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Old June 6, 2008, 05:21 PM
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I'm thinking about getting the ASUS F8SN-B1 or F8SN-C1 this summer for college in the fall. Spec wise they look pretty awesome though the 6-cell battery is a bit of a turn off. I suppose I could buy a 2nd battery and just swap them as needed.

I'm leaning more towards the F8SN-C1 as it has the T9300 CPU and higher resolution screen. I hate slow computers so I want a laptop that performs well and possible play the odd game here and there as well. However, I don't want it to be a massive brick either that will be a PITA to carry around all day.

My other choice is the XPS M1330, however it has lower graphics, but I could get an LED screen (not sure how much that helps battery life), and a 9-cell battery, but it costs a ton more.

I suppose another choice could be the Inspiron 1420 as well which basically can be spec'd out the same as the XPS for less money but in a larger package.
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Old June 6, 2008, 06:12 PM
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Have you used a laptop steadily for anything? Work, play, or experimentation?

What type of school and discipline are you going into?
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Old June 6, 2008, 06:23 PM
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Well as much as Dell as a company pissed me off when I did work there, I still have to recommend their notebooks. Preferably the Inspirion 1420 over the XPS. Then again if you can swing it get a Latitude as they have always been a little nicer IMO (at least for working)

I just know that if you do decide to get a Dell, spend the extra and get the complete care warranty. That covers you for everything, pretty much as long as you have the pieces to return, they will send you a new one if needed. Oh and the new one would be equivalent or better than the original. So if it got destroyed 2 months before the 2 or 3 year warranty was up you would most likely just end up getting a brand new, better machine. I know i made that happen for countless people over my time there.
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Old June 6, 2008, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Rabbit View Post
Have you used a laptop steadily for anything? Work, play, or experimentation?

What type of school and discipline are you going into?
I'm going into Computer Systems and Networking Technology at Centennial College.

I do have a laptop already (back from 2003?). It's a 15.4" Compaq with a P4 and ATI 9000 graphics. It is definitely not the form factor I want to be carrying around, plus its like a friggin heater. I did use it to type up homework and what not back in the day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ipaine View Post
Well as much as Dell as a company pissed me off when I did work there, I still have to recommend their notebooks. Preferably the Inspirion 1420 over the XPS. Then again if you can swing it get a Latitude as they have always been a little nicer IMO (at least for working)

I just know that if you do decide to get a Dell, spend the extra and get the complete care warranty. That covers you for everything, pretty much as long as you have the pieces to return, they will send you a new one if needed. Oh and the new one would be equivalent or better than the original. So if it got destroyed 2 months before the 2 or 3 year warranty was up you would most likely just end up getting a brand new, better machine. I know i made that happen for countless people over my time there.
Well, I'm not really one to break things, and I hate when people borrow/use my stuff, so I don't think I'd really need the warranty. Plus it adds more money to the bill...

Latitudes don't really strike me as something I'd buy at this point in my life. A bit to plain and boring.
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Old June 7, 2008, 05:36 AM
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pray you don't need warranty from Dell. Their support system now that it is based out of India is pathetic. Spent 2.5 hours with an idiot a few nights ago because he didn't have a clue how to deal with a RAID 1 setup. Also replaced an inverter board on another Dell laptop last summer - whole job (including inverter) cost the customer ~ $200.00 - from Dell it was going to be over $400.00 + tax +shipping +time without the machine. When I did it, the customer still used the laptop with an external monitor and was without the laptop for 1/2 hour. I'd look carefully at other manufacturers.
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Old June 7, 2008, 07:26 AM
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I have a DELL XPS M1710. I do not recommend DEELs. Since I have mine, I have met other people who own DELLs to, and they ALL (no exageration) had a problem or another. If you do buy one, take the warranty. I had my laptop replaced in the first 30 days. I had horrible experience with customer care and lost many hours on the phone with people that had less experience with computer stuff than me. Heck, they never was abble to resend me the right drivers CD!!! (I should of kept the one that came with my first laptop) Luckily I had backedup the latest drivers on my external HDD before I had my XPS replaced.

WhenI change, I will be looking into ACER or SONY. Maybe Apple, now that they are windows compatible (evenif it's a sin to install Windows a MacBook).
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Old June 7, 2008, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jdrom17 View Post
I'm going into Computer Systems and Networking Technology at Centennial College.
That looks like it could be a really interesting course. I wish I had had the option to take something like this. The specs on the laptops you are looking at look fine. My old Latitude D600 has a 1440x1080 screen. It is cute to see how modern laptops give you less so you can have an oh-so-trendy wide screen. The specs do not really mean anything unless you know what you will actually be doing with it. I suggest you visit the campus, look around, and talk to people before you make your decision. Often the student societies will organise student tour guides that can show you around and give you their opinions about what it is like to be there.

What difference does battery life make if every place you will be has easy access to a power socket? The CS building at my uni was (mostly) very well designed for the laptop toting students and there were thousands of plugs in the building. Do they have reliable network access in the classrooms?

See what kinds of dead trees they require you to lug around. It has mostly gone out of fashion but some schools still do force you to bring your books to class. If you already have to take 25lbs of text books around what difference would a couple more pounds of laptop make?

Also check out what kind of stuff you will need to read on the computer. The curriculum looks like it is very heavy on theory and I would guess that means a lot of reading PDFs and web pages. Squinting into a screen full of tiny pixels for 8 hours a day may not be all that comfortable.

Taking notes on a computer is often very difficult. Especially in math class or for profs who like to make a lot of block diagrams and flow charts (which that is very common in CS). Most profs are fine with people sitting in on a class so long as there is room and they are not disruptive. You should try to get a feel for what the teaching style will be. Are there a lot of other students with laptops in class? Are they actually using them or just pecking away? Do you even need to take notes; the course outlines may be distributed electronically.

Do they allow you to use your own laptop for lab work or do they make you use the school computers? If you are stuck using a lab computer because they want everyone on the same playing field your laptop is just going to rot in your bag. If they do let you use your computer would they expect you to have Linux on it?

I am guessing you are still going to have your desktop at home because you say you are "thinking" about getting a laptop instead of absolutely need to buy one. In my experience laptops are very much underutilized in most school settings. Even in the CS area. Is it worth spending a lot of money on a really nice laptop that you are not going to use very much? You may also want to put up with your brick for a couple months and wait until the middle or end of the first semester to really see how much having a laptop is benefiting you. You will also have a much better understanding of what you really need the machine to do and what features are most important to you.
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Old June 7, 2008, 09:11 AM
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Asus laptops are great I would buy one no prob, but their battery power is very poor compared to other brands. Here are the machines you should be looking at. Based on the models you mentioned I will say your budget is about $1500, you need good battery life and like to play games in addition to schoolwork.

Dell XPS M1330
light, small, powerful, good options as you mentioned. If gaming is a priority than look at the M1530 which also has LED WXGA+ and even WUXGA. But stay away from WSXGA+ on the 1530.

Dell Vostro 1400 or 1500
A bit heavier but you can often get excellent options for a very good deal. They are also built very well. The newer Vostros are thinner/lighter but do not offer as good graphics options.

Lenovo T61
Powerhouse and tough machine. This is probably one of the best built laptops out there. It looks like something from 1998 but it's good if looks are not important.

Yes lots of people are bashing Dell, I don't blame them but remember Dell is a huge co. that ships millions of units and people tend to dwell on stuff about them online. Why anyone would call Dell needing help with Raid 1 is beyond me? Dell Tech is there for people who want to change their screen resolution and don't know how. That's the way it goes with just about anyone's tech support but people only have Dell to compare to Dell, know what I mean? And as far as warranty goes Dell has great warranty. Lenovo in Canada has had some issues.
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Old June 7, 2008, 09:51 AM
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Yeah I know, I personally don't like Dell myself, but generally people say their laptops are pretty decent. I guess it's just hit and miss with them. Some people get working ones, others get defective ones.

Jack Rabbit, that's a ton of great advice. I went to the open house a few months ago, but there wasn't any students there in class or anything. It was just a tour of the place.

You're right though, all the labs had desktops along with all the needed equipment. They run Windows XP, so I doubt I'd need Linux. However for English and Math courses I may want the laptop. Though again, as you said, if the professors like to make a ton of diagrams and stuff that's not really feasible. The whole campus apparently has Wi-Fi and I'd assume it's true since the campus is sponsored by HP and it was built recently.

I think the majority of my course will be online though or at least the Cisco stuff as I've done it in high school though my teacher was really crappy.

As per power outlets, I wasn't really looking when I was there. I guess the library would be the main place? It was closed though during the tour. The rather tiny cafe didn't have any.

Even if I don't use it a ton, I think I'd rather have one just in case, or to use during times when I don't have a class but have one later.

Oh and I'm really hoping I don't need a ton of textbooks. That would really suck.
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Old June 9, 2008, 07:29 PM
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Well I have a Dell Inspiron 1525, and I like it, apart from the integrated graphics. The only problems I've had with my laptop are with Vista itself so I wouldn't say I've had problems with Dell as a company.

Other good laptop makes IMO would be ASUS or Lenovo. From what I've read though Acer are also pretty hit and miss...
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