Hey guys...having trouble trying to decide which one to get my wife. With so many brands and good deals out there, its a tough decision. Price range is between 600-900 max. As far as features, just something that'll work really good and nice. Saw a few that came with a CD-DVD burner which is a plus.
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Boogie Woogie
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Originally posted by adam212:
don't waste your time on a dell laptop! my friend has 2 dells both are crap and had battery recall issues.
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Regardless of brand and for your price range, I would look at the following CPU based laptops:
AMD Sempron 3000+ - 3400+
Intel Celeron M (1.8+ GHz)
AMD Turion (ML-30 to ML-44)
Intel Pentium M
AMD Athlon M

You'll probably find more in the Sempron, Turion & Celeron CPUs than in the others since the Centrino & C2Ds are phasing out the Pentium M and the Turion / Turion x2 are phasing out the Athlon M.

AMD Sempron & Intel Celeron are both solid offerings. We got my mother-in-law a Dell 1500 that was Celeron based. It did its job (e-mail, web, Word, view pix of grand-son), but then up & died. We got my sister-in-law a Sempron 3000+ based laptop (Acer) to do the same tasks and have had 0 problems.

I went with a Turion ML-30 (64-bit) based laptop w/512 MB RAM & 60 GB HDD. I put in another 512 & got a 120 GB HDD to swap the 60 with. The ML-30 based laptops are OK, but if you're looking to do gaming more than World of WarCraft at basic settings, then I recommend getting something a bit beefier than the ML-30 w/x200 ATi graphics. I'm happy with it, but I don't do a lot of next-gen gaming either. If sticking with the Turions, I'd look at the ML-44 or the MT-40 (not sure if they got the MT up to 44 yet). The ML-44 will be "faster", but the MT-40 will have lower current draw (longer battery life).

As for brands. I've had good luck with my sister-in-law's Acer. My laptop = Systemax (parent company for TigerDirect). My wife's laptop = Dell Latitude D600 - no recall to date for her school supplied Dell. I support the Dell D810 & D820 laptops at work - no recalls to date.

Toshiba, HP / Compaq, Dell, Gateway, IBM are all going to offer similar quality and differ in the customization options (FireWire, 4 v. 6 USB Ports, 9 media card reader slots, etc.). Most of their basic options will probably be pretty close to standard:
1.6 - 2.6 GHz CPU
512 - 2 GB RAM
60 - 180 GB HDD
x200 - 7600 mobile graphics
12" - 17" display
802.11 b/g integrated wireless + RJ-11 & RJ-45 jacks
USB 2.0

Yes, that's a big price range and you probably won't find 2.6 GHz CPU for 600 - 900 usd, but you should be able to find a 1.6 - 1.8 GHz in your range & bump up the RAM for fairly cheap. Not to mention, get your DVD-R/W and/or monster HDD.

XP Home or Pro will probably be your main OS Options. Vista may be an upgrade option. Not sure if they'll be on the shelves before Christmas.

Don't worry about MS Office (solid productivity suite, but costly). You can get Open Office 2.0 for free & it will work with MS Office files. Get Mozilla ThunderBird for your e-mail client and FireFox for your Browser. WinAmp or iTunes would pretty much complete the box for next to no software costs. There are free / open source graphics packages out there too if you need a PhotoShop type program. Opera is another great option for the Browser.

I didn't mention Mac iBooks or used PowerBooks because I don't have a lot of experience with them. My colleagues who own them swear by them and never want to work on a PC again. The new Intel based Macs have Boot Camp and/or the 3rd Party software Parallels that allows for running Mac OS X Jaguar + XP.

Another option to your OS is to with an OS-less laptop and install a distribution of Linux on it. Open Office, Firefox, Thunderbird, Opera all work on Linux just fine. However, it may take more work on your part / your wife's part to get the Linux box up & running. If you want to go that route, Xandros is supposed to be excellent. I like Fedora Core 5 (have not tried FC6 yet), Ubuntu 6.x and Mandrake 10.x (now Mandriva).

In regard to on-line shopping, is a great resource. PriceWatch is as well. I personally shop from TigerDirect and of course, there is the wonderful world of eBay. I've had very few problems with Tiger or eBay. I've used NewEgg to price for work (sever, SAN & NAS). I've used PriceWatch to look for prices for upgrades and for colleague's planned purchases.

Good luck

[ 11-23-2006, 05:41 PM: Message edited by: Ber ]
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Guess no stores sell Dell...?? That's weird.
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I liked this one ->

it has...

1 gig of RAM
100 GB hard drive
Turion64 ML-34 processor
Dual-Layer DVD writer
Modem, LAN and WLAN (56-k, cable/LAN, or wireless internet)
widescreen (1280x800) screen (15.4 inch) (I prefer the smaller laptop screens... the screen uses much of the power of a laptop, so smaller = longer battery life.. I love long battery life)
8-cell battery, says 3 hour life
Windows XP Home edition

and the best part, IMO, is the price... $759.99 + 13.34 shipping = $773.33 shipped to your front door in 3 business days.

a major drawback (for me, most people don't care, though...) NO S-VIDEO output! (you can't hook your laptop up to your TV don't know if you were ever planning on doing this or not, though

The only thing bad about using newegg, TigerDirect, etc. for buying a computer is the tech support/warranty. If she's not a power user, then you might want to go with Dell/etc., even though i don't like them too much. But, since its your wife, then you would probably be around to fix the minor problems ("honey, why won't my email work") that come up with new users. But, since you're there, and if you are confident that you can solve these problems, or any major ones that may come up, then I'd highly recommend going to newegg (or another online retailer).

[ 11-26-2006, 07:55 PM: Message edited by: Iconoclast ]
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i got me an acer aspire 5003. its pretty good. its got the 64 bit turion ml-32 sh!ter in it. 80 gig hard drive, 512 ram, dvd burner, 812 wireless, 15" monitor. i paid 600 for it at circuit city. twas on sale though.
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I'm not in the know on the new processors for laptops... There are ML and MT processors, pretty sure the MT's are the better ones, but I don't know how much better, or even if they are better just for speed, and hog battery life, or what.
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did some research, the MT's are the slower, more energy-efficient processors, and the ML's are faster, and ise more electricity. excellent processors
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