£1000 budget - which notebook ?

  Taran 17:02 10 Nov 04
Locked

OK, OK, I know, this one has been done to death but....

A close friend has saved up and wants to buy her first notebook to replace a desktop machine that has gone bang. It was four months old, built by a local shop that has since gone the same way the computer did.

I've made my own suggestions for a few models and manufacturers, which she has taken on board, but I know what a resourceful lot frequent this forum, and so...

She has all the application software she needs (bought for the desktop machine that is no more) and wants to spend not a penny more than £1000 on a notebook, which is to include delivery.

Dedicated graphics are a must, since she does a lot of graphics editing (graphics designer by trade, getting back into work after a few years absence, post-divorce, kids, dog, you get the idea).

She also needs plenty of memory, a reasonably fast processor (type largely irrelevant) and a fairly large screen. A backup drive of some description would be useful, it won't be used only on battery or moved very often, but it will be relied upon quite heavily and so a long/extended warranty would be a big plus to her, especially after her recent experience with the desktop.

She has no preference for a particular brand; looks are not a factor but performance is.

If I can, I'll try to arrange an evening where she can use one of my systems and she can join and post to the forum herself, instead of me running around after her ;o)

Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

Any ideas ?

Best regards, and thanks in advance for any input.

Taran

  xetnauq 18:31 10 Nov 04

Check out Aldi. They have a Gericom (German make) Centrino 1.7Ghz with ATI 9700 graphics for £999

  Sir Radfordin 19:11 10 Nov 04

I'd be tempted by the offerings of Acer, IBM, Sony and Dell though don't know about models or how they come in on price. Expect you/she will end up with something around the 3 - 3.5kg mark but you have to pay a lot more for lighter models.

click here seem to have a good range in most of the time and good prices. I know you can upgrade the warranty on the Acer models for £99 so that may be a factor.

What were your thoughts?

  Taran 19:27 10 Nov 04

Sir Radfordin - I suggested machines from Dell, Tosh, PB, Compaq and HP.

Yawnworthy to some I know, but pretty bullet proof in my opinion.

My own preference is Toshiba and has been for some years - Shannon appeared either indifferent or underwhelmed by said suggestions.

What do I know ?

;o)

  Sir Radfordin 19:38 10 Nov 04

Taran, you know as well as I do there aren't as many builders of notebooks as for desktops so the choice is more limited.

Only comments would be that PB desktops I've seen have always come installed with lots of unwanted software.

Funny you should mention Tosh as I had been quite tempted by their flyer in the weekend papers for the Tecra range. The Satellite Pro range also looking like a good buy.

Of the last 5 laptops I have bought 2 have been Sony, 1 has been Samsung and 2 have been Acer. Only one of those has had a fault (the Acer) and have all been subjected to a wide range of users/leves of abuse.

Doubt you can go wrong with any of the names banded around already...

  Taran 20:01 10 Nov 04

I've had more Tosh Sat Pros and Tecras than you can shake a stick at. In more years than I'll admit to, I've only ever had one fail - the motherboard faulted and the system was replaced with an updated model, direct from Tosh UK. Beat that !

I also like IBM notebooks (gorgeous keyboards to type on) - in fact, I'm sitting by a ThinkPad T42 right now and I recently rebuilt a four year old ThinkPad as a workhorse for a friend's daughter, just starting UNI.

I've never owned an Acer but know a lot of people and business that have had excellent working life from them.

This would all be far easier if it were my money and my choice. I'd have placed an order by now ;o)

How powerful a graphics card do you really need? Integrated graphics cards no good? I'd have thought display quality was more important, resoultion and dot pitch for graphics work? Unless a lot of 3D acceloration is required I'd be more tempted to use that portion of a £1000 budget on other factors, especially if easy, fast and reliable back up is important (external hard drive maybe?).

Display quality (again) is going to be very important and laptops vary widely (or at least used to). Widescreen formats are becoming increasingly more popular now and support higher resoultions, albeit in widescreen format (maybe not good for graphics applications?).

As far as processor goes, it'll be down to a choice of super-budget mobile celerons, plus-£700 (inc VAT) mobile pentium/centrino or mobile athlons (A64 also?). I guess portability isn't all that important then so wireless features and long battery life are also not a necessity. Hence, Pentium 4 desktop chips may be an option.

Dell are doing some deals on doubling up memory, so 512MBs for price of 256MB (contingent on model purchased). They also offer a comprehensive set of configurable types of warranties, return to base, collect and return, onsite, 1, 2, 3 years etc.

I've been looking for a notebook in the £500 - £700, and at £699 inc VAT (you don't mention if the £1000 is inc or non-inclusive of VAT - that'll make an appreciable difference at this price I think), there's a nice range of Toshiba Satellites (A60) with good functionality and reasonable storage capacity/options though I was looking more at the portability options (centrino, wireless etc). Advent and Compaq also feature around this price range and offer more flexibility. The vendor is PC World. Why I mention £700 price range is I've been looking at this level plus, the extra £300 to spend will give you further options for getting extended warranty, better display or dedicated graphics card, external storage HDD etc. ROCK computers and Evesham offer good configurability and choice of serious dedicated graphics cards, as do MESH also.

Sorry about the length of posting. Guess I just got carried away.

:o)

  Taran 20:35 10 Nov 04

Thanks for that.

The £1000 figure is the total, all-in budget available for this purchase. Actually, the figure was my idea, since I genuinely believe that for Shannon's current needs spending a vast amount will not offer any real benefits to how she works and her intended use.

Backup device would be fine as CD/DVD burner.

Dedicated graphics is also one of my stipulations for her. I've used shared graphics notebooks before and even a 32mb GeForce Go notebook graphics cards works wonders for batch processing images or playing with large photoshop files.

She still has the 19 inch TFT panel from the dead desktop machine, which will be plugged into the notebook. Perhaps I should have mentioned that from the beginning.

Hard disk capacity is not a real issue since MS Office, Paint Shop Pro, PhotoImpact, Photoshop and one or two other bits and bobs are all that will be installed. As long as she can burn her work to CD/DVD she'll be happy.

I'll take alook at PC World in the morning. They often have some very attractive deals available. Well remembered !

T

Well, it's just their late night TV adverts... (advertising works I suppose).

Shame about her desktop. I take it it's not servicable?

  Taran 21:35 10 Nov 04

The desktop computers motherboard spiked everything attached to it. The only way around the situation is a full tower rebuild or replacement.

I've offered to do it for her but she's fiercely independent; she has a streak of stubbornness as wide as an ox-cart (almost as bad as me in that regard) and generally has decided that a mainstream brand notebook that can be put away into a drawer or cupboard when not in use makes more sense than devoting a room to a desktop PC.

We'll see how things go. I'll post her final decision over the next few days, as and when she makes one.

Thanks again for your input.

Best regards.

Taran

Sounds like my gran. Not Irish is she?

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