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  • Laptop of Choice (and/or Practicality) ...

    Maker and why.

    Would like to get a concensus.

    Discuss.
    Cliff Stoll...because real IT history is cool.

  • #2
    Re: Laptop of Choice ...

    Originally posted by blackhawk View Post
    Maker and why.

    Would like to get a concensus.

    Discuss.
    Google search of forums reveals:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...=Google+Search

    Gearing Up (6/2002)
    High Speed, Low Drag IBM Thinkpad's? (10/2004)
    Best Laptop for College (9/2005)

    It has been a while since we have had this topic come up, and opinions can change in 1.5-2 years.

    I don't think you will get agreement on this.

    If running MS Windows, Sony has some nice notebooks in small size, low weight, and packed with tons of tech, These tend to be more expensive and are often not as *NIX friendly as they could be-- especially new models with new technology. (High end can be sexy, but also expensive, and risky for non-standard hardware making future component replacement expensive.) I do not suggest Sony for *NIX installs unless you really research this well. (They have been known to install different hardware on the same modelname, making some research on HCL useless.)

    IBM ThinkPads have been reliable notebooks that included more *NIX friendly models than many other vendors. I have a Think pad that lasted for 11 years before it died when the hard drive failed. (Widely used, EOL support better, good value (price, performance, reliability, size, weight.) For *NIX installs, and value (as listed above) these are often good choices.

    Dell Make mostly crappy stuff in the Home line. However, if you go with their business line, you can check out their Latitude series, and with some research find a few models that include options for hardware that is *NIX friendly. The money you save with these Business-Line Dell requires you to research HCL more to not only choose a model but hardware that is more *NIX friendly, and also get more of a brick (large volume in size and weight) when compared to the more densely packed Thinkpads, and super-dense packing in high-end Sony laptops. (Some of the cheaper Dell Business model are starting to suck too.) Dell seems to have more recalls on batteries and power supplies than any other vendor, over the past few years. (However, they actually do seem to issue recalls when there is a problem.)

    If planning to run Linux, check what other people have to say about the hardware support and your model number:
    http://www.linux-laptop.net/

    Special considerations: Video Card (GPU) and full support in *NIX for 3d accelleration, so called "WinModems" as well as wireless support, and bluetooth.

    Many new laptops don't come with Keyboard or mouse PS/2 ports, or old-style 9-pin serial. Firewire is hit-or-miss. Some notebooks are missing PCMCIA (PC-Card) slots, and some only have a single slot.

    Toshiba: Early 90's were good. Mid-90's started to suck. A few years ago, I heard that they brought up the quality again. Don't know how they are doing now.

    Fujitsu: "eh" seen some work well, seen some overheat.

    HP/Compac. Sucks. Too many problems. Overheating, bad support. (For example story, see Chris' site with a story about this that I relayed here. I know others with similar stories, and crappy hardware that overheats or dies a few months after warantee ends.

    Gateway: Standing next to one after it was set on fire would probably be less dangerous than standing next to a frustrated postal employee that is forced to use one of these.

    Apple? Check out what Chris has to say about them.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Laptop of Choice ...

      I agree.

      I've dealt with sony and dell. The sony vaio didn't live up to my expectations and as thecotman said it's not very *nix friendly. The Dell Latitude 640 however works quite well.
      Using encryption on the Internet is the equivalent of arranging an armored car to deliver credit-card information from someone living in a cardboard box to someone living on a park bench. (Gene Spafford)

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Laptop of Choice ...

        I'm on my second Sony Vaio, which I bought at the end of last year--one of the sexy white ones--really like it. I was lucky enough to get one with Windows XP (did I really say that?) and have no intenion of"upgrading" to Vista. In fact, Vista might be the reason I'll never get another Windows-based laptop. Vista just makes computers run noticalby slower, with an noticable lag before things happen.

        It is hard to buy a Windows laptop with XP on it, though they can still be ordered online from companies that supply laptops to businesses.
        --BC,

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        • #5
          Re: Laptop of Choice ...

          I have a Dell Inspiron E1505, but only because I got it for about 25% of its actual value. I was a huge fan of the ThinkPads when they were manufactured by IBM.

          The screen on the Thinkpad was solid and they keyboard was very nice. It survived most of my college career in my bookbag with textbooks and other random shit with nary a scratch.

          The Inspiron still suffers from the notorious Dell Screen Wobble where the hinge gets too loose after a few months. The mouse buttons are spongy and the keyboard sucks. But the specs on the machine are great, it's the fastest machine in the house. And the battery lasts 4-6 hours with the brightness turned down and speedstep enabled. Although the dual-core processor too hot for lap use.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Laptop of Choice ...

            I own a MacBook. I love it.

            Disclaimer: I have been raped by Apple. Repeatedly. For long periods of time. My a-hole is distended from the raping. My rectum is prolapsed, and bleeds, on a daily basis. It's hemorrhaging. Apple gave me hemorrhoids. It's agonizing. Bleeding out your ass is not a good situation to be in. I wish I could wipe and not have to stare at bloody toilet paper anymore. I want to stab Steve Jobs in the eye with a red hot poker. That'd be mighty satisfying. Maybe after that I could shit blood on him. Blood and shit. All over Steve Jobs face. That'd make up for the pain his company has caused me.

            So yeah, MacBooks, they rule.
            45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B0
            45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B1
            [ redacted ]

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            • #7
              Re: Laptop of Choice ...

              I like my cheap-ass, slow, and tiny iBook more than I like my new, expensive, fast Dell Latitude. The Apple touchpads are big, MacBook ones let you right-click, scrolling's nicer, and the computer itself isn't huge and heavy.

              For hacking, it's pretty nice - comes with the big three scripting languages already installed (Perl, Python, Ruby), you can get the MacPorts package to have bsd-style package management (compile yourself an updated version of common unix apps), and there's a disproportionate amount of good software available for it, both free and <$100.

              If anything, don't buy a big laptop. It'll be heavy and you'll hate taking it places.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Laptop of Choice ...

                I've got a MacBook Pro and am very pleased. Bootcamp is nice, though I haven't tried putting Linux on a separate partition yet. Service apparently varies. The people at my Apple store are supprisingly competent and are especially nice to those people who are in frequently.

                Any time I've had hardware issues, they are solved in the same day but mileage varries depending on who's working that day.

                That said, my Dell Inspiron proved to be quite the horse for three years before the battery finally gave up on my. It sits on my network and handles BitTorrent now and still chugs along.
                jur1st, esq.

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                • #9
                  Re: Laptop of Choice ...

                  The company I work for has been using business grade HP laptops for the last 10 years. I currently have HP nc8230 and like it a lot. Having 50+ of these things, on average we do not run into many issues. If we do, HP will fix the laptop within 5 business days. Default warranties last 3 years, which extends the life of your computer, especially if you travel a lot.
                  ..::800xl::..

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Laptop of Choice ...

                    Originally posted by 800XL View Post
                    The company I work for has been using business grade HP laptops for the last 10 years. I currently have HP nc8230 and like it a lot. Having 50+ of these things, on average we do not run into many issues. If we do, HP will fix the laptop within 5 business days. Default warranties last 3 years, which extends the life of your computer, especially if you travel a lot.
                    A peer at another business bought several HP laptops for his company people who are on the road. Each experiences overheating problems if left running for over 2 hours. HP was contacted multiple time to fix this, but they didn't fix this problem. Eventually, 2 years later, their "solution" was a BIOS mod that forced speed stepping to the slowest speed possible, and forced the fans to max, all of the time-- this did two things:
                    It cut battery life to just under 2 hours, and made the machine run at about half the speed they should.

                    HP is on my craplist of laptops to never buy. On the plus side, they are marginally better than gateway.
                    Last edited by TheCotMan; March 28, 2007, 17:05.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Laptop of Choice ...

                      Personal - MacBook Pro, 2.0Ghz Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, 100 GB Hard drive with Parallel Images for Windows XP, Windows Vista Enterprise and BackTrack 2.0

                      Work - Dell Latitude D620, 2.16 Ghz Core Duo, 2 GB RAM, 100 GB Hard drive dual Boot Ubuntu

                      I prefer the MAC but have to make do with the Dell when I am doing my regular job.
                      DaKahuna
                      ___________________
                      Will Hack for Bandwidth

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Laptop of Choice ...

                        I prefer the dv & zv series notebooks HP makes, they are in thier business line, some have dual hard drives, most are 15.4" screens, mine has a desktop cpu in it, bad for battery life, but great performance wise. Certain models are considered "Desktop Replacements" not really laptops, usually the ones without mobile cpu's.

                        My friend has a Sager Notebook, www.sagernotebook.com they have customizable units, custom built, shipped without os, you can do dual or tripple hard drives, tv tuners, ect.. video cards are upgradable, they offer SLI video on some of thier laptops but it all comes with a price, however their machines seem to hold up to alot of use.. You get what you pay for.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Laptop of Choice ...

                          since many folk are contributing their bitch stories as evidence against particular vendors, it may be relevant to bring up the Toshiba Video Card Disaster™

                          a while back, in their 5005 and 5105 series of laptops, there was this huge batch of Toshibas that shipped with 440 GeForce video cards that were assembled with substandard soldering. this resulted in horrible video artifacting errors that got worse over time.

                          the problem has been conclusively identified as the video card, and older broken ones routinely appear on eBay (if you're good with circuit board work and want to make some extra cash, keep an eye on auctions for broken FMC2G1 cards... if you fix the solder points properly, they can be flipped for over $400)... there are many, many forum posts where users stumble in, unaware of their problem and make page after page of posts wherein they all speculate about fans, heat, LCD connectors, etc. eventually on all these forums some knowledgable person will come along and conclusively inform people of the real problem and post some links to the proper facts.

                          the thing that puts Toshiba on my shit list is the fact that they have, by all accounts that i've read, repeatedly stonewalled the customers and gone heavily on the defensive, denying that there was every any manufacturing defect whatsoever. many, many folk have been left hanging and frustrated... but not nearly enough that it would make financial sense to issue a new run of nVidia 440s for these now-discontinued Toshibas. someone in a board room somewhere came to the conclusion almost immediately, i'm certain, that the customers affected were to be totally lied to and fucked and that it would be up to them to get another laptop... possibly pissing away hundreds on attempted repairs and diagnostics by their local PC shops first.

                          so yeah, that's my Toshiba rant. i only came across all this knowledge because a teacher at the school had an old 5105 and showed me the problem, asking "is there any way to fix it up? i'd gladly donate it as a machine for teacher or student use."

                          i took it on as a side project just for fun (hadn't monkeyed around inside a laptop in ages) and almost immediately could see it was VRAM. only after i started Googling did i learn the full effect of the problem and the horrid behavior of the company that allowed it to go unchecked and unaddressed.

                          Toshibas are officially off my list... not so much for their substandard parts in this one batch, but for their awful and unforgivable reaction that left so many customers with broken hardware and no clue as to what was wrong.
                          "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                          - Trent Reznor

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                          • #14
                            Re: Laptop of Choice ...

                            Quick note about Sony Vaio. I've never owned one, but about two years ago I interviewed a gentleman from Sony who was a laptop technician in San Diego. At the time I thought that these laptops looked very cool, so out of curiosity I asked "do you like and own Vaio yourself?", to which he answered "Hell no!" and told me about many issues with them. So, I never got one after that.
                            ..::800xl::..

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                            • #15
                              Re: Laptop of Choice ...

                              i'm personally waiting for the Itronix crew to come out with a GoBook in ultraportable... something with an optical drive that i can kick the shit out of and then drop into a pool, but which weighs only a few pounds and isn't much more than 8' x 12" in size. call me when they cook that up.

                              i also considered a Panasonic Toughbook-19 when i was making my last purchase.
                              Last edited by Deviant Ollam; March 29, 2007, 08:29.
                              "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                              - Trent Reznor

                              Comment

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