-2008, 12:13 PM
I think that is a real good price for what is in it and I tried real hard to beat the price. Of course if Larry Kline were here, he would have found it for $499 I am certain!