Laptop Shopping


In the fall I will be moving out to university (McMaster in Canada). I’m need a computer for school, and I’m leaning towards a laptop. Also, which is better Althon 64 ot Pentium 4?

I want to be able to play games (HL2, WoW) and use blender a lot, the laptop I’m considering is this one

what do you guys think? (about 1,148.71 USD)

Ok, first off DO NOT GET DELL (mine just cost me half the price again ($700) to do a $50 repair)

Next, assuming you care about battery life, I would go with pentium centrino or the AMD equivalant… the graphics card is the important part for games so get a nvidia 6600 (256mb) or above. Nvidia is better than ATI for blender.

Otherwise, the one you have is fine, or you could look at evesham or acer for example

I have spent about a month evaluating which notebook to get. Everyone has good or bad things to say about ANY brand. So in the end I ordered a Dell, since I had good experiences with them (some didn’t). It is always a good idea to read as many reviews as possible, they often bring things to the table that you can’t see on pictures (build quality, heating, noise etc)

So, today my 17" Geforce 6800 Inspiron 9300 arrived :smiley:
I will let you know when it’s bad.

As already said, get a Centrino or equivalent processor and be aware that ATi cards MAY have problems with Blender. The Intel Media Accelerator chip is not bad for Blender, performs like Geforce 4 MX cards. nVidia is still the best for Blender, I guess. Did I mention my new Notebook has a GF 6800 ? :wink:

Are centrino’s much worse than P4 or Atlhon 64?

also, nico how much did your laptop cost?

The P4 has hyper-threading, and the AMD 64 is 64 bit, and the centrino has neither. But, it’s battery life is around twice as good (guestimate)

Other than that, look at speed (GHz)

I continue to stress- NO GET DELL (sorry nico :expressionless: I hate doing this type of thing, but then you may have a better experience than me )

You can get all the main parts of a dell laptop in any other brand (eg processor and gfx card) but the parts specific to dell (eg motherboard, case etc) are, in my opinion, inferior.

The motherboard I have is low spec (integrated sound, 400mhz bus) (although this will have improved with time) and I have just spent £400 on a new one as the old one broke. Keep in mind it probably only cost the, £40 to make.

The case creaks, the screen is dull, and the damn thing overheats when I’m using word let alone playing games. Only good point is the long battery life (four hours) but I attribute this to a 3kg battery and pentium M (the old version of centrino).

In short, I reccomend buying from a specalist brand that spends less money on being a big corperation and more on decent parts. Furthermore, smaller companys are less likely to have customer support some place in india, and will be more helpful. Also, in order to stay in business with the corperations like dell they have to be better and better value for money.

I’ve also been shopping for a notebook lately, and planning on buying one in the next days/weeks.

I found this one

A compact, amd64, 1gb of ram, and a nvidia video card. The price is 1574,99$ CAN. What do you guys think of it? It will be for a bit of gaming and school work, but mostly for Blending on linux. Does it sounds like a good choice?

You need WindowsXP 64 bit version to use a 64processor(like AMD 64 bit).
Also you will see no improvement in 32bit applications(unless the company that created them has created a patch that will turn them to 64 bit applications, this has happened with some games ex.far cry )

However if you plan in buying a new laptop I would recomend you buying
one with a dual core processor.

I found this one

yeah, that’s pretty good

my only question is, how good is a geforce 4 440?

I was at McMaster for 3 years. Nice campus.

It isn’t that ATI doesn’t work with blender, it’s that ATI doesn’t work with OpenGL. They just don’t get it. Go with GeForce if you want to use blender.

Don’t really know too much about the GeForce 4400, but isn’t it a little out of date? Still, easily good enough for blender. Maybe not so good for new games though?

SmaThe Greek said:
You need WindowsXP 64 bit version to use a 64processor(like AMD 64 bit).

No you don’t, it will run 32 bit windows fine, and at the moment more stably. Win64 is very bad with compatability at the moment and not worth it.

Geforce MX440 is a really rubbish card. Much slower than all of its contemporaries. I had one. Don’t go there.


It works fine, I have one in the laptop I’m writing this post on.
(Runs really nicely, but no high-end graphics stuff like per-pixel shaders. :frowning: )

GHz is misleading when dealing with processors, as people should know by now…

The Pentium M has a better pipeline than the P4. If you want to compare them, a latest generation P M is approximately as good as a P4 of 1.8x the clockspeed (arbitrary value based on looking at a lot of benchmarks).
Latest P M has 2M of L2 cache too and support DDR2.

I didn’t hear much about AMD’s laptop processor branch, does anyone has links to benchmark tests?


Hint: you want a great deal? I know it sounds stupid, but you could save money if you wake up at 4 am on the day after Thanksgiving and get a great deal (not Dell). I did that; got a Toshiba with 2.8 GHz processor, ATI graphics and all that for only $700. Originally, it was $1050. Saved $350 bucks (although there were a few mail-in rebates, but their worth it, aren’t they? :wink: )

As with any company these days, YMMV.

I’ve had excellent performance out of Dells I’ve purchased, both personally and professionally. Considering how heavily I blend, my Dell 4550 PC has held up admirably.

Check out for some reviews and coupons. I just found one the other night for $750 off :o

Of course companies probably tweak their system packages so they mostly get the price they want anyway :wink:

I waited a very long time to get a new laptop, and this morning I finally did it. Ideally, I wanted an AMD64 processor. I would have loved to get one that HP was selling with the 4000 processor, but they have no NVIDIA options.

I don’t want a computer I can’t blend with :slight_smile:

So this morning I configured this system at, plugged in the coupon code, and the price was right for me:

Inspiron 9300  	Intel® Pentium® M Processor 750 (1.86 GHz/2MB Cache/533MHz FSB)
Operating System 	Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition
Display 	17 inch UltraSharp™ Wide Screen XGA+ Display
Memory 	1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz 2 Dimm
Video Card 	256MB NVIDA® GeForce™ Go 6800
Hard Drive 	60GB Hard Drive
Network Card 	Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem
Adobe Software 	Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 6.0
CD/DVD Drives 	24X CD Burner/DVD Combo Drive
Wireless Networking Card 	Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200 Internal Wireless (802.11 b/g, 54Mbps)
Office Productivity Software 	Microsoft Works Suite 2005 - Includes Word 2002, Streets & Trips 2005
Security Software 	New! Norton Internet Security 2005 AntiSpyware Edition 15-months
Digital Music 	Musicmatch® Jukebox Basic
Primary Battery 	9-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery (80 WHr)
Limited Warranty, Services and Support Options 	2Yr Ltd Warranty, 2Yr At-Home Service, and 2Yr Technical Support
Internet Access: Dial-Up 	6 Months of America Online Membership Included
Digital Imaging 	Photo Album™ SE Basic
Miscellaneous 	Award Winning Service & Support
Financial Software 	No QuickBooks package selected- Includes limited use trial
Operating System Backup & Recovery 	Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition backup CD


A 17" Ultrasharp laptop with a 6800 GPU and 1GB DDR2 RAM for just over $1700 :smiley:

I had looked at many companies, including Alienware systems, and, which offer some nice systems with AMD processors but no NVIDIA options.

Alienware had no AMD options for their laptops, and their systems are very expensive anyway, sleek and cutting-edge as they are. Their AMD X2 dual core desktop systems though seem incredible, and they do have many NVIDIA options. Imagine blending on those things!

I was disappointed with the bulk of notebook sellers out there offering only ATI card options. This left me with few choices, so my good past experience with Dell and the huge savings helped me make the final decision.

So I’m excited after such a long wait. This laptop may be a faster blending station than my desktop. I only hope Blender works flawlessly with the 6800!


You don’t need to worry about that. The Inspiron 9300 is a perfect machine for me.

I must however admit that the DVD drive rattles with SOME cds. I have yet to find out why this happens and whether I have to send it back to Dell. I think the drive is just not installed properly in the bay. So this is a minus for Dell.

That’s a big sigh of relief about the 6800 :smiley:

Sometimes OEMs post firmware updates for things like CD drives, so maybe it’ll just be something that can be fixed at the software level.

Just for fun I configured an Alienware 17" laptop as similar as possible to the laptop I was looking at Dell. The price was close to $3,000. That was the MJ-12M 770. They also offered software options for 3DS, Lightwave, and XSI.

Seeing that made me feel happier yet about my decision :slight_smile:


Robertt: Maybe that is an indication of the quality of the laptop itself, not just the specs .?

Oh well… I think I’m going to drop the topic now. Most likely you will have much better experiences than I did, I spose I’m just a bit bitter at the mo…

BTW over here in England $3000 would be pretty reasonable (about 1700 GBP, the price of a high end PC)

So took my optical drive out of the bay, put it back in - perfect. Now I have THE machine. The idea of losing my warranty made me feel a little uncomfortable though.

Lightning: I think it’s very honorable from Dell to let blind people do the assembly jobs. :wink:

So at the end of the day I understand when people don’t like Dell (I was close to being one of them today), but still think I would buy them.
Robertt, I hope you don’t have such an issue with your Inspiron. Mine was rather harmless yet nerve wrecking.

Nico: I was wondering why that rattles… is that all you did to fix it?

btw the drive is (IMO) designed to be removed and replaced (with, for example, a spare battery or floppy drive)… does yours have the pop-out pull button thing? I’m sure there’s no chance of it voiding the warentee.

(btw sorry about the bump :-? )