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What is the best 'Windows' laptop (notebook) computer?

Marc

Fully vaccinated are you?
Staff member
Admin
#1
What is the best 'Windows' laptop (notebook) computer? A friend is looking for one for her son for graduate school (mathematics) school. The main 3 requirements are:

1. WiFi
2. DVD burner
3. Will run Maple software

Being a Macintosh person, I of course suggested.... But - The reality is he'll be in a Windows environment and it's the only computer OS he has ever used (he's not a 'computer' person), so I figure a PC makes sense for him.

I sorta looked at the Dell computer site but figured I'd ask here. I haven't been to CompUSA or Microcenter yet.
 
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A

Aaron Lupo

#2
I swear by my dell. It has all the whistels and bells and was very inexpensive. Of course if I had the money I would buy a FUJITSU Tablet PC, they are awsome!!
 
W

WALLACE

#4
Marc said:
Looking for somethng around US$1500
I would say, go for the Compaq presario R3000. This excellent laptop has an AMD athlon 64 bit chip and is loaded to the gunnels with all kinds of neat functions. I paid $2,000 Canadian for this one and, I understand it's come down in price and they now offer a free HP all in one printer too.
I purchased my laptop at Best Buy.
Wallace Tait.
 
T

tomvehoski

#5
I have not been happy with the quality of Dell. The last three I have had (all employer provided) have had a design flaw where the screen presses the keyboard when closed, causing a "ghost" image of the keyboard to permanently appear in the LCD.

Previous job I went through 3 of the same model in about 18 months. Bad motherboard, hard drive, screen connector, annoying screeching sound, etc. The Latitude D600 I am using now has been better, but still had the battery die in about nine months. When from three hours of battery life to 0 - not even being able to power up. All traveled daily by car, but never abused, dropped, etc.

I've been happy with my home Toshiba. About two years old now, so can't remember model, specs, etc.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#6
Marc said:
What is the best 'Windows' laptop (notebook) computer? A friend is looking for one for her son for graduate school (mathematics) school. The main 3 requirements are:

1. WiFi
2. DVD burner
3. Will run Maple software

Being a Macintosh person, I of course suggested.... But - The reality is he'll be in a Windows environment and it's the only computer OS he has ever used (he's not a 'computer' person), so I figure a PC makes sense for him.

I sorta looked at the Dell computer site but figured I'd ask here. I haven't been to CompUSA or Microcenter yet.
I've had good luck with Dell. One thing for your friend to consider, regardless of the brand purchased, is to buy it with XP Pro, as opposed to Home. The student will very likely need to join a domain at school, and you can't do it with Home (although some domain resources may be accessed). Another thing to consider is the fact that Dell, at least the last time I looked, was one of only a few OEMs shipping a full XP installation disk with computers, as opposed to a "recovery" CD or using a hidden hard drive partition for recovery purposes. Microsoft requires only that OEMs provide a way of restoring the hard drive to its as-shipped condition, which is a large PITA if you've done a lot of customizing and have a lot of applications installed. When something goes wrong, often it's possible to use an XP installation disk to do a "repair" install, which essentially replaces only system files, leaving installed applications and most settings intact. You can't do that with a recovery CD.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
#7
I'm intensely interested in this thread because I, too, am "shopping" - no pressure, yet - but I have travel plans in my future and I'd like one with near the equivalence of my desk top - my concern is not so much as lightweight like a road warrior, but to be able to set up like a desk top when I get to a destination, run projectors if I give a speech (not so much PowerPoint for content, but cartoons, photos, graphs, for visual impact for what I SAY), plus have ports to add on "real" mice, printers, speakers, etc.

(Heck, some of the use may just be out on the deck this summer with margarita, pina colada, or caipirinha (a shoutout to Sidney))

Are those of you using WIFI happy with it?

Any special virus protection needed beyond the usual surf wars armor? I understand college kids have the worst infection rate for viruses, spyware, etc.

Thanks for the tip about XPPro versus XPhome and joining a domain - why is it you never see that in MS brochures? - are they worried the XPHome folks will take up a torch vigil outside Bill's mansion?

I agree ALL manufacturers should supply the separate disk of OS, even if they partition the drive on the machine with a recovery. In a career that started with first personal computer in 1982, I've fried 4 hard drives - not fun.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#8
Wes Bucey said:
Are those of you using WIFI happy with it?
I have an 802.11g infrastructure network at home with a Dell laptop (Inspiron 1150) and my Gateway desktop using a 2wire 1800HG modem/router/access point and ADSL internet connection. Works flawlessly in my house, with the desktop and access point upstairs and the laptop anywhere in the house.

Any special virus protection needed beyond the usual surf wars armor? I understand college kids have the worst infection rate for viruses, spyware, etc.
College kids have problems mainly because of spending a lot of time doing P2P downloading (Kazaa, e.g.) and visiting questionable websites. In general, the same protection you use at home (including wireless encryption) will suffice on the road

Thanks for the tip about XPPro versus XPhome and joining a domain - why is it you never see that in MS brochures? - are they worried the XPHome folks will take up a torch vigil outside Bill's mansion?
This is on the MS site: Differences between XP Home and Pro
 

Marc

Fully vaccinated are you?
Staff member
Admin
#9
This 'kid' isn't into p2p. Or computers for that matter. So that's not an issue. He asked about wifi and I suggested it because of the good experiences I've had.

Ditto in the thanks for the tip on XP pro vs. home editions.
 
D

Don Palmer

#10
Toshiba Satellite Notebook

tomvehoski said:
I've been happy with my home Toshiba. About two years old now, so can't remember model, specs, etc.
Over the years I've had three Toshiba Satellite Notebooks. :agree1: None have ever given me any trouble and I've really USED them. Three, because I wanted to upgrade each time. Passed Toshiba 1 and 2 on to family members. They are still working in a solid fashion.
 
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